Introduction by Daemonomania: Is there any better way to arouse ire and discordance than to make a list of the definitive TOP TEN BEST
of anything? Nope. So with that in mind, each month (if you’re lucky)
at Global Domination we’ll be bringing you another installation of our
picks in a variety of categories. Feel free to disagree, and we will feel free not to care.
This month, we’ve got the top ten metal songs where some asshole decided not to growl and ruin the music. Enjoy.
10. Opeth: “For absent friends” from the album “Deliverance”.
After three tracks that are over ten minutes each, and two up-coming
ones that are around the same length, “For absent friends” is the
perfect mid-point breather that the listener needs on this, Opeth’s
sixth album. It’s a relatively short song, and simple in sound with
nothing more than a tender acoustic guitar intertwining around a
sorrowful electric one, but it is this simplicity that manages to
express to the listener both the feeling of mourning for absent friends,
and the hope of seeing those friends again some day. Sad, soothing, and
inspiring, and lasting for less than three minutes, there are certainly
more epic, complex metal instrumentals out there than this, and ones
that fulfill the headbanging need much better as well, but not many
(maybe none at all) of those can match the sheer emotion expressed
within “For absent friends”.
9. Ahab: “Of the monstrous pictures of whales” from the album “The call of the wretched sea”.
Hmmm, well if you take this 1:46 alone it surely isn’t that impressive. A spooky synth passage that doesn’t really involve any songwriting
whatsoever. I mean, death metal discs are chock full of these. Morbid
Angel puts like 8 of ‘em on every album. What got Ahab on the list was
that this atmospheric interlude is sandwiched between two massive,
sweaty pieces of blubber entitled “Old thunder” and “The sermon”,
clocking in at close to 10 and over 12 minutes respectively. On a
funeral doom album, a brief break from being whalegrowled and pummeled
into the ocean floor is quite welcome. Plus, the music evokes a scene
of you, blindly crawling around at 2300 feet deep in one of those
old-school atmospheric diving suits. And Moby Dick is just waiting to
snap your thin oxygen line.
8. Emperor: “Opus a Satana” from the MCD “Reverence”.
A black metal song re-shaped into an instrumental with classical
instruments? Are you kidding me? Sounds like epic fail or pretentious at
best to me. That’s what I thought when this song (a re-make of “Inno a
Satana”) popped up as the third track on “Reverence”, the appetizer for
Emperor’s much-awaited sophomore album “Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk”.
Back then I wasn’t as convinced of Ihsahn’s prowess as an arranger as I
am today; I mean, “In the Nightside Eclipse” is great, but arranging for
a symphony orchestra (though synthesized) isn’t the same as arranging
for a basic metal line-up with keyboards. Well fuck my shit if this
didn’t blow my mind. Even to this day, after lots of composition and
arranging/instrumentation courses at music college I think the
pimpmeister from Notodden has done a great job at developing the epic
themes of the original version into even more bombastic heights. Strings
carry the melody load for the most part, timpanis keep the pulse
flowing forward and the brass section brings drama and a sense of
triumph to the air. Subtle secondary choir and string themes fill out
the texture nicely; and when the bells strike at 3:00 to signal the
beginning of the end, the war is finally over, we are victorious! It’s
just a downhill battle with goosebumps allover ‘til the end. A massive crescendo
for a minute leading to the final fanfare celebrating the triumph of
Satan, “Inno a Satana”. When the smoke clears there’s only the church
bells left, tolling the death of God.
7. Gorefest: “La muerte” from the album “La muerte”.
When Gorefest decided that the world had been deprived of their
particular brand of death metal for long enough they didn’t hesitate
when it came to writing and recording. “La Muerte” was released in 2005
and much to the surprise of the general public Gorefest went out and
kicked everyone’s ass from the first note to the last. With the
exception of JC’s unique and slightly disorienting growls the closing
instrumental “La Muerte” has everything that makes the album by the same
name into one of the best “reunite and come back”-albums ever. Starting
of in a sluggish pace with power chords ringing out over a trail of
drum beats that don’t so much propel as shamble forth, you start to
worry after a while if the remaining 7 minutes is gonna continue in the
same way. Interrupting the treads of the behemoth is a cute little
guitar arpeggio that brings a bit of air until the power chords return –
and this time the tempo slowly increases until you find yourself snugly
fit into a groove so heavy lesser metalheads would become seasick.
Liberally spiced throughout the track is the wonderfully melodic
guitar-harmonies of Boudewijn and Frank that is as distinct a trademark
for Gorefest as JC’s vocals. Towards the end of the song the pace is
once again dropped back in favor of some nice melancholic lead-work that
end the song (and the album) on a somber and suitable dark note.
6. Iron Maiden: “Transylvania” from the album “Iron Maiden”.
Instrumentals in metal cannot be discussed without Iron Maiden
entering said discussion. It’s impossible. While bands like Sabbath,
Priest, Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, etc. came first and set the groundwork
for heavy metal, Maiden is the band that damn near perfected it. It’s
not really rocket science to accomplish what Maiden do, but at the time,
no other band had thought “what if we take the lead guitar work of
Tipton and Downing, mix in some Geezer bass and throw in some drumming
a’la Ian Pace?”. The musical creation resonated through time and even
speaks to people in this day of “faster and heavier wins the race”.
“Transylvania” perfectly sums up Maiden’s instrumental side. Great
melodies at the beginning, an awesome drum beat and Mr. Harris thumping
away at his bass with authority and yet another amazing Maiden harmony.
But would Maiden just sit there, dishing out knowledge like nobody’s
business? Fuck that, they’re going to switch the whole goddamn thing up
halfway into the song and have a few ripping solos over one of the
coolest riffs in the history of metal.
It should also be noted that Iced Earth did a competent cover that
came up for debate, but (thank Satan) our fellow Global Penisheads
realized that to snub the original in favor of a technically proficient
yet rock-less cover would be gay. Up the Irons motherfuckers!
5. Yngwie J. Malmsteen: “Black star” from the album “Rising force”.
What did you do back in 1984? I know that I was out partying like
Paris Hilton (minus the lack of panties… or wait…), hung out at the
coolest clubs in town, smoked crack and dealt hard drugs in spades. I
also started getting tattoos and recorded a few albums destined to rule
the world at some point. Not to forget, I ran a business that rendered
me so much cash I’d never have to work another day in my life.
I was 11 years old at the time.
In Stockholm, around this day and age, some pimple-faced brat named
Yngve Malmsten decided that life in the Stockholmian suburbs wasn’t
really his thing – so he moved to the great United States (cough fucken
cough) with his guitar and decided to “make it” over there. I think it’s
safe to say he did indeed fucken make it. Yngve might come across as a
complete fucken moron with an ego greater than mine (something worthy of
an applause in itself), but no matter whatcha think about this guy – he
was the world’s best guitarist already when you were nothing but semen
in your daddy’s balls. What he’s doing on this album
is something he never managed (and never will manage) to re-create
(like I prolly point out in said review – I don’t have the strength to
read it right now), though a few songs have been close, especially on
the follow-up. But this album, guys… The whole LP is jampacked with
excellence. It is a guitar driven fucken phenomenon. Not only are the
solos of the highest Jedi class, the fucken tunes are so well
put together it’s not even sane. There’s a purpose for every note here.
It’s guitar lovemaking on another level. It’s fucken Yngwie J.
Each and every track on “Rising force” is a wonder, but “Black star”
in particular is an instrumental piece so beautiful it wants me to
shoot people in the street out of joy. Then walk over and stab them
repeatedly just for the fucken hell of it. The sincerity in the tones,
the feeling, the atmosphere surrounding this recording… All of that is
testimony to Yngwie being King. “Black star” is one of the best
instrumentals ever, and had I done everything my way here with
this list – this one would have had spot 1 to 5. Easily. Thank you,
Yngwie. I will always love you for this masterpiece of an album. Now all
you need to do is to play a few solos on the next The Project Hate MCMXCIX album. Deal?
-Lord K Philipson
4. In Flames: “The jester’s dance” from the album “The jester race”.
“Wayfaerer” is not the easiest of words to pronounce, admittedly not
the hardest either, but cunt, fuck, shit, piss, ass, penis, are all way
easier to get right. Alrighty, fuck the almighty, time to tell a tale
from the days In Flames wasn’t crap in the least. “The jester race” is,
was, and will forever be an excellent display of melodic death. Be sure,
I hate the genre with the same passion I love A.I.D.S., fuck Isaac
Hayes, but the album I just mentioned is a genuine classic on terms with
“Reign in blood” or any other album made entirely out of brilliant
I hate to say it, and hate is good, so I’m happy to report that this
song I’m about to ramble on about, though just a tiny bit, is a really
rather beautiful one. It has some very nice riffing going on, once the
insignificant first 20 seconds are done with, and before long soloing
with heart’n‘soul written all over them enters the show and ups the
quality from very good to excellent. The solos aren’t all over the
place, taste is indeed added to the equation, but compared to what the
flamers are up to these days this is blissful abundance. Solid
riffing+excellent solos=terrific melo death.
And of course, fuck you all.
3. Metallica: “Orion” from the album “Master of puppets”.
“Orion” is the rule book as for how to compose extremely heavy and
moody instrumentals. Its 8 and a half minute playing span feels like 3,
which is very important when it comes to music if you decide on creating
long fucken hymns instead of regular 3 minute songs. It’s a monster of a
track with its magnificent bass intro and Lars Ulrich’s
simple-yet-effective drumming (seriously, he hasn’t always sucked, no
matter how hard that is to believe). On top of that we have James’ and
Captain Kirk’s fantastically heavy riffs that could tear down the Berlin
Wall if it was still up. “Orion” also contains some real neat guitar
leads that add to the song instead of the opposite as in so many other
cases of instrumental tunes. The very laid back bass and guitar section
in the middle of this piece is as classic as the album it’s on. We all
know that Metallica’s a fucken bunch if incredibly talentless people today,
but boy – did they know how to construct dominant music at one point in
their career. And the ending of this track – fuck man, I’d marry a
whale like Anna Nicole Smith (R.I.P, Rest In Plastic?) to own
the copyright to that incredible riff. “Orion” is simply a fantastic
song and I, as everyone else, bow to the days of old when it comes to
this band. The memory remains…
-Lord K Philipson
2. Metallica: “The call of Ktulu” from the album “Ride the lightning”.
The goal of this whole list is to find instrumentals that are not
only badass, but easily stand alone as musical compositions. And this
track most certainly does both. I’m sure many an 80’s metalhead first
heard this and then threw down their guitar in utter hopelessness. Pure
thrashing goodness peppered with Hellhammet’s awesome solos,
stick-in-your-head rhythm guitar, and some more than adequate
drumming. Ktulu (sp?) starts out by luring you in with a little
silence, some spookily howling wind, a haunting single guitar, and once
he has made himself known in dreams the octo-beatdown begins. This is a
close-to-nine-minute tune you wish would never end. Sadly it does, but
not after giving you a false hope that you’ll escape Ry’leh with around
30 seconds left. Sorry hombre, a big ole drum roll followed by one
more riff assault assures that your mind will be consumed by the Deep
Ones with a side of horseradish.
1. Death: “The voice of the soul” from “The sound of perseverance”.
It is not shocking to hear that many people attribute the greatest
metal instrumental to the almighty Death. The awesomeness of Chuck
Schuldiner and his work and influence is no mystery to any serious metal
fan. What I find to be truly remarkable is that the guitar instrumental
“Voice of the soul” contains only guitar work: no doublebass
brainfucking, no evil lyrics, no relentless blasterbation, no whammy bar
sodomy. It stands as an oasis of melody and emotion amidst the desert
of complete death metal mastery that is “The Sound of Perseverance”. I
am not a skilled musician so I can not describe the technical aspects of
the song: chords, notes, etc etc. What I can tell you is that the
powerful guitar lines it contains elicit as much emotion from the listen
as other, full-on destroyers like “Spirit crusher” and “Flesh and the
power it holds”. “Voice of the soul” has no drums, no vocals, and no
frills. Just Chuck and his axe, doing what he did best. What more do you
Not a fucken thing.