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Reggie’s Essential 25 Favorite Instrumentals #18 & #17


bc_rich_widow_wmd_bass_top_imageI love the power of a good instrumental song.  Sometimes they can be energizing or even relaxing depending on the band’s intent with the song.  Some bands use an instrumental song to display a different, sometimes softer side.  And, sometimes an instrumental is a collection of left over riffs and drum parts that didn’t make the final cut.  Or, perhaps they just couldn’t find the words to go with the music.  However they are composed, the instrumental song is a track I look for and hope to find on any album; though there are some bands where it’s almost an expectation.  This list is comprised of 25 word-less songs that I find essential to my music library.  I wouldn’t sweat over the exact order, but yeah the ones at or near the top of this list are definitely my favorites.  I know there are many more instrumental songs out there, but these are mine…so to speak.  This list is also limited to only three per band and only one band made this list three times.  Enjoy!

18.  Spastic – Revocation

This is probably one of the newest songs on my countdown of favorite instrumental songs.  This is another one that is loaded with cool guitar rhythm and lead and speed.  It is also very much a Revocation song complete with all their technical progressiveness just a lack of vocals.  This one appears on their self-titled 2013 release.  This play through video of the band is pretty bad ass too.

17.  Orion – Metallica

Other than Leper Messiah which launched me into thrash metal way back in the day, Orion was the other stand out song for me on this pivotal Master of Puppets album.  Again, guitars are quite prominent in this one, including bass, but I also like the rhythm and smooth tempo.  I felt I was able to lose my 13 or 14 year old self in this song. This is the last of the Metallica instrumental songs on my list.  I have seen Metallica five times and I do not recall ever seeing this song played live.  Bummer!

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Reggie’s Essential 25 Favorite Instrumentals – #22 & #21


Warlock-Metal-Master-Blade-MMWGSVBKI love the power of a good instrumental song.  Sometimes they can be energizing or even relaxing depending on the band’s intent with the song.  Some bands use an instrumental song to display a different, sometimes softer side.  And, sometimes an instrumental is a collection of left over riffs and drum parts that didn’t make the final cut.  Or, perhaps they just couldn’t find the words to go with the music.  However they are composed, the instrumental song is a track I look for and hope to find on any album; though there are some bands where it’s almost an expectation.  This is list comprised of 25 word-less songs that I find essential to my music library.  I wouldn’t sweat over the exact order, but yeah the ones at or near the top of this list are definitely my favorites.  I know there are many more instrumental songs out there, but these are mine…so to speak.  This list is also limited to only three per band and only one band made this list three times.  Enjoy!

22.  The Call of the Ktulu – Metallica

Of all the songs on the track list for Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony, I think this one was the best one.  It was already dark and moody to begin with, but toss in a symphony and it gave this song much greater depth.  The rest of that album didn’t do much for me, but this one stuck out.  So, this one applies to both versions of the song.

21.  Coat of Arms – Sabaton

A band I never heard of until I saw them open one of the stages at Sonisphere 2010 in the U.K. (I think that was the year).  They got the crowd moving during their 10am set…or whenever it was they started.  Their music can be so motivational. For example, when I am working out and about to quit and call it a day I often turn to Sabaton to gather the motivation I need to go another 15 minutes or so.  Though there are some background vocals in this instrumental, I still consider it instrumental.

Song(s) of the Week: Metallica in Lights


Whatever your faith and however deep it may be, we hope all of you have a wonderful, peaceful day full of love and cool music. For Christmas we have a medley of songs set to a video by Slayerbob, an American sound and lighting engineer who sets up displays like this all over the place. That must be a fun job!

This is music with a video but it couldn’t be Video of the Week on Friday because Friday won’t be Christmas Day and our videos usually feature the bands themselves in person, not just the electricity. So, enjoy the light show set to some classic Metallica. We suspect most of you will be listening to music something like this today while other people are singing “Deck The Halls,” etc.

Reggie’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs #2 – Master of Puppets


EvilPuppetI wouldn’t be surprised if I got some hate mail for this one, but Trivium’s cover of Master of Puppets is my #2 favorite cover song.  I think this is one of those bands that has a fine dividing line between love and hate or like and dislike among metal fans.  I happen to be on the “like” side and this cover is spot on, if not equal to or better than Metallica’s original version.  I think this is the cover that earned them the nickname of Metallica copycats.  The original version can be found on Metallica’s Master of Puppets album released in 1986.  I don’t think I can say more about that album, as it is my #2 favorite album of all time.

Trivium recorded their cover of the song for Remastered:  Master of Puppets Revisited distributed for free by Kerrang!  You can find it on the re-release of their album Ascendancy originally released in 2005.  That album shot Trivium to new levels and garnered them some serious attention.  This is also the point where I first heard of them and enjoyed their music.  Since then, they have been the source of contention among metal fans with many views and opinions widely varying.  For me, I prefer the album Shogun above all, but still appreciated their most recent work and look forward to something new from them hopefully in the near future.

Here is Trivium performing Master of Puppets live.

Here is Metallica’s epic song also live.

Reggie’s Favorite 25 Favorite Cover Songs #7 – Fade To Black


fade_to_black_by_zaiduck-d4gpr7dOne of the most impressive sets at Sonisphere UK 2010 was seeing Apocalyptica.  Not because they are so different, but hearing those cellos at rock concert volume was pretty powerful and a cool experience.  The whole day was great, but this Finnish band really stood out. Fade to Black (the original) appears on the Metallica album Ride the Lightning released in 1984.  It is one of their more well-known dark and gloomy songs that any old-school Metallica fan can probably sing.  This is also the infamous song where pyrotechnics burnt James Hetfield in Montreal, Canada back when they toured with Guns n’ Roses.

Apocalyptica started out as a Metallica tribute band, but has since blossomed into a full-blown band.  Their more recent albums contain scores of special guests including Dave Lombardo, Cristina Scabbia, Joe Duplantier, Max Cavalera, Corey Taylor, Till Lindemann, and many more.  This cover of Fade to Black can be found on the album Plays Metallica by Four Cellos released in 1996.

Here is the cover version from Apocalyptica.

Below is the live version from Metallica.

Reggie’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs #13 – For Whom The Bell Tolls


images moonsorrowI heard a lot about Moonsorrow before I ever took the time to listen to them.  Now, I can see why so many people love their music; they are a great band despite singing the lyrics in their native tongue.  That can be a turn off to some, but does it really matter if you know what they are singing about?  I think not!  Their cover of Metallica’s For Whom The Bell Tolls is a really strong cover.  Moonsorrow definitely made it their own.  While it’s important to retain at least some of the core sound, this version is definitely unique as far as cover songs go.

When I first heard Ride The Lightning, I think this was my initial favorite song and to this day remains one of my favorites on the album and a great song to hear live.

This is the clip live from Sofia, Bulgaria (Big Four), but if you want the original recording look to Ride The Lightning released in 1984.

This is the stellar cover from Moonsorrow off the EP Tulimyrsky.

Favorite cover song #14

The Power of the Riff Compels Me Pt. I


rhps-crh03-riffrafftimewarplThe riff, a melodic phrase, often constantly repeated, forming an accompaniment or part of an accompaniment for a soloist.  In metal, we are not lacking in the heavy use of them.  In fact the large majority of all metal and hard rock revolves around the riff.  The riff is what hooks you into a song, it’s what drives to keep you engaged, it’s what determines the phrasing of a good solo or breakdown.  So, needlessly saying, a fine riff will often lead to a great song.  Some bands excel at creating bold and brazen riffs (eg. doom metal, death metal, groove metal) and others may use a more mellow, low-key riff to build atmospheres for the other instruments to build a dynamic off of (eg. black metal, post-metal).   But whatever the approach is, the power of the riff compels us!

Some riffs have gone down in metal history as the greatest groups of music ever created.  Upon hearing the first few notes of the riff, you can identify the song in no time flat and chances are that the riff has spent extended time stuck in your brain more than once.  Here’s a list of what I consider the best riffs of heavy metal.  To show fairness to the newer bands out there, they’ll get inclusions also, so if you see a track you don’t know here, give it a listen, I guarantee there will be a damn sick riff contained within.  But on the flipside, I also feel that the real signifier of a solid and memorable riff is the test of time.  If over 20 years after hearing it the effect it has on me is still the same and my enjoyment of the song is still immense, then that sir, is a f’n killer riff.  To not turn this into a list of best Black Sabbath, Pantera, or ‘Tallica riffs, I’m limiting myself to one song per band, so if you dig a riff more than one not included in the list, make sure to give it a shout out in the comments.  And also, this is just scratching the surface of the best riffs in metal/hard rock, so be prepared for part deuce. Enjoy!!  Peace Love and Metal!!

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #15- Sabbra Cadabra covered by Metallica


tumblr_m8zjenrpzR1rpgw7vo1_500Well, what a nice coincidence, today, Feb.14 is recognized as the day you fork your money over to Hallmark and show your significant other that you love them more on this day instead of any other day of the year.  Single people also get to be reminded that they are alone as they get berated by sappy lovey dovey stuff from their friends in relationships.  I wonder how many hits those wank sites get today.  Anywho, my pick for #15 is one of the cover of a Black Sabbath ode to love, “Sabbra Cadabra”, covered by Metallica.

What I dig about the Metallica cover is that it is able to capture the fun and energy of the original track and also work in that classic ‘Tallica sound.  Hetfeild sounds great in the vocal part and suits the song well with his bluesy singing style and Kirk’s guitar tone and wah-wah abuse sound tailored this song.  There is also a nice little segue into my all time favorite Black Sabbath tune, “A National Acrobat”, towards the end of the track that is masterfully woven into the cover before it seamlessly works its way back into the rockin’ sounds of the former.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Metallica Version:

Original Black Sabbath Version (Sabbra Cadabra):

Original Black Sabbath Version (A National Acrobat):

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Reggie’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs #17 – Am I Evil?


metallica-creeping-death-single-cover-300x300I have always liked the cover of Diamond Head’s Am I Evil? Metallica did a great job with it; I first heard it as the B-side of Metallica’s Creeping Death single released by Music For Nations in 1984.  I can’t remember how I came across that cassette (might have been in the used section of my favorite record store), but if I had it today it might be a bit of a collector’s item.  Blitzkrieg was also on that single and I am pretty sure I wore it out.

I was one of a fortunate few 60K+ fans who got to see the Big Four for their first UK performance at Knebworth in 2011.  It was a great experience and of course a super bonus to see the mega-collaboration of Am I Evil?  The biggest upset of the day was that I never got to see Diamond Head open the set.  The line to get in was quite long and I only got to hear them as we were trying to get in.  At any rate, you can tell from the versions below, Metallica stayed true to the original and after thinking about it, probably deserves to be higher on the list than where it sits today.

Here is the live version from the Big Four at Knebworth.  You will notice not only the Big Four members, but also a member of Exodus, Sepultura, and Diamond Head for a total of seven different bands.

Here is the original recorded by Diamond Head on their debut 1980 album Lightning to the Nations.

Reggie’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs #20 – Disposable Heroes


disposable_heroes_by_shredric-d302hhdMetallica has a unique distinction when it comes to cover songs.  First, they do great cover songs and second, their own music makes for great cover songs by other bands.  This isn’t the last time you will see some version of Metallica or their music on this short list of favorite cover songs. Chimaira, part of the new wave of American heavy metal, covered the classic Disposable Heroes for the Kerrang Metallica Tribute Album.  This is another cover that holds the line barely straying much from the original.

Disposable Heroes is one of many war-themed Metallica songs.  The lyrics are the thoughts of a soldier…

Bodies fill the fields I see, hungry heroes end / No one to play soldier now, no one to pretend / Running blind through killing fields, bred to kill them all / Victim of what said should be / A servant `til I fall…

There is also a second voice in the lyrics; that of the commanding individual (officer or sergeant)…

Back to the front / You will do what I say, when I say / Back to the front / You will die when I say, you must die / Back to the front / You coward / You servant / You blind man

Being a military man myself, these lyrics are not far-fetched.

I believe cover songs should be done one of two ways…either redo the whole thing and make it your own, or copy it as close to the original just adding a little kick to it. Chimaira chose option #2 and did a great job.

On another note, Master of Puppets, is THEE album that got me into the metal I know and love today.  The song Master of Puppets was featured as my #2 favorite song of all time on 2012’s Top 100 list.

Here is the cover by Chimaira which can be found on the Kerrang Metallica Tribute album.

Here is the original song which is on the 1986 album, Master of Puppets.

Favorite Cover Song #21