By: Maximum Metal Staff | Published: August 17, 2012
Metal is known for eschewing the traditional pop song time of 3-4 minutes for practically any length.
This time, we decided to feature our favorite long, epic songs.
Our basic criteria was:
--Must be 10 minutes or longer in length
--Must have a variety of musical arrangements
Iced Earth's "Dante's Inferno". To me it's one of the songs that made the band
recognizable and is a trademark song of theirs. There have been 2 different versions of it
recorded and each one is amazing in it's own right.
Iced Earth - "Dante's Inferno" - Clocking in at 16:26 this is THE epic song of
all time in my opinion. Recorded in 1995 by Iced Earth,"Dante's Inferno" closes
the band's third career album "Burnt Offerings". The overall vibe of the album
was rather dark and dreary, it was the first album with longtime vocalist Matt Barlow and
the talented frontman used lots of "death-like" vocals to seal the deal
musically. The album featured lots of religious themes, mostly anti-establishment and
anti-Christian beliefs ("Creator Failure", "Brainwashed") so it was
fitting to have a long epic closer about the nine circles of Hell. The masterpiece
features tons of timing changes, even going so far as to confuse some as being three
different songs all together. The track mixes in keyboards, tons of lightning quick drum
patterns and fast feet as well as Schaffer's signature triplets. At times Barlow's deathy
vocals mix with his mid-range voice and the higher falsetto screams. The song progresses
from each ring of Hell, the beginning being more "ballad" like as it builds to a
giant crescendo by ring eight. The last ring is downright Gothic with tons of chanting
that reminds me of what Type O Negative was doing at the time with "Bloody
Kisses". Overall it is a brilliant effort and one of the most creative musical pieces
of all time (spanning any genre). Note: The song was re-recorded as a free download from
the band in 2011 with new vocalist Stu Cook.
1. Rush - 2112 (Overture/Temples of Syrinx)
2. Opeth - Deliverance
3. Dream Theater - Surrounded
4. Rush - Xanadu
5. Lynyrd Skynyrd - Freebird
6 Queensryche - Suite Sister Mary - from a great, epic album.
7. Yes - Machine Messiah - no Jon Anderson here, but epic greatness.
8. Iron Maiden - Rime of the Ancient Mariner - more progressive each yr.
Theocracy "Mirror of Souls"--It's not a song I listen to daily because of it's
length but when I do I'm blown away by Matt Smith's vocals, great guitar tone, the way it
builds, pulls a 360 but manages to come back full circle by the end. Plus those choir
vocals. Makes the hairs stand up on my neck!
"Halloween" by Helloween is the 13+ minute epic that I usually go to for power
metal epicness. It's not made to be scary; more an intense chase through the dark with a
killer on your trail. Michael Kiske's vocals are incredible with the frantic musical pace
it manages through most of the song. It was one of the first videos from the old
Headbanger's Ball that got me into Euro-power metal. Also: Queensryche - Suite Sister
Mary, Iron Maiden - Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Clocking in at nearly 20 minutes, Venom's "At War With Satan" (from their 1984
album of the same name) is one of my favorite epic songs of all times. Although Rime of
the Ancient Mariner (by Iron Maiden) is a close second, it was Venom's blasphemous track
that drew me into the more extreme side of metal.