The best and worst of metal 1993
After reading Ben's "1993 Black Metal releases (Best, Surprises, Disappointments, Worst)" thread, I've realized what a great and interesting year that was for metal, even though I wasn't born yet then. So let's talk about it!
1993 was filled with ups and downs for metal. A couple bands reformed to each make a new album, such as Accept and Atheist. A few Guardians bands each had one at least one member leaving the band and being replaced; Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson was out and Blaze Bayley was in, Judas Priest's Rob Halford was out and Tim Owens was in (after 3 years without a vocalist), Helloween's Michael Kiske was out and Andi Deris was in, Testament's Alex Skolnick and Louie Clemente were out and James Murphy and John Tempesta were in (Testament is usually a thrash metal band that was heavy metal only during that era with the release of The Ritual a year prior, but you get the point). Skolnick would later join Savatage as a one-album replacement for Criss Oliva who was killed in a car crash caused by a drunk driver. That wasn't the only time that year a band's founding guitarist was killed; I'm sure a lot of the earlier extreme metalheads know the murder of Mayhem's Euronymous by his bandmate Varg Vikernes (also the founder of his solo project Burzum). There are also a couple bands who would change their name; Betrayer became Belphegor, and X became X Japan. Of course, some of the greatest metal bands at that time fell into the mainstream trap, and the grunge scene was rising but would later morph into the dreaded nu metal.
And now for the music itself... Several of the bands I used to listen to were formed including death metal bands Anata and Children of Bodom (as Inearthed), power metal bands Dark Moor, HammerFall, and Rhapsody of Fire (as Thundercross), and gothic metal band Theatre of Tragedy. I still enjoy mathcore band Botch which was also formed that year. For the albums, I think 1993 was the beginning of the golden metal age in my opinion, having a higher amount of albums I've listened to with mostly positive ratings than in previous years. Some of the best doom/gothic metal albums were released including My Dying Bride's Turn Loose the Swans, The Gathering's Almost a Dance (at 4.5 stars instead of 5; the perfection is slightly ruined by the male singer sounding like the REM singer if he was tone-deaf), Anathema's Serenades, Paradise Lost's Icon, Katatonia's Dance of December Souls, and Type O Negative's Bloody Kisses. I would include Neurosis' Enemy of the Sun, but that's a post-sludge release that's also in the Infinite. The progressive metal releases from that year like Coroner's Grin and Voivod's The Outer Limits are good but could've been greater, probably because they had a more experimental sound than each band's first 4 albums that were speed/thrash metal with the 4th one being more progressive, and Voivod's albums 5 and 6 act as a less abrupt progressive rock/metal bridge (do you think if Coroner never split up and instead stayed active to the present, they would follow the same stylistic path as Voivod?). Dream Theater would release a slightly better live album Live at the Marquee. Same with power metallers Blind Guardian with their live album Tokyo Tales. Two other power metal releases from that year like Angra's Angels Cry and Gamma Ray's Insanity and Genius are good but could've been greater, they had more to improve before their next albums that are each a grand masterpiece. I would say the same for classic heavy metal albums like Annihilator's Set the World on Fire, Accept's Objection Overruled, and Riot's Nightbreaker, but Annihilator and Riot each had their grand masterpieces in two prior albums, and the greatest era for Accept was the mid-80s. However, Savatage's perfect Edge of Thorns has gotten me hooked into that band and I should really check out that band's mid-80s material as well. Enslaved's Hordanes Land is surprisingly perfect for a black metal EP.
So 1993 was a great year in the heavy metal realm, despite its tragedies and travesties. Is there anything you love or hate about that year or any other year that you would like to share? Discuss!
I think 1993 was the beginning of the golden metal age in my opinion
Personally I'd suggest that 1985-1995 was the golden age of metal but it depends what genres you're into. Most people would probably say it started a little earlier in the 1980's than I do.
1993 was the final year in death metals five year reign at the top of extreme metal with black metal taking the mantle the following year.
The two releases I would suggest that book-end Metal's Golden Age are The Number of the Beast in 1982 and Mayhem's De Mysteriis dom Sathanas in '94.
Behold the Cistercian symbol for the golden year of my metal genres:
In general I feel the 90s is too often maligned from a heavy metal perspective. I think it was a decade of a lot of branching out and expanding of the genre. The 80s may have produced a lot of the early genre-defining classics, but the 90s saw the whole genre grow and develop into much more.
My favourites of 1993 in particular:
Savatage - Edge of Thorns
Motörhead - Bastards
Shotgun Messiah - Violent New Breed
Mercyful Fate - In the Shadows
Type O Negative - Bloody Kisses
Die Krupps - II: The Final Option
Paradise Lost - Icon
Sepultura - Chaos A.D.
My Dying Bride - Turn Loose the Swans
Carcass - Heartwork