The Devil’s Time Machine: “What Will The 90’s Hold?” 1990


1990. I was my son’s age. 14 years old and just starting to enter the work force. I started as most kids do; as a dishwasher working in a shitty little diner in upstate New York. However, the summer of 1990 was a life changing moment for me. Working in that shitty little quaint diner I met a man that would change the music I listen to and how I listened to it. Up until that point I loved bands like Aerosmith, White Lion and even Huey Lewis and the news. However, that one fateful day a man walked into that diner with long hair and was was quickly dubber “Motley Crue”. What that waitress that made that ill stereotype didn’t realize was that man was lead singer of the legendary band, Led Zeppelin. Robert Plant was on a tour in New York and had decided that he and another band mate wanted to take a ride into the mountains. He was probably touring Albany or Syracuse and pretty much told his driver to just drive. Who would have known that they wanted to stop at a diner on the hillside of a quiet lake that I grew up on. I met the man, got an autograph and was suddenly interested in the music of this man. A Led Zeppelin fan was born, albeit about 11 years too late. Regardless, Led Zeppelin were my ultimate gateway band into heavy metal from a young naive boy. It was a life-changing moment. From there on, it only got heavier.

So, it wasn’t technically the turn of the decade, but we all thought it was. What we didn’t know was that it was the beginning of the end for glam rock…and thank goodness. Thrash was still pretty strong, but the metal movement was struggling. Underground bands such as Pearl Jam and Nirvana were slowly making their way from the underearth and in just a few short years would totally screw things up at the point where heavy metal fans were thinking that the music they loved was strarting to make an impact on the mainstream world. But it was all okay, because little did we know that there were some really amazing bands being birthed this year of 1990.

Opeth, Lamb of God (then known as ‘Burn the Priest’), Tool, Fear Factory, Krisiun, Type O Negative, and In flames were formed in 1990. But these weren’t the only highlights of this eventful year; some really great albums were also released, but we’ll get to that in a bit. As usual, here is your history lesson for 1990.

  • The U.S. invaded Panama and captured Manuel Noriega, supposedly using heavy metal music as psychological warfare.
  • Robert Morris is convicted of releasing the first computer worm, mainly infecting Unix based systems, making them almost unusable. it was actually more damaging than intended. Sorry, computer nerd stuff. You know how hippies turned into yuppies. Well, a lot of us older headbangers have turned into computer nerds.
  • Joseph Hazelwood, the drunk bastard that cause the Exxon-Valdez oil spill begins t=his trial.
  • Nelson Mandela is freed.
  • The first McDonalds is opened in Russia,
  • The SR-71 Blackbird is officially retired after setting a transcontinental speed record of 1 hour, 18 minutes and 17 seconds.
  • Mikhail Gorbachev is elected as first Prime Minister of the U.S.S.R.
  • George H. Bush awards Jesse Owens a posthumous (after death) Congressional Metal Of Honor. It still didn’t win him the election of 1992.
  • Wrestlmania VI brings the defeat of Hulk Hogan to the Ultimate Warrior…okay.
  • The Hubble Space Telescope is launched.
  • Homosexuality is removed as a disease from the World health Organization. WTF? I didn’t realize it was ever a ‘disease’. Shows how far we’ve come and how fucked up things used to be.
  • George H. Bush and Gorbachev sign a treaty to end the production of and destroy existing stock of chemical weapons.
  • George H. signs he American w/Disabilities act, protecting Americans with disabilities from discrimination.
  • Iraq invades Kuwait, eventually leading to Operation Dessert Storm in 1991.
  • East and West Germany unite, as the U.S.S.R. shows signs of collapse. The end of European communism draws nearer.
So there is your brief history lesson of 1990. Hopefully you have learned or remembered an event of importance that has been significant to our own existence. Now, lets get on to the of metal in 1990…
  • Not metal, but Stevie Ray Vaughan dies in a helicopter crash, thus ending he life of an amazing musician and husband and brother.
  • Again, not metal but significant to American music, Creedence Clearwater revival guitarist Tom Fogerty dies of AIDS.
  • Adrian Smith leaves Iron Maiden and is replaced by Janick Gers.
  • A lawsuit was brought against Judas Priest because 5 years early, two stupid teenagers decided to commit suicide. One was successful, the other not and blamed Judas Priest’s cover of Spooky Tooth’s “Better By You Better Than Me”. They claimed there were subliminal messages. Judas Priest won the case.
  • Possessed frontman Jeff Becerra was shot and mugged, paralyzing him from the waist down.
  • Metallica won their first Grammy in the very first ‘Best Metal Performance’ category for “One”.
  • Marty Friedman joins Megadeth and replaces Jeff Young.

The following albums were released in 1990:

  • Anthrax – Persistence of Time
  • Cannibal Corpse – eaten Back To Life
  • Entombed – Left Hand Path
  • Iced Earth – S/T debut
  • Megadeth – Rust In Peace
  • Obituary – Cause Of Death
  • Danzig – II Lucifuge
  • Death – Spiritual Healing
  • Annihilator – Never, Neverland
  • Black Sabbath – Tyr
  • Anacrusis – Reason
  • Deicide – S/T Debut
  • AC/DC – The Razor’s Edge
  • Iron Maiden – No Prayer For The Dying
  • Judas Priest – Painkiller
  • Kreator – Coma of Souls
  • Pantera – Cowboys From Hell
  • Prong – Beg To Differ
  • Queensryche – Empire
  • Slayer – Seasons In The Abyss
  • Death Angel – Act III
  • Exhorder – Slaughter In The Vatican
  • Bathory – Hammerheart
  • Alice In Chains – Facelift
  • Destruction – Cracked Brain
  • Dio – Lock Up The Wolves
  • Exodus – Impact is Imminent
  • Flotsam and Jetsam – When The Storm Comes
  • King Diamond – The Eye
  • Sadus – Swallowed In Black
  • Sodom – Better Off Dead
  • Testament – Souls of Black
  • Sanctuary – Into The Mirror Black

And lastly, but most certainly not least…the great album that brought us the greatest song in the world…

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3 responses to “The Devil’s Time Machine: “What Will The 90’s Hold?” 1990

  1. It’s funny how people tend to generalize this period — the time of transition between hair metal and grunge — as pretty much a low point in music history, and yet look how many essential albums are on that list!

    Also: I am as shocked as you to learn that homosexuality was considered a disease, especially as recently as this!

    • It’s considered a low point because metal as a mainstream thing ended and went back in the underground. Most people drifted off (I was one of them) to other genres because MTV wasn’t shoving bands down their throats anymore. The essential albums weren’t actually discovered until years later except for the diehards that knew where to continue to get their music from. Once the internet blew up then all bets were off and it actually revived many band’s careers. Bottom line the era of thinking album sales=good bands ended:P

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