Over the past couple weeks, we’ve been running through our picks for the 10 greatest metal songs of each decade, choosing one cut to represent each year. For this Loud List, we explore 1990-1999 to prove the dreaded decade wasn’t so bad for metal after all.

The undisputed kings of metal in the ‘90s were Pantera. Releasing classic after classic throughout the decade, it’s no surprise to see the Cowboys From Hell take multiple spots on this list. A cut from Vulgar Display of Power was chosen for 1992, but it’s not the song you’re thinking of. You’ll also find a riff-tastic track from Far Beyond Driven featured for 1994.

The ‘90s was a period when alternative metal really took off in the mainstream too. Tool turned from a promising young band to a legitimate cult with Ænima, and the Bill Hicks-inspired almost-title track was as powerful as Tool’s desire to see Los Angeles sink into the Pacific Ocean.

The decade also saw the birth of nu-metal, with Korn leading the charge. The Bakersfield band hit their high watermark in 1998 with Follow the Leader and its most powerful single, “Freak on a Leash.” During an era when boy bands were topping the charts on TRL, “Freak on a Leash” famously knocked them off the top spot, waving a triumphant black flag for metal.

Check out our picks for the 10 Greatest Metal Songs of the 1990s (Year by Year) in the Loud List above.

Top 90 Hard Rock + Metal Albums of the 1990s

More From Banana 101.5