Mega Music Monday Playlist – 29th March 2010

This week we’re doing a special playlist of songs we think are cool, but don’t necessarily get the attention or plaudits they deserve. Just click on the song name and get listening. What do you think?

Opeth – Coil: The acoustic opener to the ‘Watershed’ album. Just beautiful.

Martyr AD – Broken Mouth: Metalcore before it became big. Sadly, this band split up but not before making two albums, ‘On Earth As It Is In Hell’, and the debut ‘The Human Condition In Twelve Fractions’, from which this song is taken.

A Life Once Lost – Detest: To be honest, I’m not a big fan of this band, but this song has a groove you can’t help love. There’s not much to this song, and it basically boils down to the first riff repeating over and over. But I keep coming back to it.

Judas Priest – One on One: The first of two Ripper era Priest songs. The two albums Ripper did get a lot of flak from fans, and while they weren’t brilliant they did have their moments. This was one such song. Listen to it in its own right, without the burden of Priest’s discography weighing it down.

Judas Priest – Burn In Hell: The other Ripper era song. Pay attention to how they build up the layers at the start. One by one, sounds are added until the riff kicks in. And what a riff too.

Judas Priest – A Touch Of Evil: This was originally featured on my favourite Priest album, ‘Painkiller’, but I’ve gone for the live version here. This song has always fascinated me because of it’s obviously dark and menacing tone. Study the lyrics, keeping in mind that Rob Halford hadn’t come out as gay when this song was released. You’ll see the song in a whole new light suddenly.

Anthrax – King Size: Another song from an album that gets a lot of shit from fans, but actually sounds quite good if you hear it in isolation, rather than in the context of the bands’ past efforts. ‘Stomp 442’ had a lot of groovy stuff, like this song, Fueled and Grunt & Click

Vader – Xeper: Vader have a ton of hits, but this one gets very few outings these days. One of the coolest riffs these guys have written, Xeper is a song that rocks because of its simplicity. And this coming from a band renowned for its technicality. Whiplash guaranteed.

Megadeth – Five Magics: Ok, so every track on ‘Rust In Peace’ is legendary. But this one gets mentioned a whole lot less than Hangar 18, Holy Wars or Tornado Of Souls. A slow starter, it picks up the pace along the way and once the ridiculous guitar part kicks in at 4:46, you’ll be convinced. Awesome.

Chimaira – Six: A true hidden gem. This 9 minute epic incorporates everything from jackhammer double-bass to eastern influences, in a song about surviving adversity to come out stronger. Inspirational and grandiose in equal measure.

Black Label Society – Bridge To Cross: For a bunch of guys known for their rambunctious brand of metal, this makes for a stark departure. Acoustic, moody and as close to a musical equivalent of melancholy as you’re likely to get.

Youngblood Brass Band – Elegy: I love this song. This is the live version, and the instruments sound so much more vibrant here. Look up the lyrics, the subject matter may be your average heartbreak, but DH Skogen is a clever lyricist.

Rage Against The Machine – Snakecharmer: Buried deep in the ‘Evil Empire’ album, this song has one of the coolest grooves Tom Morello ever came up with, if you ask me.

Rage Against The Machine – Fistful Of Steel: Track eight from the self-titled debut. Zack is outraged in most of his songs, but you’ll feel it a lot more on this one.

Tool – The Pot: Simple, yet so effective. The riff is probably the simplest one Tool has ever written. But how can you not scream along with Maynard every time he says, “You must’ve been HIGH!” The lyrics, as with all Tool songs, are extremely clever with plenty of word-play; this video, in particular, does a great job of illustrating them.

Tool – Swamp Song: I can’t believe this wasn’t released as a single from the ‘Undertow’ album. Tool at their lyrical, belligerent best.

Slayer – Threshold: Taken from the ‘God Hates Us All’ album. Pure aggro; I dare you not to scream along with Araya at the end when he’s shouting “I CAN’T STOP THE RAGE/ I CAN’T STOP THE HATE YEAH!” Violent music at its punchiest.

Slayer – Catatonic: One of ‘those’ Slayer songs, where they don’t play at 2 billion BPM for a change. And that just makes the riff and the vocals that much more menacing and intense.

Metallica – Carpe Diem Baby: Buried very deep on the much-maligned ‘Reload’ album, this one is actually a very good mid-tempo rocker. No, it isn’t thrash metal, but it’s still a cool song that is moody, dark and heartfelt.

Metallica – Ronnie: The most un-Metallica song ever written, this song from ‘Load’ has more in common with blues than metal. Again, just forget for a second that you’re listening to a band that is famous for thrash metal, and you’ll see how this a brilliant song.

Apocalyptica – Farewell: I love songs that have an emotion to them. And if you don’t know what I mean, listen to this song and you’ll understand. It’s as if someone wrote the soundtrack to sorrow.

Audioslave – Shadow On The Sun: I chanced upon this song because it was featured on the movie ‘Collateral’. Again, a great example of a moving song that has an emotional side to it. Chris Cornell has a great voice, and he puts it to good use, especially on the last verse.

At The Gates – World Of Lies: Taken from the genre-defining ‘Slaughter Of The Soul’ album, I’m baffled why this song doesn’t get lauded more. Pure genius.

The Crown – Death Is The Hunter: With a name like that you know it’s not going to be a love ballad. The Crown is one of the most underrated heavy bands in recent times. They’ve broken up sadly, but not before leaving us with a solid 6 album catalogue.

Dimmu Borgir – Eradication Instincts Defined: I always thought Dimmu’s orchestral arrangements hit a new high on this album, ‘Death Cult Armageddon’. No song symbolises that more than this one; it gives epic a whole new meaning.

Dimmu Borgir – Burn In Hell: A cover of the Twisted Sister song, and it’s one of those rare ones that manages to sound better than the original.

Pantera – It Makes Them Disappear: A slow, moody and brooding song, but in the Pantera style so there’s lots of distortion and squealing guitars. The lyrics are some of the darkest Pantera ever wrote, made all the more eerie by the calm riffing.

Pantera – Electric Funeral: An amazing cover of the Sabbath classic.

Disturbed – Droppin’ Plates: Delve deep into the debut album ‘The Sickness’, and you get this gem. There’s angry songs, and then there’s angry songs that scare you because the tone is so calm it’s absolutely psychotic. Nice.

Your Demise – Black Veins: The next big thing in hardcore, from St. Albans in the UK. Just hear the song, it speaks for itself.

Mudvayne – Prod: I think Mudvayne were brilliant on their debut album ‘L.D. 50’, because songs like this took them out of nu-metal and put them closer to progressive territory. An eerie heavy song if there ever was one, punctuated by Ryan Martinie’s brilliant bass playing.

Trivium – The Crusade: I absolutely detest this album, but this eight-minute instrumental almost redeems all the garbage that precedes it. It’s not that the fretwork is brilliant – I hate artists who spend their time showing off their skill and forget to write a song – it’s the melodies and the hooks that make this song so catchy and memorable. That it is a technically difficult song is the icing on the cake.

Korn – Justin: As kooky and bizarre as anything else that had made Korn a big hit at the time. Freak On A Leash may have won the grammy, but the whole ‘Follow The Leader’ album had nu-metal gems like this one.

Cancer Bats – Smiling Politely: Are they a punk band? Are they a metal band? I don’t think the Cancer Bats know themselves. This song certainly has a metal feel to it, and it’s got Billy Talent’s Ben Kowalewicz guesting on vocals. Gotta love that riff.

Captain Beefheart – Abba Zaba (Live): I couldn’t find the full song anywhere online, so check out the preview that Amazon lets you hear. Beefheart was an absolute genius, and as is normally the case with geniuses, absolutely insane. This song always captured that fine line between genius and insanity that was Beefheart. Look up his bio on wikipedia, you won’t be disappointed.

Lamb Of God – Condemn The Hive: This one is a Japan-only bonus track and I don’t see why, because it’s as good as anything on the ‘Wrath’ album. Just enjoy.

Machine Head – Negative Creep: A metalised version of the Nirvana song. Grunge fans will hate it, which is why I love it.

The Doors – The End (Live): This song isn’t really a hidden gem, but the live version isn’t worshipped as much as it should be. Live at the Hollywood Bowl in ‘68, you get Jim Morrison at his best, joking with the crowd and singing alternate lyrics. It was a beautiful song to begin with, but this version take it a notch higher.

Betraying The Martyrs – Covenant: A young band that is just taking its first steps in the business. I’m tipping them to find success.

As You Drown – Swallow: Another young band, but these guys have been signed to Metal Blade. Expect fireworks when they put out their new album somewhere around the end of this year.

Meshuggah – Dancers To A Discordant System: Didn’t even make it onto the live DVD but the last track on ‘Obzen’ slays. Just like every other track off that album, to be honest.

Celtic Frost – Drown In Ashes: Pay attention to the lyrics – this is a love song. Only Celtic Frost could take a love song and make it an eerie black metal song. That female vocal line will haunt you.

Totimoshi – Seeing Eye: I heard them live for the first time when they were supporting Mastodon on their recent European tour. I can’t say I’m a big fan of their post-grunge rock, but this song is different. That little guitar lick that starts off the song is just so funky it demands attention.


About Abhijeet Ahluwalia

Abhijeet Ahluwalia – I’m a freelance journalist who goes back and forth between London and Bombay. A huge metalhead, but I have an eclectic taste, from reggae to punk. Oh, and Manchester United are the greatest team in the world. Follow me on Twitter or drop me a line via Email.

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