Fear, Emptiness, Decibel: Headbang Like it’s 1991
Before there were blogs there were these things called magazines, and the only metal magazine we still get excited about reading every month is Decibel. Here’s managing editor Andrew Bonazelli…
Did you do a double-take at that cover? Verify that the logo says Decibel and not Rip or Hit Parader? Such is the throwback glory of the first-ever Decibel Yearbook, extolling the virulent virtues of all things extreme in 1991.
Vintage Axl and Slash get cover honors (cool stars-and-stripes biking shorts, bro), but that year was about so much more. Both Use Your Illusions blew up the charts (one of the best thought experiments of all time is to make one great 10-song album out of its bloated 30 tracks), and so did Metallica’s Black Album and Skid Row’s Slave to the Grind—believe it or not, the latter was the first metal album to debut at number one on Billboard.
The tr00 among you are surely sighing heavily at the ascription of the word “metal” to those three records, but don’t get your sweatpants boner in a knot: there’s plenty here for you. Sepultura earns their record third Decibel Hall of Fame, for the mighty Arise; J. Bennett catches up with the always loquacious Dave Wyndorf about Monster Magnet’s classic Spine of God; At the Gates reminisces on various 1991 hot tracks (their seminal Gardens of Grief EP dropped that year); plus, we list our 30 favorite extreme albums of 1991, and interview the likes of Dave Mustaine, Max Cavalera, Scott Ian, Tommy Victor and Page Hamilton for a genre-spanning comprehensive cover story. It’s all right here for your nostalgic pleasure.
We can’t say for sure when the next Decibel Yearbook will be, or what year we’ll cover, so what do you guys think? Other than ’91, what are some of the most important years in metal history?