The Top 20 best metal albums of 1992

Kyuss – Blues For The Red Sun


What <a href="" data-link-merchant=""">Black Sabbath would sound like if they’d grown up in the desert. Although it was dubbed ‘stoner rock’, there was nothing flaky about it.

So many of today’s stoner giants – <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""">Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri and Brant Bjork among them – started out in <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""">Kyuss that it’s easy to see this Palm Desert band as, more than anything else, a conduit for later triumphs. But <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""">Blues For The Red Sun is a work of genius, and one upon which much was to be based during the 1990s. 

Distortion, <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""">nu metal, <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""">grunge… it’s all here, through songs like Green Machine, Molten Universe and Thong Song. Without realising it, Kyuss clearly defined a brave new world. 

Megadeth – Countdown To Extinction


<a href="" data-link-merchant=""">Metallica were the people’s thrash band, but <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""">Megadeth were the connoisseur’s choice, and this was their second classic album in a row. 

Some people saw this as the band's answer to the previous year’s <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""">Black Album from Metallica. In fact it was the natural successor to Rust In Peace.

While Countdown… alienated a section of the die-hards, it’s difficult to believe now that anyone could cry ‘sell-out’ at Megadeth over a record that included the breathtaking Symphony Of Destruction, a track equal to anything on Metallica’s mega-shifting '91 classic. And although nothing else here quite matched that standard, Skin O’ My Teeth and Sweating Bullets are certainly not shabby, and the rest offer a consistent value.

Ministry - Psalm 69


Just before this was released, there was some talk that <a href="" data-link-merchant=""">Ministry had already peaked with their 1989 release The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste. How wrong they were. 

Psalm 69 was actually a title of convenience, as it’s actually called something unpronounceable and occultish in Greek – or just plain Ministry. The fact that it spawned a Top 40 hit and an MTV favourite in the demented Jesus Built My Hotrod (with Butthole Surfers man Gibby Haynes on vocals) may have been an albatross around their neck in later times, but in 1992, in the wake of <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""">…Teen Spirit and all, it seemed like they were taking over the world.

Al Jourgensen took industrial metal overground with batshit crazy, steel-plated magnum opus. Evidently, for Al, the drugs did work.


Napalm Death – Utopia Banished


As explosive as ever but sounding considerably bigger and dirtier than they had on 1990’s Scott Burns-produced Harmony Corruption, <a href="" data-link-merchant=""">Napalm Death sounded reborn on Utopia Banished, which is widely regarded as a benchmark release for both the band and extreme music in general. Listen to Got Time To Kill and try not to smash something.

Pantera - Vulgar Display Of Power


As the 80s gave way to the new decade, so <a href="" data-link-merchant=""">Pantera gave way to a new look, and a superb new sound. 

This is the record that qualified them as true metal heroes. Dimebag Darrell unleashes some of the most cutting riffs while Phil Anselmo’s trademark howl makes it a curious ear-bleeding joy to behold.

There’s little to say about Fucking Hostile not relayed by the song’s title, and even when they drop the tempo, on the likes of Hollow and This Love, there’s an almost insidious heaviness to the band’s overall sound. 

Vulgar Display Of Power is very much, from start to finish, an unrelentingly heavy album.

Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine


<a href="" data-link-merchant=""">Rage Against The Machine’s debut was a Molotov cocktail exploding in the face of popular culture. 25 years on, its flames still burn brightly, having lost none of its power, impact or provocative fervour. It was the sound of Public Enemy yoked to Black Flag, of Dr Martin Luther King and Malcolm X set to a soundtrack of cutting-edge metal.

Rage arrived as the gloriously shallow, MTV-driven rock scene of the 1980s was flat on the canvas with bluebirds fluttering around its head, laid out by the emergent grunge movement. In America, a new generation of hip hop bands was providing a vital social commentary, marrying the gritty reality of the streets with the violent glamour of a Hollywood crime blockbuster. 

All this was happening against a backdrop of global turmoil, racial tension and the threat of war in the Middle East. In hindsight, their timing was perfect – in reality, their message is still as pertinent now as it was then. 

Rollins Band - The End Of Silence


The record that took Rollins from hardcore punk renaissance man to bona fide alt-rock icon. 

From the now iconic artwork – which mimics Rollins' own tattoos – to the ominous, on-the-nose songwriting, this is the sound that has become synonymous with the band. Blues rock, jazz, swing and prog all propped up a rock hard alt-metal sound.

It was taut, ferocious, withering – much like Hank himself.

Sleep - Sleep’s Holy Mountain


If <a href="" data-link-merchant=""">Black Sabbath invented stoner metal then cult Californian power trio <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""">Sleep perfected it with their second record. The resiny, Sabbathian charge of opener Dragonaut and the hardcore-tainted, <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""">Saint Vitus-like Inside The Sun are enough alone to get your bong water bubbling, but it’s during the droning, almost tantric grooves of the title track and the 10-minute From Beyond when the record becomes most cosmically immersive. RIYL: Bong hits in the temple at the top of Olympus Mons.

Stone Temple Pilots - Core


When Stone Temple Pilots arrived with their debut Core in 1992, the majority of critics slammed them as Pearl Jam/Alice In Chains clones. But STP were not to be the bandwagon jumpers they were made out to be at the time. While with subsequent albums the group would be more successful from a songwriting standpoint, Core is definitely their most grunge album, including such MTV favourites as Sex Type Thing, Plush and Creep. It is also the only STP album that wasn’t overshadowed by drama surrounding singer Scott Weiland’s drug problems and arrests.

White Zombie - La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1


<a href="" data-link-merchant=""">White Zombie’s third full-length album saw Rob Zombie and the gang shove the gnarly grooves of their noise-rock era through a mince-grinder of bluesy guitar licks and exploitation film samples, tightening their offering and ensuring every song dug into your brain and set up camp there.

There’s the obvious stuff like Thunder Kiss ‘65 and Black Sunshine, but this record is nearly an hour long - even tracks like Grindhouse (A Go-Go), tucked right at the arse-end of the disc, will be stuck in your head for weeks.

The sampling is reminiscent of the day’s hip-hop; the psychedelic, drugged-up vibe fit right in with the likes of <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""">Soundgarden and <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""">Alice In Chains’ dark take on alternative rock. Le Sexorcisto inadvertently straddled the zeitgeist and ended up going two-times platinum in the US.

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