While many people (rightfully) acknowledge the Melvins as an early influence on the style, and while they have one of the dumbest names I've ever heard of from a metal band, everyone still agrees that New Orleans natives Eyehategod are one of the biggest pioneers of the incredibly dirty, dank sound we now know as sludge metal (along with their fellow citymates Crowbar, of course), and their debut “In The Name of Suffering” is pretty much universally considered to be the first true modern example of that sound on record, what with the way the band took the crushing, overbearing heaviness, incredibly dark, dread-laden moods, and agonizingly slow, crawling tempos of doom metal, and combined that with the occasional, sudden burst of hardcore punk-style speed, helping to patent what’s become known as the "NOLA" sound of metal (and no, while awesome, Down didn't do it first either... you n00b).
Anyway, at any rate, "In The Name" is like drinking the darkest, sludgiest coffee that's ever been brewed (with the occasional forays into brisker tempos representing the caffeine kick), and, while not really anywhere near what I'd call a "fun" record to listen to, the record still makes an impact as a memorable listen, with its combination of genre trailblazing, Mike Williams' raspy, tortured shouting, and the way that the constant, distressing guitar squeals resemble a big ol' hog being slaughtered, ensuring that The Big Easy will never be able to take things quite so "easy" ever again.
Other Notable Records From '90:
In addition to "Rust in Peace", 1990 thrash also saw the releases of records like Sadus's "Swallowed in Black", Suicidal Tendencies' "Lights...Camera...Revolution!", Vio-lence's "Oppressing the Masses", Kreator's "Coma of Souls" (a record that I've warmed up to over the years, so no need to gripe at me about it anymore, mehvenant & Habacuck), Forbidden's "Twisted Into Form", Death Angel's "Act III", Testament's "Souls of Black", Anthrax's "Persistence of Time", and my favorite effort from Slayer, "Seasons In The Abyss", as all these records represent one of the greatest years in the history of the genre, and one of the LAST great ones as well, as, pretty much the rest of the old-school bands in the genre, Big 4 and all, would see a sea change about to start taking place very, VERY soon. It wasn't the only sign of the turn of the decade though, as the year also, appropriately enough, saw one of the last "hurrays" for 80's-style glam metal with Poison's "Flesh and Blood", the beginning of a period of decline for Iron Maiden, THE 80's metal band, with the rather meh "No Prayer For the Dying" (and Bruce Dickinson's lousy solo debut "Tattooed Millionaire" didn't do him any favors either), along with the closest thing to the "official" end of a major movement in 80's metal, that being the 1st wave of black metal, as Celtic Frost "Vanity/Nemesis", while still a step back in the right direction considering their disastrous previous release (which was also representative of another 80's metal movement, but a much worse one), was still a fairly underwhelming record to break up on for a decade and a half, while Bathory full-on embraced their Viking era with the great "Hammerheart", although both bands already left a rich legacy behind for the 2nd Wave to soon blow up with in a couple of years.
Anyway, as always, there was also a number of significant miscellaneous releases this year, including Blind Guardian's "Tales From the Twilight World", Danzig's "Danzig II", Queensrÿche's "Empire", Napalm Death's move into death/grind with "Harmony Corruption", and a lot of notable debuts with Demolition Hammer's "Tortured Existence", Exhorder's "Slaughter In the Vatican" (a band that would soon be described as the underground answer to Pantera), Iced Earth's self-titled, and Alice in Chains's "Facelift", which lay at the intersection between metal and the burgeoning grunge movement that was on the cusp of bursting out of Seattle and taking over the world. And finally, besides "Left Hand Path", the golden age of death metal continued strong this year with the release of Carnage's "Dark Recollections" (a record that, if there were any justice in the metal world, would get the credit everyone gives to LHP as the ACTUAL first classic Swedeath record), Obituary's "Cause of Death", Death's "Spiritual Healing", an intermediate steeping stone inbetween their relatively straightforward, brutal 80's records, and the far more technical classics that would define them for the rest of the decade, Nocturnus's early tech death classic "The Key", and a couple more notable debuts like Deicide's self-titled, as well as "Eaten Back to Life", the first record from a band you've probably heard of called Cannibal Corpse, and all of this richness in the genre would grow even stronger and result in the greatest year in the history of the style, very, VERY soon…