Have you ever been enjoying a song, listening along when a particular moment comes along in the music and just blows you away? I have, many times. But today's post is going to focus on the best examples of what I will call the "holy shit that's awesome" phenomenon as it applies to heavy music.
5. The final chorus of "The Illusionist" by Scar Symmetry
Not only does Christian Älvestam have near-perfect growling vocals, but his clean singing is absolutely amazing. Nowhere is this more obvious than during the final chorus of The Illusionist, (jump to 3:45 for the section I'm talking about, but it's a killer song so just listen to the whole thing) where his relatively free-form vocals are reminiscent of a pop music chorus, only with more balls. You don't find breakaway vocal sections like that in most metal music, so this is a very unique and powerful moment, and it is one of my favorites.
4. The breakdown on "I'll Cast a Shadow" by Pantera
Do I really need to elaborate here? The section that begins at 2:05 is just ridiculously heavy and I can only imagine how many bones were broken in the pits when they used to perform this live. We miss ya, Dime.
3. Bruce Dickinson's scream at the 1:13 mark of "The Number of the Beast"
Clocking in at about 14 seconds long, Dickinson's scream at the end of the opening verse of this song is almost otherworldly in its pitch and intensity. According to a story told to me by frequent(ish) Weaponized Wisdom contributor Matt Lankey, Bruce let this scream loose after finally getting the producer's go-ahead on the verse section that proceeded it. The section supposedly took Bruce a ton of tries to get right, and when he finally nailed it, he let out this massive, near-celebratory wail. Great stuff.
2. The bridge section of Amon Amarth's "Live For the Kill" featuring Apocalyptica
This section, and the scream that comes in afterwards, never fails to get the adrenaline flowing. Haunting cellos paint a picture of the serene winter woods described in the lyrics, and then Johann Hegg comes in with a crazy scream set to double bass drums and a sick legato riff. It's an amazing song, and this moment is what really puts it above the rest.
1. The final verse of Mastodon's "Blood and Thunder"
As if a song about hunting Moby Dick wasn't brutal enough already, Mastodon's Troy Sanders throws one of the most brutal verses in metal music at the listener with the force of a harpoon strike. Speaking (growling) from the perspective of Captain Ahab himself, Sanders bellows:
Split your lungs with blood and thunder
When you see the white whale
Break your backs and crack your oars men
If you wish to prevail
This ivory leg is what propels me
Harpoons thrust in the sky
Aim directly for his crooked brow
And look him straight in the eye
Absurdly brutal and adrenaline-soaked stuff. There is very little that could top this, my Most Metal Moment in Metal.
Got any more suggestions? Stuff that should have made the list but didn't? Hate everything I picked and have a list of your own? Let's see 'em in the comments.