Some days you need a song to really get you going for the day. At times it can take a few to get the right one to hit the spot. This morning, while gearing up for my day I went through a few songs that could help get the blood flowing and then it all came together when I put on “Shock” by Fear Factory. From that point, it was on! This track is one hell of an opener and the way it begins their excellent album, Obsolete is pummeling! If you need a song to start your day, I highly suggest this to kick it off!
This one is too easy and since I’m still on a roll from my 19th NIN show, it’s only fitting. There is no denying the power of this song. There is a reason why it’s been a live staple since the beginning and why it pretty much closes the show. “Head Like A Hole” is an absolute triumph of a track one. Interestingly, “Down In It” was the first single from Pretty Hate Machine but, once “Head Like A Hole” was released and the video too, there was nothing that was going to stop Nine Inch Nails. This song is pure awesome. It’s song with 2 choruses and both are equally as punishing as the other! Live, this song goes to a whole other level especially with thousands of people singing along. Head Like A Hole is a perfect example of what a track one should be!
The year is 1995 and an album is about to be released that changes the heavy metal game for the future. This landmark album would not only put the band on the map but it would go on to be one of the most influential and inspirational albums of the 90’s metal scene and beyond. I’m talking about Fear Factory and their undeniable masterpiece, Demanufacture. There is one story I love about the making of this album that I have to share. The album was recorded at Bearsville Studios in rural New York. Also in residence at the studio was New Jersey rockers, Bon Jovi who were in the studio recording their album These Days (which is actually a really good album in the Bon Jovi catalog and quite dark too). Anyways the story goes that Fear Factory were in the studio next door and one of Bon Jovi’s engineers asked them to turn the sound down, as it was bleeding into Bon Jovi’s drum mics, during Bon Jovi’s recording sessions. But that’s a whole other story for another time. What I want is to focus on the title track of the album. The concept for the album is about a man’s struggles against a machine-controlled government, with each song a chapter in his life. The first song on the album is the title track “Demanufacture” and as a tone setter, WOW. This song is blistering. The riffs are pummeling and the drums blast like Thor’s hammer. Then when you add Burton C. Bell’s vocals of clean singing to heavier vocals, you just can’t beat it. What a way to start off an album and a classic one at best. This song has gone on to live in infamy as one of the best title tracks but also as a track one!
Killswitch Engage’s album Alive Or Just Breathing is more than a game changing album, it’s a metal masterpiece. I had heard the songs “Fixation On The Darkness” and “My Last Serenade” before I heard the whole album but, when I started with track one, I knew a shift was coming in heavy music. “Numbered Days” is one hell of an opening track. Musically it’s heavy and melodic in all the right spots. Lyrically and vocally it’s powerful and gritty along with a generous helping of positivity. It’s one of those perfect album starters. The sing alongs over the years when they play this song live is so much fun to watch and listen to. It’s also interesting to hear Jesse Leach sing this song as well as Howard Jones. Both have such a commanding presence and voice that the message echoes quite loudly!
Joy Division are one of those bands with such a short history but with a legacy and impact that has truly become legendary. Each time I go and listen to this band, I’m always pulled in and find myself becoming more and more intrigued by little nuances and other parts of songs. This captivation has led to countless conversations with others about all sorts of subjects on the band. One of the things I love to discuss with people is the first songs on Unknown Pleasures and Closer and which one is more impactful. To me it has to be “Disorder.” The lyrics of this track are quite introspective and poetic. The music sets a tone for the darkness and yet at moments shines a light in opportune moments throughout.
This topic about track one songs is quite fun and interesting. The first song on album more often than not sets the tone for what is to come and on this particular song, it does just that. On the debut album by Drive Like Jehu, they not only kicked open the door with “Caress” but they made damn sure that the impact from the track would sonically blow you away. This is one of those songs that is often copied but can never be truly duplicated. The intensity, subject matter, tonality, production and performances on “Caress” as well as the whole album is astounding. On a side note too, “Caress” was covered by Deftones and released as a b-side on their Diamond Eyes album.
There is no denying the magnitude that At The Drive In brought to the table in terms of live shows and albums. Their breakthrough album, Relationship Of Command was a much needed kick in the face when it came out. I still remember the first time I put the CD on and the moment the first song was just starting, I had a feeling this was going to be awesome and then “ARCARSENAL” hits and it was all over from there. What a song to kick off an album and live show. The force and power in this song is undeniable. This song is truly one of the best songs to kick off an album. I had the pleasure many years ago, think it was 2000 or 2001, before they broke up to see At The Drive In and what a show it was. They started their set with “Arcarsenal” and from there IT WAS ON! Everything about this song is perfect.
Arcarsenal (Album Version):
Arcarsenal (Live At The Glass House- I was at this show!):
This morning I woke up feeling really groggy and needed a pick me up. While I was checking the music news, I came across an article about Glassjaw’s performance at Furnace Fest and them playing their album Worship and Tribute in full. The moment I saw that, “Tip Your Bartender” started playing in my head. So, with that in mind let’s put some focus on how terrific “Tip Your Bartender” is as the first song on the album. Not only does it truly kickstart a great album but, it sure does get you pumped. The opening riff is such a force. The sound of this song is the epitome of what the 2000’s post-hardcore genre IS. The many times I’ve seen Glassjaw live, this song is always epic. There is a real power to this track and rightfully so. Interestingly too, all the drums on Worship and Tribute were performed by Shannon Larkin, who you might know from his work in Godsmack, Amen, Snot, Ugly Kid Joe and Wrathchild America. When you play this song, be sure to make sure it’s loud so EVERYONE can hear it!
Fugazi’s third album, In On The Kill Taker is my favorite album of theirs. It’s got all the things you could possibly love about this band and then some. This album is more experimental in that there is a wider range of influences and inspiration found throughout these songs. I’ll never forget hearing this album for the first time and having the first song “Facet Squared” hit me like a ton of bricks. This track is beyond awesome. The sense of urgency in this song is astounding. It’s got so much packed into less than 3 minutes but, each little nuance and note is the right one at the right time. Fugazi are legends and rightfully so. In On The Kill Taker is one of their best albums and one of the best albums of the 90’s!
I still remember the first time I heard “At The End Of August” by 36 Crazyfists. I was at home and watching either Uranium on Fuse or Headbanger’s Ball when Jamey Jasta hosted, and the video aired and I immediately was hooked. I looked them up and a couple days later I went to the store to buy their album, A Snow Capped Romance. If you’ve never listened to this album and you are a heavy music fan, I suggest you check it out. It’s really quite good.