Skip to main content

5 albums to soundtrack the 90s New York metal scene

New York was home to a thriving, snarling, evolving metal scene in the 1990s. These are the five essential albums you need to recreate that feeling at the touch of a button.

Unsane – Unsane (1991)

With one of the most infamous album covers of all time – a photo of a man decapitated by a train – the young “extreme gorehounds” in Unsane spat out one of the most brutal, punishing debuts ever. It’s a gut-punch of searing noise-rock.

Helmet – Meantime (1992)

Post-hardcore, post-noise rock, post-everything, really, Helmet’s signature staccato riffs and nods to jazz and groove-metal cemented them as one of the most eccentric and influential metal bands of the era.

Type O Negative – Bloody Kisses (1993)

Led by the strapping dark lord Peter Steele, Type O rose from the ashes of chest-thumping thrashers Carnivore and went on to create some of the most emotionally tortured goth-metal of the decade. Bloody Kisses is their magnum opus.

Life Of Agony – River Runs Red (1993)

Like their Brooklyn buds Type O, LOA languished in abject misery, but on their hard-charging debut they tempered their free-flowing bummer jams with enough crossover thrash and belching sludge to remind you that they were from one of the most dangerous cities in America.

Prong – Cleansing (1994)

Prong’s breakout album featured half of post-punk legends Killing Joke, almost no guitar solos, and enduring aggro hit Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck. Cleansing’s percussive rhythms and stripped-down approach paved the way for nu metal a couple of years later.

The rise and fall of New York's 90s metal scene

Founded in 1983, Metal Hammer is the global home of all things heavy. We have breaking news, exclusive interviews with the biggest bands and names in metal, rock, hardcore, grunge and beyond, expert reviews of the lastest releases and unrivalled insider access to metal's most exciting new scenes and movements. No matter what you're into – be it heavy metal, punk, hardcore, grunge, alternative, goth, industrial, djent or the stuff so bizarre it defies classification – you'll find it all here, backed by the best writers in our game.