As usual, my disclaimer: These are my opinions, you don't have to agree with them, nor do you have to bitch me out or ejaculate your own superior opinions on my thoughts.
I confess, I didn't but THAT much thought into this list, but on the other hand, I don't suppose I needed to. It is a fair assessment to say that many of these are some of my favorite songs of all-time, bar none - so many of the higher numbers were simply givens before the process even began. Only the bottom half of this list required any real thought. I also didn't take the time to relisten to any of these songs because many of them, I have listened to an indefinite amount of times over the past several years. It is more than fair to say I absolutely love every one of these tunes.
For every track I included all the information I could have, including a link to hear the song via YouTube, for those of you who actually care that much. Many of these songs are QUITE lengthy, so I had to post multiple links or break it down in an odd way, sorry for that.
20.Firewind - 'Till the End of Time (4:36) (from the album "Allegiance", 2006)
Written by: Gus G, Bob Katsionis
We kick off the list with what is, in my opinion, the perfect power metal song, among my favorite of the genre, all-time. This album gets talked down by many Firewind fans and this song is often ignored, but I see it as virtually flawless melodic power metal with some more aggressive elements. Superb playing all around (excellent guitar solo, nice keyboard solo, great drum-work), powerful vocals and melodies, and a chorus that is an absolute anthemic monster. This is Firewind's crowning achievement in my opinion.
19.Nocturnal Rites - New World Messiah (4:08) (from the album "New World Messiah", 2004)
Written by: Nocturnal Rites
Another candidate for one of my favorite power metal songs, period. This was my introduction to this helluva underrated act, and still remains my favorite song of theirs. Just a monster a beast all around.
18.Symphony X - Communion and the Oracle (7:45) (from the album "V: The New Mythology", 2000)
Written by: Michael Romeo, Michael Pinella
This remains the pinnacle of Symphony X's more atmospheric stuff. This song is pure symphonic awesomeness, from Russell Allen's beautiful choir-style vocals, to Mike Romeo's subtle riffing and awesome solos, to Mike Pinella's unparalleled keyboard work. Every member of the band is a top performer, and this song just transports the listener to an entirely new sonic dimension.
17.Gamma Ray - Fight (3:24) (from the album "Majestic", 2005)
Written by: Henjo Richter
In sharp contrast to many other songs on this list, this is indeed a mighty short number which just rips your face off in about 3 and a half minutes. Gamma Ray does what they do best - kickass power metal that fills you with the power and will to go get shit done. Some great chord structures, bombastic chorus, furious double bass work, and some nice soloing are all crammed into this short-but-sweet incredible tune.
16.Pagan's Mind - God's Equation (7:57) (from the album "God's Equation", 2007)
Written by: Pagan's Mind
Even though I felt this album was a step down from their two previous albums, its title track is my favorite Pagan's Mind track. The band has their signature sound at play here, meaning groovy syncopated crunchy guitar and bass work with atmospheric keyboards and quirky-but-amazing vocals. The chorus of this song is everything Pagan's Mind are best at, truly ethereal quasi-space metal which sounds as though you are traveling the universe and time with an amazing progressive metal soundtrack. Epic is not an appropriate enough word for this.
15.Redemption - The Fullness of Time (21:36) (from the album "The Fullness of Time", 2005)
Written by: Nick Van Dyk
Note: link is only "Release", one section of the song, from the band's DVD. This was my only option due to lack of stuff on YouTube.
No secret that I have a huge love for Redemption, and this remains my favorite track of theirs. Divided into four parts, this number tells the story of someone who was betrayed by everything they trusted and had faith in, the turmoil it caused, and the revelations and realizations that lead to reconciliation within and hope for the future. Mr. Van Dyk does emotionally-tinged prog metal like no one else, and this song features some of my favorite lyrics out there, bar none. Amazing stuff.
14.Primal Fear - Demons and Angels (05:32) (from the album "Seven Seals", 2005)
Written by: Ralf Scheepers, Mat Sinner, Stefan Liebing, Tom Naumann
This was the song that finally got me into these kings of power/speed metal, and remains my favorite tune of theirs. Jam-packed with killer guitar work and powerful vocals and drumming, the band rips through the perfect example of amazing classic heavy metal today. All-around, just a fucking superb track.
13.Saxon - Lionheart (6:05) (from the album "Lionheart", 2004)
Written by: Saxon
On album #15 Saxon struck gold in a big way, spear-headed by this unbelievable anthem of chivalrous tales and knightly deeds - this song may inspire you to dust off your sword and prepare for battle in the name of your king and kingdom. Saxon continue to prove that they can not only compete with, but embarrass bands half their age.
12.Savatage - Back to a Reason (6:10) (from the album "Poets and Madmen", 2001)
Written by: Jon Oliva, Paul O'Neill
The first of two Sava-tunes on this list, this song would late find a new home on Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "lost Christmas Eve" album, and though I love both versions, this one strikes closer to home for me, probably due to Jon Oliva doing the vocals. Jon bears his emotions in his performance more than almost anyone I've ever heard. The lyrics are great, and the middle section comes out of nowhere and gets your headbanging before returning to a nice ballad-ish ending. One of my favorite Savatage songs, period, so that gives you an idea of how much I love this one.
11.Evergrey - A Touch of Blessing (05:50) (from the album "The Inner Circle", 2004)
Written by: Tom S. Englund
Evergrey are a band who have made so many great tracks it's often hard for me to pick out favorites within albums or overall, but I think at the end of the day I must give it up for this track, which kicks off their emotionally-drenched opus "The Inner Circle". Tom S. Englund's vocal delivery is incredible as usual, emotions running high throughout a track that manages to be both unbelievably heavy and incredibly melodic at the same time. A couple of great solos turn up in the middle, and the band also produced a great video that complimented this song's power.
10.Blaze - Stare at the Sun (07:48) (from the album "Silicon Messiah", 2000)
Written by: Blaze Bayley, John Slater, Rob Naylor
It's such a shame that so many ignorant folks will never give Blaze's solo records a chance due to not liking his stint with Maiden, because some of the tracks are unbelievably good, such as this amazing mini-opus about Armageddon itself. Blaze's band was an underrated group of superb players and writers alike, producing some of my favorite modern "classic" metal out there. This is a MUST hear for not only any fan of Blaze-Maiden, a not only a fan of Maiden, period, but a must-hear for anyone who loves great metal music, period.
09.Dream Theater - Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (42:04) (from the album "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence", 2002)
Written by: Dream Theater
Note: Due to the HUGE length of this track, I merely included a few of my favorite sections of this 8-movement beast of a song:
-About to Crash: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHcFD...rom=PL&index=1
-Solitary Shell: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FVp2...232E1F&index=5
-About to Crash (Reprise): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaJpg...232E1F&index=6
-Losing Time / Finale: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRyUS...232E1F&index=7
Dream Theater haven't done amazing for themselves this decade in my overall opinion, but they did produce one of my favorite songs of theirs, in the form of this tune, which is honestly the longest song I've ever heard that wasn't just one song made into an entire album. It has always sort of bothered me that this is, in fact, not a story, but more of a theme piece, but nevertheless the theme is executed very well and the music is just breathtaking. This song covers all musical bases from the mellow ("Goodnight Kiss"), to the metal ("The Test That Stumped Them All"), to the upbeat and driving ("About to Crash (Reprise)". Truly a very well-rounded opus that is sure to have any prog metal fan drooling.
08.Avantasia - The Scarecrow (11:14) (from the album "The Scarecrow", 2008)
Written by: Tobias Sammet
In 2 parts:
I won't deny it, I am a huge Tobias Sammet fanboy, as well as a huge Jorn Lande fan, so for Tobi to craft a brilliant 11-minute symphonic-driven opus driven by Jorn's powerful delivery, it's just a dream come true. This is seriously one of the most epic pieces of music I've ever heard, from it's bigger-than-life chorus to the amazing up-tempo section later in the tune, this track hits all the right notes to have made it become one of my favorite songs in just two years of existence.
07.Savatage - The Morphine Child (10:13) (from the album "Poets & Madmen", 2001)
Written by: Jon Oliva, Paul O'Neill, Chris Caffery
Even better than "Back to a Reason", was this amazing psuedo-epic, the longest tune Savatage ever did. All of the later Savatage trademarks are here - the great piano figure with heavy guitar riffing underneath it, Jon's emotional, dynamic, and sinister vocals, the bombastic orchestral element, and a vocal round near the end. This truly stands up as one of the best things they ever did, and definitely in my top 3 songs of their later era.
06.Symphony X - Paradise Lost (6:32) (from the album "Paradise Lost", 2007)
Written by: Michael Romeo, Russell Allen, Michael Pinella
Though I was very underwhelmed with this album, it did produce what has a fighting chance at being crowned my favorite Symphony X track, bar none. The musical power of this is out of this world, and Russell Allen may give the definitive vocal performance of his career here - so given that he's my favorite singer, you can start to grasp just how much I adore the vocals here. As great as this song is on record, I found it even better live, and hope it stays in live rotation for years to come.
05.Iced Earth - Gettysburg (1863) (31:53) (from the album "The Glorious Burden", 2004)
Written by: Jon Schaffer
All 3 parts:
When I was younger, I was a HUGE Civil War enthusiast, but then I gave it up and eventually fell in love with heavy metal music. Imagine my elation when I found out that a metal band (one that I quite like, nonetheless) had crafted a 30+ minute masterpiece recounting the amazing events of the 3-day battle of Gettysburg, something that had always been of particular interest to me. For all the criticism I issue Jon Schaffer on writing, the orchestration on this track was absurdly well done, and somehow, unbelievably to me, he made a track this long work without a single guitar solo. Tim "Ripper" Owens also gives a dynamic and powerful vocal performance in this song that does VERY well to represent all the historic events of those 3 days.
04.Blind Guardian - And Then There Was Silence (14:06) (from the album "A Night at the Opera", 2002)
Written by: Hansi Kursch, Andre Olbrich
My favorite Blind Guardian track, "...Silence" is an opus based on The Iliad, which amazingly follows virtually NO form whatsoever aside from the chorus which pops up a few times. Even though this song is already 14 minutes long, there enough great ideas in here to last your average band an entire album. Often criticized for this album's overambitious and over-done sound, this song manages to make it all work. All the choirs, the orchestration, the symphony of guitars - they gel perfectly to make this an immense epic that is virtually unparalleled.
03.Iron Maiden - Paschendale (8:28) (from the album "Dance of Death", 2003)
Written by: Adrian Smith, Steve Harris
Well, I couldn't have made this list without (at least) one Maiden track, and the mighty "Paschendale" is among my favorite tunes of their entire career. War songs have long been a trademark of this band, but in more recent years, they developed a niche for being able to depict the horrors and imagery of war through amazing music and lyrics. Adrian Smith, more known for his short, catchy numbers, paired with the stalwart Steve Harris to bring us one of Maiden's biggest and best epics that I am proud to say I saw live. This song gives the feeling of truly being on the battlefield - in the trenches, seeing the shells go over your head, wondering just how long you have left, and whether or not you will ever see home again. Chills run rampant in what is truly a masterpiece.
02.Edguy - The Piper Never Dies (10:07) (from the album "Hellfire Club", 2004)
Written by: Tobias Sammet
I had to give one more nod to Mr. Tobias Sammet, with what is my favorite song he's done, another rarity that I amazingly got to see live. Things are a fairly standard slow-tempo affair until after the half-way point where we see the entrance of bombastic choirs and orchestration, including a very Savatage-reminiscent vocal round, and eventually a pick up into true heavy metal fury. No doubt one of my favorite tunes of all-time, when this album and song respectively came out, they helped change my opinion and perception all music I would love from that day on.
01.Iron Maiden - Blood Brothers (7:14) (from the album "Brave New World", 2000)
Written by: Steve Harris
And we conclude our journey with a second nod to my favorite band of all-time. With "Blood Brothers", Steve Harris payed homage to his departed father with some of his best lyrics to date, beautiful orchestration, and all-in-all a phenomenal song. The amazing thing about this track is how it almost has taken on a second meaning via live performance (see: "Rock in Rio"), to represent the unparalleled bond this band has with their incredible fanbase. This is another track that no doubt changed my life when I heard it, and I pray that Maiden will break it out one last time before their retirement, because the thought of seeing this track live alone gives me chills, I can't even imagine what it would actually do if it were to happen.
So, that is all.