Land Of The Lost: 1993

Monday, 16th September 2013

A time of transition at least in the North American metal scene, 1993 was a year in which record labels were dropping bands like flies and scrambling to the latest alternative / grunge act that could make them millions. So seeking out quality groups became an active endeavor- thankfully though there would be a number of bands from all across the globe that pumped life into the scene for their innovative outlook and / or risk taking measures.

Here are some of the albums in that time period that you may have overlooked or never even remembered that I believe are worth more than a second look. Sometimes out of turmoil in the industry these musicians churned out their best efforts. Let’s look back 20 years, a generation where computer science majors discovered the wonders of internet bulletin boards and e-mail accounts and regular people still sought out entertainment needs away from the comforts of home.

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Anacrusis – Screams and Whispers (Metal Blade)
The fourth studio album from this Missouri progressive thrash metal act, Screams and Whispers incorporated multi-dimensional keyboards, larger than life production, and Kenn’s dual clean/ harsh vocal delivery. Admitting influence from The Cure and Depeche Mode at the time, songs like “Sound the Alarm,” “Release,” and “Driven” have this cold embrace that signaled the changing tides for metal.

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Damn The Machine – Damn The Machine (A&M)
Ex-Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland and his drummer brother Mark Poland took this four-piece to melodic progressive metal heights of ecstasy with this self-titled debut. The cigarette-desert cover art gave little clue to the comforting vocal parts sitting side by side with intricate riffing and eerie clean/ time signature juxtapositions- yet delivered in a down to earth songwriting platform. Check out “The Mission,” the contemplative “Honor” and darker “Russians” for their dynamic craft ahead of the times.

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Entombed – Wolverine Blues (Earache)
Controversy reigned supreme when this third full length from Swedish death veterans Entombed (pictured above) hit the streets. Promotional tie-ins with a Marvel Comics character notwithstanding, this signaled the start of the band’s death with groove songwriting, Very bluesy in spots, check out “Eyemaster” and the title cut to see where a lot of future cross-pollination of sub-genres began.

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Only Living Witness – Prone Mortal Form (Century Media)

Only Living Witness was a local Boston band that I got the chance to ‘witness’ live on a regular basis. Bridging hard core philosophy with monster metal riffs and a one of a kind majestic voice in Jonah Jenkins, this quartet epitomized the hard driving work ethic of New England bands. “December” with its “Children of the Grave” build up, “Slug” and the killer doomy title cut still live and breathe in infamy today.

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Voivod – The Outer Limits (MCA)
When all else crumbled around us in 1993, the Canadian weirdness that is Voivod could be counted on to entertain and expand your metal minds. Who else would put out a 17:28 track like “Jack Luminous” and the oddly-shaped dissonant Piggy harmonies for “Moonbeam Rider?” What Pink Floyd is to the art rock world, Voivod is to thinking -man’s metal.

Honorable Mentions:
Fight – War Of Words (Epic)
Paradise Lost – Icon (Metal Blade)
Rage – The Missing Link (Noise)
Sacrifice – Apocalypse Inside (Metal Blade)
Savatage – Edge Of Thorns (Atlantic)