Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Top 10 heavy metal songs to ring in the new year

Every year's end, people chime in with a new year message, a philosophical retrospect, a wish, a resolution...
For some, it is a celebration of a new beginning, for some an end relief and for some a hope of good things to come..For me, it's just a reminder that time is ticking away and it is important we cherish the present and hope things don't turn to shit.

I write this post not as an ode, but a reminder to myself that what I am, has been impacted over the years by what I listen to. And it is important we remember our influences and respect them.

10. Ace of Spades (Ace of Spaces) - Motorhead
Life's all about how you play the game. It's not whether you win or lose. That's my philosophy. And what a better song than this. Lemmy turns up his bass into overdrive and picks the hell out of that thing.    Speed drumming and riffing support him throughout. This song stood the test of time and remains the definitive Motorhead track. Don't take life too seriously and more importantly, "Don't forget the joker!".

9. Toxicity (Toxicity) - System Of a Down
There is no denial that no matter who you are, think, your government or your society messed up the place where you live. Some places more so than others. I visited my hometown in 2012 and there was so much of disorder and chaos, I instantly got reminded of this song. The band introduces this song with a clean guitar and gradually moves on to become aggressive with vocals and solid drumming. Toxicity is a cerebral track. 

8. Darkness Within (Unto The Locust) - Machine Head
When you include a song and an acoustic cover of that song, in the same album, you have balls. Machine Head aced it with "Darkness Within". Although I like the acoustic version better, I have to say, this is one monster of a song. What makes it special are the lyrics. Music my savior, save me
It starts off with an eccentric riff, and slowly builds up into a groovy-thrash anthem advocating self-redemption and salvation. A 'note to self' for anyone who wants to make it big in music. Also, don't forget to check out it's music video.

7. Countdown To Extinction (Countdown To Extinction) - Megadeth
On Dec 21st, 2012, idiots all over the world wanted to "celebrate apocalypse". That's one oxymoron which doesn't any need explanation. They LITERALLY counted down to extinction. The rhetoric really reminded me of this tune. Part of the best selling Megadeth album, it's an awesome composition. Whenever I get reminded of the date, I only reminisce in the palm-muted thrash riffing and Mustaine's  vocals in this song.

6. Set To Fail (Wrath) - Lamb Of God
What do you expect from an album titled "Wrath"? That is exactly what you get. "Set To Fail" is the best song of this album IMHO. There is no lead-up or a slow beginning. Right from the start, the brutality is in-your-face. The inherent anger is there for you to see, to listen, to feel.. The entire band's technical prowess pounces on you with extreme groove riffs, kill-force drumming and enraged growls. If you don't headbang or start air-drumming, better get yourself checked.

5. Nothing Else Matters (Metallica) - Metallica
This album, a.k.a the Black album is a gift to humanity. One does not simply miss listening to it.
And this song, is the album's trump card. Not many people know this, but power ballads by heavy metal bands are a big deal. Because, if they screw up, they remain like ink blot stains on a white shirt. Metallica, however nailed it. It is insanely popular and rightly so as it finds the right balance between easy listening and heart-touching lyrics.

4. Rock Hard Ride Free (Defenders of The Faith) - Judas Priest
The main reason I picked this is because I heard this song for the first time, in 2012. Hmph. I know. Can't believe I didn't discover this goldmine of a song much earlier. Insane distortion riffs, signature Priest sweeps, unbelievable high-pitch screams by my favorite vocalist, it is bound to leave you motivated for the coming year. Here's a lyric excerpt
Rock with a purpose, got a mind that won't bend. Die hard resolution, that is true to the end.  
Keep the faith!

3. Forsaken (Systematic Chaos) - Dream Theater
DT is a progressive metal mammoth. In the past year, I've heard their songs extensively. The lyrics are about a man in a illusion of believing beautiful things while infact, his blood is being sucked by a vampiress. The lyrics are entirely credited to Petrucci and might I suggest, to research on this guy. He is one impressive dude. His dedication and discipline are immortalized in his guitar playing. Although, Forsaken is not their best or technically complex as the others, I chose it because every single band member shines in this melodic song.

2. Brave New World (Brave New World) - Iron Maiden
Symbolism? Hell yes. Iron Maiden has been a huge influence and I cannot stress this enough. It might sound funny when I say influence, because it's a band which plays music.  This band is a global phenomenon, a vanguard of the NWOBHM movement. When you get to know them enough, through the music they create, it becomes so much more. It becomes a part of your life. 
An acousitic intro, groovy drums, perfectly synced rhythm guitars, and to top it all, poetic lyrics which Bruce justifies by singing in his operatic vocal style.

1. Heaven and Hell (Heaven and Hell) - Black Sabbath
The lover of life's not a sinner, the ending is a just a beginner.
The closer you get to the meaning, the sooner you'll know that you're dreaming...

Dio is a magician and this is his greatest trick. With lines like these in a song, you know you've struck gold. The song talks about the eternal good vs. evil battle inside of a human being. Clocking in at 7 minutes, this epic is a fusion of classic Sabbath riffs, captivating vocals, fluid tempo changes and possibly the best solo ever written. To me, this is a perfect blend of Iommi's boundless musical talent and Dio's powerful delivery. I probably heard this song every single day of 2012.

Have a very metal new year, all! \m/ \m/

"Oh, Angel...we can find our way somehow, escaping from the world we're in, to a place where we began.." - Angel (Judas Priest)