In case you missed the 90’s, i.e. you weren’t born or you were playing the dulcet drones of Kurt Cobain or Green Days ‘Basket Case’ on repeat for 5 years and forgot about metal for a decade, we’ve come up with a Top 7 list of Hidden Metal Gems from the 90’s. These songs and bands remain lost amongst the metal archives, but seriously, you must listen to these gems. Go seek and destroy them on your stereo…NOW! Counting down, here they are…
7. Optimum Wound Profile – ‘Drain’ from the 1991 album, Lowest Common Dominator
OWP, out of Ipswich, England rode on the back of Ministry’s success for a short time, with an intriguing mix of industrial thrash and punk utilising dual vocals, which at the time was something unusual and different. The album was released via Roadrunner Records and they went onto release another two full-length albums before ending the band in 1996. Singer, Phil Vane died in 2011.
6. Lard – ‘Forkboy’ from the 1990 album, The Last Temptation of Reid
Lard have released 5 EP & Albums between 1989 and 2000. Headed by Ministry’s, Al Jourgensen and fronted by ex-Dead Kennedys political star, Jello Biafra. If you like Ministry or an industrial metal sound with a punk-infused political statement…this is a must. Jello is still king of punk in our eyes & this album is killer, lead track setting the tone for what is best described as Ministry on Jello.
5. Channel Zero – ‘Black Fuel’ from the 1996 album Black Fuel
A Belgium metal band that actually toured Australia in 1995, albeit to small audiences. Largely unknown in these parts, their 2 albums Unsafe & Black Fuel from the mid 90’s are must-haves. Seek them out for some straight up metal in the mold of Machine Head and Pantera. The intro to this song is up there with the best of all time… we mean it! The band broke up in 1997 but reformed in 2010 and have released two more albums, Kill All Kings (2014) and Exit Humanity (2017).
4. GZR – ‘Drive Boy Shooting’ from the 1995 album, Plastic Planet
Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler’s solo project combining with Fear Factory’s own, Burton C Bell to record the album Plastic Planet in 1995. Bell’s powerful vocals combined with some crunching melodic riffs. It was almost ‘Fear Factory-like’ in many ways and something Geezer hadn’t delved into in any way across his career. A very good album and a killer single! Unfortunately, this would be the only GZR album to feature Bell.
3. Misery Loves Co – ‘My Mind Still Speaks’ from the 1995 album, Misery Loves Co
Swedish duo, Misery Loves Co are a straight-up industrial metal band with a hard edge similar to Fear Factory. The first two songs from this album will simply blow your ears off, ‘My Mind Still Speaks’ and ‘Kiss My Boots’. The band recorded three albums with the latter two efforts, Not Like Them (1997) and Your Vision Was Never Mine To Share (2000), a little more restrained. Having broken up in 2000, the band recently reformed last year releasing a new single, ‘Would You?’ They plan on releasing more music in the future.
2. Allegiance – ‘Destitution’ from the album 1994 album, D.e.s.t.i.t.u.t.i.o.n.
The Perth ’90s metal icons, Allegiance were everything to all Perth metalheads of the early 90’s and Australia for that matter. They supported pretty much all great international metal bands that toured the country in the early 90’s from Pantera to Sepultura and Slayer. They were straight up pub edged thrash metal. The album D.e.s.t.i.t.u.t.i.o.n. is simply brilliant and how they didn’t crack the international scene is anyone’s guess? The band finally released a remastered version in 2016 and is available on Vinyl or CD/DVD here. The band broke up, 1997.
1. Sacred Reich – ‘Independent’ from the 1993 album, Independent
You may have heard of Sacred Reich but perhaps never listened. The album Independent is an underrated thrash metal gem. Dave McLain (current Machine Head drummer) was in the band during this period. Their last studio album, Heal was 1996 and though they broke up in 2000, they reformed 6 years later and have been touring on and off for the past 12 years, mainly festivals. Groove metal thrash, good vocals, great drumming, and great solos. Turn it up loud! These guys supported Sepultura in 1994 on their Australian tour, read our reminiscing of that EPIC show here. Simply awesome for those who witnessed. They haven’t toured Australia since.
Written by 90’s tragic James Birkin @KeepnTabs73