Best of the 90s: The Hard & The Heavy

This is a showcase of the best heavy music by year in the 1990s.  Heavy music in the 90s was characterized by it's intensity, it's rage, and often times it's brutality.  Unlike the prior decade in heavy-metal which focused more on speed as it's source of intensity, the 90s slowed down the tempo, down-tuned the guitars, focused on the groove, and often times pulverized the listener into submission with it's relentless barrage of slamdance-inducing riffs.  The 90s brought heavy music to an entirely new level, and also gave it a distinct swagger, attitude, and style in the process.

This was the decade of the mosh-pit, and 90% of the songs in this section are tailor made to rip your face off with their intensity.  That said, another trait that characterizes most of these songs is their "alternative" flavor, a hallmark of 90s music as a whole.  And that's what made heavy music in the 90s so enthralling: it's alternative tendencies.  Many bands incorporated industrial, hip-hop, and hardcore elements into their music, accentuating it's heaviness in the process.  The 90s was the decade of "Alternative-Metal", which ultimately gave rise to the much maligned genre of Nu-Metal. 

It's interesting to see the evolution of heavy music from the beginning of the decade to the end, as the rawness of many of the early 90s Alternative-Metal bands became more contrived and polished by newer bands in the latter half of the decade.  That's not to say the newer-school bands weren't good, quite the opposite, but by the time 1999 came around, and Nu-Metal exploded, the "Alternative-Metal" genre had been exploited and the show was effectively over.

But 90% of the songs in this section display the best the 90s had to offer in heavy music (from my prospective).  If these songs are not punching you in the face, they're showcasing something distinctly 90s or influential (i.e. Grunge-Metal for example).  And I should note that this is not meant to be a comprehensive list (especially considering the fact that most metal fans are a particularly anal bunch).  These are my favorite heavy songs, songs that I think are cool, songs that I like.  And it's more about variety for the most part.  There's plenty of great songs I left off for the sake of not over-representing one band (although I couldn't help myself with Down & Korn for better or worse). 

There's thrash-metal, industrial-metal, rap-metal, stoner-metal, death-metal, sludge-metal, funk-metal, hardcore, etc.  Basically lots of Alternative-Metal, but make no mistake, most of these songs bring the pain.  They will kick your ass, take your name, and leave you battered and bruised.  They're designed to either whip up a nasty pit, give you whiplash, perhaps disturb you, make your brain vibrate inside your head, and possibly even rupture your bowels with their heaviness. 

In other words, they're a lot of fun, and they kick a serious amount of ass.

So please enjoy, and for the love of God:


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