Not so long ago I gave a shot at listing the top 10 song outros of the metal/rock world.
You can find it here.
I'm going to do the opposite this time.
By definition, introduction or "intro" is a passage which opens a movement or a separate, in music.
Some songs have a definitive intro, cut out separately which makes the song stand apart from others, while some intros are simpler and usually form the main riff in the song.
There are a myriad of songs whose intros are special. I'm going to list MY favorite ones.
Let's delve in..
When the Levee Breaks (Led Zeppelin IV) - Led Zeppelin
Phew.. This was almost a tie. But what can I say; Mother of god, this song is a masterpiece.
This song is a re-worked cover of a blues song. The drum sounds are post processed, but it doesn't change the fact that this song rocks!
The most interesting thing is that, John Bonham, plays the drums at the bottom of the stairwell, while the stereo mike was on the second floor of this three storied hall. What a fuckin' idea!! The wailing guitar and the drumming in the intro also makes it stand out from any other intro. Now, go get some Led OUT!
Notable intros of Led Zeppelin: Stairway to Heaven, All My Love, Kashmir, Whole Lotta Love, Going to California
Dead Skin Mask (Seasons in the Abyss) - Slayer
ONLY Slayer could give such a tough competition for the #1 spot. The intro is lyrically, musically, psychologically, haunting. The guitars are tuned half step down. Tom Araya's vocals are grim throughout, King and Hanneman keep their guitars in perfect sync, while Dave "Drum God" Lombardo (did you know he was inspired by Led Zeppelin?), does his usual god-like stuff with the drums! This band is an unparalleled, unwavering, thrash monster. Hail SLAYER! \m/
Notable intros of Slayer: Raining Blood, The Antichrist, Die by the Sword, Jihad, Disciple
The Unforgiven (Metallica) - Metallica
The most influential thrash metal band. EVER. I owe it to Metallica for having the right influence on my musical interest. My passion for metal was fueled by this album. It also won them a grammy for Best Metal Performance in 1992. The intro is an utterly simple acoustic composition, played over some percussion played by Ulrich. It is truly special to me because it's one of the first things I learnt to play on my guitar. You must have already figured. This is my personal favorite of the list. This song forms, which is perhaps the best trilogy of the metal world.
Notable intros of Metallica: Nothing Else Matters, Master of Puppets, The Unforgiven III, Fade to Black, Seek and Destroy, The Four Horsemen
Cemetery Gates (Cowboys From Hell) - Pantera
Anyone else would have chosen the title track for it's intro. Not me. I chose this because, the intro justifies the song. The guitar playing complements the pain in Phil's vocals. The song is about desolation. By the time the song is done, you will see that it's actually about getting out of that anguish. Pantera empowers through music. A rare breed of musicians, who started off writing shit, but evolved into a pioneer band, whose legacy speaks for itself.
Notable intros of Pantera: Cowboys From hell, Walk, Drag the Waters, Hollow
Wasted Years (Somewhere In Time) - Iron Maiden
Can't get enough of Maiden. This is the only song from this album which does not have any synthesizer use. The beauty of this song cannot be explained. The lyrics will do it. Now, the intro.. Funnily enough, I don't know what words to use to capture it's essence. It's probably impossible to put in words..Just listen to it. The intro is also the outro of this song..
Notable intros of Iron Maiden: The Number of the Beast, Children of the Damned, The Evil that Men Do, Brighter than a Thousand Suns, Transylvania, Phantom of the Opera
Dreamer Deceiver (Sad Wings of Destiny) - Judas Priest
New. Wave. Of. British. Heavy. Metal. Put these six words together, and you cannot go wrong.
This is my favorite Judas Priest song. Phenomenal vocals, perfect acoustical bridges, divine lyrics and a melodic solo..a truly out of the world experience. The intro verse is mysterious. Listen to it and try to understand the depth in those words..This song later segues into "Deceiver", another masterpiece, a fitting end to this heavenly composition.
Notable intros of Judas Priest: Ram It Down, Beyond the Realms of Death, Electric Eye, Leather Rebel, Prophecy
Walk With Me in Hell (Sacrament) - Lamb of God
This is a controversial pick. If you listen to Lamb of God, you'll find out that these guys really take their music seriously. Each part of the song, is crafted with diligence. This band is the epitome of lyrical enigma. If you think the intro itself is intricate enough, listen to the entire song. I've seen them live and they play their songs to utter precision. The reason why I said controversial, is because, I chose this by instinct, from 30 or more of their songs with such genius intros.
Notable intros of Lamb of God: Vigil, Blacken the Cursed Sun, Redneck, Choke Sermon, Remorse is for the Dead, Confessional, Beating on Death's Door, Omerta, Laid to Rest, Ghost Walking, Black Label
Be Still and Know (Unto the Locust) - Machine Head
Okay.. I was not into Machine Head as much as I am now. That is because their earlier albums are Nu metal. It is the brain child of two extremely talented musicians, Robb Flynn and Adam Duce. This band has got a definitive fan base who proudly call themselves "Machine" heads. This song is from their latest album and almost every fan will agree that this is their best work yet. The intro is an epic opener to a perfect groovy thrash song, with a tight solo. This may be the best thrash metal album of 2011.
Notable intros of Machine Head: Slanderous, Beautiful Mourning, I Am Hell[Sonata in C#]
Take No Prisoners (Rust in Peace) - Megadeth
Megadeth deserves a standing ovation for writing this album.This is what happens when musically adept, inventive and dedicated musicians get together and have fun. In my view, it's their best album, yet! The intro is composed of pure skill. It starts off with a classic thrash riff, drums join in, and before you know it, segues into the verse. This album featured one of my favorite guitarists, Marty Friedman.
Notable intros of Megadeth: In My Darkest Hour, Rust in Peace...Polaris, Addicted to Chaos, Peace Sells, Moto Psycho, Dread and the Fugitive Mind, Of Mice and Men
Windowpane (Damnation) - Opeth
I'm a fan of the softer Opeth. I do like their progressive death stuff. But to me, Damnation was a work of art. This song, like the rest of the songs from the album, is a beautiful composition. It's a sad song. The lyrics indicate that it's about child abuse and the emotional scars they leave behind. The opening passage is filled with acoustic guitar, and soft drums..
Notable intros of Opeth: Harvest, I Feel the Dark, Patterns of the Ivy, The Drapery Falls
Gasoline (Audioslave) - Audioslave
Before I used to listen to Audioslave, my friends used to tell me, these guys write the best driving songs. So, I dumped the Audioslave album in my ipod and put it on shuffle while riding my bike and man oh man, when this song came up, I swear to god, I "involuntarily" pulled back the throttle. This intro defines speed. It makes you want to "burn that gasoline"...The lyrics are deep and they'll stir up self-assessing thoughts. This is a must have album, my friends.
Notable intros of Audioslave: Show Me How to Live, Be Yourself, I am The Highway
Compiling a list like this is hard. One, because there are a lot of songs to chose from. Two, because I might not have even heard songs with better or equally awesome intros. So, I did the best I could...Sharing is caring!
I leave you off with some wise words...
"So understand. Don't waste your time always searching for those wasted years. Face up...make your stand and realize you're living in the golden years"
- Wasted Years (Iron Maiden)