As with all list posts on NME.COM, this is a subject open to discussion, argument and debate. So chill out metal trolls.
What are the 10 best metal intros of all time? For the sake of this list, I am saying it is the opening few moments and riffs of a song. This song does not have to be the first track on an album, I’m simply talking about those devastating moments where your ears prick up, your heart leaps and your arms start furiously air-guitaring (or drumming – pick your side) knowing that chaos is about to kick off.
The purpose of an intro varies. Whether to shock you, lull you in to that classic false sense of security, set a mood or simply show off the best your band has on offer – it’s an important decision when writing a classic. These bands did a splendid job.
Here are my 10 favourite metal intros…. and doing just 10 is a right bugger, as otherwise Judas Priest, Opeth, Manowar and Machine Head would make my list too.
Black Sabbath, ‘War Pigs’
Such powerful groove, such laid-back stances, such a whirling siren – these metal masters know full well you’ll keep waiting for the full metal shot in the face and unrivalled Ozzy wailing.
Metallica, ‘Seek And Destroy’
Majestic, epic, iconic and recognisable – Metallica have a whole back catalogue of incredible intros, but when this old tune wails across a venue/field it sends crowds into a fury.
Iron Maiden, ‘Number Of The Beast’
The spooky spoken first moments (by actor Barry Clayton) are classic theatrical Maiden and one of the reasons these Brit legends stand apart from their oh-so-serious US counterparts. Setting the mood perfectly for the evil song that follows.
Sepultura, ‘Refuse Resist’
The drumming alone on this classic track defines Sepultura entirely. Part tribal Brazilian-sounding thumping, part traditional metal bass blasting – and leaping into one of their most distinctive high-speed head-banging riffs.
Refused, ‘New Noise’
Metal? Yeah I reckon. The happily/painfully long intro to this full-speed dance-floor riot, instantly sets pulses racing. Originally released in 1998, it still knocks the socks off all imitators.
Lamb Of God, ‘Laid To Rest’
LOG are beyond amazing 99% of the time anyway, but thanks to this shredding intro from their 2004 album ‘Ashes Of The Wake’ featuring on Guitar Hero II, now millions of people worldwide attempt to shred like Mark Morton and Willie Adler.
Slayer, ‘South Of Heaven’
Utterly compelling, devastating and apocalyptic, Slayer drop the pace just for a moment to allow one tiny breather in their set before Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman knock your block off.
Pantera, ‘I’m Broken’
So tough to pick which Pantera track, but this reminds me of the journey to Ozzfest 98 in Milton Keynes to watch my favourite band. Impossible to resist a slow-mo head-bang and their classic southern groove.
The Dillinger Escape Plan, ‘Fix Your Face’
Kicking in with every instrument and vocal bark at 101% force on the first second takes some serious skill and timing, of which Dillinger have bucket loads. Remember to set volume a tad lower for this one or your ears might fall off.
Dream Evil, ‘The Book Of Heavy Metal’
Kicking off a track with a metal wail that would have even Rob Halford and Justin Hawkins quivering in their spandex takes some serious balls. A totally ridiculous and brilliant way to start a totally ridiculous and brilliant song. Hats off.