Best Of – Power Ballads

Power ballads are in and of their nature sentimental sap-a-thons. They also happen to be one of the staples of metal and hard rock that kept its faint heartbeat alive at a time when the form had gone out of style with the mass public, if it had ever well and truly been “in.” These songs also served as gateways into metal for many a budding metalhead along with the more accessible songs that weren’t quite pop but had those sensibilities of melody and catchiness. This list is by no means definitive but it’s ours spanning a few decades and variants worth of feels. A number of contributors have added their favorites but please do share yours with us in the comments!

Best Of – Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell was nothing if not human albeit one with otherworldly pipes and a mind ripe with the ability to form words and phrases in such a way as to simultaneously connect and befuddle listeners and onlookers. By all accounts he was a contemplative person who loved his inner circle very much but he wasn’t alone in his troubles. His imperfections, those that his fans knew about anyway, bred a certain closeness strengthening the bond they had with the performer. He was one of rock’s golden but least gilded gods. We have lost another great one but his legacy speaks for itself. We will miss you, Mr. Cornell. Our condolences from the Heavy Blog Family to yours. Read on for what our staff and special contributors feel is a sampling of some of the best work over the course of Chris Cornell’s amazingly moving career.

Best of – Brutal Death Metal

Brutal death metal has the rare benefit of being exactly what it sounds like. The differences one would expect between “regular death metal” and “brutal death metal” are manifold and, by and large, pretty predictable: guitars are more downtuned; riffs are chunkier and more visceral; vocals are far deeper and even less intelligible; the whole nine yards. As far as subgenres go, it doesn’t exactly shake up its progenitor’s foundations by a relatively large amount, choosing instead to just take everything that makes death metal an already pretty brutal genre and crank that bad boy up to 11. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the ensuing auditory carnage is not for the faint of heart, but it is for anybody that feels like extreme metal just isn’t extreme enough yet. If you’ve ever felt that way—the grooves could be groovier, the riffs could be riffier, the blasts could be blastier, the gutturals could be gutturalier—then brutal death metal is the answer to all your prayers. So without further ado, let’s dive in to what our staff considers to the be the Best Of – Brutal Death Metal!

Best Of – Stoner Metal

Well, here we are – The Weed Day. While we’ve already done a For Fans Of post for Sleep, today we’re finally going to sit down, rip a “few” bong hits and share what we believe to be the best albums stoner metal has to offer. We’re rolling up to all the genre’s classics today, of course, starting with the auditory sweet leaf that first lit it up. But we’ve also aimed to smoke our way through the genre’s hazy history with landmark albums from the past several decades, including modern classics in the making that are equally worthy of being your soundtrack for the day. So without further ado—because we know how short your attention span is today—grab your bowl, bong and/or blunt and celebrate the best music for your lazy, smoke-filled afternoon.

Best Of: Live Albums

There’s nothing quite like a metal show. The palpitating thrum of bass, explosive blasts of percussion, the crackling sea of people united by music — it’s beautiful, life-affirming, and brutal. Although live recordings will inevitably fail to stack up to the real thing, they allow us to experience singular moments…

Best Of: Global Metal

As in everything, the trajectory of global culture has affected the ways in which we perceive and consume metal. While we won’t have the time to go in depth on concepts like “the West”, “globalism” and “cultural appropriation”, it’s safe to say that metal is too often viewed with a Western-tinged lens. Thus, Europe (western/northern Europe, that is) and the US are often viewed as the focal points of the community and, sometimes, as the only grounds in which events worth consider occur. However, the reality is far from that and is much more positive: metal, like any cultural community which has, is or will one day thrive, is a global phenomenon.

Best Of: Guitar Solos

In this edition of Heavy Blog’s Best Of, we’re taking on the mighty guitar solo. For as long as metal has existed, solos have been a staple of the genre. They might serve as a platform for the freedom of musical expression, or as trophies of technical excellence. Many of…

Best Of – Mosh

We Internet Metal Nerds can put as much gloss on it as we’d like but at the end of the day, metal is tied to physicality, aggression and violence. Unlike what society often thinks however, it’s tied to those things in a positive way. Metal is all about channeling and unleashing those destructive energies in a controlled way. Whether through screaming your throat out, headbanging or moshing, metal can tap into those angry places we all have inside us and defuse the knot of emotions that’s found there. Moshing is really the penultimate practice in that regard: nothing vents and provides catharsis like moshing does. There’s just something about the experience of bodily slamming into other people in timed with guttural, soaring or technical music that does the body and mind good.

But not all metal is created equal; some tracks out there spread their blackened claws and cut right through the bullshit, evoking a reaction that’s unmediated and extremely physical. In other, worldly terms, they make us lose our shit. Of course, moshing is also a collective experience and you really need two (preferably more) for this sweaty, violent tango. And so, we’re happy to present you with a list of tracks that make the Heavy Blog staff lose their shit. Meet us in the pit. We’ll be the ones nodding to the rhythm changes and eyeing the mosh with an appraising eye (until “Flying Whales” comes on and then I WILL DESTROY YOU).

Best Of: Metal Albums 2010-2015

Usually in our Best Of columns we try to tackle either something genre-specific or something conveying a very specific idea. Today we’re doing something a little different though. Given that we’re now officially more than halfway through the 2010s, it seems fitting to take a hard look at some of the albums that have defined the current generation of metal. Since this site was formed in 2009, this list encompasses the vast majority of the music we’ve had the pleasure to experience and review in real time. And as a site who strongly believes we’re currently in the throes of a new Golden Age of Metal, what better way to prove that than with this brief shortlist of phenomenal music we believe best encapsulates that notion.

Best Of – One Man Bands

Going over the twelve entries we’ve selected as the cream of the musical loner crop, it’s amazing to see not only the variety of genres present, but the fact that such enormous, impactful music can come from a single individual. From guitar porn to one man black metal to a whole slew of electronic subgenres, these artists prove that “strength in numbers” may not apply to everyone. Because while this crew may not have been the most social group on the playground, they spent their alone time producing some of our favorite music and proving that collaboration isn’t a necessity for quality tunes. So without further ado, sit back and reminisce with us over our favorite one person projects, or enjoy discovering what any one of these twelve musicians has to offer. And of course, feel free to comment with further suggestions of exceptional musicians who handily do it all.