A Stupid Top Ten List

Not much this week. I don’t really feel like making any in-depth analyses, and I don’t particularly have anything percolating in my brain, so you’re getting a nice, generic Top Ten list. To accompany it, I’ve created a mix of the song at 8tracks.com.

The Ten Heaviest Songs I Have on My Computer at This Moment
a totally arbitrary list with no definition of ‘heavy’
(in no particular order)

1. “Finger Paintings of the Insane” – Acid Bath: This, actually, could be part of a quadriptych with the songs that follow it on When the Kite String Pops: “Jezebel”, “Scream of the Butterfly”, and “Dr. Seuss is Dead”. Acid Bath is, to me, the quintessential sludge metal band, with Dax Riggs’ vocals and their use of 3/4 and 6/8 time. But in “Finger Paintings…” the band creates a shifting atmosphere of horror that few bands will ever top.

2. “New Millenium Cyanaide Christ” – Meshuggah: I have no clue what time signature this song is in for the most part, but you can, in fact, headbang to it if you’re listening to the hi-hat/snare. Following the guitars or kick drums will give you a weird sort of jaunty-lope that seems natural but is still tough to reconcile with the 4/4 on the hats/snare.

3. “March of the Fire Ants” – Mastodon: This song has the best intro riff of the decade. It’s the song that got me into Mastodon back in the day, before they were all over the indie mags, before they were nominated for Grammys, before they were on Guitar Hero. It was tough to pin down one particular Mastodon song, so I just went with the first one I heard, which is still their signature song. Close runner-ups were “Blood and Thunder”, and pretty much the whole of their albums Blood Mountain and Crack the Skye, which is on my short list of Best of 2009.

4. “We Ride” – Strapping Young Lad: I am sad this band is no more. At least I have the knowledge that Devin Townsend is doing more solo work, and Byron Stroud and Gene Hoglan have gone on to help re-form Fear Factory. On each Strapping album, there’s at least two songs, if not more, that are in contention for Heaviest Song Ever. This happens to be one of the ones off of Alien.

5. “Ticks & Leeches” – Tool: Trying to find a good song by Tool is easy. Trying to find one I’d call “heavy” is a little tougher. This one won out over “Aenema” and “Jambi”. While you could argue the first two albums (well, the first EP and album) are more traditionally “heavy”, “Ticks & Leeches” has a lot more weight to it than those albums could ever hope to have. When Danny Carey’s drums come thundering in after the calm middle break, it sounds like hell on Earth. Playing a drum kit made out of stainless steel will do that, I suppose.

6. “Dead Bodies Everywhere” – Korn: It was a toss-up between this and “Freak on a Leash”, but the um… “harmony” vocals in the chorus of this one seals it. I acknowledge the breakdown in “Freak” gets ridonkulously heavy, but that’s just that one part of the song. I also have noticed that, over the years, as bad as Korn has gotten, they still have the “snare hit: HEAVY” formula down pat. Even their song “Here to Stay” has that moment, and it’s pretty alright.

7. “Harvester of Sorrow” – Metallica: Yep. Still their best song, in my opinion. Lots of people hate it, hate the record, and, thanks to a freak bus accident twenty years ago, hate the band. But this is proof that a band doesn’t have to tune down, play fast, or employ a terrible, impossible-to-understand singer to be “heavy”. Plus the solo makes exactly zero sense. This album paved the way for Meshuggah, and the 90s/early 2000s Slayer sound, whether anyone acknowledges it or not.

8. “Disciple” – Slayer: Speak of the devil. I’d probably have a different song up here, but I lost a bunch of my Slayer CDs to being poor. I plan on buying them up again eventually, and when I do, I’ll probably put “Raining Blood” in this spot.

9. “Mein Teil” – Rammstein: This is the heaviest riff ever written. It’s in drop-C, it’s mid-tempo, and it’s brutal beyond belief. Throw the ugly German on top of it, and it’s so over-the-top that it has to go on the list.

10. “Violence from Within” – Darkane: It’s, at its core, a pretty straightforward thrash metal song. It gets bonus points for drummer Peter Wildoer’s insane single-stroke hi-hat roll at the beginning.

Songs that almost made the list: Every song off Dethklok’s The Dethalbum. “Bastard Chain” by Soilwork. “Drag the Waters” and “Fucking Hostile” by Pantera. Probably lots of others.

There you go. Rick’s metal list. Maybe I’ll do Top Ten Pop Songs one day. Or most depressing songs. The possibilities are endless. But I’m not Spin here, am I?

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