Whats New

The 22 Album Openers That Ripped Your Face Off Right From The Start

I mean, they didn't even buy us dinner first... How rude...

5 : Deep Purple – Highway Star

From : Machine Head, 1972

Recorded in Switzerland by a band from the UK which changed the world. While the throwaway song on this album became a single so massive I think if you played it to the most reclusive South American Jungle tribes they’d immediately start singing “Duh Duh Duuuurrrrr” ( Between some light cannibalism ) , Highway Star as an opener and Space Trucking as a closer for me are as iconic as you can get. I also play every now and again in a Deep Purple cover band and we always open with this. There is literally no better song to get people going.

4 : Entombed – Left Hand Path

From : Left Hand Path, 1990

The first truly great Death Metal track. The first to unite the Thrash and Death communities at large. When I first heard this at a local “thrash hour” it was like something from the depths of hell had truly been spat into everyone’s consciousness. Fast, brutal and tuned lower than speakers of the day would usually allow. Yes Anacrusis and select others were in Drop-B well before them but the fucking GRIND of the tone was just demonic. And would engender a plethora of copies and even a whole Swedish scene. For those interested, BTW, it turns out the tone was a Peavy Bandit 115 and an overdrive pedal all cranked up. Hardly big studio effects. But utterly unique. As an opener it spelt out exactly how fresh and unique this band would be for the next 20 years.

3 : Helmet – In The Meantime

From : Meantime, 1992

I put this one over Left Hand Path because while Death Metal had been going a while before Entombed, Helmet became one of several bands in the ’90s to form a whole new sound just on their own. The NYC hardcore/metal band synthesized the best of both worlds into what must be one of the most slamming songs in metal history. They had grown up since the more punky Strap it On which lacked direction. Groove, anger, power and rage. All the best ingredients. But simple too. Thrash and metal had become so complicated and required so much virtuosic playing that Grunge was able to kill it overnight. And Helmet gave us a similar antidote to the necessity to be an absolute mastery of your instrument to write great songs. You can learn this in the time it takes for the song to play. We didn’t know it much then but that would define the decade. And Helmet, for me, led the way.

BTW I was going to add Prong to this list but they just didn’t have the openers. And TBH while I love Prong – who had arguably the far better catalogue before Helmet even released this – it was a gentle progression. Helmet just fucking slapped it down with this opener. They’re both unique, but this is an album opener list. So I gotta give it to Helmet.

2 : Korn – Blind

From : Korn, 1994

The first three words changed Metal forever. Nothing had ever sounded like Korn before those first staccato flat-V chords and nothing would ever sound the same after. The tension builds on drop-A 7-strings (An expensive rarity at the time) until Jonathan Davis asks the whole word “Are you ready?” .. Not since Dark Angel told everyone “We have arrived!” had a first lyric been so impactful. Was it their best song? No way. Not even on that album. But as an album opener this is second to only one other in absolute perfection. And speaking of which….

1 : Type O Negative – Love You To Death

From : October Rust, 1996

There’s a curious magic about this track. It doesn’t matter what genre of metal you wave your flag under, Type O Negative managed to write a song that brings every metal head, goth and alt-metaller together to sing along whenever this goes on. It’s tragic, beautiful, painfully melodic and utterly magnificent. With their previous album, Bloody Kisses, they had cemented themselves as the freshest sound in the haunted graveyard of goth metal, but October Rust proved in the first 7 epic minutes of Love You To Death that they had ascended to a higher plain of songwriting and appeal. I challenge anyone who even remotely tips their hat to any metal sub genre not to raise a whisky and hum the piano intro or scream the delay-laced lead lines. “Am I good enough, for you?” Yes, Pete. Absolutely.

Thanks for reading. I had fun with this one. And fun arguing with Chris about what should go on here (He was wrong about everything but luckily I’m here to correct him).

As usual, feel free to grace the comment section with whatever vitriol or freshly minted toilet filth you wish to throw at me over these choices. But hey, you read this far down. And…. C’mon… that was some fucking list!

Peace x

*And yes I do realize Bingo number nickname references are pretty niche and not very international audience friendly. And yet still here we are.

About Si (13 Articles)
I've been into metal so long I can't remember a time when I wasn't, and I've been making metal music in bands for longer than I haven't. I run Skatandah Studios which is where all sorts of musical genres happen and I have my own band AEONS which is where groovy prog tech metal happens. My favourite metal to listen to is everything and my least favourite is nothing. Oh, and I live on the Isle of Man which is part of the UK in every way except it isn't. Cool ?

1 Comment on The 22 Album Openers That Ripped Your Face Off Right From The Start

  1. JDJ van den Berg // January 15, 2022 at 6:47 am // Reply

    What about “Fast as a shark” from the “Restless & Wild” album from the German band Accept?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.