GD’s Most Dominating Albums Of The 1990’s (10-1)

GD’s Most Dominating Albums Of The 1990’s (10-1)

17/04/07  ||  Global Domination

Morbid Angel: Blessed are the Sick 10. Morbid Angel: Blessed are the Sick

Released: 1991

Are you a fan of Emperor? Krisiun? Angel Corpse? Behemoth?
Decapitated? Hell, even Opeth? You are! Well, then bow your ass down to
the band that provided the bedrock on which all of the aforementioned
bands built their sounds: Morbid Fucking Angel! “Blessed Are The Sick”
is Morbid Angel’s sophomore release, and it showcases a band that is
just beginning to hit its stride, a stride which would be followed by
countless other bands within (and even outside of) the death metal
genre. On “Blessed”, Morbid Angel retains the punkish energy which was
displayed on their debut, but that energy is complimented by maturing
songwriting skills that produced the dynamic mixture of swampy groove
and blistering speed which came to be a hallmark of the MA sound. This
album is an essential listening experience for anyone seeking to
understand the development of death metal and related genres.


[Full Review]

Pantera: Vulgar Display of Power 9. Pantera: Vulgar Display of Power

Released: 1992

Enjoy groove? “Vulgar Display of Power” will wear a groove in your
fucking face. There isn’t anything innovative or fancy about this album
(save, of course, Dimebag’s amazing solos) but the band’s undeniable
talent still shines through. The only legit criticism of “Vulgar Display
of Power” is that it lacks variety, but if a band is going to toss 9
perfect songs of brutality and groove my way, variety can go screw
itself. Besides, the two, um, ‘ballads’ (“This Love” and “Hollow”) are
great and break things up enough to warrant lots of repeat
listens. Classic single “Walk” is worth the price of admission alone,
as it’s one the most violent sounding songs ever produced. Hell, that
solitary, bone crunching riff was probably enough to secure Dimebag’s
place in the pantheon of great guitarists by itself. Vinnie Paul and Rex
Chapman produce tight, rock solid rhythms and Phil Anselmo is one of
the most talented vocalists in metal history. He occasionally breaks up
the barking, growling style that dominates this album with his
amazingly gritty clean vocals. Lyrically, Pantera wants you to go to
hell, go fuck yourself and take your damned stupid society with you.
This is great music to growl along with when you’re pissed.

It’s sad that the name Pantera evokes a lot of negative imagery
these days, like Phil Anselmo’s fucktardedness and Dimebag’s horrific
and utterly pointless murder. Despite the band’s sad end, we were lucky
to have had them at all and “Vulgar Display of Power” was the peak of
one of metal’s best and most beloved bands. Now fuck off.

-Stephen Fallen

[Full Review]

Slayer: Season in the Abyss 8. Slayer: Seasons in the Abyss

Released: 1990

Slayer’s ultimate masterpiece. If you’ll notice, all of the
comparisons for their latest “Christ Illusion” album were in respect to
“Seasons in the Abyss”. Now while the new one in no way holds a fart to
this classic, there’s a reason it is held in such high esteem. Slayer
got their built-up frustration cumload unleashed with “Reign In Blood”,
got a little fucken artsy on “South Of Heaven” and put it all together
for “Seasons”. This album has the best riffs of any Slayer album hands
down. They could play THIS whole album front
to back at a concert and no one would complain. You get the Slayer
speed on ‘War Ensemble,’ “Hallowed Point,’ and ‘Born of Fire.’ You get
the groove all over this bitch on such hot tracks as ‘Expendible Youth,’
‘Seasons in the Abyss,’ and in a bunch of juicy bridges. The songs are
epic and thrashtastic! SLAYER!!! UGH!


[Full Review]

Entombed: Wolverine Blues 7. Entombed: Wolverine Blues

Released: 1993

I remember the week this album was released, our local record shop
had erected a big cardboard display featuring the comic book character
Wolverine to promote this album. I was never into comics, and had no
idea who this Wolverine was, but it looked cool as fuck. I had also
never heard Entombed, but had seen their albums around and heard good
things, so on a whim and the shop owner’s statement of: “Didn’t hear
that one, but their other shit is good”, I picked it up. One fucken
riff in their trademarked guitar tone later, I was hooked.


Emperor: Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk 6. Emperor: Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk

Released: 1997

I recall buying this album on tape back in the day, and the total
shock that struck me after listening to it for the first time. There was
nothing at the time which sounded as furious and epic. After their
magnificent debut album, “In the Nightside Eclipse”, the band didn’t
lose anything along the way, on the contrary – they had taken much more
creative ways to fulfill their aspirations. “Anthems to the Welkin at
Dusk” is, and always has been, an album that placed itself into the
history of metal the day it came out. Ihsahn, Samoth and Trym were the
artists responsible for it, and they will always stay high in the
pantheon of music gods.


Cynic: Focus 5. Cynic: Focus

Released: 1993

Cynic’s one and only offering is THE
benchmark for jazz-tinged technical metal. At its 1993 release, the
album was more ambitious than any other tech-metal or progressive
release of that era. With “Focus”, Cynic built upon the foundation laid
by Watchtower, Death, and Atheist. The musicianship on the album is
clearly stellar, but it is far from an attempt to showcase wanky chops.
Every move made by the band seems carefully engineered to properly fit
in to the album’s grand scheme. The jazzy rhythms, intricate layering,
otherworldly atmosphere, and spot-on execution on “Focus” have secured
its place as an undeniable classic which can be imitated but can never
be surpassed.


[Full Review]

Faith No More: Angel Dust 4. Faith No More: Angel Dust

Released: 1992

Quite simply one of the most frighteningly sick, darkly beautiful,
aggressive as fuck, intense, disturbing and highly influential albums
ever to hit the world of heavy. Musicians from just about every corner
of the metal and insanely loud world mention this as one of the albums
that dropped their jaw the lowest, something which it continues to do to
15 years after its release without offering quarter. Every element
about it is sheer perfection – from musicianship, to songwriting, to the
execution thereof, to lyrics and production. You really need to read my
lengthy clas6(66) review to get all the various nuances in in-depth
synopses, as it’s that complicated an album to dissect in a mere
paragraph. But for the purpose of this list, suffice it to say that
“Angel Dust” is an sinister journey of sickness, insanity and beauty,
where nothing is safe or sacred. It’s also entertaining and decidedly
“off” in places, but the way in which it’s done only adds to the feeling
of disquiet. Never a dull moment, and heavy as fuck in places, there’s
no doubt why this album has the impact it does.


[Full Review]

Death: Human 3. Death: Human

Released: 1991

A milestone in death metal. This is the album when Death (as with
Bolt Thrower it took a few albums to reach this point in their career)
went from a decent and ugly death metal band to a fantastic
death metal band. “Human” pushed the limits for the genre further and
inspired a whole new sound with its technicality and catchiness. It
remains the finest recording in Death’s discography, and one of the
absolute finest in death metal history. The line up for this recording
will always stand as the best in Death’s career, and the album
definitely proves just that. A masterpiece by all means.

-Lord K

[Full Review]

Carcass: Heartwork 2. Carcass: Heartwork

Released: 1994

The three albums that Carcass recorded between 1989 and 1993 will
stand forever as pillars of their respective genres. “Symphonies of
Sickness” helped redefine what could be done with grindcore and
“Necroticism” may be the definitive death-grind album. With “Heartwork”
the band reinvented itself again, taking metal in a daring new
direction by totally selling out to the man. Or something like that,
anyway. The landscape of extreme metal in the early and mid-90’s was
such that it seemed the underground sounds of death and grind were
poised to bubble into the mainstream. In an attempt to grab wider
audiences, a lot of bands signed to bigger labels and tried to craft
more accessible music. Carcass, in particular, completely disassembled
their sound and reformed it around the idea that modern metal could be
accessible without losing its brutal, challenging nature. The result
was a wonderful mix of death metal brutality, complex rhythms with fluid
tempo changes and memorable dueling guitar harmonies from Bill Steer
and Mike Amott.

The metamorphosis began when the band streamlined their sound by
ditching long, complex song structures for a more conventional
verse-chorus style. Then, they abandoned their trademark
medical-dictionary inspired gore lyrics and adopted a more unique theme
of hate as an intellectual art form. Finally, Ken Owen (drums) and Bill
Steer conceded vocal duties exclusively to Jeff Walker (bass), a first
for a band known for its 3-pronged vocal attack.

Despite all the changes, or possibly because of them, the band went
out and recorded (arguably) their finest work. Though the riffs on
“Heartwork” have the groove of death metal and the percussion is still
heavy enough to drown a megalodon, the incredible melodies overwhelm the
rest and lodge themselves permanently in the listener’s brain.
“Heartwork” was the genesis of melodic death metal and few bands of any
genre have ever approached the level of songwriting found here. All 10
of these tracks remain stunning no matter how many times they’re poured
over and dissected. This is about as good as it gets.

-Stephen Fallen

[Full Review]

At the Gates: Slaughter of the Soul 1. At the Gates: Slaughter of the Soul

Released: 1995

Ultimately, the 90s were a redefining period for metal. They
provided a smooth transitional field for the speed/thrash movement of
the 80s to gradually morph into the essence of what is considered to be
extreme music today. Will metal ever undergo such an influential and
important phase again? It’s difficult to say. So many gifted bands have
emerged in the last pre-millennial decade that it might seem slightly
unrealistic to imagine it ever happening again. Understandably, to be
awarded the top position on Global Domination’s “Most Dominating Albums
of the 90s” list is not only quite an honour, but now it rather becomes a
burden. Enter At The Gates.

While At The Gates might have dropped the complex rhythmic patterns
and intricate picking techniques present on their earlier recordings,
the formula they settled for on “Slaughter of the Soul” was colossal. To
be concise, it was thrash fused with melodic elements and outstanding
songwriting. Evidently, ATG substituted their
multifaceted and complex (aka chaotic and claustrophobic) song
structures for a much simpler, straightforward yet superior (aka focused
and efficient) approach to composing. This is where many die-hard
enthusiasts (also known as idiotic whiny virgins) cried foul. Fuck ‘em.
There is nothing amiss about an extreme metal band writing catchy,
appealing songs with memorable choruses. Frankly, the entire album still
holds together exceptionally well and nothing sounds out of place. The
jarring opening seconds of “Blinded By Fear”. The tremendous chorus of
the title track. The subzero soul-shattering melodies of “Cold”. The
thrashy anthem for the depressed “Suicide Nation”. The groove-laden
“World of Lies”. The final seconds of the eerie finale “The Flames of
the End”. To top it off, the re-release also includes a few left-out
gems (namely, the cover of Slaughterlord’s “Legion”) and a great track
that was dropped for the original “SOS” recording altogether (“The Dying”).

To be perfectly honest, the top pick for any “Best Of…” list will
always remain contentious. As a whole, At The Gates are certainly not the
most important band to have emerged from the 90s. However, it is hard
to imagine a single album that was as important, let alone influential,
on the metal scene as “Slaughter of the Soul”. In fact, I was one of
those who actually had the chance of purchasing this classic album back
when it was originally released in ’95. I loved every second of it. As
time eventually took its course, my tastes shifted and by the time I had
decided to pick up a recent copy of “SOS
last year, all I could recall about At The Gates were faint memories of
my years as a rowdy teenager (such as empty 40oz beer bottles, long
hair, faded black shirts with holes in them, unopened condom boxes and a
shitload of metal albums on top of a black Panasonic radio with duct
tape holding down the CD tray). Before even paying for the CD, I was
even a bit hesitant, especially after reading a quote from the
linguistically-eloquent virgins over at

For most At the Gates listeners, they will believe this album is
their favorite until they hear it ten years from now in the context of
other At the Gates works, in which case they will see this as a
transparent commercial album made to pander to the middle of the metal

You know what? Fuck them up their nihilistic little asses. 10 years
later and “Slaughter of the Soul” stands as one of the most consistent
albums ever recorded, regardless of the genre. That’s the closest
statement to a universal truth you’ll ever find. On that note, The Mane
and Global Domination are proud to present the most dominating album of
the 90s:

At The Gates: “Slaughter of the Soul”


[Full Review]


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This entry was posted on June 14, 2014 by in 1990s - Top 100, Best of, Decades, Lists of Domination.
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