I reviewed two of my favorite metal records of all time in Rolling Stone – I guess besides Kittie’s Spit, a sentimental fave of mine which didn’t make the cut ;P
80. Ministry, ‘Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs’ (1992)
The New Wave–gone-industrial malcontents of Ministry improbably managed to break into the mainstream by ditching their synthesizers for guitars and crafting a dense, nightmarish sound collage for their fifth LP, Psalm 69. Beneath torrents of rapid-fire riffs, mastermind Al Jourgensen spliced sounds together the way a stock villain crafts a ransom note – sampling George H.W. Bush speeches in the dystopian “New World Order,” and spoken word by Beat legend William S. Burroughs, who asked to be paid in heroin before his feature on “Just One Fix.” But the album’s true MVP may have been wasted Butthole Surfers frontman Gibby Haynes. To the dismay of their label, Sire, Jourgensen and the band blew all $750,000 of the album’s budget “up [their] noses” before finishing a single song. At the last minute, Jourgensen invited Haynes to lay down vocal tracks for what became Ministry’s first hit single, “Jesus Built My Hotrod.” The frontman recalled the night in his memoir: “Gibby came in absolutely shitfaced … babbling some incoherent nonsense. ‘Bing, bang, dingy, dong, wah, wah, wah, ling, a bong …’ But I knew there was something there. If only I could extract the magic, it would be like pulling a diamond ring out of a septic tank.” The result was a manic drag race into a swampy hellmouth of thrash Americana – and it worked. Psalm 69 went platinum and peaked at Number 27 on the Billboard 200, allowing other industrial acts passage into the charts, including Marilyn Manson, Rammstein and Orgy. S.E.
66. Deftones, ‘White Pony’ (2000)
By forging an unprecedented blend of shoegaze, trip-hop and metal, Deftones’ third album would forever shift the trajectory of rock in the new millennium – just don’t call it nu-metal. With frontman Chino Moreno now complementing the steely Stephen Carpenter on guitar, and Frank Delgado enlisted full-time on turntables and synths, the band mastered an equilibrium between mayhem and melody on White Pony. Gauzy, ambient overlays gave more room for Moreno to indulge the softer end of his vocal range, careening from a guttural roar to a honeyed yet menacing sensuality in “Change (In the House of Flies).” It’s matched by the wicked lilt of Maynard James Keenan in “Passenger,” and by Rodleen Getsic’s Andalusian serenades turned to screams in the erotic bloodletting track “Knife Prty.” White Pony could have shed the rap-rock typecast entirely, had it not been for the tardy rascal anthem “Back to School (Mini Maggit)” – which Maverick Records appealed for after White Pony‘s release. “I remember them sitting me down and pointing [out that] Papa Roach and Linkin Park had sold six million albums while [White Pony] hadn’t sold a tenth of that,” Moreno said in 2010. “To me, they were saying they wanted some rap-rock, and at the time I was already way over making music like that. They kept hounding [me] so I was like, ‘Watch this.'” S.E.