Especially for heavy metal and hard rock as can be heard on the following albums: Alice Cooper’s Hey Stoopid, Armored Saint’s Symbol of Salvation, Cannibal Corpse’s Butchered at Birth, Cerebral Fix’s Bastards, Dark Angel’s Time Does Not Heal, Death’s Human, Entombed’s Clandestine, Lita Ford’s Dangerous Curves, Metallica’s black album, Morbid Angel’s Blessed are the Sick, Motörhead’s 1916, Mr. Bungle’s self-titled début, Ozzy Osbourne’s No More Tears, Paradise Lost’s Gothic, Prong’s Prove you Wrong, Queen’s Innuendo, Savatage’s Streets: A Rock Opera, Skid Row’s Slave to the Grind, Sepultura’s Arise, Suffocation’s Effigy of the Forgotten, Temple of the Dog’s eponymous album, Tesla’s Psychotic Supper, Van Halen’s For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and White Lion’s Mane Attraction (a surprisingly cool album).
As for bands releasing singles without having to record an album of original material, the following is worthy of recognition: Anthrax’s Bring the Noise (a rap metal cover), Faith No More’s Perfect Crime, Megadeth’s Go to Hell, Mötley Crüe’s Primal Scream and Ratt’s Nobody Rides for Free (my favourite). To emphasize the eventful nature of 1991, three of these singles were on soundtracks whose movies starred Keanu Reeves.
As for rock albums in general, the year was rounded out by Blur’s Leisure, The Cure’s Ceremony, NOFX’s Ribbed, Fishbone’s The Reality of my Surroundings, Firehouse’s Flyin’ the Flannel, Hole’s Pretty on the Inside, Jawbox’s Grippe, My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless, Pearl Jam’s Ten, Transvision Vamp’s Little Magnets Versus the Bubble (their coolest album) and U2’s Ashtung Baby.
If that’s not enough rockage for you, there’s Use Your Illusion by Guns ‘n’ Roses, Notorious by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, the self-titled album of Cycle Sluts from Hell, Wretch by Kyuss, Sailing the Seas of Cheese by Primus, Out of Time by R.E.M. along with Superstition by Siouxsie and the Banshees. It speaks volumes about 1991’s magic that Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger, Nirvana’s Nevermind and RHCP’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik (sic) were released on the same date (September 24). Third time lucky.
1991 was the best example of the stars aligning for the genre (even Billy Corgan described Gish as a very spiritual album for The Smashing Pumpkins). Not only was 1991 the pinnacle, it was the coolest year for the genre. If I had to pick the coolest record, it would be the first and last album of Nymphs. As such, it was the last golden year.