Friday Top 10: Albums of the 90s

So, many of us here at Dose of Metal are in our mid twenties, and we grew up with Metal in the ’90s. It may not go down as the greatest decade in Metal history, but fuck it, I love the ’90s. So many damn good albums came out of that decade, and that’s the purpose of this week’s Friday Top 10.

The list is pretty simple. Two rules: Only one album per band, to keep it varied, and secondly, Metal only, and that’s it. Other than that, I just blew this list out of my ass, because I’m awesome and you should listen to me.

So what are you waiting for? Make the jump for this week’s Friday Top 10.

Ah, The Black Album, the 3rd (or 4th? Maybe 5th? 34th?) time “Metallica sold out.” The band essentially had two choices, continue to be the biggest cult Metal act in the world, leading an army of sweaty, bald, male fans. Or they could try something different and become the biggest band in the world, period, gaining millions of new fans, some of which hot and female, in the process. We all know which decision they made, and who can blame them?

The production lacked heaviness, and it was also certainly lacking in Hetfield’s killer rhythm skills, but it did however contain some amazing classics. Enter Sandman, Sad But True, The Unforgiven, Wherever I May Roam, Nothing Else Matters; these are all brilliant tunes none the less. Despite typical moaning from some fans, the fact remains that The Black Album is still a killer album.

Released right at the start of the ’90s, Slayer unleashed one of their greatest releases yet, that has stood the test of time well. Seasons in the Abyss is the brilliant offspring of one night of hot sex between Reign in Blood and South of Heaven. It’s literally the perfect mix of the speed seen in the 1986 classic, and the more experimental slowed down heaviness of the 1988 album. Musically, all four members of the Thrash group were on fire, blasting their way through some of their greatest songs.

Besides the album being one of the finest Slayer albums, it was also the one to launch the band more so into the mainstream, without compromising themselves. Seasons in the Abyss was such a success, even MTV couldn’t ignore the band anymore.

Chaos A.D. is remains the finest example of Sepultura‘s phenomenal hybrid of Thrash Metal and their own tribal Brazilian culture. A mix of Hardcore, Thrash, Groove and Death forms of Metal collide in one aggressive record. Chaos A.D. comes after the brilliant, but unestablished Arise album, but before the Nu-Metal inspired Roots.

I’m still looking at my list thinking “Sepultura above Slayer, what the fuck am I thinking?” but fuck it. Songs like Refuse/Resist, Territory, Biotech is Godzilla (seriously, what the hell?) and many more are the reasons why Chaos A.D. made this damn awesome list.

Opeth are one of my favorite bands of all time, so frankly, they had to make this list. But don’t get me wrong, they deserve to make it with 1999’s classic, Still Life, and that’s me being completely objective, I promise you. Although not my favorite Opeth release (Blackwater Park and Ghost Reveries take the first and second prizes), Still Life isn’t far of.

Still Life is a “formidable splicing of harsh, often jagged guitar riffs with graceful melodies,” and if you think that doesn’t sound like my words, then why do you think I put them in quotation marks silly? Those are the words of Allmusic and I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Well, what I mean is I’m lazy and a poor writer, but hey ho.

Yep, In Flames pretty much suck ass these days, but there’s no denying the absolute brilliance of the highly original  and before its time, The Jester Race. This album is one of the first to display the now distinctive ‘Gothenburg’ sound, and along with At The GatesSlaughter of the Soul, went on to influence every American Metalcore and Melodic Death band ever. And that’s a fact.

Kings of the black leather clad, biker, totally not homoerotic at all, hard as nails, Metal look, Judas Priest released one of, if not their best album at the beginning of the decade. Everything was tighter, everything was faster, and it was all harder, catchier and more aggressive. Painkiller was proof that despite their age, Judas Priest could still kick ass with the best of them.

Ladies and gentlemen, this IS fucking Heavy Metal. If you don’t like Painkiller, you don’t like Metal, and it really is that simple.

I’m probably going to get some shit for having Megadeth so much above any of the other bands from The Big Four (and fellow Dose of Metal writer, Guido, will probably kill me for not having a single Anthrax album in this list), but Rust in Peace is just such a classic album, from start to finish.

Just for starters, the album opens with the legendary ‘Holy Wars… The Punishment Due’, a three-part masterpiece that perfectly displays exactly what Metal is, and should be. There isn’t a single bad word that can be said about Rust in Peace. Every single moment spent listening to this classic album, is a moment worth double of sex. Plus you don’t have to listen to some whining woman afterwards, which is also a bonus.

As Guido said in last week’s Friday Top 10, listen to just one song off At The Gates’ album Slaughter Of The Soul, and you pretty much just heard the entire inspiration for the Metalcore genre. This album basically laid the foundations and groundwork for a host of US Metalcore acts to rip off. Not only that, but it also created the Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal sound, that bands like In Flames helped popularize.

Slaughter of the Soul is as aggressive as the best of Metal acts, but it’s also a very polished and sophisticated collection of songs, featuring some phenomenal guitar work thanks to Martin Larsson and Anders Björler.

Ok, so more confession times (although I’m sure you don’t really give a shit), like Opeth, Machine Head are also one of my favorite bands. I grew up on them, their Nu Metal phase was there for me when I was too young and stupid to realize the trend was lame, and their post-Nu-Metal (AKA back to real Metal) phase was there for me when I grew out of that crap. But what started my love for this band? Of course it’s the mighty fucking Burn My Eyes.

Burn My Eyes came out a few years after the apparent “death of Thrash” in a time when people were bumming Grunge or something lame. But time had little to do with Burn My Eyes critical acclaim and fantastic reception. Burn My Eyes has proven to be such a success simply because of how brilliant it really is. Machine Head managed to prove with just their debut, that they could wipe the floor with most Metal bands out there, holding the musical skill to pull it all off. If you can’t bang your head to this album, then there can’t be an album in existence you can bang your head to.

Machine Head could have made the number one spot, they so nearly did, but there was just one problem. Pantera perfected Groove Metal with this beast of an album. Just look at the cover artwork, he’s being punched right in the fucking face. It doesn’t get any more Metal or aggressive than that.

Vulgar Display of Power just says it all. Songs such as ‘Fucking Hostile’, ‘Walk’, Mouth for War’ and ‘This Love’  prove just why Pantera are one of the most influential Metal groups of the ’90’s. The progress made from 1990’s Cowboys from Hell to this, was just pure evolution and showed the band meant business.

So, here it is, the greatest Metal album to come out of the 1990s. Disagree? Feel free to let me know in the comments section below. I’ll then sleep with all your moms.

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