Welcome to the 2018 Musicalypse Award nominations! While epic music might easily coincide with chilling or haunting songs, the great epics of the year deserve a category of their own. No preconceptions of what ‘epic’ means here – as long as the song is full of some sort of awesome driving force, it can be considered epic!
Listen to our full selection of songs on our Spotify playlist:
1. Ayreon Universe – “And the Druids Turn to Stone”
2. Ayreon Universe – “Abbey of Synn”
3. Ayreon Universe – “The Eye of Ra” [Star One cover]
Picking an epic track is usually pretty easy for me. There’s almost always something that stands out. However, this year there was really not that much in the way of songs I’d consider ‘epic.’ That said, I never have an issue flipping through Ayreon Universe and picking out songs. The entire album is epic as fuck.
In particular, Damian Wilson‘s first appearance in the show for “And the Druids Turn to Stone” is just pure brilliance. The power and emotion packed into his voice brings goosebumps to my entire body, and the song is just so much that I can’t even listen to it every time.
Same goes for Robert Soeterboek in “Abbey of Synn”, the third track from the show. He just unleashes himself. I had expected the show to open with something huge and sung by a ton of well-known vocalists, but instead, they opened with a couple of songs by some rather unknown Ayreon singers, and Soeterboek immediately captured my full attention with his epic performance.
Lastly, Star One‘s “The Eye of Ra” as done by the full cast of Ayreon Universe is nothing if not epic. Featuring the above vocalists, along with Marco Hietala and Floor Jansen [Nightwish], Hansi Kursch [Blind Guardian], Joonas Renkse [Katatonia], and many, many more… the combination of all these incredible voices, featured and harmonized to perfection is epic AF. What a glorious conclusion to the best live show I’ve ever seen.
1. Dave Grohl – “Play”
2. CMX – “Elementa”
3. Amorphis – “Daughter of Hate”
I have no choice but to name Dave Grohl‘s “Play” my #1 epic of the year. The notion of a 23-minute instrumental may sound like an exercise in musical masturbation on paper, but the man unofficially known as the nicest dude in rock managed to write a piece that combines the energy and catchiness of Foo Fighters with progressive sensibilities and even some stoner-y bits. Kudos to Grohl for pulling this off and playing every instrument by himself!
CMX‘s “Elementa” is another must-pick: I like how the song takes little twists and turns, yet still has a catchy chorus, which serves as a red thread that it keeps returning to. The inclusion of organ gives the song a churchlike atmosphere, which accompanies the Biblical lyrics perfectly.
Speaking of organs, “Daughter of Hate” opens with a church organ intro that takes you on a musical journey that represents Amorphis at their most progressive. Besides the typical Amorphis ingredients it includes a spoken word section in Finnish, choir vocals, saxophone, and some of Tomi Joutsen’s fiercest screaming. If I had to pick my top 10 songs from the band right now, “Daughter of Hate” would definitely be there!
1. Septicflesh – “Martyr”
2. Dimmu Borgir – “Council of Wolves and Snakes”
3. In Vain – “Standing on the Ground of Mammoths”
As I’ve said earlier, the orchestral death metal group, Septicflesh, rivals Dimmu Borgir in epicness. Choosing the most epic song from Codex Omega proved rather trying for me. However, “Martyr” rose above the ranks with its Arabic scales and operatic verses. It’s length is a meager 5 minutes but length isn’t everything – it’s consistently epic all the way through.
When it came to Dimmu Borgir‘s Eonian, I had a similar problem, since everything on it was as epic as they come. I landed on “Council of Wolves and Snakes” as it throws everything at the wall. It has one of the biggest sounds but it still has room for shamanic throat-singing. The only thing keeping it from the number one slot is the distracting grammar.
“Standing on the Ground of Mammoths” is the final track of In Vain‘s Currents. As the title suggests, it has staggering, big riffs but is also a proper musical journey. It has fast death metal parts, proggy bits, and even an acoustic interlude. It’s the biggest sounding song on an already huge sounding record.
Honorable mentions: Behemoth – God = Dog, Anaal Nathrakh – “The Reek of Fear”, Tribulation – “Come, Become, to Be”, Brymir – “Chasing the Skyline”, Black Royal – “Lightbringer”
1. Amorphis – “Heart of the Giant”
2. Brymir – “Chasing the Skyline”
3. Epica – “Crimson Bow and Arrow”
There were a lot of epic tracks released this year, in no particular order I enjoyed these ones the most. Amorphis‘ “Heart of the Giant” has epic orchestrations that definitely make the track stand out a lot from the rest of the album.
“Chasing the Skyline” by Brymir is not only epic, but it’s also very catchy and a good prospect to the new album that will be released in 2019.
The Attack on Titan covers by Epica are all epic in general, but “Crimson Bow and Arrow”, which is inspired by the theme song of the anime series is probably the best one of the entire EP. I’m just a sucker for symphonic metal and Attack n Titan.