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.
Way back in 1990, Suicidal Tendencies released their absolutely fantastic album, Lights…Camera…Revolution! This album cemented the bands “classic” line up which featured Mike Muir, Robert Trujillo, Rocky George, Mike Clark and R.J. Herrera. This album also saw the band move away from their punk rock roots to a more thrash/groove style. The first song on the album, “You Can’t Bring Me Down” is one hell of a first song. MTV played the hell out of the video (later in the day of course), and that helped the album become successful. Also, the song was nominated for a Grammy but, they lost to Metallica that year.
Megadeth’s album Rust In Peace is a tremendous record. It’s definitely one of the best metal albums of all time. The guitar work on the record is beyond superb. In fact, the first song on Rust In Peace, “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due” is one of the quintessential metal songs of all time. As a first song on an album, this is one of the best. The song itself has an interesting background. It was inspired by the Northern Ireland conflicts at the time. Holy Wars, since the release of Rust In Peace, has been a live staple for over 30 years now. It truly is one of the greatest track one’s of all time.
Oasis’s debut album, Definitely Maybe is one hell of a record. To come out of the gates with an album this good is tremendous. I still remember the first time I played the album. The moment “Rock N Roll Star” started, I knew this album was something special. The sheer rock elements of it along with the lyrics and Liam’s voice have made this song live a very long and prosperous life. Noel Gallagher wrote the song and the story behind it is interesting in that he said that “Rock N Roll Star,” “Live Forever,” and “Cigarettes & Alcohol” were the only three songs he wrote that said something and that the others were just him repeating himself in a different way.” Well no matter what, this song is one hell of a way to start off an album.