Years of Decay 1992

22 min read

It is the third Sunday of the month and it is time for our Years of Decay piece. Well, as promised and after the poll made on Twitter, this time for our article #YearsOfDecay, the year of 1992 was chosen by our beloved readers. Not easy, having in mind how outstanding albums were released then.

Thanks a lot for your votes and for picking such a great year! To all of you, YOU ARE THE BEST! So enjoy our members choices for 1992 and enjoy your Sunday! By the way, which is your ’92 choice?

BRUTAL TRUTH – “Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses”
October 1992, Earache Records

“I hope you make sure we are properly dead before you start” BLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAA

Yes, its the intro for the “WalkingCorpse” song. Could be the intro of the album but its not.
This album is a masterpiece, at least for me. The brutality on it, the voice, the riffs, the songs, the drums, the sound production, everything on it is a masterpiece. read more

That was the main reason that I decided to talk a bit about this album released in 1992. I remember the first time I heard it, the first time I had the CD on my hands and seeing all the details there while I was listening to the album. Since I didn’t have that time a Discman, but I had a Walkman, eheheheh (anyone remembers what is the two things I mention??? ahahahahahah), I recorded the album on a tape and I was devouring the album. On side B if my mind doesn’t trick me it was Massacre “From Beyond”, but let me stay on the Brutal Truth album. Eheh. I was a teenager at that time and already listening to metal a few years (thanks to my older friends, the majority already has gone (R.I.P. brothers) and I was looking for faster songs, more brutal music, so when this album came out it was a kind of “The cherry on the top of the cake”, a kind of double feeling of joy, happiness, satisfaction… And the title of the album… Yes, I agree 100% with that and I can tell you that is the truth, that is the Brutal Truth, but that is another talk. This album, still playing in my stereo because it has earned the right because of its quality and merit. Nowadays I’m still surprised when the young and new metalheads lovers of Death Metal or Grind, that still saying that the old fashion Death/Grind is the best but they do not know this band… C’mon… Really!!! Listen to Brutal Truth and after that let us talk about it…

The Key Keeper


FAITH NO MORE – “Angel Dust”
June 1992, Slash/Reprise Records

FAITH NO MORE never stayed into any limitations or stuck into one alley. FAITH NO MORE have never been the “alternative” band, playing guitars with some hip-hop vox and keys… They are neither the “Easy”, nor the “Epic” band, ffs!!! There is so much beyond their music, there is so much than meets the eye. FAITH NO MORE doesn’t belong to any style, genre or definition. They are just FAITH NO MORE. And Angel Dust was my obvious choice for 1992. Why? read more

The music of FAITH NO MORE have always progressed over time. The band offered a bunch of extraordinary releases. Starting in that stream of mid to late 80’s, combining various elements of various styles, mixing it in their own unique way, FAITH rapidly gained popularity. Not only being close friends from the same area of the biggest band in the world. (yeah, I’m talking about Metallica of course; James Hetfield can be spotted with FNM t-shirt as of 1986/87). However the main role for the success of FNM plays the genius of each and every member of the band. Starting of course with the main mad genius – Mike Patton himself. Him joining the band really played huge difference for putting the music out of any boundaries. Of course without mainly Gould, Bottum and Bordin it wouldn’t be possible. And that distinctive playing of Martin. Everything is history though.

Released in the beginning of the summer of 1992, “Angel Dust” played (and still plays) huge role in my life. It is an album, untouchable by time. Over the years I have played it numerous times and it never got worse or boring. I have fantastic memories from my teenage parties, trips and so on, with FNM playing.”Angel Dust” is probably the best FNM records, toping one of the most underrated records of all times – their superb “King For a Day…Fool For a Life Time”. (yes, “King For a Day” is glorious, listen to it and then fight me!). I must admit that in “Angel Dust” clearly are incorporated the early Mr.Bungle’s influences and atmospheres, plus – the voice of Patton has “mutated” in this album and he experimented much more than in “The Real Thing”.

I remember back then that FNM was a band listened NOT by the fans of the heaviest genres of metal. Connected more with likes of RHCP, Living Color etc – all these funk metal and groovy bands. More over FNM began touring with G’N’R in 1992, and with the coming grunge flood, the band became among the most listenable by the “alternative” fans. (By the way Mr.Bungle were mocking on RHCP, playing covers and Kiedis kicked them from a festival, not willing to play on the same bill with them…). Add to this the MTV support with “Easy” and the MTV generation literally was saying FNM were superb without knowing more than three of their songs. Thanks God it all ended with “King For A Day”, when only true ones remained devoted to the band, trying to understand with heart and soul what they were doing. (one always can discover something new in their music and the genius is not easy to understand). 

Every track from “Angel Dust” is so unique, owning such own atmosphere, so memorable. So cozy. EVERY god damn track. Well, of course I have my favourites out of the whole list. They are among the best songs of all times at all. I’m speaking about “Kindergarten”, “Caffeine”, “RV”, “Midlife Crisis” and “Smaller and Smaller”. Tripping! Genial! Oh, and all the Patton lyrics and his INIMITABLE singing over superb layers of keys, riffs, bass and drumming. The truth is that FNM’s music is so deep, so multi-layered, so not-for-everybody.

Did I mentioned INIMITABLE?! Whatever compliment I write here about FAITH NO MORE, it will be not enough. “Angel Dust” is among the best records ever released! If you missed this truth, it is on your expense.

I leave you with this SICK live performance of “Caffeine” from 1995. Watch out for every detail in the video – performance, singing, playing, appearance, attitude. Now you know…

Count Vlad 

FEAR FACTORY – Soul of a New Machine 
September 1992, Roadrunner

1992. Such a great year with a veritable who’s who to choose from for this piece. Truth be told, I had major dilemma a few days ago in deciding – Napalm Death’s Utopia Banished? Bolt Thrower’s 4th Crusade? Obituary’s End Complete? Or even Kyuss’ Blues for the Red Sun? All absolute top notch worthy contenders for my 15 minutes of waffle, but in the end I’ve settled for the FEAR FACTORY debut “Soul of a New Machine”.read more

For the sake of absolute nostalgia here, I have extremely fond memories of coming across FEAR FACTORY for the first time. I recall reading UK’s Kerrang at the time and seeing Faith No More’s Big Jim Martin decked out in this black long sleeve with Fear Factory emblazoned down the arms. Who the fuck? Then, I’m at a ’92 Renewal tour Kreator gig in Melbourne and spot a fellow metal head in the same Jim Martin shirt. Questions were asked! Very soon, I became aware of the L.A bands impending debut album in Sept 1992. I actually purchased the album in Sydney while on a vacation trip – I couldn’t wait so I dropped into Utopia Records, grabbed it and then spent the next two hours playing it in my car CD player as it was the only means of hearing it while being away from home. The girlfriend at the time, wondered what the hell I was up too! Anyway, good fucking story….

“SoaNM” had a fair impact on me at the time as it was such a ground breaking album in that it threw up a Death Metal/Grindcore template that I was already very familiar with – make no mistake, the early sound of FF owed a shit load of heft to Napalm Death – but embedded within was this ‘clean vocal’ element that was simply unheard of at the time. Death Metal/Grindcore was NOT meant to sound anything like this and for that fact, Fear Factory were very much ahead of their time. Coming from the 80’s hard rock/classic metal era I was always up for melody and hooks so when Burton C.Bell first dropped the “Suffer….Bastard” clean line in “Martyr” and then took it further with the whole ‘Laws are meant to follow…’ verse on “Scapegoat” and topping it with the opening “Cry” x 4 line on “Scumgrief”, well, a massive shit eating grin resulted. And for me, this has always been the cool thing about “SoaNM” – Its unashamed melodic thread – a thread that constantly weaves itself through the brutal, down tuned industrial, Godflesh tinged Dino Cazarez riffage that drives the 17 tracks delivered here!

Granted, in hindsight, some of 17 tracks laid down on “SoaNM” could be seen as works in progress, but at the time, such was the breath of fresh air that this album provided, I think we were happy to overlook any shortcomings. The straight up death/grind tracks like “Big God/Rapes Souls, Self Immolation and Flesh Hold” captured here were cool and all, but Napalm Death were the kings of said style in my eyes and really, Fear Factory would never go on to write material like these tracks again. For some fans, this is actually where the band ends for them. Whatever the case, for their label in Roadrunner and for the band no doubt, the ‘gold’ was clearly in those ‘clean’ vocal hooks and that chugging groove encrusted riffage – things were refined, edge cleaned up, productions made more mechanical and precision-like and with 1995’s “Demanufacture” album we all know what happened moving forward. I won’t hold this against the band too much, but as a template for 90’s Groove metal into the much derided latter 90’s Nu-Metal sound, you could easily make a case for “SOaNM” being the pre-eminent catalyst for said styles. Hell, it pains me to say that FEAR FACTORY bastardised their own sound so much that 9 years after writing this debut, “Digimortal” arrived in 2001 – for many, a low point, but that’s another story….

Looking back “SOaNM” – as ground breaking as it was – it was really just a stepping stone for Fear Factory to the Metal giants they would become. They threw up a clever and somewhat obvious quirk (that for some strange reason no one else could think of) of conjuring the ‘harsh/clean’ vocal approach combined with a futuristic lyrical theme and industrial flavoured production stylings. This would all come to massive fruition over the next 2 albums – ‘95’s “Demanufacture” and ‘98’s “Obsolete”.

Final memory – I saw FEAR FACTORY twice in the one day on this tour in 1993. Some 2pm matinee all-ages show on the outskirts of Melbourne and then later on at a local city venue. They played 13 tracks – as would be the case, all came from “SOaNM” – that has never happened again! I also picked up that killer Jim Martin style long sleeve with the iconic album cover adorning the chest. Good times.



AMORPHIS – Karelian Isthmus
November 1992, Relapse Records

In November 1992 Finnish melodic death masters, AMORPHIS, released their debut album “Karelian Isthmus”, having previously only recorded a few demos, notably “Disment of Soul” released in 1991 and “Priviledge of Evil” (which was recorded in 1991 but not released until 1993). 

Today, AMORPHIS is recognised as a band with remarkable plasticity in terms of the evolution of their sound. However, unlike later releases, their early nineties material with the original line-up (Tomi Koivusaari, Esa Holopainen, Olli-Pekka Laine, Jan Rechberger) can be considered more orthodox death metal. That’s not to say that AMORPHIS was considered characteristic of the sub-genre at the time, in fact throughout their lengthy career they have always maintained an atypical style. read more

At this point it should be noted that this review is being penned by an impassioned Amorphis fan. I confess that I could bang on for hours about how intricate and nuanced their sound is, so for your sake I will endeavour to keep this review brief and will resist the urge to gush excessively.

Karelian Isthmus” is a powerful debut and the birthplace of what would later be recognised as the distinctive AMORPHIS sound, but for fans of their modern work this album may feel unfamiliar. The key element that makes this early release different is the rawness and lack of subtlety, which is only accentuated by Tomi Koivusaari’s gruff, throaty death vocal delivery. Despite the unpolished grittiness there is still some clarity, coherence and eloquence. “Karelian Isthmus” feels like it is straddling the old and new, the grotesque and the divine. However, there is a unity maintained between all opposing forces and an overall satisfying balance throughout the album. The crunchy riffs are often countered by crisp lead guitar and the lashings of raw, harsh, chaotic death metal is balanced by immersive mellow and melodic moments, as well as mesmerising folk melodies. The solid drumming throughout really works to stitch everything into one beautiful cohesive package. The album seems to possess more depth and mood than other death metal acts of the era. This can probably be attributed to the mid-paced tempos and mellow atmosphere. Overall, the whole album just feels refreshing and creative especially for the time.

Today, AMORPHIS continues to enjoy a long and enduring career, they remain highly respected in the metal community and this is the album that started it all.

Proua Metallist  

NEUROSIS – “Souls At Zero”
May 1992, Alternative Tentacles

 Uh oh, here comes the apocalypse…

In 1992 when “Souls At Zero” came out I was 10 years old and many years away from being a metal fan. Some years later, once that door had been opened I discovered this band. “Souls At Zero” was not my first exposure to Neurosis, but it was the record that made me sit up and take note.

Those only familiar with 1993’s “Enemy of the Sun” onwards – and the crushing, enveloping, sludge-metal style the band pioneered – might be surprised to discover that the band came from a hardcore-punk background, most evident on their debut “Times of Pain”. Even back in their earliest incarnation however the band was feeding off a more doom laden and metallic strain of punk, via such bands as Discharge and Amebix. But to really understand where Neurosis came from, you have to include Joy Division, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Crass, Motörhead… the list goes on, and perhaps nowhere are the mix of influences more apparent than on their third album “Souls At Zero”. read more

Part hardcore, part metal, part sludge, part barren, existential meditation, “Souls At Zero” is an apocalyptic fireball. Tracks like “Flight” and “The Web” showcase a pounding, thrash side to the band; though equally comfortable are they to draw tracks out with sinister arpeggios and all kinds of atmospheric elements like the chanting monks and flutes on “Stripped”.

With several songs clocking in somewhere between six to ten minutes there’s a lot of slow build up to crashing climaxes. And when those climaxes do come they bring the force of a tidal wave that’ll level whole towns. “Sterile Vision” starts out with a sombre, ominous guitar melody, that gradually builds into a screaming, horn infused peak; “A Chronology for Survival” meanwhile builds and builds on high-hats, swirling synth and sparse, rhythmic guitars for almost two minutes before kicking in to a maelstrom of hammering percussion, screeching guitars and urgent, chanting calls on the cycle of life and death, like a rabid town-crier warning of impending doom. Yeah maybe the words “vibe” and “apocalyptic” shouldn’t be used in the same sentence… but anyway, Mötley Crüe this ain’t.

Recorded by Jello Biafra, the mix is sparse and clear, without being polished. All the instrumentation has plenty of space to breathe, allowing the listener to make out all the interplay. The layered, ascending and descending guitar melodies of the title track for example are fantastically, eerily hypnotic and unlike anything I’ve heard anywhere else (even from Neurosis). Throughout the album the bass is thick and heavy, while the drumming is always interesting and can go from understated to pulverizing at the drop of a hat, witness “Takeahnase” with its creepy, stalking bass, exploding into flashes of guitars and screams.

And here’s another great, strange aspect of Neurosis: they make screaming melodic. Guitarists Steve von Till and Scott Kelly, and bass player Dave Edwardson all contribute vocal parts; often playing off each other, with Edwardson’s deep roar underpinning the distinctive tones of both guitarists’ voices. It seems weird to say it, but it sometimes feels like the band has created vocal harmonies, harmonies of shouts and screams.

“Souls At Zero” is far from the sound the band settled into soon after this release. Maybe they were experimenting here, but wow what an experiment, it still gives me chills when I listen to it now.


CANNIBAL CORPSE – Tomb of the Mutilated
September 1992, Metal Blade

The year 1992 was an incredible year for metal, despite scene ‘historians’ bemoaning that grunge came along and killed off hair metal, giving thrash metal a considerably bloody nose too. A little known band called Tool released “Opiate”, Pantera released “Vulgar Displayer of Power” along with Ministry’s “Psalm 69”. In the underground realms, classics from the likes of Bolt Thrower, Paradise Lost, and Obituary landed, to name a few of what was indeed a great year. As per usual with the Years of Decay articles, it made for difficult decisions for the staff to stick with ONE album from that year. My pick of the crop from 1992, is CANNIBAL CORPSE’s “Tomb of the Mutilated”. read more

By the time I discovered it, it was summer 1994. I had free reign of my parent’s house for two weeks as a 17 year old due to them going on holiday; I was finally able to watch Headbanger’s Ball on MTV Europe without my father’s inane commentary. One particular night, I discovered a fantastic prog metal band called Dream Theater and earlier material from Carcass thanks to the “Corporal Jigsore Quandary” music video, a tune that still raises the hairs on the back of my neck even to this day. Vanessa Warwick mentioned a band called CANNIBAL CORPSE who released a new album called ‘The Bleeding”, with tour footage that featured “Return To Flesh” and the music video for “Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead”. Naturally, after buying ‘The Bleeding” I went to HMV in Liverpool to get hold of ‘Tomb of the Mutilated” on tape due to being an impoverished student.


A crushing slab of death metal, that was controversial at the time due to the nature of the songs with themes about murder, rape, necrophilia, and sadism. Sung (or rather growled) by Chris Barnes, a frizz haired metalhead from New York and company with impossibly fast lead solos from Bob Rusay, the shredding riffs of Jack Owen, the thundering bass of Alex Webster sounded as if the guy had twice the set of fingers than your average human being, and last but not least Paul Mazurkiewicz pummelling the drums into oblivion. Sadly, I can’t name stand out tracks for those who read our site on their lunch breaks on work computers, as it will end up with the ‘Spanish Inquisition’ from your I.T. department and your line manager – but it’s one of the best albums of the death metal genre. To be critical, the mastering of the original is muddy by today’s standards; but it’s a product of its time. A few years later, I manage to acquire this album and ‘The Bleeding’ with the lyrics (which I think were banned in the UK) from a certain online auction site after updating some albums from tape to CD, which made the album all the more sweeter and revealing a hitherto grislier dimension than I first experienced all those years ago.

Goth Mark

BAPHOMET – The Dead Shall Inherit
May 1992, Peaceville Records 

 Well, the Years of Decay are sometimes unkind. In the case of Baphomet’s “The Dead Shall Inherit” time has not eroded the pleasures of its company! One of the best OSDM releases from a band with such a short history, Baphomet was originally active from 1987 and hailing from Buffalo, NY. After releasing this nearly perfect album, they were forced into a name change and followed it up as the re-named Banished with another relentless album in “Deliver Me Unto Pain”! With the classic line-up in tow the band were poised to take off, but then it all came to an immediate halt…but that story is for another day. read more

One of early death metals strongest offerings “The Dead Shall Inherit”, is such an underrated and often overlooked release combining much of the New York and Florida formulas, but has this measured pace and weightiness combined with 80’s thrash riffage to create its own recipe, and boy does it all work! Those unhurried and crushing guitar tones combined with Tom Frost’s guttural yet clean delivery style has always connected with me as well. But make no mistake this is no slow burner and the thrash infused riffs are as morbid and grotesque as anything from this era or since. Napalm Death and Autopsy immediately come to mind when comparing the song and riff structures, while the vocals and delivery are clearly influenced by Suffocation’s low guttural style. Some of the best tracks from the record are; Boiled In Blood, Leave The Flesh, Infection of Death, Valley of the Dead and favorite Streaks of Blood! Clearly the band did not invent or deliver some massively original concept that changed the course of death metal. But this album is played to perfection and easily greater than or equal to many of its contemporaries of the time that receive the majority of praise from this period, and “The Dead Shall Inherit” deserves far more credit for its execution and excellence than it has or will ever receive. Even the eerie cover art with the zombified dead crawling from their graves, screams Old School! For those starving for every new band with their technical proficiencies and modern flair, this may not be for you? But some of us still balance the desire for the new and the appreciation for the classic’s.

So if you haven’t dusted this one off in years or completely whiffed overlooking its release back in 1992, then do yourself a favor and plug in for a real treat. “The Dead Shall Inherit” should sit alongside classics the likes of Incantation’s “Onward to Golgotha”, Deicide’s “Legion”, Suffocation’s “Effigy of the Forgotten”, Napalm Death’s “Harmony Corruption”  and Obituary’s “Cause of Death” in the early wilderness of Old School Death Metal!

In 2000 Dying Fetus covered and did a really nice job on Streaks of Blood on their “Grotesque Impalement” EP. Streaks of Blood still run down the wall…

Always Stay Loud…Mö!

NOCTURNUS – Thresholds
December 1992, Earache Records

When taking a look at what metal had to offer through 1992, I wanted to highlight something that deserved more attention than it currently gets. That’s where NOCTURNUS comes in with their second release, “Thresholds”, out in December of ‘92 through Earache Records. This album is a wicked heavy dose of highly technical shredding guitar and drum work, with equally heavy vocals and some interesting twists and turns along the way. While NOCTURNUS have always been considered one of the pioneers of technical and progressive death metal, people usually gravitate to their incredible first release, The Key, which has a slightly more aggressive pace and occult attitude that in predecessors. read more

Regardless of the changes, “Thresholds” is full of killer riffs, mind-melting solos, and a much larger embrace of synths through keyboards which adds some wicked heavy atmospheres and layering to the songs. Fact of the matter is, “Thresholds” delivers an incredibly complex and heavy listen from start to finish, easily on par with their earlier work. I have memories from many metal moons ago of listening to NOCTURNUS and scanning the spacey cover art for all the little details. And just as the cover art would have you believe, this album embraces a heavier sci-fi theme for the material than “The Key”, sending the listener on a brutal voyage through solar systems and alien worlds. They incorporate some unorthodox and fairly progressive elements into the songs which works well to add to the overall atmosphere and concept of the album.

“Thresholds”  has many highlights for me. Whether it’s the assault of blistering guitar solos riddled throughout the tracks, the odd time signatures and rhythm changes, or the interesting use of samples and effects, each song on the album is worthwhile. Experimenting with a variety of thrash and death riffs for core song structure, each song feels unique and polished, always coming across heavy and technical as hell. My favourite songs off this gem are the opening track “Climate Controller” as well as “Subterranean Infiltrator”, with both doing the best job of placing me in the cockpit of an galactic battleship in the middle of a brutal dogfight or gnarly away mission.

I also can’t write a bit about this album and not mention the track “Aquatica”, which shows up halfway through the listen. We are apparently on a mission into a mysteriously inundated world, as NOCTURNUS successfully manage to incorporate the usually calming sound of water into the main melody of a crushing song. While this song is not my favourite on the album, they deserve massive cred for boldly incorporating what is essentially the world’s longest bong hit into the song. This album also ends in fantastic fashion, fading out and then ending abruptly with the little shred riff, as if lost in a wormhole. “Thresholds” should not be overlooked by metalheads, so do yourself a favour and blast off with NOCTURNUS for awhile.

Metal Yeti

Truly Yours,
Blessed Altar Zine Team

**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre

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