2012 marks the third year of Heavy Metal Mix Tapes. Here are the pages for 2010 and 2011. I wanted to try something different this year.
The first goal was to avoid my usual favorites. No Mastodon. No Opeth. No ISIS. No Arch Enemy. No Judas Priest. No Dio. NO MEGADETH!!! This mostly works out, with only a handful of regulars slipping through.
The other big idea was to try and order the songs chronologically. As you’ll see below, we get 4 or 5 songs from each decade. This made it harder sequence the songs, but on the upside it’s a nice evolutionary journey over the two hours.
1. Mystery Song (1966)
Some of you may know why this is here … *ooooohhhh* … *mystery song* …
2. Paranoid – Black Sabbath (1970)
According my self imposed rules, I was avoiding bands picked in previous years. It only took till song #2 for me to break that rule. Woo!
Once I committed to the chronological play list I simply couldn’t ignore Black Sabbath as the first proper Metal track.
I nearly went for ‘War Pigs‘, but ‘Paranoid‘ establishes it’s momentum immediately and worked best to follow the mystery track.
3. Black Dog – Led Zeppelin (1971)
There are several “Big Names” who make one of these playlists for the first time. I thought I’d add in one of the biggest names in Hard Rock.
Led Zeppelin ‘IV‘ is a mythic album. You know, it has THE song on it. There were several tracks I could have picked, such as … you know…the aforementioned THE song. Instead I selected ‘Black Dog‘ as it’s very riff-centric.
4. Sweet Emotion – Aerosmith (1975)
The track ‘Round and Round’ from ‘Toys In The Attic‘ is a much more obviously Heavy Metal than this track. Yet it was cruisey vibe of ‘Sweet Emotion‘ that made it my favorite song from the album. It’s got a central guitar riff that kinda qualifies it as Hard Rock.
5. God of Thunder – Kiss (1976)
I’ll be honest, I don’t particularly like Kiss. Kinda like Lady Gaga, they’ve got this memorable fashion sense, but only a handful of good songs. ‘I Was Made For Loving You‘ and ‘Rock and Roll All Night‘ are fun but silly.
‘Destroyer‘ is regarded as there best studio album, so that’s the one I picked up. I need to spend more time with the album, but ‘God of Thunder’ caught my attention immediately. It’s got that weird chatter of children and a heavier groove. The lyrics are silly, but I like the track filling out the 70s here.
6. Bomber – Motörhead (1979)
Motörhead have a bunch of good songs that all kinda sound the same. At least that one “song” that they do know, happens to be pretty good.
7. For Whom The Bell Tolls – Metallica (1984)
Finally, Metallica make an appearance.
8. Jesus Saves – Slayer (1986)
Slayer fall into that category of metal which appeals becasue of its excess. This is blistering fast music, with wild guitar solos and explicit lyrics. Unlike a lot of subsequent Death Metal bands, the lyrics are relatively understandable making the gruesome subject matter all the more unavoidable.
I put this album on when I need to get something done in a hurry.
9. Nighttrain – Guns N Roses (1987)
Some Glam Metal was needed at this point
10. I Am the Law – Anthrax (1987)
I saw the new Judge Dredd movie the other day and enjoyed it immensely. KArl Urban does a great job making a ‘likeable’ character out of such a fascist uber-cop. It was also crazy violent. The closest thing to it is the original 80s Robocop.
“Respect the badge. He earned it with his blood. Fear the gun. Your sentence may be death because, I am the law!. And you won’t fuck around no more!”
11. Suite Sister Mary – Queensrÿche (1988)
In the absence of Dream Theater, here is the epic Prog-Metal entry.
The plot for this album is crazy. It’s got political uprisings, mind-controlled assassains and drugs dealing nuns.
It’s a weird mess, but I can’t help be swept up by over the 10 minutes.
12. Last – Nine Inch Nails (1992)
Welcome to the 90s! Ah, the good old days when it was cool to be angry.
I’m on the record as a huge NIN fan. This song was never a particular favorite. However, it made an appearance of the credits of the recent film Cabin In The Woods where it was totally, f*cking awesome. I’d like to think the song nicely parallels the subtext of that film. Discuss…
13. 50 Million Year Trip (Downside Up) – Kyuss (1992)
‘Blues for the Red Sun’ is a great album. It kinda rocks a long like Metallica in some ways, but is thick like Black Sabbath and yet has cruisey, spacey sections too. It’s a foundational album in what’s known as Stoner Metal.
This song is not a single. It starts fast paced and churns through a few verses before heading out for an extended trip into the desert.
14. Wildhoney / 15. Whatever That Hurts – Tiamat(1994)
Scandinavian bands are rare in this years list, with only Amon Amarth keeping Tiamat company. I don’t have much to say about them other than Wildhoney is critically acclaimed as a weird prog album. It starts off with a great bit of natural sounds leading into some Gothic / Doom Metal (Or apparently even Death-Doom if you want to get crazy with the sub-genres).
It’s good that while America was stumbling along, on the verge of plunging into Nu-Metal, Europe was off doing interesting things in the Black, Doom and Symphonic Metal space.
16. After The Flesh – My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult (1994)
From a sequencing perspective, this was the hardest song to pick in the playlist. ‘Whatever That Hurts‘ finishes with a mesmerising wall of sound and ‘Digging the Grave‘ hits top speed in an instant. Industrial Music seemed to be enough of a circuit breaker between the two. This was nearly a Fear Factory song, but I don’t know the ‘Demanufacture‘ album well enough to pick a song. Ultimately I went back to an old favorite.
Say this with me… The Crow Soundtrack is one of the best soundtracks ever!
This is the CD that (along with the Triple J compilation ‘Eleven‘) introduced me to heavier music. The Nine Inch Nails track in particular hooked me, but there are so many good songs from artists like The Cure, Stone Temple Pilots, Rage Against The Machine, Rollins Band and Pantera. The MLWTTKK song was my first introduction to Industrial music. Guitars and Techno and Angst! What’s not to love?
So check out this song, then go check out the soundtrack.
17. Digging The Grave – Faith No More (1995)
One my favourite songs of all time. I once improvised my own version of the lyrics starting with the basis of “I caught a trout. It’s in my mouth”. Good times!
18. Ratamahatta – Sepultura (1996)
The album ‘Roots‘ is where the South American band Sepultura goes and makes an album with an indigenous Amazon tribes. IIt’s a completely awesome idea for an album!
In actuality, I find the the album a bit hit and miss. But when it hits it nails this insane, unique mix of rhythm and heaviness. An easy choise to put on the playlist.
19. Feiticeira – Deftones (2000)
Nominally a Nu-Metal band, the Deftones are a quantum shift away from bands like Limp Bizkit. Their music is difficult for me to really enjoy. Yet it’s an album I respect and want to commit more time to exploring. The vocals in particular have a really ‘sour’ tone which is off-putting but unique.
I nearly picked a longer track (Knife Party), but I felt a shorter, more straightforward song would let listeners (including mysefl) get a flavour for the music without overwhelming.
20. A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation – Trivium (2005)
Trivium’s ‘Ascendancy‘ has the dubious reputation of the ‘Album I Gave Up On Quicker Than Any Other‘. On first listen it sounded like a cacophony of noise. Were’ not talking noise like Dillinger Escape Plan “I dare you to finish this song” kind of thing. More of a “We’re a try-hard Metalcore band who love Metallica solos” disappointment.
At some point, things fell into place and I learnt to love it. This song in particular rockets along. The shouting/growling is still a bit weird, but as with most Death Growls, they become an acquired taste.
21. Ocean Planet – Gojira (2005)
Due to the following song, (see below) I had to spend some time picking exactly which Gojira track to pick. I would have loved to pick ‘Heaviest Matter In The Universe‘ which is an all time classic. But sandwiched between Trivium and DragonForce, I needed something slower and less heart-attack-inducing. Ultimately I picked ‘Ocean Planet‘ as it has more of a crunching pace.
(The good thing about picking from a Gojira album is usually there’s no dud choice.)
22. Through the Fire and Flames – DragonForce (2006)
I mean, just listen to it.
Speed! Power! Metal!
23. Union Black / 24. Get It Now – Skindred (2011)
Another difficult choice for the playlist. The DragonForce track is so exhausting I really needed something to stop and allow everyone to catch their breath. The two tracks here are not consecutive on the album, but I think they work well together anyway.
Skindred are a band who I loved immediately on hearing their single ‘Warning’. While they are Nu-Metalish there’s also the mix of electronica, Reggae and plain old enthusiasm that wins me over.
25. A Beast Am I – Amon Amarth (2011)
Well, actually not really. Viking Metal is usually reserved for Black Metal bands who are anti-Christian and pro-Pagan religions.
Amon Amarth are just a band whiose songs are all about North mythology. They’re good, but not overly unique. Dethklok, Arch Enemy and other Melodic Death Metal bands are all similar in style. Other tracks on the album are more obviously ‘Viking-esque’. This track felt more catchy, so I went with it.
NOte: There’s a bit of spacey instrumental at the end. Not sure why that’s there. But since we are nearly at the end it’s ok if we relax a bit.
(Unfortunately nobody told Gojira to relax…)
26. The Axe – Gojira (2012)
‘Ocean Planet‘ was crunching, ‘The Axe‘ is pummelling.
And yes,there are two Gojira songs on this playlist. It’s my play list, I can do what I want!
They are my defining band for 2012. I saw them live at Soundwave then promptly bought all their albums. Maybe not my favourite band ever, but certainly in my top 10.
Rock out, you French eco-metal maniacs!
27. Collapse – Baroness (2012)
One of the more obviously ‘Not Really Metal’ songs on this list, I’ll still include it as I bought it in the ‘Heavy Metal’ isle in the CD store. And previous Baroness albums certainly have been Metal.
A much more quiet track to finish with and I must say I find it depressing. On the upside it has reflective and thoughtful quality.
As an aside, Baroness had a horrific bus crash earlier in the year. So while many of the songs on this album are melancholy, I find the band inspiring in the way they are making the most of their future, despite the hand fate dealt them.