Final Six: The Six Most Metal Non-Metal Albumsl/Least Metal Metal Albums
Chris Krovatin is the author of the young-adult novels Heavy Metal & You and Venomous. The latter book was the inspiration for Deadlocke, a one-shot published by Dark Horse Comics.
Some days, you just can’t do the metal. Don’t get me wrong, no metalhead can just stop being metal in attitude, but some mornings—particularly hungover mornings—those chainsaw guitars, heavy-artillery drums, and shrieking vocals only worsen how you feel. And while there are few alternatives in this regard, those albums that do stand up to the test are fantastic. Metal is all about feeling, atmosphere, power, and some albums definitely bring the metal without being actual metal albums; these are the records that soothe the metal soul while understanding it. At the same time, there are plenty of famed metal albums out there that just don’t bring the metal. They pose as true gems of the genre when in fact they’re lacking the balls and bellow that comes with being Metal. Therefore, at the risk of coming off as a massive fucking hipster, I’m doing a list of the Six Most Metal Non-Metal Albums and the Six Least Metal Metal Albums.
The Six Most Metal Non-Metal Albums:
1) Meat Loaf, Bat out of Hell Besides having the most metal cover art ever, Bat out of Hell is a record that takes the somewhat nonsensical parts of metal and melds them together throughout every single song, including the sack-less ballad “Heaven Can Wait.” Still the only record which can make me play air-piano.
2) Mindless Self Indulgence, Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy Although they are a shadow of the band they once were, MSI kicked 70 asses on this strange drug-fueled psycho pussy jungle punk record. A favorite of Slipknot’s Shawn Crahan and pink-haired sexually-ambiguous serial killers everywhere.
3) Bonnie Tyler, Total Eclipse of the Heart Oh Jesus, I have to admit it: this song is pretty fucking metal. It was written by Jim Steinman, who wrote every song on the first album on this list, and this Welsh singer belts it out like a beast. Fuck anyone who says otherwise.
4) The Pogues, Rum, Sodomy, & the Lash Oh man, look at Shane McGowan. He’s a roadmap of long drunk nights, lost love, and too many bar brawls, and his music sounds like just that. There’s something about “Body of an American” that makes every day St. Patty’s day and every face worth kissing or punching respectively. Any Irish metalhead should own this record.
5) Soul Coughing, Ruby Vroom This paranoid heroin-induced record catalogues 31 different flavors of death and destruction to the plucking of a stand-up bass. It’s kind of strange, honestly, that a band this chill and stoner-friendly could make an album that sounds so much like the soundtrack to being in Hell. Get onto the bus.
6) Johnny Cash, At Folsom Prison Murder, execution, suicide, drug abuse, adultery. Done and done, son.
The Six Least Metal Metal Albums:
1) Megadeth, Risk What the fuck happened, Dave? Even during the Countdown and Youthanasia times, you stuck to our metal guns and made us sweat bullets, and now…this? This plodding, tired throwaway record? “Breadline,” Dave? Really? What happened?
2) Celtic Frost, Cold Lake Tom G. Warrior is one of my favorite frontmen, and one of the reasons he is as such is the fact that he gracefully and openly admits that this record truly stinks to high heaven. It’s all good, Tom. We’ve all done some ridiculous shit in our time.
3) H.I.M., Dark Light Look, guys, this whole face-of-modern-metal thing? Really bumming me out. I was thinking—let’s make a super-mediocre Goth record and totally shit on this kind-of cool thing we have going! Fantastic. Cheers, everyone.
4) The Dillinger Escape Plan, Miss Machine The only record whose inclusion on this list isn’t an insult. With their brutal and masterful return to form, DEP made it metal to be totally not metal, resulting in a completely new understanding of the term and an endless parade of tight T-shirts. Miss Machine is both a collection of songs and a feat. It’s the Non-Metal key that fit in the headbanger-shaped hole.
5) Stabbing Westward, Darkest Days It doesn’t get any more bitched-out than this album. One song after another about how much you’ve fucked up your own relationship and how suffocated you are by the sorrow. Ah, to be 15.
6) Metallica, St. Anger Five years on, this album still eats a veiny penis. The ultimate disgrace.