The 1990s were a tough time for a young Metal fan and these are the Top 10 albums of the era that helped me get through it! If I knew then what I know now things would maybe be different but these are all still amazing albums from that decade.
7: Ozzy Osbourne – No More Tears (1991)
This was a really confident release from the Prince of Darkness who was teetering on the edge of sobriety and surrounding himself with some mighty musicians. Core lineup Zakk Wylde, Mike Inez and Randy Castillo were a force to be reckoned with. Bob Daisley did his usual sterling work helping out with the bass and songwriting. Lemmy also cowrote a large number of the tracks here and I see this album as a companion piece to Motorhead’s 1916 in many ways. I was all about this for years but it hasn’t aged as well as many of the other albums here and I rarely return to it now. Happily my interest in fledgling guitar legend Zakk Wylde would result in another important release later in the decade.
The majority of this list are all early 90s albums. Luckily they were all good enough to keep me going through the lean years and I was still young enough that there was a whole history of hard music to be discovered during this time. Although this was released early in the 90s I didn’t pick up on it until the mid-90s and the release of Promised Land. That was a compelling, dark and under-rated record and sent me back to check out their previous releases. I quickly hoovered up their back-catalogue and this is the best of their 90s records. Much warmer and more song-focused than previous albums with the futuristic Orwellian dystopias replaced with present day issues, relationships and.. er.. Astral Projection. Guitarist Chris DeGarmo seems to have been the main creative force behind this move and I read an interview at the time where he described wanting to give the album the sounds and atmosphere of Seattle, the bands home city. The prospect of that was intriguing at the time and still is although other bands in the 90s would have a different idea about what Seattle was supposed to sound like!
Some bands react to changing fashions by experimenting or trend hopping. Some bands just circle the wagons and prepare to fight and in the early 90s the Kings of True Metal were doing just that. Beset with worrying lineup changes and mounting label disinterest Manowar’s first album of the 90s found them doing what they do best, harder and longer than ever before. The lack of compromise resulted in a 28 minute long opening track based on Homers Iliad. Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy in Eight Parts is not one of the bands best songs being weighed down with bass and drum solos but the intent, bravery and the relentless thrash-attack of the rhythm section were comforting to anyone worrying about where the band might be headed. The rest of the album capitalised further with classic tune after classic tune. Ride the Dragon, Metal Warriors, Power of Thy Sword and Master of the Wind are all fantastic top notch Heavy Metal. The album has fallen through the cracks a little due to the short-lived lineup but it’s a huge True Metal statement in a decade that needed it and I love them for it.