Fan poll: Top 5 albums of 1994 | Revolver

Fan poll: Top 5 albums of 1994

See which heavy-music classic landed at No. 1
Nine Inch Nails 1994 Getty, Ebet Roberts/Redferns
photograph by Ebet Roberts/Redferns

There's no other way to say it: 1994 was an absolutely legendary year for heavy music. Nu-metal got its wings. Grunge evolved in myriad ways. Scabrous metal topped the charts. And so many other iterations of headbanging sounds flourished in the underground-gone-aboveground rock boom of the Nineties.

We asked our readers to pick the single greatest album from 1994. We got... so many votes, and the tallies were incredibly close. See the top five vote-getters ranked accordingly below.

5. Alice in Chains - Jar of Flies

Yes, we know. Jar of Flies is technically an EP, but it left such a tremendous impact on rock music (and was the first-ever EP to top the Billboard 200) that disqualifying its many votes from this list would've felt wrong.

Alice in Chains revealed a whole other side of their sound on this heart-wrenching landmark, delivering staggering ballads like "Nutshell" that retained all the hard-hitting power of their Dirt hits while exploring a much subtler musical palette.

4. Soundgarden - Superunknown

Soundgarden came crashing out the gate with their Zeppelin-ized punk on Ultramega OK and Louder Than Love. Then Badmotorfinger made them grunge superstars, and Superunknown sealed their fate in the wider rock pantheon.

You've heard "Black Hole Sun," "Spoonman," "The Day I Tried to Live," "Fell on Black Days" — hell, you've heard 'em all because this album is so pervasive. Now, go hear 'em again. They still rip just as hard.

3. Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral

They really don't make 'em like this anymore, do they? After teasing their caustic new approach with the iconic Broken EP, Nine Inch Nails' full deep dive into industrial-metal mayhem still drills into skulls and tears out hearts to this day.

"Closer" and "Hurt" are obvious standouts, but this double-LP demands to be consumed in full — and then studied by scientists to find out where humanity went wrong (or right) to allow an album this fucked-up to become a mainstream hit.

2. Korn - Korn

Korn's 1994 debut didn't just launch the Bakersfield band's career, but also an entire genre. Nu-metal's ground zero is an uncompromisingly dark, gritty and hella funky masterpiece that quite frankly sounds like nothing that came before — or after.

Once you hear Jonathan Davis ask, "Are you ready?," there's no time to second-guess. You're in it, and Korn don't pull you out of their twisted world of trauma and groove until the last sobs of "Daddy" ring out. Brutal — and awesome.

1. Pantera - Far Beyond Driven

This was some stiff competition. Basically any of these five records could've landed at No. 1 and felt like a good fit, but Far Beyond Driven certainly wears the crown well.

Pantera's third major-label album is loads heavier than the stellar two that preceded it — with vocals that sometimes border on death metal, and neck-snapping riffs for days — and it still went all the way to No. 1 on the Billboard 200. "5 Minutes Alone" and "I'm Broken" are all-timers, "Becoming" and "Slaughtered" should be just as heralded — and hell, "Shedding Skin" is a total ripper.

Our readers think it's the best album '94, and we're not gonna fight them on it.