i heart the '90s

“The ’90s were a challenging decade for metal,” opens Loudwire writer Joe Robinson. You got that right! ’90s nostalgia hasn’t firmly set in for metal yet; Limp Bizkit’s new record tanked, less people are interested in Korn than ever, and some of the more credible ’90s acts from Europe never even stopped to take a drink of water. But that hasn’t stopped Loudwire from publishing a “Top 11 Metal Albums of the ’90s” list. For once, I think this topic is quite ripe for list-making given metal’s widespread unpopularity during the decade. Sure, decades themselves are artificial constructs with which musical trends don’t neatly align (hair metal was still huge in ’90 and ’91 and the true stuff was already filtering back in by the end), but they do provide convenient language for discourse, much like metal sub-genres aren’t always perfect but give us some kind of approximation of what a band sounds like.

Loudwire’s list is actually pretty solid; it’s hard to argue that any of these albums shouldn’t be included on a best-of-the-’90s metal list, and I love the inclusion of Alice in Chains and Tool. I could do without Korn’s debut, but I know it was important to a lot of people and it certainly left its mark on the metal landscape. I have a hard time believing Anthrax’s Persistence of Time would’ve appeared on this list had the band not just released a new album. The list completely omits European bands, and I think In Flames’ The Jester Race, Whoracle or Colony — any one of ’em — deserve a nod for all the impact they had on metal to come. For that matter, how about At the Gates? Or Refused’s Shape of Punk to Come? And what ’90s metal list is complete without Nevermore or Iced Earth, two bands that essentially flied in the face of “cool” and held up giant middle fingers?

But whatevs… it’s a list, and therefore cannot be perfect. Go check it out here, then come back here with your arguin’ pants on and tell us what you think the comments.


Thanks: Andrew Robbins

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