For certain artists, it's not hard to tell off the bat where they take their influence from and what drives them specifically. But for bigger, more influential acts, picking apart each source of sound becomes a little more difficult. It's exciting when musicians speak on their own appreciation of these bands, which is always a different perspective from an average listener. That's why it was exciting to see Avenged Sevenfold singer M. Shadows list his top ten favorite metal albums in an interview with Rolling Stone.

Avenged Sevenfold have matured and changed over their nearly 20 years as a band, getting better with each new record and always taking risks. Even when the band was playing more traditional metalcore, it was clear from the beginning that there was a swirl of different influences at play within the band. It's this reason why learning M. Shadows' top metal albums is essential to knowing what sorts of things have made up their outlook.

He kicked things off with At the GatesSlaughter of the Soul which is a very fitting record to sink influence in. He explains his reasoning for their inclusion, which also points out a lot of what A7X does, saying, "For me, that record changed everything for me because I realized there's bands out there that are just doing it heavier, stronger and better than everyone, but they're also writing great songs and it's also very melodic in a way."

He also includes progressive and power metal achievements from Dream Theater and Helloween, as well as the eternally influential Number of the Beast from Iron Maiden. Shadows gives props to Korn's self-titled record, an album he's unashamed to say influenced his music appreciation after hearing "Blind" on the radio for the first time.

Elsewhere, bands like Metallica and Megadeth make his list, and a surprise pick is Pantera'Far Beyond Driven. He says, "I always enjoyed that record more than the previous ones, even though there's brilliant songs on Cowboys and Vulgar. For me, Far Beyond Driven just had an oomph that kicked it over the edge and just pure aggression. And I always appreciated that. And I always thought it was pretty balls-out, and it's always been my favorite Pantera record." The diverse list ends with Queensryche and System of a Down, showing some of the roots that make up Avenged Sevenfold's DNA.

Check out the full list below and read Shadows' explanation for each over at Rolling Stone.

Avenged Sevenfold are touring this summer with Metallica, the dates of which you can check out right here.

M. Shadows' Top 10 Metal Albums

At the Gates, Slaughter of the Soul (1995)
Dream Theater, Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory (1999)
Helloween, Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part II (1988)
Iron Maiden, Number of the Beast (1982)
Korn, Korn (1994)
Megadeth, Countdown to Extinction (1992)
Metallica, Master of Puppets (1986)
Pantera, Far Beyond Driven (1994)
Queensryche, Operation: Mindcrime (1988)
System of a Down, Toxicity (2001)

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