My dad is by far the most influential person on my music taste, especially when it comes to rock and metal. I think he considers himself an expert of sorts, as it feels like he knows everything about the bands he really enjoys, especially since he has been listening to a lot of these artists for over 20 years. There is always some heavy station playing when he drives, and would always be singing along, and quiz us on band members, so his expertise rubbed off on my brother and I at a very young age.
I can’t deny the influence my dad has had on my music taste, but it would be wrong if I were to say I didn’t have a good ear for rock and metal outside of what he has shown me. The two of us have a love for some killer guitar riffs and some intense vocal work, both of which arguably make a song better. As big fans of the genre, we both created a top 10 list of some of our favorite old school metal songs and why they deserved to be highlighted.
NUMBER 1 PICK
BRIAN: HOLY WARS BY MEGADETH
I probably could have picked 10 songs from Megadeth. Some of the greatest of their time, this song has great shifts in speed, and vocals. I would suggest listening to this one loud and singing along.
ASH: COWBOYS FROM HELL BY PANTERA
The guitar work in this song is just an earworm. Without Phil Anselmo, the lead singer, this track would be completely different and almost unrecognizable. This was definitely their biggest breakthrough song, and there’s nothing cooler sounding than Cowboys from Hell.
NUMBER 2 PICK
BRIAN: BATTERY BY METALLICA
I’m a bigger fan of early Metallica; this was the second album I owned and the song has such a great beat. Both for high school pregame, or the weight room, I had this and the next song blaring often.
ASH: SWEATING BULLETS BY MEGADETH
Countdown To Extinction has to be the best Megadeth album by far. The entire 45 second intro to this is amazing, and is quickly followed by Dave Mustaine’s scratchy voice with “Hello me, meet the real me”. The entire vocal range by Mustaine here is a true testament to his skill not only as a guitarist, but as a vocalist.
NUMBER 3 PICK
BRIAN: THE FOUR HORSEMEN BY METALLICA
My first album that I purchased from Metallica, and a great album at that. Many of Metallica‘s songs were covers, and they just did it better than the originals. This song was written with Dave Mustaine. Listen to the opening guitar riff, it is epic.
ASH: HOLY WARS BY MEGADETH
Rust In Peace is the second best album by Megadeth, but in a similar fashion to my dad, the shifts in speed and vocals is incredible here. At almost 7 minutes long, the skill needed to play this is shocking, and it feels almost like they’re showing-off (which should always happen with this level of talent).
(Spotify link for Holy Wars is above)
NUMBER 4 PICK
BRIAN: THE TROOPER BY IRON MAIDEN
This is one of the first songs that pulled me into Iron Maiden. Great song and great album art.
ASH: FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS BY METALLICA
This song brings me back to being in the car with my dad. I really appreciate that this isn’t as speedy as some of their other songs, especially in the entire two minutes before James Hetfield starts singing. The bells are just another layer added onto how good this is.
NUMBER 5 PICK
BRIAN: HEAVEN AND HELL BY BLACK SABBATH
Everyone thinks of Black Sabbath and associates them with Ozzy Osbourne, but Ronnie James Dio has such a great voice in this song that it had me exploring more of his works.
ASH: WAR PIGS/ LUKE’S WALL BY BLACK SABBATH
An 8-minute runtime feels almost excessive, but this song doesn’t feel long at all. This is one of the most recognizable tracks of all time (not to mention how well it has aged), and Ozzy Osbourne just puts the icing on the cake with his vocal work.
NUMBER 6 PICK
BRIAN: 5 MINUTES ALONE BY PANTERA
Pantera is still one of my favorite bands. I found them when I was a sophomore in high school. I could have picked so many songs from Vulgar Display of Power or Cowboys from Hell, but everyone gets to the point where they need 5 Minutes Alone.
ASH: SHOT IN THE DARK BY OZZY OSBOURNE
See, this song almost feels funny because it’s so unlike a lot of his other work + is very ballad driven. This sounds like it should be in a movie soundtrack from the 80’s. It genuinely makes you want to get up and dance along.
NUMBER 7 PICK
BRIAN: RUN TO THE HILLS BY IRON MAIDEN
There are so many great Iron Maiden songs, this song came to mind since it tells a great story and Bruce Dickinson really belts this one out.
ASH: THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST BY IRON MAIDEN
The spoken word at the begging of this song says enough about how good this song is, but it’s also incredibly catchy. Bruce Dickinson really doesn’t hold back with his vocals either.
NUMBER 8 PICK
BRIAN: SNAP YOUR FINGERS, SNAP YOUR NECK BY PRONG
I was in highschool when I found Prong. This song has a great beat. I was lucky enough to get to see them live when I was 17.
ASH: KICKSTART MY HEART BY MOTLEY CRUE
Absolute earworm of a song. This is the track I would use to define Motley Crue as a band. Hair metal might have died, but the songs that came out of it still sound just as good.
NUMBER 9 PICK
BRIAN: MENTAL HEALTH (BANG YOUR HEAD) BY QUIET RIOT
I was eight when this came out. There was a video jukebox where I saw this video for the first time, and I remember wanting to hear more after seeing the music video.
ASH: THIS LOVE BY PANTERA
The chorus here hits you like a freight train. Starts out pretty slow, goes into a loud chorus, and dies back down to something a little more mellow. It switches between these speeds a few times, which makes it that much better. Pantera always has some great instrument work, but the slow, sludgy work halfway through really seal the deal.
NUMBER 10 PICK
BRIAN: ELECTRIC EYE BY JUDAS PRIEST
Reminds me of my first vehicle, and this was one of my first cassette tapes. I blared this song so many times that it still makes me feel like I’m sixteen when I listen to it.
ASH: HOT FOR TEACHER BY VAN HALEN
I feel like you know a song is going to be good when it starts out with car exhaust, followed by drums, then guitar, then Van Halen himself. The smoothest intro to a song, some of the best guitar work in a song, and vocals are always good from Van Halen himself. All of the small elements really polish the track off for something memorable.
Thank you to my dad, Brian for contributing and sharing his expertise of metal music with KZUU. A lot of these songs, from both lists will always remind me of him in one way or another, so being able to share this feels very special. Do you think one of us has a better list? Is there anything we missed? Let us know!