Much like Angry Metal Guy, I took issue with Gibson’s Top 50 Metal Songs of All Time. While AMG was primarily offended by the paucity of post-1980s selections and the Anglocentric focus, my biggest gripe was the inclusion of bands that weren’t/aren’t metal (that also pissed me off, I’m just not eloquent when I’m pissed.AMG). As good as bands like KISS, Van Halen and AC/DC may be, they just aren’t heavy metal bands (Don’t even get me started on Korn). Even when Gibson managed to stick to the correct genre, some of their choices were quite baffling to me. Of course, if you put fifty metal fans in a room and told them to do their own lists, each would be unique and vastly different. That’s the wonderful subjectivity of music, it means something different to each of us and who are we to judge what others like? That being said, Gibson’s list blows moose cock, so here’s mine.

#50: UlverBergtatt– “I Troldskog Faren Vild” – When I first heard this album, and this track in particular, I was entranced and intrigued. Building on later period Bathory but surpassing it in scope, execution and atmosphere, this was a major highpoint in black/folk metal. The haunting feeling, the subtle intensity as the song builds, everything just works to perfection. It’s metal but also beautiful and touching. This is still my favorite example of folk infused black metal and probably explains why I love Agalloch so much since they borrowed a lot of the Ulver’s early style.

 

 

#49: Sacred ReichThe American Way – “The American Way” – As Angry Metal Guy pointed out in his list, Sacred Reich came to the thrash party a little too late to get the attention they deserved. Although their first three albums were great, this album and the title track really had them performing at their peak. Featuring the sneering, acid tipped voice of Phil Rind and a monster riff, this thing grabs hold and shakes you around. You can almost feel the disgust and disdain from Big Phil and although the lyrics bash all things American, it’s such a great song that I just don’t care. This is a sadly overlooked thrash classic.

 

 

#48: Amon AmarthTwilight of the Thunder God – “Embrace of the Endless Ocean” – Yes, I’m an Amon Amarth fanboy, no sense in denying it. I love their entire ethos and style and this song has a certain morose vibe that really clicks for me. No other song makes me visualize those dragon ships charging through the waves quite like the guitar lines here do. On top of that, this is one of Johan Hegg’s best vocal performances to date and he manages to sound powerful but emotional. Few can convey that level of feeling whilst croaking like a viking cookie monster.

 

 

#47: Saint Vitus Born Too Late – “Dying Inside” – in the pantheon of doom, this song and this band should have a very large statue indeed. Featuring sludgy, mournful riffs with emotive accents along with front man Wino’s whiskey and regret soaked vocals, it tells the tale of a man drinking himself to death. This has everything you could want in a doom song and its literally drowning in morose, downtrodden atmosphere. Wino’s otherworldly singing during the chorus is amazing and depressing as is the solo that follows. Whenever I (accidentally) overindulge in spirits, this is the soundtrack for the bad morning after.

 

 

#46: TestamentThe Legacy – “Burnt Offerings” – Testament was always a top shelf thrash act with amazing musicianship and this track from their debut hit the hardest for me. The fluid, intricate leads and solos by Alex Skolnick and Eric Petsersen are amazing and totally bad ass. Chuck Billy is at the top of his game here as well and snarls his way to glory. This is one of those songs that sticks in your head for decades. Growing up, I thought the lyrics said “slip into the house of Slayer,” which made the song even cooler to me. Mistaken lyrics and all, this is one of the best Bay Area thrash songs ever written.

 

 

#45: While Heaven WeptOf Empires Forlorn – “Of Empires Forlorn” – These guys seemingly came out of nowhere and as soon as I heard their take on doom metal I was hooked. This track is the highlight of an excellent album and manages to feel huge, grandiose, mournful and hopeful all at once. The pseudo-operatic vocals of Tom Phillips soaring over the pounding drums and thick doom riffs create a immense, hypnotic effect and you can almost see the ruins of a once great empire all around you. The inclusion of death metal vocals later on in an otherwise beautiful, sad song are unexpected, effective and quite jarring. A Majestic winner.

 

 

#44: PanteraCowboys From Hell – “Cemetery Gates” – When this album dropped, it left a big impression on me and my metal loving friends. Fusing elements of thrash, power and classic metal into a Texas sized sound, it was tough to ignore. This super-sized power ballad instantly become a beloved favorite for yours truly. Phil’s reserved lows and angry highs showed him at the top of his ability before he eventually regressed into a boring, one dimensional screamer. Dimebag’s instantly recognizable riffs speak for themselves and I miss the guy anytime I hear this song. R.I.P. Dimebag.

 

 

#43: Metal Church The Dark – “Watch the Children Pray” – These guys always played the underdog to Metallica, Anthrax and Slayer but their first two albums were great. Featuring strong songwriting that utilized the freaky talents of singer David Wayne to the fullest, this was their dark, moody “hit” song. It’s creepy coolness sets it slightly above the rest of their many classic songs for me. Wayne’s vocals runs the gamut from quiet to criminally insane and this contains some of the coolest screams ever recorded. Touching, eerie and a little melodramatic, as all good metal should be. R.I.P. David Wayne.

 

 

#42: PossessedSeven Churches – “The Exorcist” – At the crossroads between thrash and the primitive beginnings of death metal sat Possessed. Their 1985 debut was chaotic, heavy and EVIL and this was the monstrous opener that scared the bejesus out of me as a youngster. From the creepy keyboard intro to the unforgettably cool,  black metal-ish guitar lead that keeps popping up, this is a milestone in the history of extreme metal. This song and the Seven Churches album helped launch the entire death metal genre and they even coined the term. Go listen to that guitar lead then try to forget it, I dare you. HA! you couldn’t do it!

 

 

#41: Edge of SanityCrimson– “Crimson” – Is Steel Druhm cheating by including a forty minute song? Fuck no! (Actually, yes. – AMG) If a band can make an album-length track that’s great from start to finish and keeps the listener on the edge of his seat (and sanity), that’s a spectacular accomplishment. That’s exactly what the mighty Dan Swano and company pull off here as the song rambles and rumbles from old school Swedish death to gothic doom and classic heavy metal, never failing to impress along the way. It even features Opeth’s Mikael Ãkerfeldt on guest gurgles. These guys churned out a lot of top quality death metal but this was their moment of pure creative genius.

 

 

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  • ZacP

    Wow…that Crimson song is something else! I’ve never heard anything quite like it. I was expecting it to sound like eight or nine tracks mashed together, but it really does sound like a single cohesive song. Thing I am most impressed with is how good it was on my first listen through. It usually takes me at least two or three plays before I really start to understand something new like this…but this something about it just clicked with me right away

    • Awesome! Glad you discovered something NEW because of this. That’s very cool.

  • Steel Druhm

    That’s why I think its such an accomplishment. I heard it and liked it the first time even though its 40 minutes! It’s extremely well done, hooky and impressive. The follow-up album Crimson II is also great.

  • Astennu

    The correct choice for Sacred Reich is Death Squad. Burnt Offerings is a great tune, but Do Or Die is better from that record imho. And Pantera…really? Something from Exhorder would have been a better choice.

    • Steel Druhm

      I disagree on all those points. This is my list!

      • Preach!

        • Steel Druhm

          A nice song indeed, yet NOT worthy of my list.

  • ZacP

    It’s just completely baffling to me that a song like Crimson can exist and really almost nobody has heard of it. And instead of Crimson, people are listening exclusively to music that came out 25 years ago. It’s like…the cure for cancer is real and you can buy it at your local CVS pharmacy, but instead of going to the CVS all these sick cancer patients are still using goddamn leaches to drain the bad blood out of their body. And it’s just like what the hell is wrong with these people?

    I love Crimson. I am practically having to choose between eating and putting gas in my car but I went ahead and ordered it off Amazon anyway, budget be damned haha…I love his crushing vocals that start at 4:55, and there’s this one really cool recurring riff I can’t get out of my head. So Crim2 is good…how does it compare with this first one?

    • Steel Druhm

      I would say Crimson II is a straight continuation but with a slightly more symphonic style since Dan Swano had complete control this time out. Its slightly less brutal but still very heavy. If Crimson is a 10, Crimson II is a 9. I highly recommend it.

  • zolos

    YAY for crimson, preach on metal brother :D

    While Crimson has to be one of the top metal albums ever and I had huge expectations for Crimson2, I was sort of dissapointed by it. C2 is of course, a great album that makes other generic DM albums pale in comparison to it, but next to C1 i found it lacking. The production annoyed me a lot, the vocals were mixed in a way that they were completely unintelligble (not that i expect DM vocals to be clearly distinguishable but I hope you get the point:P )

    Btw did you guys agree to not include picks from each others’ list? Keep them coming!

    • Steel Druhm

      Zolos,

      I agree Crimson II isn’t quite up to the level of Crimson but honestly, how could it be? I think it is a worthy sequel though and I enjoy it quite a lot.

      As for my list and AMG’s list, there will likely be some songs in common. We did not agree to exclude common picks. I think there are 2-3 scattered about.

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  • antic

    I think it’s amazing that you can come up with shit I never heard of on a top 50 list. I like to think I listen to a lot of different stuff but this is just silly :)

    Just make the 51-100 when you’re done. I’m sure you can dig up even more obscure but great stuff.

  • Steel Druhm

    Antic,

    I think a lot of my list is pretty mainstream metal-wise but yeah there are a few obscure bands scattered throughout. Glad you liked it!!

  • Nordick

    Oh hell yeah Embrace of the Endless Ocean. That song was great to begin with, but then I read the lyrics and realized what the song is about, and the awesomeness got to a whole new level. Fucking tragic and touching, and yet epic at the same time.

  • Dániel

    “Is Steel Druhm cheating by including a forty minute song?”

    How about Twilight? No cheating, yet still kickass and historically important.

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