Before I begin, I'd like to officially state that I will begin to make Wednesdays my official day to make a guest post, so if you like my posts, be sure to check in Wednesday nights, and if you hate my posts, at least there's still six other days! :D
Unfortunately, I do not own a copy of V For Vendetta, so I was not able to celebrate Guy Fawkes day properly last Friday. In honor of Guy Fawkes Day coming and going, I present you with a random assortment of top five (five for the Fifth, it's clever!) lists relating to Rock and Metal. I will post comments on the choices and list that I feel need comments, otherwise I mere list my choices. As always, I welcome your own lists/variations of mine in the comment box. After writing my lists and running out of ideas for more lists, I realized that I conjured up five lists, staying true to the 5 theme! Go me!
For the tl;dr version of this article--because this article ended up being pretty damn long--look for the double asterisks (**) surrounding the title of each list and scan the beginning sentence of each number for my picks.
**Top Five best album covers: I had a bugger of a time uploading and resizing images for some reason, so I truly apologize for the random placement and sizes of the images.**
1. Pantera - Vulgar Display of Power: PUNCH! This one speaks for itself.
2. Alice in Chains - Greatest Hits: See #1, I just like Pantera's better. *shrug*
3. Amon Amarth - Twilight of the Thunder God: Viking + glowing hammer + dragon + thunderstorm = Metal
4. Iron Maiden - Stranger In a Strange Land (single): I was originally going to pick the Killers album, but that one is already extremely popular. Eddie just looks bad ass in this one.
5. Megadeth - Youthanasia: Lol, babies.
**Five best names for a band: whether I found them funny or just thought they sounded good or they were just a good "fit," here they are.**
1. Eagles of Death Metal - hilarity value for defying genre
2. Job For a Cowboy - hilarity value for defying genre
3. Sonata Arctica - sounds cool and is a good fit for their music style
4. The Rolling Stones - this one cracked me up when I was a young lad, though now I generally detest band NAMES (not actual bands) who have "The ____(e)s" as their name.
5. Cannibal Corpse - om nom nom
**Top five bands deserving a spot in the R&R Hall of Fame (if I were the commissioner or whatever):**
2. Deep Purple - many incarnations, many extremely talented musicians.
3. Alice Cooper - the God of Stage Theatrics, which made for even better shows.
4. KISS - not the biggest fan of their music aside from ~4 songs, but they are, by all accounts, rock gods, even if they are riddled with lawsuits and inner turmoil.
5. Rush - again...just because they're a "nerdy band" and not a female fave does not exclude their record sales and personal achievements alongside spectacular composition. Get Pop Music's dick out of your mouth, Hall!
**Top five underrated albums by five not-so-underrated bands:**
1. Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell: Of course Paranoid is probably their best album, I would, beyond a shadow of a doubt, put RJD's debut with the band at #2. All I have to say to disbelievers is to listen to the title track, which is probably currently my favorite song of any singer's era.
2. Judas Priest - Angel of Retribution: I feel this album is criminally underrated, because most Priest fans are in their 40s and are too ignorant to give the band's new work a solid try with blurting "NOT AS GOOD AS SAD WINGS/STEEL/VENGEANCE!" This album has fantastic slow, medium and fast paced songs, and it marked the long-awaited return of Rob Halford! Give Judas Rising, Hellrider, Worth Fighting For and Angel a listen.
3. Megadeth - Youthanasia: You may remember this album being mentioned earlier in the greatest covers list. Being a 1990s Metal album, this one is often quickly brushed over as being bad for not staying true to the Thrash sound. I would not call this album thrash by any stretch of the word, but it's a great straight-up Metal album. I would also go so far as to say that behind Rust in Peace, this is Megadeth's best 90s album--even beating out Countdown to Extinction. Hint: A Tout Le Monde is on this album, but this is only one of the great songs! Try Train of Consequences, I Thought I Knew it All and Family Tree.
4. Iron Maiden - Dance of Death: I would argue that all of Maiden's 2000-2009 efforts are underrated, but this one always seems to be near the bottom of other fans' lists of favorite Maiden albums. If you skip the fairly bland and uninteresting open track, this album is a start-to-finish masterpiece, with the shining examples being the title track, Paschendale, Face in the Sand and Journeyman.
5. Alice in Chains - Dirt: If you're looking for the true AiC experiences, then the greatest hits record (mentioned above) is still probably your best bet, but the less popular "filler" songs on Dirt are tragically forgotten by most fans. I won't mention the songs that get regular air play on radios (I love these songs, but you already know about them), but the title track, Hate to Feel and God Smack stay true to the classic sound of the band and are great listens.
**Top five Metal movies/videos/documentaries/concerts-on-film:"
1. Heavy Metal in Baghdad: finally a documentary about the Middle East I could relate to! There's literally millions of sob stories from American/European bands having a tough time starting out, but were any of these bands endangering themselves by play Metal? Acrassicauda, the focus band of the rockumentary, had a strong underground following, but could never truly evolve, being formed smack-dab in war-torn, heavily oppressed Baghdad. On top of that, their music was considered an affront to Islam and Saddam Hussein's rule by officials, causing the band to call themselves a Rock and Roll band AND to be forced to write a song praising Hussein as their leader. I lost a lot of sympathy for other bands when I watched how hard these guys worked and what they sacrificed to play the music they loved and the lengths they went to even acquire albums by the like of Slayer and Metallica.
2. Metallica: Some Kind of Monster: at the end of this movie, I was really shocked the band let some of the footage stay in the movie! This is a very ugly side of the three remaining members that is shown, and it's just a straight-up human story in probably the band's darkest era (both emotionally and in terms of quality of music). Just as important was the fact that several of my questions were answered by this movie (I can't recall any off the top of my head, but I do remember saying "ahhh" and "ohhh" a lot when learning something). I would recommend this mostly for fans of the band, obviously, but even non-fans can enjoy the human emotional element of the rockumentary.
3. This is Spinal Tap: if I hadn't watched this movie a second time, there is no way it would have made my list. On my first viewing, I laughed probably once (at the mini-Stonehenge), and thought the movie was overrated, on my second viewing, the movie just triggered my hilarity unit. Realizing that this mockumentary isn't as fictional as it seems considering some of the shit you see/read about along with some of the sill shit makes this movie a classic. If you're like me and didn't enjoy as much as you should have on your first view, I advise that you give it another try.
4. Flight 666: Canadian director Sam Dunn will be rounding out this list at #4 and #5. I automatically knew this would be a "good" documentary, since it focused on Iron Maiden (/fanboy), but this rockumentary--no, I never get tired of that word--flawlessly melds concert footage with off-stage footage and short bits of interviews, while also blending the tribulations of one of the most popular global Metal bands and the hilarious antics of the band members (especially drummer Nicko McBrain). If you're in the range of casual fan to fanboy, this movie will be both informative and awesome. Highlights include some of the best live performances of Aces High, Hallowed, and Rime.
5. Metal: A Headbanger's Journey: probably my first Metal documentary, this one truly opened the doors of the genre to me. Upon seeing this movie, I was at the beginning stages of being a Metal fan, and I don't think any other documentary could have covered the entire musical genre of Metal, the culture of the genre, the controversy and the stereotypes of the genre. If you're a beginner Metalhead, I recommend this movie over all the others--highly informative! Even if you're deeply involved with the genre, it's still good to use this movie as a refresher and to see a lot of your favorite musicians speak about their genre of music.
As always, I welcome your own interpretations of my lists, as well as another topic worthy of a top five list.
Keep on rockin' in a free world!