The 100 best metal songs of the 90s

80. Kyuss – Gardenia (Welcome To Sky Valley, 1994)

Before Josh Homme was off bothering charts with his various rock ’n’ roll outfits, he cut his teeth as one fifth of stoner legends Kyuss. Hazy stoner rock born from the blazing Californian desert, Gardenia encapsulates the lazy urgency and expansive, transcendental creativity which would eventually see them crowned kings of the desert rock movement.

79. Pearl Jam – Rearviewmirror (Vs., 1993)

In 1993, two years after the release of their debut album Ten, Pearl Jam returned with Vs. – their more aggressive sophomore offering. It was Rearviewmirror’s pace, raw, emotion-filled lyrics and frantic crescendo which raised it above the other 11 tracks. A true classic.

78. Anthrax – Only (Sound Of White Noise, 1993)

While the '90s would prove to be a testing time for Anthrax as the decade wore on, Sound Of White Noise brought John Bush into the fold, and this juddering beast showed that the New Yorkers still had plenty to offer.

77. Immortal – The Sun No Longer Rises (Pure Holocaust, 1993)

For all the theatre that's always attended Immortal, at their heart are some of the most spectacular riffing and evocative guitar tones within all of black metal. Here, guitars sounded like icebergs atomised into the finest of blizzards and Abbath's monotone croak was a trance tuned into the most ancient of frequencies.

76. Electric Wizard – Wizard In Black (Come My Fanatics..., 1997)

It should come as no surprise that Come My Fanatics..., the album from which this song is taken, was primarily inspired by Black Sabbath and magic mushrooms. Eight minutes of glorious, nihilistic sludge interspersed with Iommi-eqsue solos make this the album’s stand out track – and one which would be key in shaping the sound of doom to come.

75. Guns N’ Roses – November Rain (Use Your Illusion I, 1991)

Nine minutes of full-blown rock opera, this was just about as far removed from anything Guns N’ Roses had recorded before when it arrived in 1991. It combined sweeping symphonic melodies and grand piano with more Slash face-melters than you could shake a bottle of Jack at. And how about that video? Once seen, never forgotten.

74. Amorphis – Black Winter Day (Tales From The Thousand Lakes, 1994)

Over a decade before the likes of Finntroll, Eluveitie and Korpiklaani took folk metal crashing into metal’s wider consciousness, Amorphis were revolutionising the scene with tracks like this mystical mash-up.

73. Darkthrone – Transilvanian Hunger (Transilvanian Hunger, 1994)

Ridiculously lo-fi production and soul-crushing growls became the blueprint for countless black metal bands in the '90s and beyond, for which Darkthrone are partly responsible. However, this murky, primitive sound only adds to the powerful sense that you're listening to something evil that probably shouldn't be consumed by human ears.

72. Ozzy Osbourne – Mama, I’m Coming Home (No More Tears, 1991)

One of the all-time great heavy metal power ballads, Mama, Ozzy’s ode to coming off the road and back into Shazza’s arms is packed with enough cheese to give a mouse diabetes, but you just cannot fuck with that chorus.

71. In Flames – Jotun (Whoracle, 1997)

In the middle of one of the 1990s’ finest golden runs, the Swedes wrote this absolute masterpiece for the ace Whoracle album. Its irrepressible hooks and twin harmony magic would be influential for decades to come.

Metal Hammer

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.