10 Best Hard Rock Albums of 1995
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1995 was an excellent year for hard rock music. The mid-90s featured the continuation of the punk rock revival, with the likes of Green Day and Rancid, a dominant grunge scene featuring Alice in Chains, and some good ol' rock 'n' roll from AC/DC.
It was also a stellar year for new bands as Filter, Silverchair, Mad Season and a little group named Foo Fighters all released their debut albums. Join us as we flash back to this momentous year in rock music with the 10 Best Hard Rock Albums of 1995.
Filter released their debut album, Short Bus, back in 1995. The effort, inspired by Richard Patrick’s time touring with Nine Inch Nails, spawned a huge hit with “Hey Man, Nice Shot.” The track epitomizes the gritty heavy electronic rock sound of the mid-90s. Short Bus went on to sell more than one million copies and put Filter on the map.
Fugazi released their fourth album Red Medicine in 1995. It showcased the band expanding their post-hardcore sound experimenting with noise punk, dub and more. Twenty years later, this album still holds up with standout tracks like in “Do You Like Me,” “By You” and “Version." The critically acclaimed effort featured Fugazi pushing their sound to its limits and beyond.
In 1995, Primus released their fourth album, Tales From The Punchbowl. The album features one of the band’s biggest hits, “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver,” and also boasts some amazingly progressive tracks like “Professor Nutbutter’s House of Treats,” “Southbound Pachyderm,” “Over the Electric Grapevine” and “On the Tweek Again.” The album shows off Les Claypool’s insanely unorthodox songwriting and virtuosic bass playing.
Mad Season, the supergroup featuring Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready, late Walkabouts bassist John Baker Saunders and late vocalist Layne Staley from Alice in Chains. They released their first and only album, Above, in March of 1995. The effort spawned the hit “River of Deceit,” which was followed by “I Don’t Know Anything” and “Long Gone Day.” The album also features the moody and laid-back opening track “Wake Up,” the bluesy “Artificial Red” and the atmospheric “All Alone.” Mad Season was a stark contrast to Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam and Above still stands up two decades later.
With classic songs like “Hard as a Rock,” “Cover You in Oil” and “Hail Caesar,” AC/DC proved their classic style still had a place in the mid-90s. The band released Ballbreaker in September of 1995. It marked their first album since 1990s’ The Razors Edge and it would be five years before the Australian rockers would release Stiff Upper Lip in 2000. The effort is classic AC/DC and has sold over 2 million copies.
Following the massive breakthrough success of Dookie in 1994, Green Day had a lot to prove on the follow-up Insomniac. The effort was released in October of 1995 and features classics like “Geek Stink Breath,” “Brain Stew,” “Jaded” and “Walking Contradiction.” While the effort didn’t make as big as an impact as Dookie, it did sell over 2 million copies and showcased a darker side of the band, who went on to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Rancid released their third album … And Out Come the Wolves in the summer of 1995. The disc features some classic Rancid tracks including “Time Bomb” and “Roots Radical.” The effort was released at the perfect time during a mid-90s punk rock revival and was embraced by rock radio, especial the song “Ruby Soho.” The album is not only one of the best albums of 1995 but it is one of the best punk albums of all time.
Foo Fighters' self-titled debut album was a breath of fresh air back in 1995. The effort gave the public insight into the amazing talent of Dave Grohl, who recorded almost every instrument on the album. With songs like “Big Me,” “I’ll Stick Around” and “This is a Call,” the former Nirvana drummer showed he had what it takes to be an enigmatic rock frontman.
Alice in Chains released their self-titled album in November of 1995. The effort is the last Alice in Chains album to feature original frontman Layne Staley, who passed away in 2002. The monumental effort features songs like “Grind,” “Again,” the super heavy “Sludge Factory” and some amazing deep cuts including “Frogs,” “So Close” and the epic song “Over Now," which eerily ends the album with Stayley singing: “We pay our debt sometimes.” The band scored two Grammy nominations for Best Hard Rock Performance for “Grind” and “Again.”
The Smashing Pumpkins’ double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness tops our list of the 10 Best Hard Rock Albums of 1995. The epic album features some of the band’s best work, including “Tonight, Tonight,” “Zero,” “1979” and “Bullet With Butterfly Wings.” The effort earned the Pumpkins seven Grammy Award nominations in 1997 including Album of the Year and Record of the Year for “1979.” The band walked away with one trophy for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal for "Bullet with Butterfly Wings."