Kiss Credit: Paul Kane

You should always take lists with a grain of salt, but when Rolling Stone tackles one focused on genre, it’s typically as engaging and thoughtful an overview of a sound as you’re likely to get from an outlet serving both mainstream and niche tastes. (Full disclosure: I’ve helped write one such Rolling Stone list.) The magazine’s recent “100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time” won’t please everyone, but it’s a decent snapshot of a genre’s entire history as it appears in this moment. Speaking of which, the second annual Chicago Open Air features acts that recorded more than a fifth of the albums on the list, seven of them helmed by Sunday-night headliner Ozzy Osbourne. The festival also captures the breadth of the genre while leaving itself open to people with only scant knowledge of metal. It ain’t a bad place to get first-hand experience with some of the biggest names who’ve made the heaviest records: three of the “Big Four” thrash titans, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax (Metallica is the fourth); those that have launched entire subgenres (Meshuggah, Korn); plenty of propagators of 2000s radio pap (Godsmack, Stone Sour); and lots of bands playing popular contemporary pap (hi, Suicide Silence). The latter half of Friday offers the best lineup for any festival that day (slight shot at Pitchfork), beginning with the soon-to-be-extinguished Dillinger Escape Plan and wrapping up with hillbilly-horror hero Rob Zombie and the inimitable Kiss. True, it’s not the original Kiss lineup, but anyone who takes umbrage probably won’t get much from a trip to Toyota Park this weekend.   v