The 25 Most Important People in Metal: #7, Albert Mudrian

  • Axl Rosenberg

As much as metal is a genre of music and a lifestyle, it is also a community. And like all communities, it has its leaders — men and women whose work, be it by design or circumstance, affects all lovers of extreme music on a regular basis.

Throughout November, MetalSucks will celebrate these industry leaders by counting down The 25 Most Important People in Metal one per day. To be clear, this is a list of the people we believe are most important to metal today, in 2016 — not necessarily the most important people overall in the entire history of the genre. Some of them are musicians. Many of them are not. Some of them are people you’ve heard of. Many of them work behind the scenes and do not routinely get to take a bow. But they all have one thing in common: more than just cogs in a machine, they are truly, undeniably irreplaceable.

[Full disclosure upfront: Decibel‘s website, like MetalSucks, is represented by the Blast Beat Advertising Network. Blast Beat sells advertising for Decibel‘s website and ONLY its website — there is no affiliation between the magazine’s print or e-reader editions and Blast Beat.]

If you have any desire to write about metal music professionally or semi-professionally, then Albert Mudrian ought to be your hero. He’s the author of Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal and Grindcore, which remains the world’s most in-depth account of those genres’ creation; if someone were going to teach a university course about bands like Napalm Death, Carcass, and Morbid Angel, as well as the heyday of labels like Roadrunner and Earache, Choosing Death would most certainly be at the very top of the syllabus. If you’re already an expert in those genres, Choosing Death will still have great stories you’ve never heard before; if you don’t know anything about those genres, Choosing Death is the ultimate primer.

But Albert wasn’t content to merely document the music he loves’ past — and so he helped create Decibel to document the music he loves’ present. Decibel has been going strong for over a decade now, and Albert has been its editor-in-chief that entire time (which is also crazy impressive — not many magazines survive without more frequent turnaround in their leadership). That would be reason enough for Albert to take a bow, but Decibel also happens to be really, really, REALLY good. Since its inception, it has become, without a doubt, the best North American metal magazine; probably the best English-language metal magazine; and possibly the best metal magazine in the world, period. The mag is informative and funny and always worth reading, even if/when you don’t disagree with the author or authors’ stance. Their monthly Hall of Fame entries read like perpetual can’t-miss sequels to Choosing Death. If you were to ask Albert or Decibel‘s staff what the magazine’s biggest misstep has been, they’d probably say “Putting Trivium on the cover in 2005,” which is really not that big of a misstep. My point being, it’s a quality product.

And Albert has continued to grow the Decibel brand in ways the metal media masterminds of yesterday could only dream about: an annual tour, book publishing, and assorted one-off special events, including an upcoming metal and beer festival. This is way above and beyond anything Lonn Friend or Gerri Miller ever accomplished in their heyday, and that was covering far more famous bands in the pre-digital era.

All of these accomplishments have made Albert not just one of metal’s foremost scholars, but one of extreme music’s most dedicated and influential keepers of the flame as well. We’ll never be able to measure how many people have gotten into how many bands because of his work, but you can bet it’s a lot. We hope we can be just like him when we grow up.

#25: Mark Riddick
#24: Robb Flynn
#23: Rob Scallon

#22: Kim Kelly
#21: Fenriz
#20: Rob Halford

#19: Ash Avildsen
#18: Steve Joh

#17: Karim Peter
#16: Misha Mansoor

#15: Dan Rozenblum
#14: Joey Sturgis

#13: Randy Blythe
#12: Amy Sciarretto
#11: Dimebag Darrell
#10: Corey Taylor
#9: Jose Mangin

#8: Monica Seide-Evenson

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