Monday, January 28, 2008

The Metal: It Comes From Hell

The Nihilist in Golf Pants tarnishes what would have been an otherwise rare brilliant post by proclaiming:

I have put my speculation into a parody of the greatest heavy metal song of all time, Rainbow's "The Man on the Silver Mountain"


But if "Man on the Silver Mountain" isn't the greatest heavy metal song of all time, the question remains: what is? Luckily for you, I have subscribed to a free polling service.

Up there atop the sidebar you will find 20 songs that the KAR Metal Quality Appraisal Staff identified as being eligible to be the singular piece of metal goodness that might qualify to be emblematic of the entire genre. And believe you me, it was not easy winnowing the list down to 20.

First, we had to ask ourselves, "what is heavy metal?" Sure, you need lawnmower guitar, snow blower bass and defibrillator drums. So songs from Metallica, Iron Maiden and Motorhead obviously fit the genre. But there's also the attitude - a certain musical virtuosity coupled with the band's willingness to say "screw it - lets just throw in a bunch of death chords". So King's X gets a nod. But there's also an element of subversiveness that gets the likes of Alice Cooper and Judas Priest in the door.

Some of the calls were tough. For instance, The Smashing Pumpkins failed to make the cut for "Zero" - an undeniably metal-sounding tune - because that song was released in the early '90s when metal mysteriously disappeared and was completely replaced with something called "grunge". In fact, many bands (Soundgarden, Foo Fighters, STP) who might have made the list in an era when music snobs weren't doing the genre labeling, were denied for having the "grunge" albatross hanging from their necks.

On the other end of the spectrum, many bands who were known as metal acts were left off, because we felt that label was misapplied. For instance, Jethro Tull's "Crest of a Knave" won a Grammy for best metal album. I love Tull, but sorry, there are no flutes in metal.

Motley Crue could be accurately called metal, however Motley Crue sucks, so you will not find any of their songs among your choices. And if you even try to bitch about how Poison, Warrant, Sammy Hagar or Europe didn't make the poll, prepare to be flayed by my leatherette spiked wristbands.

Also, Megadeth has been left off on principle.

Some of the bands in the poll have multiple tracks listed. Again, our intent was to pick the songs - not the bands - that epitomize the best of the genre. Therefore, if there's a song not on the list that you think should be, pick the next best song in your opinion. For instance, if you would have voted for AC/DC's "You Really Shook Me," you should probably pick "Back in Black." Liked "Number of the Beast"? May I interest you in a "Hallowed Be Thy Name"? Remember, our taste is better than yours, so we're probably right, and you are probably wrong.

Speaking of which, we've included an acceptable Ronnie James Dio song, just to pacify the Nihilist.

One vote, per computer, per day.

AN ADDITIONAL NOTE: ...just to head off some angry comments some of you might be thinking about not posting:

QUEENSRYCHE - was considered and "The Needle Lies" just barely missed the list to accommodate the Nihilist's Dio choice

GUNS -n- ROSES - On the one hand, you've got "Welcome to the Jungle". On the other, you have "Sweet Child o' Mine," "Paradise City," and "November Rain". All I can see is the other hand.

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