Well, here it is folks. The final 10 [Here’s the first 40: 50-41, 40-31, 31-20, 20-11 and Steel Druhm’s: 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1]. And this is going to ruffle a bunch of feathers, I guarantee it. These are, for the most part, not widely considered “favorites” and would never make fan-voted lists, but these tracks all got onto this list pretty easily. I’m not as angry about the whole Gibson list anymore, and I’ve lost a bit of steam because of that, but these tracks are all fucking fantastic, top-o’-the-line kind of shit. I hope you enjoy the list and I look forward trolling you soon. U MAD BRO!?
10. Dimmu Borgir – Spiritual Black Dimension – “The Insight and the Catharsis” – Well, these guys win on several fronts. First front? Definitely the Freud reference. Second front? This song fucking rules. I love everything about. The songwriting is grand, majestic, heavy and blasty while still having lots of melody. This was probably the band’s last awesome album, but it was “The Insight and the Catharsis” and Simen’s vocals that kept me coming back to this track. His vocal melodies are totally incredible and super addictive. And even the guitar solo is heads-and-shoulders above Dimmu‘s run-o’-the-mill work. Over and over and over I have listened to this song and never have I gotten bored with it. Tremendously well constructed, well performed and one of my favorite metal songs of all time (obviously).
09. Danzig – III: How the Gods Kill – “How the Gods Kill” – “Really?” you say. “Danzig?” Hell yes, Danzig. He may be an 4 foot evil Elvis impersonator, but he’s the most evil one of those fuckers you ever done met. And really, he did produce some good, doomy, bluesy heavy metal back in the day. But one of those just pretty good records contained a magnificent and, in my opinion, overlooked track: “How the Gods Kill.” Man, this one is great. It starts out with Danzig‘s dulcet tones and and it just builds. It never reaches a frenzy, but it’s like seething evil. Creepy, awesome and oh-so-memorable. A truly great heavy metal song.
08. Blind Guardian – Nightfall in Middle-Earth – “Nightfall” – This is another one of those tracks that I don’t think it goes to deny. How do you ever deny this shit when it’s staring you in the face like this? This song has everything in it that you could possibly want out of a power metal band. The vocals? Awesome. The harmonies? Huge. The chorus? Unforgettable (really, you’ll be singing it for weeks). The story? By J.R.R. Tolkien. And while Blind Guardian fans will probably poo themselves (they are a remarkably bitchy and fickle lot), I don’t actually think it ever got better than this. These guys just nailed it and nothing they’ve done since has quite lived up to it. Unfortunately, once I’d been changed by “Nightfall” I wanted more of it and never got it. But this song will never die for me.
07. Amon Amarth – Fate of Norns – “The Fate of Norns” – This is actually a weird one, in a sense. As a track it’s actually not the band’s “best” even, but this is one of the few heavy metal songs that has lyrics that actually really moved me the first time I listened to it. Since then it’s been a favorite of mine and for good reasons. I mean, it’s also a great song. Mid-paced melodic death metal with a very memorable chorus, but really it’s just the lyrics that do it for me. I think it’s the idea of Johan Hegg crying over his dead son that do it for me. I dunno, apparently Angry Metal Guy is actually Soft and Cuddly Metal Guy. Whatever, this song is a track I always come back to and love thoroughly. Especially the “ALLFATHER!!!!” part. Oh man, goosebumps as I listen to it now. “I lay him down upon a pyre / A burial worthy a king / And as I lay down by his side / I feel them weaving us in.” So motherfucking metal.
06. Rhapsody [of Fire] – Power of the Dragonflame – “Agony Is My Name” – Oh man, J is right. I am a power metal fag! ‘Cause dudes, this song just straight up balls. This track has it all. It’s like they looked at Yngwe Malmsteen and then they just raised him by 1,000. It’s all here: the over-the-top vocals, chorus, baroque guitar solos and hell even a harpsichord and it 100% rules. Just everything about this song is total win. The chorus, the vocal delivery, every single instrument on the recording. Oh. I listen to it and I instinctively throw horns. It’s like reflexive. Fuck. Such a great track, and this band has had some great tracks.
05. Iced Earth – Something Wicked Comes this Way – The Trilogy: “Prophecy,” “Birth of the Wicked,” and “The Coming Curse” – Okay, I’m cheating. But I *shouldn’t* be cheating, it’s just that Jon Schaffer didn’t make this one song on the record. But you ever see anyone ever play just one of these tracks? No. Have they ever played just one of these tracks live? No. This is one big awesome epic song and it is literally the only Iced Earth I ever even listen to anymore. Matt Barlow is such a beast on these tracks and all three are just.. well.. plain awesome. I’m actually at a loss for words as to how to explain why I love these songs as much as I do. They are just super epic, with Schaffer’s best writing ever, and all the things you love about metal. Gallop, lightning triplets on the drums and guitars, and all the conspiracy laden drama you can eat. Now listen to this and tell me this shit ain’t worth of this spot on the list.
04. Opeth – Blackwater Park – “The Drapery Falls” – Opeth is ridiculously popular now and this is the record that did it. And while I don’t tend to kowtow to the consensus, it’s hard to ignore that this record was special. Because, well, it was special. Everything about it just really clicked, and while I don’t actually even think it’s the band’s best, it has lived on. For me, one of the reasons it lives on as one of the finest metal records I own and one of the band’s best is this track. I remember hearing it for the first time and my jaw dropping when the change at 4 minutes hit: “Pull me down again and guide me into.. Aaah!” Oh man. It floored me and I never forgot it. And still to this day, I haven’t forgotten it. I don’t listen to much Opeth anymore, and I dread the new record something fierce, but “The Drapery Falls” brings back all the same good ol’ nostalgia feelings. [Finally, fuck that they’re SO POPULAR that I can’t find a non-live version of this song on YouTube.]
03. Metallica – Ride the Lightning – “Creeping Death” – Uh. Hi. Metallica? Yeah, as far as I’m concerned these guys are the thrash band that survives the best in the modern era (that is, their first three albums are still the best), but I must admit that my first full length record was actually a Metallica record, so let’s not kid ourselves, people. I’m a biased motherfucker. Still, I’ve never understood the infatuation with Master of Puppets when Ride the Lightning was such a much better record and “Creeping Death” is the crown-motherfucking-jewel in Metallica‘s bonnet (these guys don’t have a crown anymore, they play corporate parties for fuck sake). Still, this track is just awesome. It’s catchy, it’s rad, it’s got great solos and one of the best chanty parts in any song. Also, it’s.. Biblical? Well, whatever, it was the most metal part of the Bible for sure. Great shit.
02. Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son – “The Prophecy” – This is the second prophecy on my top list, but this is easily the superior of the two. For me, what makes Iron Maiden the best heavy metal band of all time is the prog. They were a heavy metal band, it’s true. And they wrote some fucking scorchers that I absolutely love. But “The Prophecy” is such an awesome and epic track and subtly progressive, it just embodies everything I love about heavy metal today. It’s got a cool lead in, great dynamic vocals with a badass riff. Dickinson sounds amazing but he never tries to shriek or fuck it up with vocals from his nutsack, he’s just dead on. The guitar work on this song is awesome and Steve Harris’ bass is really just unmatched. The melodies are sticky and the guitar solos are ballsy, though they’re definitely not the best on this album (’cause the title track takes that). And then, the outro. A harmonized riff and beautiful acoustics under it. It’s almost too much too fast, and yet for some reason it just got under my skin and never left. I guarantee you that if I ever get a successful band off the ground this will be the first song we cover. It shows all the dynamism that the band’s counterparts never could muster and it still should make bands green with envy.
01. Blaze – Silicon Messiah – “Stare at the Sun” – It’s hard to express how much I loved this record as an 18 year old. When it comes to good, honest heavy metal the 2000s have not been pretty. We’ve had some power metal, some neo-thrash, and sure, there’s a lot of retro-’80s acts out there, but none of them do good, honest heavy metal convincingly with such a tight, modern sound. But that’s what Silicon Messiah was. Blaze, which was led by Blaze Bayley and built from homegrown—and excellent—English players, did just that. And “Stare at the Sun” is the culmination of that drive, that hunger, and that spark. Everything about this song is just right. The build up is impeccable, the guitar solos are elite, the lyrics are unique and well-written (it’s about a man going insane in space while staring at the tiny dot that is our sun, what’s more metal than that?) and the production from Mr. Andy Sneap (who you may have heard of) is immense and heavy. “Stare at the Sun” just exemplifies everything good about heavy metal. It, in my opinion, is the definition of heavy metal perfection.
And that my friends, is all she wrote. If you have any desire to listen to the whole fucking thing as a playlist, you can do that right over here! Click this link and be taken to Spotify!