10 bands who changed the face of music in the 1990s

(Image credit: AlC: Al Seib/Los Angeles Time/NIN: Catherine McGann/Pantera: Niels van Iperen/Nirvana:Paul Bergen/Redferns/Life of Agony: Gino DePinto)

NY legends Life of Agony emerged from big apple's music scene in the early 90s, catapulting to fame with their 1993 metal crossover debut River Runs Red. This album garnered the band a die-hard, cult following and a place on Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time.

In the 30 years since their formation Life of Agony may have only recorded five records, but the band has sold over one million albums to date. We caught up with founding member, guitarist Joey Z, to find out which of his contemporaries he feels shaped the world of heavy music in the decade running up to the millennium. 

1. Metallica 

"Although this band was already influencing people over a decade before, on August 12, 1991, Metallica released the Black Album and heavy music never felt 'healthier'.  

"It was so clear that Metallica set the bar for any band that followed to raise their game if you wanted any shot at a mega successful metal/hard rock career.  

"They still hold this title, and there still hasn't been a rock/metal album that has moved an entire generation like this one has."

2. Nirvana

"Nirvana took the rules in the early 90s, burned them and rubbed the ashes all over your face.  The 'careless sloppy' approach of Kurt Cobain mixed with the animalistic tightness and fury of Dave Grohl was a recipe for chaotic bliss.  

"Nobody knew what was coming and they blindsided the music world with a sound that was so refreshing and organic, that you had NO CHOICE than to love them. Prob one of the most influential bands ever to exist."

3. Sepultura

"You felt it coming right from the early years with Sepultura. The progression from album to album just became more furious and heavy until they cracked the heavy groove code with Roots.  

"From Deftones, to Korn, and from Slipknot to Gojira, you think, without Roots who else would have influenced these great bands to have those dropped tuned heavy groove riffs that rip your face off? I still hear this influence in a lot of new bands coming out today.

One of my personal favorite bands of all time."

4. Biohazard

"You may say, what?? Yes, Biohazard had a huge influence on many bands in the NY Hardcore scene, including my own Life Of Agony.  

"Their presence and aggression was so severe it carried over to Europe like a massive storm, and by 1995 one could say Biohazard was one of the biggest bands out touring at the time. 

"Some of my favorite concerts I've played and attended, were Biohazard shows. Legions of fans tattooing the Biohazard logo on their skin to show dedication around the world. 

"Biohazard led an entire NYHC movement next to legendary bands like Agnostic Front and Cro Mags."

5. Pantera

"The 90s would have NEVER been the same without Pantera ruling the metal scene period.  No one was a match for them. Their tightness and brutal riffing had you waking up day after day needing to hear those songs we all felt so addicted to.

"There was a fun factor with their home videos that made you feel closer to them too. They really gave you an idea what it meant to be in Pantera.  

"The music, the destruction, the fireworks, and the partying gave a new meaning to being in an extreme metal band.  

"I had the honor and privilege to not only play concerts with Pantera, but I also got to hang with them as bros in the 90s. They left me with nothing but fun memories and an impression I will never forget."

6. Korn

"Being out on the OZZY tour in 1996 with Life Of Agony and Korn, ushered me a front row seat to how a band can wash over a genre like a title wave. When the single Blind came out you knew Korn was for real, and that they were 'here to stay'.  

"The thousands of YOUNG fans that came out night after night to rage with them, was unbelievable to see. I've been a Korn fan myself from day one, and I can definitely say they moved a generation."

7.  Slipknot

"Take all the bands listed here, throw in some horrific masks and visuals, crank all the amps up to 12, and you have Slipknot. These guys weren't afraid, and believed they can take all this to yet another level, and they did just that.  

"Legions of Slipknot fans crawl the earth as 'maggots' (and I'm proud to be a maggot myself). 

"Due to so much anger and shit in the world, this band stuck to people like glue throughout the 90s and their shows were a chance to express those feelings and completely 'spit it out'.  

"Slipknot still reigns today as one of the biggest metal bands we've ever seen."

8. Alice In Chains

"When it came to melodic metal in the 90s, no one did it better or has done it better since than Alice In Chains.  

"The band's songs are like lessons in song writing. The pure emotion in the music was always so real that it was easy to loose yourself in any tune they put out. 

"I remember saying on so many occasions, 'how did they come up with that song??? It's perfect!!'

"You hear so much of their influence in so many bands from the 90s, and their acoustic MTV Unplugged performance was a moment in music that everyone still draws from. Long live AIC."

9. Radiohead

"Man!! Radiohead altered myself and millions of others in such a positive hypnotic way, so much that, after hearing "OK Computer", I looked at music entirely different. 

"They were heavy in their own way, even when playing clean. The production on that record alone had an influence on the entire world of recording. 

"Someone ask me recently, if I only had one record while being on a desert island, which would it be?? I had a hard time choosing between OK Computer and Pink Floyd The Wall. Two records I could never live without."

10. Nine Inch Nails

"Nine Inch Nails led an entire movement of that goth industrial pulse that not only inspired musicians and bands, but actual venues and clubs around the world!  

"Trent introduced that dark electronic sound to the world that quickly inspired the birth of other bands such as Marilyn Manson and Rammstein, while at the same time, influenced underground goth parties and wild raves.  

"It brings to mind the band Ministry that should make this 90s list as well, and who is also respectfully responsible for influencing such a sound too, but Trent Reznor and NIN took it to new heights with slick hooks and mega song structures that ended up breaking the genre into commercial success."