The 25 Most Important Metal Bands of the ’90s, #1: Crazy Town

  • Axl Rosenberg

The ’90s: they were the bomb! That’s why MetalSucks will spend the month of March (and the first week of April) giving snaps to the decade that was all that and a bag of chips by counting down The 25 Most Important Metal Bands of the ’90s. These aren’t bands that necessarily formed in the ’90s, nor are they bands that would turn out to be influential somewhere down the road; these are bands that a) were doing their best work in the ’90s, and b) amassed a devout following during the ’90s. These are the bands that we feel truly defined the decade for extreme music. These are the bands that we feel truly defined the decade for yo mama.

If aliens landed on Earth tomorrow and said “Please sum up the 1990s in four minutes or less,” one could do no better than to show them the video for Crazy Town’s classic love song/stripper soundtrack, “Butterfly.”

The caterpillar that was the ’90s pupated in a chrysalis and emerged as this butterfly. Crazy Town were the culmination of heavy music throughout that decade, and there is no hallmark of a ’90s band that they didn’t check off the list: rock, hip-hop, electronica, JNCOs, chain wallets, Vans, the entire hair product section at the drug store, Hot Topic, tattoos, piercings, payola, TRL, Ozzfest, and appearances on the soundtrack for a movie designed to be enjoyed solely by high schoolers.

Even their success was emblematic of the ’90s. Where bands like Pantera and Korn offered cathartic rage, Crazy Town promised escapism and the possibility of touching a tit. The contrast was perfectly representative of an era in which America’s greatest political scandal revolved around the President getting head. Crazy Town were the reminder that the ’90s weren’t nearly so serious as people seemed to think they were. “See I was lost and confused, twisted and used up,” they rapped. “Knew a better life existed but thought that I missed it.” For so many suburban white kids, Crazy Town defined the possibility of that “better life.” They probably caused more teenage pregnancies than governmental refusal to provide free condoms in public schools.

And like many of those pregnancies, they were ultimately aborted. A year after the release of Crazy Town’s megahit debut album, The Gift of Game, Linkin Park would basically re-make and perfect the record as Hybrid Theory. Crazy Town succumbed to legal and substance abuse issues, and an attempt at a comeback in the new century was not particularly successful; like Y2K, everyone freaked out about them and then forgot about them. Perhaps it’s just as well: more than any other band to make an appearance on Return of the Rock, Crazy Town were the product of a particular time and place. They ended, bittersweetly, with the millennium, fluttering their tattooed wings as they flew off into the sunset, inspiring us — nay, daring — to do better. But while they were here, they made us go crazy.

#25: Morbid Angel
#24: Melvins

#23: Meshuggah
#22: Emperor

#21: Cave In
#20: Botch
#19: Cradle of Filth
#18: Sepultura
#17: Napalm Death

#16: Rage Against the Machine
#15: Type O Negative

#14: Dream Theater
#13: Alice in Chains
#12: Nine Inch Nails
#11: Carcass
#10: Death
#9: Deftones
#8: Cannibal Corpse
#7: Fear Factory
#6: Metallica
#5: Tool

#4: Faith No More
#3: Korn
#2: Pantera

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