The 100 best metal songs of the 90s

40. Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight (Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness, 1995)

BAND PICK: Sean Harmanis from Make Them Suffer

"I picked this song because not only is it hugely nostalgic for me, but it's a song that I've come to appreciate more as time has passed. When I initially heard this song, truthfully I didn't think much of it. I found the orchestral elements a little cheesy. As I've grown older however, this tune has become something of an anthem for me. It's an absolute must in the Smashing Pumpkins discography and I believe Tonight, Tonight is the best song of the '90s because of it's ability to age like a fine wine."

39. Slayer – Dead Skin Mask (Seasons In The Abyss, 1990)

The '90s weren't kind to thrash metal, but there were some diamonds in the rough, and this chilling track about notorious serial killer Ed Gein sits amongst some of Slayer's best material. Tom Araya's urgent snarls soar over the more expansive and less frantic guitars that we grew accustomed to in the '80s. It's wonderful.

38. Faith No More – Midlife Crisis (Angel Dust, 1992)

Possibly the only metal classic to sample a Simon And Garfunkel drumbeat, Midlife Crisis is a song built for huge arenas and vast, singalong crowds. Alongside A Small Victory and Everything's Ruined, it turned Angel Dust into a million-seller and the band into global stars.

37. Korn – Falling Away From Me (Issues, 1999)

As soon as you hear that guitar intro you know that shit is about to go down. The inherent groove that backs the haunting verses has soundtracked countless nights out, but there’s nothing like THAT chorus for cathartic release. Korn really are masters of the build.

36. Cannibal Corpse – Hammer Smashed Face (Tomb Of The Mutilated, 1992)

Pretty much the national anthem for brutal death metal, and a perennial reaction-tester for muggle mates and family members, this track opened Cannibal Corpse's third album in the manner of ribspreader attending a still-writhing host. The heaving riffs, churning grooves and rattling blasts have long since entered the DM bloodstream, surfacing in the likes Akercocke and many more.

35. Jane’s Addiction – Been Caught Stealing (Ritual De Lo Habitual, 1990)

How do you follow the masterpiece that was Jane’s Addiction’s studio debut Nothing’s Shocking? By recording a single with a barking dog! Taken from 1990’s Ritual de lo Habitual, Been Caught Stealing was massive. It was everywhere in the '90s – regularly appearing on TV, in films and video games, helping it earn its rightful place in pop culture.

34. Darkthrone – A Blaze In The Northern Sky (A Blaze In The Northern Sky, 1992)

Having transitioned from the abyssal death metal of 1990's Soulside Journey, Fenriz and Nocturno fried the guitar tone, whittled the vocals to a screech and helped create the volatile foundations of an entire sub-genre. This track's shifting sonic terrain and gabled sermons were nevertheless driven by an instinct and atmosphere that remains unmatched.

33. Tool – Stinkfist (Ænima, 1996)

Using a sex act as a graphic metaphor was clever enough, but it was the contrast between the rhythmic verses and impassioned chorus that grabbed and pulled at the emotions. Its disturbing video, directed by guitarist Adam Jones, added an extra layer of intensity.

32. Mayhem – Freezing Moon (De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, 1994)

Having offering a brief moment of respite amongst the forces raging around it, the transitions from Freezing Moon's dogged opening riff through heart-in-mouth velocity to dank sordid realms and a final burst into the beyond opened up a perennial rite of passage into black metal's soul-rupturing unknown.

31. Nirvana – Heart-Shaped Box (In Utero, 1993)

Don’t let the fact that Courtney Love claims this song was written about her vagina put you off – Heart-Shaped Box is one of In Utero’s most arresting and intense songs. It made an artform of the loud-quiet formula, trading between verses lead by delicate, swirling arpeggios and a simple but formidable chorus.

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