Another year has come to an end. Equal parts of happiness, melancholy, rage and laughter filled up these 365 days. "Tomorrow is a beautiful day," has been by attitude always. And it is persistent. I've had a stark realization that more often than not, everything important really boils down to what you believe in and what you really want in your life. Nothing else matters at the moment. And every action you take, has consequences.
Sailing through these consequence filled waters, on a happy boat, is what life is all about. Of course, with metal blasting in the background speakers throughout the journey. It always will.
I'm going to welcome 2014 with these metal anthems listed in the order of my favoritism.
10. Victory Song ("Victory Songs") - Ensiferum
Thanks to my twin, I've grown fond of this particular genre, melodic folk metal. Ensiferum weaves a beautiful fabric of acoustic riffs, classic heavy rhythm backing, solid drumming and historic lyrics. As the name suggests, this song will lift up your spirits and give you this sense of elation. And I can bet the first time you'll give it a listen, you'll repeat.
9. Who We Are ("Unto The Locust") - Machine Head
We are the change, the world needs to see. Look in our eyes and see our belief..
I think the above lyric excerpt is enough to justify why I picked this song for this list. Weakness is never a good characteristic in anyone. Believe in yourself and strive for inner strength, fit to face anything life throws at you. This is what "Who We Are" taught me. The song starts of with a school girl marching band singing the chorus and then transforms into a groove-metal fury, where the drummer reigns.
8. The Lay Of Thrym ("The Lay Of Thrym") - Tyr
Consistency is the word. If you are good at something, stay consistent. Not many agree with this logic, but I do. And this quartet has bested this art of staying consistent to their viking-style, fast paced metal. As the title-track, it keeps up the standard of the album. Starts off slowly and immediately picks up speed into an epic fusion of riff/drum playground, where Gods play. Heri Joensen's vocals are awesome as usual. Oh, btw, the song is about king Thrym who dared to steal Thor's hammer, as the nordic myth goes.
7. Blackwater Park ("Blackwater Park") - Opeth
When I first heard this song, I was like "Oh. My. F--king. God!" Seriously, this is no mere composition. It's like a magic potion which will cast and spell and drag you into 11 minutes of pure exhilaration. A perfect example where Akerfeldt talent peaks. Complex acoustic passages, god-like riffs, growl-vocals, and an extremely unique solo make this song what it is. Critically acclaimed and highly favored by fans, Opeth broke new grounds with this progressive-death metal gem of an album!
6. Trust ("Cryptic Writings") - Megadeth
What we have here is a Grammy nominated song for the "Best Heavy Metal performance." The lyrics are about the downfall of a relationship because of dishonesty and mistrust. The main riff is a lot of fun to play on the guitar. Although the band is unconventional and doesn't stick to classic thrash-roots in this album, this song still remains a fan favorite and is a staple in most live shows. Fun trivia: currently, the drum intro is played before every home game of Arizona State University. As an alumni, I couldn't be happier!
5. The Glass Prison ("Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence") - Dream Theater
As Mike Portnoy fought with his alcoholism, he penned down lyrics for this masterpiece, which spearheaded the twelve-step-suite, a collection of five songs which span through five albums before ending in "Black Clouds & Silver Linings." This is my second favorite song of theirs and every time I hear it, I get transported into this introspective alternate reality in my head. Progressive, heavy, shred-tastic!
4. 22 Acacia Avenue ("The Number Of the Beast") - Iron Maiden
Only Maiden can tell a prostitute's tale with such style and get away with it. The second and also the best part of the "Charlotte the Harlot" triad, it is about a prostitute named Charlotte, and a man trying to convince her to a come with him for better life. It is my favorite song of the album as it offers everything a classic metal head wants. Impeccable vocals and instrumentation throughout, with a kick-ass outro solo. I watched them play this live in 2013!
3. You've Got To Belong To It ("Reinventing The Steel") - Pantera
Have you ever in your life ran that extra-mile because a powerful-as-f--k song suddenly came on your playlist? THIS is that goddamn song. It is bad-ass groove riffage, swirling in with heavy drums and powerful vocals, concocting to form a motivational elixir which makes you feel invincible. This entire album heralds the true old-school heavy metal spirit and strengthens the bond that ties all of us together.
2. Loner ("13") - Black Sabbath
The founding fathers of heavy metal blessed the fans this year with this brand new album which was received with high levels of excitement. Although, Bill Ward parted ways with the band, the rest did an amazing job in preserving the Sabbath sound. I mean c'mon, these are guys are bunch of 65-year olds still churning out metal. This track is unequivocally Black Sabbath. The riff is simple and classic, tailored extremely well with great drum-rhythm and Ozzy's vocals hit the nail on the head.
1. Victim Of Changes ("Sad Wings Of Destiny") - Judas Priest
This song epitomizes the year that has been. Change happens, no matter what. At some point or the other, we all end up becoming the victims of change.
My words cannot describe the heavy metal mastery this song has to offer. I was born 10 years after this song was released. And this is one of my favorite heavy metal songs. That's gotta tell you something. It's a heavy metal epic, with landslide-riff structures, vocal performance, packaged and delivered in the only way Priest knows; Legendary.
Metal forever! \m/
"So live for today, tomorrow never comes..." - "Die Young" (Black Sabbath)