The 100 best metal songs of the 90s

20. Rammstein – Du Hast (Sehnsucht, 1997)

Combining deliriously silly, Nintendo-style keyboards with the kind of industrial riffs that sound like a Detroit forge churning out cement mixers. Du Hast is music you can dance to, and also music perfect for soundtracking displays of great military strength.

19. Judas Priest – Painkiller (Painkiller, 1990)

Irresistible machine-gun riffage? Check. Rob Halford’s throat-lacerating falsetto cranked up to 11? Check. Deliciously face-melting solo? Check. The title track of Priest’s 1990 LP might be batshit crazy but it’s also rather brilliant.

18. Sepultura – Refuse/Resist (Chaos A.D., 1993)

BAND PICK: Larissa Stupar from Venom Prison

"When it was released I must have been four years old. I discovered Sepultura through Slipknot when I was browsing Roadrunner Records to find new bands to listen to. Sepultura have influenced me more than I first realised, it's probably the first band with political content that I was aware of."

17. Pantera – Cowboys From Hell (Cowboys From Hell, 1990)

BAND PICK: Alex Canion from Voyager

"Cowboys from Hell encapsulates Pantera to a tee. Brash and confident; this song writes the book on how to use hooks, melody and groove in the genre of metal. The addictive main riff can be still be heard being playing in guitar shops, even 27 years after its release!"

16. Emperor – I Am the Black Wizards (In The Nightside Eclipse, 1994)

Arguably Emperor's most famous song, and for good reason. The penultimate track on the band's debut album, it's a six-minute flurry of destruction and violence with barely a pause for breath. Ihsahn's barbaric howls and barks are still some of the best in the game, and it's his first foray into the darker realms that truly showcase his vocal ability.

15. Megadeth – Hangar 18 (Rust In Peace, 1990)

Mustaine was hitting his stride in the early '90s and Rust In Peace still holds up as one of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time. Based around UFO conspiracy theories, it’s a runaway train of thrash metal with ripping guitar lines and fist-pounding drums that make you want to run through a wall screaming about the existence of aliens.

14. Marilyn Manson – The Beautiful People (Antichrist Superstar, 1996)

If you don’t like this song there is probably something wrong with you music senses. The military industrialism is a far cry from his debut album but the spookiness and coolness has been turned up to eleven. Practically oozing aggression, this song puts one fist up and one in the face of conformity, creating a generation of devout followers in the process.

13. Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove It) (Around The Fur, 1997)

BAND PICK: Carl Gethin from Fire Red Empress

"This track seemed to come out of nowhere and was just a great song! Deftones always seem to get lumped in with nu metal, but they have so much more about them than that. The contrast between the ethereal vocals and the nasty riffs is perfect. They were a huge influence on us."

12. Alice In Chains – Rooster (Dirt, 1992)

BAND PICK: Elijah Witt from Cane Hill

"I know it's their 'mainstream hit' which could make it fuckin' 'lame' for me to choose it, but it blew them even further into the mainstream, and no matter what any prick says about selling out and reaching mainstream audiences, it's a fucking beautiful moment when underground music gets recognition from the normies. That means you're doing something so right! Not only the freaks like you get it, but the people who aren't outwardly admitting they're problematic because it isn't cool relate to your art. An on top of that it's what got me into Alice – a band that helped me find, and be happy with, myself."

11. System Of A Down – Sugar (System Of A Down, 1998)

SOAD’s first ever single set their stall out from the very beginning, taking aim at global corruption as they saw it, while concocting a soundtrack unlike anything we’d really heard before. An essential and pioneering part of the nu metal movement, there was, however, much more to their sound than that. A frantic blend of unpredictable and satisfyingly heavy alt metal, Sugar was a fine indication of the chaos that would follow throughout their career.

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