This year nu metal continued to dominate the mainstream, but plenty of bands from the next massive scene, metalcore, formed including Atreyu and Bullet For My Valentine. We’ve got albums from the kings of horror going head to head and the kings of sci-fi groove coming your way.
Fear Factory – Obsolete
Written by Kevin McDonald
How to follow up a classic? That was the problem facing Fear Factory in 1998, having constructed a real trailblazer with 1995’s Demanufacture. Not as big a leap as Demanufacture was from the death metal of 1992’s Soul of a New Machine, Obsolete still serves as more than a refinement of the trademark sound established on its predecessor. Whilst the riffs are just as heavy, the action is less frantic and more direct, with a greater emphasis placed on groove and melodies, as exhibited on “Descent”, “Resurrection” and desolate closer “Timelessness”. The band still hit hard though, with the nu metal bounce of “Edgecrusher”, staccato spitfire of “Shock” and the authoritative pummelling of “Smasher / Devourer” all firm fan favourites. The storyline, detailed in the album’s booklet as well as through Burton C. Bell’s lyrics, is more involving than the more amorphous narrative of Demanufacture, making for an accomplished and well-rounded conceptual piece the likes of which few can deliver to the standard of Fear Factory.
Marilyn Manson – Mechanical Animals
Written by Kevin McDonald
The second entry in Marilyn Manson’s superb conceptual triptych, Mechanical Animals was a real left turn after the industrial metal aggro of Antichrist Superstar had cemented the shock rocker’s place in the mainstream in 1996. In contrast to the dark aural canvases of the records released either side of it, Mechanical Animals is awash with bright, vibrant colours, drawing influence from glam metal pioneers such as David Bowie and T Rex. Whether it’s the whirring riffs of “Rock Is Dead”, the rich, melodic textures of “Great Big White World” and “Coma White”, or the ethereal beauty that cascades through “Disassociative” and “The Speed of Pain”, Mechanical Animals is seamlessly held together by faultless songwriting. Led by slinky lead single “The Dope Show”, which saw Manson cast as the androgynous extra-terrestrial that adorns the record’s sleeve, it shot to number one in the US and charted impressively around the globe. An album of incredible depth and endless replay-ability, its momentum was curtailed by the horrific events in Columbine on April 20th 1999, where 12 students and a teacher were shot and killed by fellow classmates. Purported to be fans of his, Manson unfairly shouldered much of the blame, fuelling the hard hitting social critiques that coursed through follow up Holy Wood.
Rob Zombie- Hellbilly Deluxe -13 Tales of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside the Spookshow International
Written by Stephanie Ingram
This was Rob zombie’s first solo album (after the success with his band White Zombie) Hellbilly Deluxe was released on August 25th in 1998 on Geffan Records. The inspiration behind the album was mainly focused on his love for classic horror and supernatural creatures. Hellbilly Deluxe was recorded in California, reaching the top five on the Billboard 2000 and selling over 3 million copies in just the USA. The music has elements of his iconic industrial sounds with heavy distorted guitars . This album has proven to be quite popular with tracks ‘ Living Dead Girl, ‘Dragula’ and ‘Superbeast’ being the most played and it continues to sell to this day. Due to the popularity of the album and his career as a solo artist being more recognisable, Rob Zombie had later released a sequel to the album in February 2010 with Hellbilly Deluxe 2 on Roadrunner Records.