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Heavy Hitters: White Zombie, Corrosion of Conformity, Soundgarden & Jane's Addiction

Paul Gargano revisits four classic albums from the early '90s

Last week’s Heavy Hitters focused on albums that took hard rock to the next level in the ‘80s. This week, Metal Edge pays our respect to four breakthrough albums from the early ‘90s that propelled the next wave of heavy music. As always, all this vinyl and more can be found in the Metal Edge store

 WHITE ZOMBIE La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Volume 1

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It’s hard to remember Rob Zombie as anything less than the eponymous icon of his rock, metal and horror kingdom, but when this super-charged major-label debut hit the streets almost three decades ago to the day, we were blown away by the art-rock frontman and his band of merry mayhem makers. “Thunder Kiss ‘65” and “Black Sunshine” put White Zombie on the map, but I’m also partial to “Spiderbaby (Yeah-Yeah-Yeah)” for its sizzling guitars and psychedelic groove and the slo-burn grind of “I Am Legend.” Recorded before digital made it commonplace to choke the air out of recordings, La Sexorcisto actually has a lo-fi feel that lends itself to vinyl – couple that with the awesome ‘70s camp artwork, and this 180 gram LP is a must own.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY Deliverance

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“Hey fool, haven’t you heard? Heaven’s not overflowing…” But this album is, with some of the most soul stomping, swamp infused metal this side of the bayou. I know, I know, C.O.C. are from North Carolina – but tell me there isn’t a Cajun seasoning splayed atop their southern sprawl and doom-laden tone. I’ll go to the grave convinced that Pepper Keenan, Woody Weatherman, Mike Dean and Reed Mullin are four of the most underrated talents in metal, a collective juggernaut akin to Lynyrd Skynyrd on steroids and a drug binge. “Clean My Wounds” boasts one of my favorite riffs, “Senor Limpio” is a salty salute to ZZ Top, and “Seven Days” is a chilling ode to contempt. This is one of my Top 10 albums of all time, so imagine my delight when it was finally reissued on vinyl last month by Red Music Legacy – until then, you’d be lucky to find a pressing for less than $300 on the secondary market. Trust me, I was looking.

SOUNDGARDEN Badmotorfinger

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Forced to pick just one Soundgarden album, I’m still giving a slight edge to Louder Than Love, but that’s for more personal reasons than music or aesthetics. Badmotorfinger is the album where Seattle’s greatest sonic force shed the oft-awkward shackles of adolescence and became a man, eschewing the mainstream with a sound infused by sludgy dirges and razor-wired hooks. “Jesus Christ Pose” is the culmination for me, laying a six-minute shrapnel cover of churning riffs and Chris Cornell’s not-of-this-world vocals. “Somewhere” counters with a melancholic deep dive into fragility, offering a strong hint of where the band would foray with their next opus, Superunknown. A poet once sang that he was looking California but feeling Minnesota, which is an apt description of this album, as well – produced to perfection, but jagged around the edges. Vinyl only enhances the mood.  

JANE’S ADDICTION Ritual de lo Habitual

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A hearty amalgam of Perry Farrell’s philosopher-in-training lyrics and Dave Navarro’s drug-trip guitar histrionics, this album flipped the script for wide-eyed college me. Ritual de lo Habitual made it alright for alternative to be heavy as fuck, and for metal to be funky and fresh. Jane’s Addiction had attitude, but they weren’t about attitude, which made their fascinating blend of style and substance so damn invigorating and irresistible. “Ain’t No Right” could thrash if it wanted to, “Been Caught Stealing” swings, sways and shimmies in an over-sized trench coat, and “Three Days” is practically psychedelic in its nearly eleven-minute build and release. After years of searching, I only recently snagged a copy of this gem on vinyl, and of course Metal Edge stocked the translucent pearl variant a few weeks later – looks like now there will be two copies in my collection!