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10 Classic Albums That Are 20 Years Old In 2019

We cast our mind back to 1999 and celebrate the records that still hold up today as genuine rock and metal classics…

In April 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went on a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado which left 12 fellow students and one teacher dead, with a further 24 wounded. Before turning the guns on themselves. Marilyn Manson was unfairly made a scapegoat for inspiring the murders and almost derailed his career.

An earthquake in İzmit, Turkey killed over 17,000 in August and left half a million people homeless.

The Millennium Bug reared its head as it was discovered that computers were not equipped to deal with dates going beyond 31 December, 1999. Some people assumed that this would signal the end of the world, with planes dropping out of the sky like gigantic metal birds. While some minor glitches occurred – cash machines not working, radiation-monitoring equipment failure – the world carried on as usual the following day, albeit with a stinking hangover.

1999 was an outstanding year for music though, and provided some respite from the doom and gloom. Check out which landmark albums celebrate their 20th birthday over the following 12 months…

Foo Fighters, There Is Nothing Left To Lose (Roswell/RCA)


Slimming down to a three-piece after the dismissal of guitarist Franz Stahl, Foo Fighters set up a recording studio in Dave Grohl’s home in Alexandria, Virginia, naming it Studio 606. “It was one of the most relaxing times of my whole life,” Grohl told Kerrang!. “All we did was eat chilli, drink beer and whiskey and record whenever we felt like it.” Free of record label interference – they were between deals at the time – There Is Nothing Left To Lose spawned five singles, including Learn To Fly, Breakout and Generator. They picked up a GRAMMY for Best Rock Album, not bad for a recording that was made for free in a room with sleeping bags nailed to the walls.

Rage Against The Machine – The Battle Of Los Angeles (Epic)


Three years on from 1996’s Evil Empire, Rage Against The Machine’s ire still burned with a white-hot, politically-driven zeal on their third release. The album – which yielded three singles: Guerrilla Radio, Sleep Now In The Fire and Testify – debuted at No.1 in the Billboard Top 200, forcing Mariah Carey’s album Rainbow to make do with the second slot. But after a period of in-fighting, Zack de la Rocha announced his departure less than a year after the release. “I feel that it is now necessary to leave Rage because our decision-making process has completely failed,” he wrote in a statement. “It is no longer meeting the aspirations of all four of us collectively as a band, and from my perspective, has undermined our artistic and political ideal.”

Blink-182 – Enema Of The State (MCA)


If you look past the utterly childish album title, Blink-182’s third studio release – their first to feature drummer Travis Barker – reshaped pop-punk as we know it. Its three singles – What’s My Age Again?, All the Small Things and Adam’s Song – propelled the band into the mainstream, and thanks to some, let’s say, daring videos, found themselves a near-permanent fixture on MTV. The album was placed at No.1 in Kerrang!’s Greatest Pop-Punk Albums Of All Time, ahead of Green Day’s Dookie and Descendent’s Milo Goes To College.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication (Warner Brothers)


After faltering on 1995’s One Hot Minute, the Red Hot Chili Peppers replaced Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro with former member John Frusciante, who’d quit the band during a tour of Japan at the height of their 1991 album Blood Sugar Sex Magik tour. Battling mental health issues and a life-threatening drug dependency, his return following a stint in rehab energised their songwriting, and rewarded the four-piece with their biggest-selling release to date, thanks largely to its six singles including Scar Tissue, Around The World and the title track.

Chris Cornell – Euphoria Mourning (Interscope)


Chris Cornell’s debut solo outing was borne out of a turbulent time in his life: Soundgarden had broken up in 1997, his marriage to then-wife Susan Silver was disintegrating, and he began drinking heavily. But by recruiting Eleven’s Alain Johannes and Natasha Shneider, and journeyman drummer Josh Freese, the 12-track collection showcased a different side to the grunge frontman’s voice, which positively smoulders on opener Can’t Change Me, the soaring Follow My Way and slow-burning When I’m Down and remains a fitting legacy one of the finest, much-missed voices in rock.

Slipknot - Slipknot (Roadrunner)


These nine masked maniacs from Des Moines truly changed the face of metal with their debut album, produced by Ross Robinson. Unsettling, ugly and extreme, Slipknot’s self-titled effort left their contemporaries in the dust, with a sound that veered from thrash metal to rap and industrial grind, with lyrics that explored the darker realms of the human condition. “Slipknot is the most venomous, apoplectic and vein-poppingly furious album since Korn’s 1994 debut, and easily the best metal debut of the year,” wrote Paul Brannigan in his 5-K review. “Slipknot is the essential sound of 1999.”

Fantômas – Fantômas (Ipecac)


Mike Patton formed his own label, Ipecac – a medical syrup used to induce vomiting – to release Fantômas’ recordings. This, their avant-garde metal debut, serves as the soundtrack to a comic book – the band’s name was taken from the name of a 1911 French pulp fiction character – with titles ranging from Book 1: Page 1 to Book 1: Page 30. Patton shrieks and screams over former Slayer member Dave Lombardo’s frantic drumming and Melvins’ Buzz Osborne’s nagging, sludgy riffs over 42 challenging minutes. It’s a mindfuck of a release but an utterly compelling listen.

Nine Inch Nails – The Fragile (Nothing/Interscope)


Four and a half years after the release of their second album, The Downward Spiral, Nine Inch Nails broke their silence with a 30 second advert during the MTV Video Music Awards in 1998, with a line from Into The Void sung over a piano melody. The album would emerge a year later, an ambitious, emotionally wrought double album which featured the doom-laded The Day The World Went Away and the agitated noise of Starfuckers, Inc. It debuted at No.1 in the Billboard 200, selling 229,000 in its first week and is one of Trent Reznor’s finest bodies of work.

Limp Bizkit – Significant Other (Interscope)


This nu metal phenomenon showed no signs of letting up with the follow-up to their Three Dollar Bill, Y’all$. With Terry Date (Soundgarden, Pantera) at the production desk, Limp Bizkit entered the studio immediately after the Family Values tour, and roped in a number of guests to bolster the hip-hop heavy recording, including Wu Tang Clan’s Method Man, Korn’s Jonathan Davis, Staind’s Aaron Lewis, Stone Temple Pilot’s Scott Weiland and Primus’ Les Claypool. The result was a collection of songs – including the singles Nookie, Re-Arranged and N 2 Gether Now – which found favour with their fanbase. Even the violence which erupted during their set at Woodstock ‘99 did little to damage their reputation, and Significant Other went on to sell over 16 million copies.

The Dillinger Escape Plan, Calculating Infinity (Relapse)


New Jersey’s Dillinger Escape Plan’s debut redefined extreme metal with a collection of abrasive, complex riffs which owed as much to free jazz as it did to hardcore. The only full-length release to feature original vocalist Dimitri Minakakis, Calculating Infinity – recorded for $2,000 with producer Steve Evetts – is an all-out assault on the senses, with 43% Burnt, Sugar Coated Sour and Jim Fear standing out from the melee. The album recording was overshadowed by a car crash which left original bassist Adam Doll paralysed, leaving guitarist Ben Weinman to perform the bass parts in addition to his own lines: “I felt he would get better and wanted to make something for him to come back to,” the guitarist told K! “I was very unhappy with it,” he adds of the recording, despite it becoming a landmark release which would inspire a new wave of technically-minded metal bands. “I was never satisfied through most of the band’s career. But looking back, I’m proud of the fact it sounded like nothing else that was out at the time.”

Words: Simon Young

Posted on January 7th 2019, 1:00pm
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