Gibson Names Top 5 Metal Songs Of All Time

Iron Maiden

(Gibson) Defining metal music is never easy, but for this all-time list, Gibson.com opted to leave bands like Led Zeppelin and Queen in the hard rock camp and concentrate on the heavier metal sounds - Iron Maiden, Sabbath, Metallica and the like. But did reveal their top 10 metal songs of all time picks. Here are the top 5:

5. "The Number of the Beast," Iron Maiden: Evil is an intrinsic part of metal and, like "Black Sabbath," Iron Maiden's "The Number of the Beast" takes the listener as close to that evil as they can bear. The song's legendary scream of anguish after the intro is as real as it gets - legend has it that the moment is a recording of singer Bruce Dickinson's real reaction to being asked to record yet another take. Meanwhile bassist and lyricist Steve Harris' narrative was inspired in part by a nightmare he had after seeing the film The Omen and partly by the 1790 poem Tam o'Shanter by Robert Burns, in which the protagonist similarly witnesses all kinds of ghoulish goings-on. Musically the song is uptempo and hypnotic, with the requisite shout-along chorus and a tension-building bridge which is relieved by a classic Dave Murray/Adrian Smith shred vs. blues solo duel.

4. "Iron Man," Black Sabbath: Tony Iommi grinds out some riffs, Ozzy Osbourne starts humming and says it sounds like an iron bloke walking about. Geezer Butler runs with the line, turns it into a song and a Sabbath classic is born. With the pounding power of Iommi's riff, the strident vocals and the imagination-teasing storytelling, this was a new kind of rock. It was darker, gloomier, nastier and bolder than Zeppelin and Purple. Black Sabbath weren't hard rock, Sabbath were metal.

3. "Crazy Train," Ozzy Osbourne: The pressure was on Ozzy Osbourne in 1980. His crazy antics had led to his departure from Black Sabbath and the launch of, hopefully, a new solo career. Randy Rhoads' outrageous guitar work, as well as Rhoads' songwriting collaborations, ensured that so long as Ozzy could come up with decent lyrics and still force fire from his belly, the career would be in good shape. "Crazy Train" was near perfect in concept and execution. All Aboard!

2. "Ace of Spades," Motörhead: Maybe "Ace of Spades" is technically more hard rock than metal - but it certainly rocks harder and faster than any song known to man (metal or otherwise). From the moment Lemmy hits the gas pedal on the opening bass riff, the song never relents. "Philthy Animal" Taylor nobly powers the drums forward at a frenetic pace and "Fast" Eddie Clarke is more than up to the task of ripping a blazing solo directly after the breakdown. And oh, that breakdown. "You know I'm born to lose/And gambling is for fools/But that's the way I like it, baby/I don't want to live forever! - And don't forget the Joker!" If that doesn't set your blood boiling, then you simply don't have a pulse.

1. "Master of Puppets," Metallica: Metallica were already high on the heavy metal watch list with Kill 'em All and Ride the Lightning, but 1986's Master of Puppets was the ultimate statement of intent, as much a call to arms for metalheads everywhere as it was a dire warning of the enslaving power of drug abuse. The song's razor-sharp intro riff sets up the perfect headbanging tempo in the chugging verses, while it's every teenage metal fan's sacred rite of passage to scream out "Master! Master!" at the top of their lungs to this song (preferably at a Metallica concert, but at the very least from a car window). The breakdown and harmony line are balanced by a rare James Hetfield solo (with Hetfield revealing a surprisingly bluesy, haunting and emotional lead style), a return to the harmony, then a blazing Kirk Hammett solo. By the end of the song, it's obvious that metal would never be the same. See the other songs that made the top 10 here.

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