10 Greatest Metal Songs of 1993
The year 1993 was a transitional one for metal. The late '80s glut of radio friendly metal acts was being eschewed away by the grunge explosion, leaving the genre in a state of trying to regain its hold in the music world. By the time 1993 rolled around we began to see pockets of metal sub-genres starting to take hold. The more extreme, death and sludge metal acts started knocking down doors, some of the remaining vets of the '80s adapted with the times and there were a few metal acts who even broke through the radio barrier. As we reflect on the greatest metal songs of 1993, it's interesting to see just how the roots of future favorite acts were just starting to take hold. So join us as we count down the 10 Greatest Metal Songs of 1993.
Big guitars, check. Pounding drums, check. The Scorpions had begun to change direction a little big, but the key elements were still there in '93 with 'Alien Nation.' Singer Klaus Meine's signature vocals shone through, though this 'Face the Heat' track had more of a political message than some of their prior work. The German rockers had the re-unification of their homeland on their mind.
If Seattle was the grunge capital in '93, New Orleans was quickly becoming home for burgeoning metal bands. Crowbar, led by singer-guitarist Kirk Windstein, firmly established themselves in the metal scene with 'All I Had (I Gave)' off their self-titled sophomore set. The four-piece of Windstein, drummer Craig Nunenmacher, bassist Todd Strange and guitarist Matt Thomas alternate between full-on fury and sludgy, riffing awesomeness on this classic.
New Orleans also lands another entry in our 10 Greatest Metal Songs of 1993 list, with Eyehategod's '$30 Bag' earning major props. This Mike Williams-sung track toes the line between the hardcore grunge of the day and the growing sludge metal scene. Guitarist Jimmy Bower infuses the song with distorted goodness while Mark Schultz's bass work gets more attention than most low end in rock bands. '$30 Bag' is a study in ebb and flow of the metal sound, pushing the pit for all its worth.
After building a buzz with their first two records, Type O Negative reached one of the high points of their career with 1993's 'Bloody Kisses' album and the standout single 'Black No. 1 (Little Miss-Scare All).' The imposing Peter Steele, with full Transylvanian drawl, steals the show, singing about a woman's fascination with the goth world. But don't be fooled by the open because by the chorus Steele and his cohorts are fully rocking out.
Anthrax's ever-shifting lineup underwent a major switch in '93 when John Bush took over for Joey Belladonna on vocals. Though the 'Sound of White Noise' album may have not captured all of the band's longtime fans, the lead single 'Only' was a key sign that the group Anthrax was adapting, surviving and even thriving during a difficult time for metal. Less thrashy, yes, but still driving, 'Only' was the staple the Bush-led band needed to keep the momentum going.
Admired by many of the bands that surpassed them commercially, the Melvins may have gotten as close as they ever had to the brass ring in 1993 with the 'Houdini' album, which featured a handful of tracks produced by Kurt Cobain. Though there was more attention, the band didn't bow to pressure to conform, offering up 'Honey Bucket' as an unlikely single. Clocking in at under three minutes with minimal lyrics, the pit-ready song is just an unabashed jam for King Buzzo, Lorax and Dale.
For those who appreciate the more technical side of metal, Death had one of 1993's better albums with 'Individual Thought Patterns.' The primary song that most fans turn to is the epic cut, 'The Philosopher,' which opens up with classical style guitar riffing and undergoes multiple time changes, razor sharp musical shifts, and plenty of melodic and heavy parts. Frontman Chuck Schuldiner sings, "There is a line you must draw between your dream world and reality," but when things sound as great as 'The Philosopher,' why must we really choose?
Of course Cannibal Corpse's 'Hammer Smashed Face' makes our 10 Greatest Metal Songs of 1993. You'd be hard pressed to find a better circle pit track. With rapid-fire riffing and singer Chris Barnes guttural belts of violent intent, it's hard not to love this track. Though first appearing on 1992's 'Tomb of the Mutilated,' 'Hammer Smashes Face' earned its own EP release in 1993 to coincide with the single's sudden attention. And yes, the track was also featured in 'Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.'
Brazilian rockers Sepultura were clicking on all cylinders with the 'Chaos A.D.' album, and 'Refuse/Resist' set it all in motion. Max Cavalera's crew set aside their thrashiness in favor of a more rhythmic and at times tribal vibe to the sound. Bassist Paulo Jr. and drummer Igor Cavalera just kill it, bringing the low end to the forefront. Even with the direction shift, there's a few moments of thrashy awesomeness as Cavalera belts a protestor's credo.
In '93, the metal world was in need of something new and they got it with Tool. The dark, heavy, snarling sounds really struck a chord. On 'Prison Sex,' the band's first single and our choice for the greatest metal song of 1993, guitarist Adam Jones and drummer Danny Carey nimbly keep the song hopping, while bassist Paul D'Amour lays down some of the most prominent bass heard in some time. Frontman Maynard James Keenan, meanwhile, shows both power and restraint while singing about the cycle of abuse. Tool was the big breakout of 1993 and 'Prison Sex' was the song that got it rolling for them.