Limp Bizkit – Significant Other
Now unfairly derided by many as a novelty and a joke, Limp Bizkit were once one of the biggest bands on the planet, and Significant Other is the album that put them there. Helped by smash hits like “Nookie” and “Break Stuff”, the group had mastered the art of crafting tension building, adrenaline fuelled anthems. However, underneath the boneheaded bravado, there lay a depth that Bizkit are rarely given credit for. Whilst there may be some lyrical mishaps, songs like “Re-Arranged”, “Don’t Go Off Wandering”, “No Sex” and “A Lesson Learned” show an introspection and an adventurous, melodic instrumental prowess far beyond the meaty riffs and heavy grooves the band are normally associated with. It’s all tied together by a polished production job by Terry Date (just listen to that drum intro on “Just Like This”) that makes the music sound absolutely massive. An indispensable part of ‘90s music history, Significant Other is significant indeed.
Slipknot – Slipknot
These days, Slipknot are such a well-established part of the heavy metal institution that it is hard to imagine a world without them. Yet such a time did exist. Towards the end of the last millennium, only the people who had heard the band’s demos had any inkling of what was about to be unleashed. When their debut studio album, self-titled Slipknot, finally hit the shelves in June 1999 it cemented itself in heavy metal history, achieving a level of both critical and commercial success that was unheard of for a band with their extreme sound and image (a success that later led to them to be one of the first ‘modern’ bands to headline Download Festival, and only after a mere four albums). The Nine appeared to the world in their now iconic masks and jumpsuits, making their image as much a part of them as their music. Indeed, the reveal of new masks for each album is an event unto itself. Far from being an attention seeking gimmick, Slipknot treat their image and their ‘brand’ with deadly seriousness, hence why the legacy of The Nine and their masks bring excitement long after the people underneath them were revealed. More importantly, they have the sound to back it up. Slipknot is often pigeon-holed under the nu-metal banner, but the reality is it was a genre unto itself, blending influences from all across the spectrum in a cacophony of aggressive riffs and bludgeoning rhythms. Sure, the latter half of the album is often cruelly overlooked, and both Iowa and Vol 3… are arguably better overall albums, but when your debut salvo of tracks contains “(sic)”, “Eyeless”, “Surfacing” and “Spit It Out” then your album is already onto a winner. All are anthems for the perpetually pissed off, delivered with a ferociousness that makes casual listeners wilt under their intensity. All remain crucial components of Slipknot’s live set to this day and being part of thousands of fans obeying Corey Taylor’s command to ‘JUMP THE F**K UP’ during “Spit It Out” is as exhilarating as it is terrifying. Like that command, there is nothing subtle about Slipknot: it is a barrage of blistering intensity that forms a crucial part of modern metal lineage.