How 1994 Changed Rock Music Forever – Kerrang!

And everywhere ? Because while the headlines of 1994 heralded a dark era for heavy music, the albums released that year told a far more inspiring story – of scenes coming to fruition and bands fulfilling the promises they had to make. barely hinted. The phenomenon was as true for Bay Area punk, as it was for the Norwegian black metal wastelands, as it was for the murky industrial scene – a sense of myriad pots boiling, simultaneously.

The bigger story was Dookie, catapulting three brat San Francisco punks into the same multi-platinum, heavily touring stardom that had so recently destroyed Nirvana. Although few predicted the success of Dookie’s unit change, her radio friendliness was impossible to deny. Like Nirvana, Green Day played pop songs, albeit masked with distortion and maximum decibelling, and delivered with a stinging voice of disdain and scathing wit.

Much like Nirvana, Green Day had not evolved in isolation, and their escape shone a spotlight on California’s fiercely independent punk-rock movement—fortuitously, as many of their contemporaries recorded their best records. The Offspring was the first to follow, then unknown band’s third album, Smash, powered by hit singles Come Out And Play and Self Esteem to sell 11 million copies, making it the independent album best-selling of all time; these profits gratefully received by their label Epitaph, created by Bad Religion guitarist and composer Brett Gurewitz, 14 years earlier. After spending hours in his car listening to mixes from the album, he greeted his wife, saying, “Honey, we’re gonna be rich.

This surge of interest in West Coast punk was a boon, as the label also scored hits with NOFX’s million-selling fifth album, Punk In Drublic, and, the following year , the thunderous … And Out Come The Wolves by Rancid. The title of this latest album was a nod to the majors surrounding Rancid as they remained loyal to Epitaph. Bad Religion, however, joined Atlantic for their eighth album and late breakthrough, Stranger Than Fiction.

The West Coast pop-punk explosion was momentous and influential – that year, a then-unknown blink-182 recorded their debut album, Cheshire Cat, on Westbeach Recorders, precisely because heroes Bad Religion and NOFX played there. had recorded—but across the United States, other bands blending melody and caustic dynamics were coming of age. Connecticut-born geek Rivers Cuomo had moved to Los Angeles, formed Weezer, and committed to recording a batch of songs that blended pure pop melodies with alt.rock crunch and emotionally literate lyrics. Rivers was a die-hard Nirvana fan, but not a slavish copycat, and Weezer’s blue album reinforced Kurt’s savvy mix of noise and vulnerability, but with a voice all their own.

Emo – a national movement, not tied to any state or city – resurfaced in 1994 with two key genre-defining albums. Jawbreaker’s third album, 24 Hour Revenge Therapy, was 37 minutes of bellowing punk-rock intensity, swapping veneer for passion, but still imbued with a bruised air. Sunny Day Real Estate’s debut album Diary was a gnarly, angsty but often brilliant beast, with a rhythmically complex tumult sent skyward by frontman Jeremy Enigk’s dark vocals.

Neither album troubled the charts – “I know a lot of bands that started because of our influence,” Jawbreaker drummer Adam Pfahler recently told Pitchfork, “but we were [only] selling in the tens of thousands” – although both have since been recognized as landmarks. Among this “class of 94,” the spirit of Kurt Cobain could perhaps be heard most clearly in their fusion of visceral punk dynamics with angsty, lyrical chiaroscuro. SDRE imploded during the sessions for their second album, but rhythm section Nate Mendel and William Goldsmith then joined Foo Fighters, whose debut album Dave Grohl had recorded alone in Seattle in October.