Years of Decay 1993

16 min read

1993! What a time to be alive. Oh well, 26 years ago is quite long enough back in time for some of us. Do you remember this year? What did happen for you then? What music and bands were you listening to? Today we dive back again in order to explore some of our personal favorites from this epic year when some of the all-time classic metal albums were born. Let’s just mention immediately three of them – “Chaos A.D.”, “Tol Cormpt Norz Norz Norz…”, “Icon”. We are sure you can name another dozen instantly too. Check our selection and then let us know about your beloved albums from 1993. 

Enjoy our 1993 selection but most of all – enjoy your Sunday!

DEATH – Individual Thought Patterns
June 1993, Roadrunner Records

I remember the day I heard this album for the first time. I have to admit one thing, it was love at first hearing. Everything on this album touched me so well. The cover (yes I do like the cover), the riffs on the songs, the music. Arghhhhhhh… So good. read more

I remember having the cd on my hand, listening to the album and the way the music was touching me. The production of the album, the atmosphere around it, the way the vocals were “distilled”. So good… This album can be old age but not in the music or feeling. I know that is not the best album (at least for me) from this amazing and cult band, but when it was released it meant so much to me and because of that… It is very so special for me.

The Key Keeper

CEMETARY – Godless Beauty
October 1993, Black Mark Production

CEMETARY was/is one of the greatest bands ever this Planet has witnessed. Every single album the band released can be considered a masterpiece. CEMETARY have always stayed and walked the shadows; the underground was their home even when going through the musical transformations. Exactly 26 years ago, in October 1993, one of the best ever albums was released – “Godless Beauty”. read more

Led by Mathias Lodmalm, this is the second album to feature the original line up and the last before the band to change the line-up and to drown into more death gothic stuff. The Swedish underground sound production marks “Godless Beauty”. It is a dark, sensual record, full of emotions, personal feelings and experiences, which easily grab the listener and obsessed him/her. “Godless Beauty” is one of those albums which has been with me through good and bad, lived my life, pains, and desperations. And if you go through carefully through the tracks, the melodies and the lyrics you may be surprised to find that it may be actually a love album…

The album begins with “Now She Walks The Shadows”, pumpy track, seemingly reminding about the band’s highly acclaimed debut “An Evil Shade of Grey”. It is a more death-y track than the rest of the tracks. Then comes “The Serpent’s Kiss” and the haunting guitar solo intro, leading us through all the track along with the cleaner guitars before the chorus.  The song was the first clear big sign that CEMETARY were about to offer something extraordinary. This is definitely claimed by two of the best ever doom/death track of the time and future – “Julie is No More”:

The silence came so suddenly
No longer am I to breath
The grip of life has faded
Mourning has come to an end

When love lasts forever…

And “By My Own Hands”. Amazing, cutting through tracks with fantastic lead work and lyrics, bringing tears and despair…

I couldn’t put faith in me
I couldn’t put faith in God
The only faith I found
Was in the knife that spilled my blood

In tears I laughed
As the blade slowly tore my veins
At last I was free
Free from all my pains
Now it’s too late
For you to touch my lips with yours
And say you’re sorry
‘Cause my heart don’t beat no more
And all that’s left is what you’ll bury

“Chain” is an energetic violent motivational song with painful screaming vocals, mesmerizing solos and easy to sing along chorus. 

“…In a cracked mirror I face the truth
The fact that I am nothing”

“Adrift In Scarlet Twilight” is the typical melodic death-doom track from the beginning of the 90s – slow, riffy, with the suicidal lyrical theme and another mesmerizing lead on the chorus! Opening a bracket here – Tales of the Thousand Lakes appear a year later…

Carve the wounds
Art in my flesh

Twilight red
My veins are screaming
Laughter dead
The thorns are gleaming
Scarlet sea
Godless tempter
Never again shall I be me

“Black” is a dark track, which covers the listener under a black veil. Another excellent death-doom composition, so typical or the 90s. Then the album explodes with the awesome “Sunrise (Never Again)” – bursting of energy track with just hitting into the guts classic simple guitar motif, before all to explode and to breakdown in order to sink into absolute darkness and despair. Another amazing lead guitar work, clean guitars motifs, and sorrow…

I am the night, the dreams of blood
The claws that shred the sun
…the night, the weeping moon
Enemy…, Father

The grande finale comes with “Where The Fire Forever Burns” – a fatal death-doom track. The experience here is more apocalyptic, carries anguish, some hidden anger and frustration. 

“Burning love, burning dead
A light… a light you’ll never forget”

My heart is bleeding…Go and listen to CEMETARY, FFS!!!

Count Vlad


TYPE O NEGATIVE – Bloody Kisses
August 1993, Roadrunner Records

TYPE O NEGATIVE, the band whose singer filed his canines down to look more like a vampire; the band who made their keyboard player individually hand-paint packets of cornflakes with silver paint before a gig to use as “snow” mid-set; the band who got Pantera banned from a venue, because their set descended into a sea of feedback and toilet paper throwing; the band who released a fake live album with a front cover photo of the singers spread arse cheeks. TYPE O NEGATIVE, for a band whose songs dealt with death, depression, substance abuse, heartbreak, homicidal urges and suicide, they always had a sense of the absurd and this, I think, is a big part of why I’ve remained a huge fan of theirs for many years without having found much time for more straight-faced purveyors of Goth Rock and Metal. read more

Right from the beginning the band were masters at creating loooooooooooong, but captivating, operatic melodramas in single song form. Whether it was “Unsuccessfully Coping with the Natural Beauty of Infidelity” on their debut, or later “Love You to Death”, “World Coming Down”, “These Three Things”, in the world of Type O a five or six-minute track could seem relatively radio ready. Nowhere is this wilful abandonment of commercial consideration more perfectly realised than on “Bloody Kisses”. Who follows an intro track of a woman being brought to orgasm by a robot with a nine minute ode to a sexually frustrated Christian girl (“Christian Woman”) and an eleven-minute plus tongue in cheek epic about a none-more-Goth Goth girl and her favourite hair dye (“Black No. 1”)? TYPE O NEGATIVE of course!

In my 20s when I was more emotionally overwrought and took myself too seriously, I preferred the high drama of the two subsequent releases “October Rust” and “World Coming Down”. Coming back to “Bloody Kisses” now I appreciate the misanthropic playfulness (“We Hate Everyone”), the eclecticism of splicing Hardcore riffing and depressive dirges (‘Too Late: Frozen”), and all the other weird transitions, left turns and interludes as much as the “epics” like the aforementioned ‘Masturbating Catholic Chick’ [sic] as well as the lets-all-slit-our-wrists-together gloom of the title track. And why would you ever listen to the radio edit of “Black No. 1”, when you’d miss out on Peter Steel’s lung burstingly (not a word, but should be) explosive howl to the heavens “will she trick or treat? I bet she will. SHE WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILL!”? Eleven minutes plus, but that’s going straight on repeat time and time again.

Is this the band’s best album? Maybe. It’s definitely their most varied. They do Thrash, they do Doom, they do Goth Rock, they do Rock Opera, they do tribal chanting and maidens being sacrificed to monsters. What more do you need? TYPE O NEGATIVE, you suck!


CATHEDRAL – Ethereal Mirror
February 1993, Columbia Records

Ah, 1993. An interesting year for me for many reasons; the year I finished secondary school, I got into a terrible short lived soap opera on British TV at the time called Eldorado, Grunge was at its peak and Hair Metal was declared dead, the Ford Sierra was replaced by the Ford Mondeo and last but not least – 1993 was the year I got into metal. I slowly started to reinvent myself as a metalhead and dived head first into a massive discovery of metal bands such as PANTERA, NAPALM DEATH, CARCASS, ENTOMBED, DEATH, METALLICA, and OBITUARY (to name a few) and went to my first ever gig to see Sepultura touring ‘Chaos AD’ with support by Paradise Lost who promoted their ‘Icon’ album. Vinyl was dead, and people were disposing their albums to upgrade to silver discs read by lasers called ‘Compact Discs’. However, such things were bloody expensive for a 16-year-old school leaver and soon to be sixth form student (a CD album adjusted for 2019 inflation equates to an eye-watering 30 quid) and pre-recorded albums on tape that were half the price to get my collection going, and 3 years later in my first job discovered a treasure trove of cheap vinyl that nobody at the time gave a shit about – where my collection exploded in number. It’s kind of ironic how vinyl is trendy and CD’s have become worthless – but that’s a rant for another time I might compose for my own blog. read more

From this early batch of tapes, one was an extraordinary band of sheepskin jacket and flares wearing hippies from Coventry called CATHEDRAL. Andy, the friend who got me into metal (that later cultivated my hatred for Iron Maiden by playing their albums ad nauseum) raved about music videos of the band he seen for the tracks “Midnight Mountain” and “Ride”, that were shown on Noisy Mothers (a heavy metal show broadcast at stupid o’clock on ITV). On the basis of his boggle-eyed raving and praise, purchasing ‘The Ethereal Mirror’ could potentially be a bloody brilliant idea – and fortunately it paid off well. Unbeknown to me at the time, Cathedral were a sludgy, ponderous, lumbering Giant Sloth of pitch black funeral doom that reinvented themselves into a huge, groove-laden, towering monolith of “Disco Doom Metal” with heavy nods to BLACK SABBATH; blending 1970s proto metal riffs with the bass heavy spleen vibrating low end that made their early albums so intriguing. Basically, the glorious product of excessive magic mushroom consumption whilst being completely off their tits listening to Black Sabbath, Mountain, Deep Purple and Rainbow albums as an inspiration. Or at least, you could be forgiven for thinking that way when you spool up the album to play “Violet Vortex” and the arse shaking groove of “Ride”, with that massive “DOWW-NOOOWWWW-NOWNOWNOWNOWNOWNOWNOWNOWNOWNOW-NAAAAWWW-WAAAWWWHH” riff; a riff so insanely catchy that it could probably raise the dead on the correct combination of hi-fi equipment and speakers. The rest of the album fares brilliantly well, with side two (if you have tape or vinyl) taking a darker and more mysterious turn from the upbeat songs like ‘Midnight Mountain’, with tracks such as “Grim Luxuria” and “Jaded Entity” touching on the doomier sound of old; that’s brightened up with their new-found air of psychedelia. The album at times almost scans back as a heavily veiled love letter to 1970s rock and metal, whilst retaining a more refreshing, bright, and dare I say joyous flavour to the doom metal genre. If you’re a big fan of stoner and doom metal and don’t have this in your collection, then rectify it straight away as it’s pretty much essential listening.

Goth Mark

CYNIC – Focus
September 1993, Roadrunner Records

Let’s take a trip to the dying days of summer 1993 in Florida, USA and heavy as hell death metal was seeping out of every pore of the underground. One band that couldn’t be ignored however was CYNIC. They took a strange approach to the genre when compared than their comrades. They offered something different than what CANNIBAL CORPSE and OBITUARY were pumping out. More similar to what DEATH were working towards, CYNIC fused jazz elements with a variety of progressive accents, and a variant vocal style to the music while still remaining heavy and certainly in death metal territory.. read more

Focus opens with “Veil of Maya” which introduces you to the wild structure of their music. Showcasing the bands ability to shred as well as crank up the complexity, the weird synthetic vocal effects are balanced with a heavier approach keeping their edge amongst the flock. Followed up by “Celestial Voyage”, “The Eagle Nature”, “Sentiment”, and “I’m But A Wave to..”, we are treated to a symphony of technical brilliance with a lot of cool trippy outros and sampling throughout.

“Uroboric Forms” is an example of some of the best work CYNIC have done to date. They start off with a stomping and utterly fantastic riff that is one of the highlights of the album. It slows down and speeds up a few times but always follows through with stunning drumming and insane guitar for the remainder of the song.  My face and brain are melted.

“Textures” is another wicked song but for different reasons. Taking a much slower approach, they deliver a heavy yet groovy as hell ride. One of the most wonderfully chill metal songs you’ll ever listen to. Everything closes off with “How Could I” which more similar to the opening track, shows you the full capability of CYNIC. “Focus” ends with a blazing solo which trails off into your thoughts as it fades away.

CYNIC walk a fine line of highly technical devastation while going on tangents to explore deep and beautiful contrasts in their music. They mess with time signatures, throw in wicked guitar fills and solo work, all the while wrapping everything up in wonderful depth. Granted they wonder outside traditional death metal with their highly synthetic vocals at times, they without a doubt helped lay the foundation for many modern progressive and technical death metal bands such as BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME and NATIVE CONSTRUCT. They pushed the boundaries of what could be considered death metal and looked damn good in the process. Sit back, relax, and focus on some legendary metal from 1993

Metal Yeti

ENGRAVED – Ninkharsag
1993, Unisound Records

As is the case with every year in the 90s,1993 was a glorious year for black metal. Not only it gave us some of the timeless classics from the Norwegian scene (DARKTHRONE, IMMORTAL, BURZUM and the most famous live album in the history of black metal from MAYHEM),it also gave birth to some of the most important black metal releases from all across Europe. BEHERIT and DISSECTION showed their first true glimpses of blasphemous wrath and funereal melody. IMPALED NAZARENE and UNGOD let their presence known for the first time too. ROTTING CHRIST and VARATHRON were riding the flag of Hellenic black metal high and proud. MARDUK gave us the glorious “Those of The Unlight”. But here I want to pay my tribute to one of the trvest underground acts to come out of the Netherlands from that time… read more

When we think about the Dutch black metal scene from the 90s, we first think about bands like ABIGOR and BESTIAL WARLUST. But ENGRAVED was quite special too. What makes ENGRAVED all the more amazing is the fact that this EP “Ninkharsag” which we are looking at here is their only release besides the 2 demos that came out earlier. If “Ninkharsag” is something to go by, they would have been quite a special band with time.“Ninkharsag” is not enriched with supreme musicianship or complex compositions but it’s raw, it’s dark, it’s cold, it’s old, it’s black metal. The drumming here is like it is coming out of some rotten purgatory, the damned distorted chaos speaks of wretched desolation. Another major aspect that makes “Ninkharsag” so special to me is the use of subtle synth layers which gives a depressive, melancholic gothic sadness in the vein of early Cradle of Filth to the soundscape. It makes it even more horrifyingly beautiful. When I listened to this EP for the first time, I was blown away by the build-up of the 1st track. After the initial grim synth melancholy, I expected the blast beats to kick in straight away with the rising tempo of the bass kicks. I was not expecting the slow, quarter note passage where bleak acoustic strums come to play with the haunting synth too. Nympherus complements this darkening atmosphere beautifully with his tearful weeping outcries too. Then the blasts finally kick in and they keep shifting between the crestfallen, acoustic passages and the distorted, infernal chaos. The sadly short title track also sustains this usage of acoustic suspense but after that “The wood of queen Ereshkigal” and the final track “The stygian Lake” are all about uncompromising, primal, dirty, bestial black metal assault.

As I said, “Ninkharsag” is nothing special but it’s a hell of beauty if we consider the time and the place. So when we think about all the amazing black metal releases from 1993, we should not forget about ENGRAVED who gave us a majestic jewel from the early Dutch black metal scene in their relatively short career.



BURZUM – Det Som Engang Var
August 1993, Cymophane Records

 Recorded in 1992 and released one year later, “Det Som Engang Var” (“What Once Was”) already offers some of the outstanding atmospheric features that “Count Grishnakh” would build upon in the albums to come. The primitive rawness of the debut is still present here, but the production, while still being intendedly lo-fi, seems to be a lot more precise, focused and deliberate. read more

The riffing still has a heavy, early-Thrash kind of vibe to it that would be removed from later releases, mixing faster and more atmospheric, lethargic riffs, the album creates a good flow. The vocals are extremely tortured and inhuman, I think Varg delivered a vocal performance on his first three records, that is to this day is unbeaten in its fierce ghoulishness.

While tracks like “Lost Wisdom” and “”En Ring Til Aa Herske” (“One Ring to Rule”), the latter featuring some great semi-clean vocals/chants, are among the best Atmospheric Black Metal pieces of BURZUMs black metal albums, the Ambient interlude and outro that are “Han Som Reiste” (“He Who Wandered”) & “Svarte Troner” (“Black Thrones”) offer a peak into the Dungeon Synth / Dark Ambient style that would later completely take over the project.

Somewhat sandwiched between the raw self-titled debut and atmospheric masterpiece that is “Hvis Lyset Tar Oss” (check YOD ’94 for that one), I at first missed out on this album, only to later regret to not have checked it out sooner… “Det Som Engang Var” is not a single bit worse than the other BURZUM albums and should definitely not be missed, I’d even call it underappreciated in regards to how much praise the other albums get!

the trve Medvson

August 1993, Spinefarm

What a beautiful year it was in 1993!
Swedish melodic death metal band DARK TRANQUILLITY released their debut studio album Skydancer, after which Anders Fridén was fired and Mikael Stanne came in instead but went on to live peacefully with In Flames…who ironically featured Mikael as well on Lunar Strain. Melodic death metal barely existed, and the group was heavily influenced by simple black metal although including the formula of melo as we know it.. read more

Released originally by Spinefarm the album was re-released in 1999 by Century Media Records as “Skydancer/Of Chaos and Eternal Night” and yet again in 2013 as a celebration of the album´s twentieth anniversary. We have heard that before for oh so many albums.

Chaos may very well have been a good underlying title as the endless flowing riffs never really seem to be the same on the tracks. Perhaps it was due to the time limit the band faced in the studio and the acoustic and electric guitars playing off of each other, but hey, at least later on the reissues gave it a nice touch.

As a debut album, it’s safe to say that “Skydancer” paved the way that DARK TRANQUILLITY would take again in 1995 with “The Gallery”, which in itself turned out as a classic album of the Gothenburg style of metal and overall received more positive reviews than “Skydancer” had. The controversial “Projector” would come even later on, but we all know that.

But as a so-called dark horse of the discography from Dark Tranquility, “Skydancer is a good example of where bands often start out and work their way up.


FIGHT – War of Words
October 1993, Epic Sony

1993 and my metal journey was well under way. I had my first and seminal metal experience/show (people flew…), it was the band that ruled the world those years: Metallica.

So, there goes Rob Halford leaving Judas Priest and getting some young guns to form a new band called FIGHT. That name says a lot about the kind of music dear Robert was going to unleash on us all. This was the era of groove metal, Pantera was up there wreaking havoc on the metal scene with there aggressive and technical take on metal, and Halford took some notes. read more

Personally, I embraced this new band like a gift. Not as a groove metal or PANTERA fan, which I like but never thought about them as “one of my bands”. And the genre was never a big thing for me.

I was a Judas fan (of course), but was more of a Halford follower to be honest. So when the first single and video appeared on MTV (yes, this was a reality back then) I jumped in and never looked back. “Nailed To The Gun” was that song, and still can play that video on my mind. Halford was on fire, his vocals were aggressive and sharp as a scalpel. As said above, the album is well cemented in groove with thrash passages. Fast-paced and aggressive songs mixed with mid-tempo ones that will crush your skull. The band assembled by Halford with his Judas bandmate Travis doesn´t lose a beat and plays like a well-oiled machine throughout the album. But it is Rob Halford the star of this album and band. Make no mistake, without him I can assure you that this album would have been lost in the many and many albums that the 90´s groove metal scene gave us. Hail the Metal God!

On a final note, FIGHT was short-lived and only lasted for another album (which i like more than this one if I can be honest). I remember I was a bit sad about it as I always was a Fight fan but not necessary a Halford solo one. His solo work is a bit boring for me, but Fight gave me a different take on him to appreciate. So, get on the Years of Decay time machine, and play “War of Words” like it was the first day!


Truly Yours,
Blessed Altar Zine Team

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

(Visited 216 times, 1 visits today)