After Steel Druhm’s fine addition to this discussion about awesome metal songs, here’s the continuation of my ridiculously superior list. No need for a rant. Just jump right on into the joy contained below. Here’s the first one.
#40: Finntroll – Jaktens Tid – “Jaktens Tid” – To be completely honest with you, given everything, I will never understand how Finntroll isn’t one of the most popular heavy metal bands in the world. I know, some people think it’s hokey, but I think it’s goddamned ingenious. And while Jaktens Tid is far from the band’s best album, this song addicted me to the style, the band, and really made me look to Finland as a place where something new and amazing would happen. And, oh right, it did. “Jaktens Tid” stands out as one of my favorite songs ever, and it redefined what was possible in heavy metal. Well-deserved place here.
#39: Symphony X – V: The New Mythology Suite – “Rediscovery (Part II)” – Because I tend to love real albums over individual songs, it’s sometimes hard for me to really choose the best song from an album. I think, for example, that Symphony X‘s V is one of the best albums ever written. It is a triumph of progressive metal. However, it is also successful with individual songs and “Rediscovery” (both parts, really, but the metal part is part II) is just a fucking incredible song. Michael Romeo is such a fantastic writer, using his subtlety to build up beautiful tracks and progressive riffing all while writing accessible and interesting music that gets really heavy. The rest of the band is no less incredible and, oh let’s not forget, Allen is one of the best. While he might not have the high, clean tenor range of Kakko, he’s got balls and a great fucking voice and really embodies the metal spirit without being Jorn. If this song doesn’t convince you that Symphony X is one of the best bands ever formed… you’ve got shitty taste in music.
#38: Cynic – Traced in Air – “Integral Birth” – Haters gonna hate, as they say. But let me be frank here: Cynic‘s second record blew the fucking top off pretty much anything that was released at the same time and this is one of the strongest tracks on it. Very rarely does something new get done in heavy metal, but these guys with their jazz fusion and their ‘we’re not very metal anymore’ approach, still managed to make something new, cool and extraordinarily engaging happen. Which, frankly, is tough to do these days. What always amazes me is the composition. Bands try to jump styles, and most of the time it’s fail. But instead, they manage to piece something together that is extraordinarily cohesive while being built of such different parts. Oh right, and they’re so much fucking better than AC/DC or Korn. God those idiots at Gibson fucking piss me right off.
#37: Ihsahn – angL – “Scarab” – Ihsahn. What can I say, this guy puts out music post-Emperor that almost lives up to my love for early Emperor. Actually, these days I listen to Ihsahn‘s solo stuff a lot more than I listen to Emperor. And what defines his best stuff for me is that blend of progressive music with his incredible riffing. All three of his solo records are just loaded with amazing riffs, song-writing and solos. But for me, this takes it. And this track really embodies his best work, in my opinion. Oh, and the main riff is just so damn hooky and excellent. But also the bass and drumming are incredible. This song is forward thinking post-black metal/progressive and it’s goddamned genius.
#36: Enslaved – Below the Lights – “Havenless” – Another one of those post-black metal Norwegian bands that has brought their game up tremendously is Enslaved. While I think that Vertebrae is their best post-prog-transition record, this track is goddamned incredible. It’s worth the place on the list for Viking chanting introduction, but there’s just something about the atmosphere these guys build that really gets under your skin. It’s addictive, it’s smart, it’s heavy and edgy. And frankly, it’s a great example of how metal is so much more interesting and progressive than what the mainstream seems to think it is. You take a look at a band like Enslaved that engages itself in Norse mythology, modern philosophy and progressive music and you say: How the hell do people just think that we’re all just cock-rock style morons? Oh right, ’cause of idiots like the people at Gibson who made that stupid fucking list. Idiots.
#35: At The Gates – Slaughter of the Soul – “Blinded by Fear” – This track speaks for itself. There is not a more influential song that has been written in heavy metal since, fuck.. I don’t even know. I mean At The Gates is on par with Slayer, Metallica, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden for having spawned so many goddamned clone bands that it is insanely ridiculous. I don’t know a single metal dude who doesn’t know every single word to every single song on this record, and “Blind by Fear” is just the song that hooked us all. You’d think that at least this track would have made it on to the list at Gibson given that every band in the US to release a record since 2002 sounds like them. But no.
#34: Otyg – Sagovindars Boning – “Trollslottet” – OK, this one oughtta throw people for a loop, but honestly, Otyg is one of those bands overlooked even in the folk metal scene for some fucking reason. There’s like 3,000 folk metal bands, but people don’t know all the lyrics to “Trollslottet”? Screw Eluveitie in the ear! This is where this is at. In any case, I could listen to this song day in and day out, and it feels like real folk metal belongs on this list and Otyg is definitely the band that should be carrying that torch. Just listen to Vintersorg‘s tones and that jawharp and think to yourself: “My life hasn’t been complete until now.”
#33: Iron Maiden – Powerslave – “Flash of the Blade” – Iron Maiden is better than Judas Priest by the way. Just thought I’d get that out of the way. The answer the question is Iron Maiden. In any case, while I think that compared to Seventh Son and Piece of Mind, Powerslave is a kind of overrated record. Oh, it’s fucking amazing, but those other records were better. However, one track goes totally underrated on the record and never gets the attention that it deserves and I think it’s easily one of the best heavy metal tracks ever written! Dickinson is, well, Dickinson, but the harmonies are great, the melodies are catchy and the fucking guitar solo is pretty much the coolest thing that ever made it onto an Iron Maiden record. That these guys have three guitarists in the band and still never play this song live is a testament to how stuck in a rut they are.
#32: Amorphis – Elegy – “Against Widows” – Man, it’s so tough going back and choosing out which Amorphis tracks are the best. I mean, their first three records are goddamned genius, and coincidentally their last three have also been fucking astounding. But I love this song so goddamned much. This is a great combination of their more progressive song peeking through, their great harmonies and melodies and the folky metal riffing that addicted us all in the first place! This song is one of my favorites from the album, and one of my favorites ever. I’m so glad the guys over at Relapse got Moomin Fever!
#31: Akercocke - Antichrist – “Axiom” – These guys are so damned underrated. Apparently they’re done for, I dunno for sure. They’ve been dropped by Earache, their guitarist left the band and their website is done. But if the last thing they left us with is Antichrist they have left us with one of the best ‘progressive’ death metal records I own. I love the clean vocals and the double kick through the clean parts. Also, I love that their main man plays a Parker Fly ’cause that’s like the most un-death metal guitar ever. And really, as a metal dude, how do you argue with the final line of this track: “I believe that when I die, I shall rot. And nothing more of my ego shall remain.”
Yeah, so 30-21 coming next week sometime!