20 : Kyuss – Thumb
From : Blues For The Red Sun, 1992
I first heard Kyuss on a friend’s dodgy cassette tape that had obviously been on the rounds. But I was totally hooked. If you didn’t know what Kyuss were – or what they would become – that opening neck pickup fuzz tone kept you guessing. This track would have been most people’s first Kyuss track – as the less we speak about their first album the better – and what better CV for what they had planned for your ear holes there could not be.
19 : Overkill – Time to Kill
From : The Years of Decay, 1989
Many ‘0’s…. and the ‘0’s were good… Bobby Gustafson knew how to write simple but effective riffs anyone could emulate in a few seconds but take months to master. The E – F# – G intro is so beautifully concise but sounds as heavy as anything around today with no drop tuning. And when the main riff finally kicks in you KNEW this was going to be a seminal album. That’s a perfect opening track…
18 : Opeth – Ghosts of perdition
From : Ghost Reveries, 2005
I had listened to Damnation and Deliverance and loved them, but the first few suspended chords of Ghost of Perdition told us Opeth had moved on to better things. Much better. It had everything we loved about them dialed up to 11 : The somber riffs, the guttural scream from the graves, the choral clean parts and the non-diatonic chord choices. Ghosts of Perdition changed the way I thought about Opeth and this album changed the way I thought about music. No other track would have sufficed.
17 : Cannibal Corpse, Hammer Smashed Face
From : Tomb of the Mutliated, 1992
Chris Barnes, Ace Ventura and filthy riffage with a putrid guitar tone. While other Death Metal bands were finding their sound, Cannibal Corpse were defining the genre. Did they know, back then, what they had done? What they had unleashed? That all the album cover nonsense would become a Meme 25 years later? That most high-schoolers would know who they were even if they weren’t into metal? That they were almost as mainstream famous for the singer’s neck as for the songs? I wonder if they did….. They sure as fuck do now.
16 : Dream Theater – Pull Me Under
From : Images and Words, 1992
I walked into a record shop one day, bored and looking for something new. The owner knew me and slapped this bastard on the shop speakers while I was browsing. He knew he would have my crinklies not 5 minutes later. He did. There’s a lot to a Dream Theater song but when you are not used to unpacking them this was brought in elegantly, one melody at a time, until the double kicks start to go and the wild flailing freneticism that is what we all love about DT occurs later. I’ve been a DT fan ever since. Thanks Record Shop guy!