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Tales from the Jugular

Staff Favorite Epic Songs!

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

Greg Watson
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!

Frank Hill
"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

David Loveless
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.

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