Welcome everyone to this 3rd rendition of the Cavalcade of Top 10 Lists; 10 Positive Metal songs. I’m not going to label this as the top 10 positive songs as there are so many positive heavy songs. When you are someone like myself who has been in such a depressive funk that last week’s Top 10 Saddest Doom Metal songs feel like that dark cloud will never lift; you tend to forget that metal does have a positive side. I will also not go as far as to say that these are “happy songs” as most of these songs are not about sunshine and lollipops. A lot of these songs are about overcoming adversity, either by the pain brought on by life or by yourself. Of course, some songs are just over the top happy. It’s a great balance of both, so matter your metal flavorings, there is something here for you. So let’s get into those gosh darn rules so we can try to bring in some good vibes into your hump day. I think we could all use that right about now.
1.) These lists are in no particular order unless otherwise noted (alphabetical order, year of release, etc). Ranking these is not needed as I wouldn’t be covering these bands, songs, albums, etc if I did not love them.
2.) The lists will be formatted with the subject, FFO (For Fans Of), and a blurb (roughly a paragraph) about said subject. The FFO section is subject to change if the list is entirely about one particular subject (the genre for example)
3.) This will be a weekly series. Every Wednesday unless otherwise stated. Delays and postponements are entirely possible, but I will be keeping this up until my mind tells me to stop.
4.) No negative lists. I know that’s cool, and the clickbaity thing to do is to make lists that people can tear apart, argue over, let me know how wrong I am for including or excluding a band, etc. That’s just not me. I may occasionally make a funny title for humor’s sake, but never to just get clicks with no substance. My integrity still means something to me even if that makes me less popular.
5.) A Spotify Playlist will always accompany each list. 1 song to accommodate every point listed so 10 songs in total, unless otherwise stated in the list(s).
6.) I will still be doing my monthly album reviews and my year-end lists per usual. This is just a bonus.
7.) All thoughts are entirely my own. No paid sponsorships, no begging or pleading from any label or band. Just me and my thoughts.
So, Let’s Begin!
*These songs are NOT in any particular order other than what sounded good for a nice ebb and flow over a 10 song playlist which you can check out in the Spotify link at the end*
Freedom Call- Metal is for Everyone
FFO- EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE (but seriously, Power Metal)
Freedom Call is one of the happiest sounding bands I’m aware of in metal. Be it when I hear them on record or the one opportunity I’ve gotten to see them live at ProgPower 2016, They just have a way of making you feel happy and positive. It can be cheesy as hell, but I think that’s the real, not-so-secret, sauce on display. When you go out and write a song like Metal is for Everyone, you are flat out saying you don’t care if your message is cheesy. You just want everyone to be included. No matter who you are, what you listen to, your lifestyle, or your upbringing; everyone should be allowed to check out metal. And wouldn’t you know it? There is a metal band, if not a whole genre of metal that anyone can enjoy. No matter how dark, how scary, how fast, how slow, how catchy, how abstract, how many musicians and instruments are in the band, whatever criteria you are looking for, there is something for you. While this song is firmly in the Power Metal genre, it’s a message that anyone can appreciate. It’s so hard to feel crappy when you are listening to Freedom Call. They just have a way of making you smile or even laugh (cheese is subjective). This is a message everyone should get behind. We are divided enough as it is, let’s bring back metal to the masses!
Omnium Gatherum- Be The Sky
FFO- Melodic Death Metal
Omnium Gatherum is a complete anomaly in the melodeath world. When you normally think of melodeath, you think of very dark riffs, personal life struggles, catchy as all get-go choruses, and music to showcase that death metal can be melodic. Omnium Gatherum is all of those things, BUT, the message is positive. Rather than focusing on the dark sides of life; they write very inspirational lyrics and topics that whi9le don’t sound happy, sound positive, and above all, authentic. Be The Sky is the perfect example of that message. Be The Sky, be endless, be limitless, be free, and go as far as you possibly can and do the best you possibly can. While the band has always been known for some of the most melodic riffs you can hear in their genre, this song really lays it on thick to almost feel triumphant. Of course, for first-time listeners, you will hear death growls and double bass that could easily throw you off from the message (that is, of course, you are completely unfamiliar with the source material) but once you let it sink in and let the earworm stick in your brain, you will be so glad that you gave it a proper chance. I have absolutely no problem saying that not only is Omnium Gatherum my favorite band from Finland, but they are also my favorite melodeath band. And it’s for great reason. They cover all the ground I love and they are inspirational not only in their musicality but just the life lessons they give in every song. We need more of that in the world of metal. We simply do. Don’t be afraid of who you are, be the sky!
Demon Hunter- The Last One Alive
FFO- Melodic Metalcore, Hard Rock
Demon Hunter is a band that I can fully put my support behind. While I don’t normally listen to secular music; Demon Hunter is an exception in the metal world where their message of being a band is based on Christianity, which is far from being preachy. I mean they took their name from the video game series, Devil May Cry if that says anything at all. I chose this song over others from their catalog as it is undeniably catchy and I love the message of no matter if you are the last one standing or you die too soon, always push yourself to be the best YOU that you can be. This also showcases the band at one of its most mainstream points. The band has gone from so close to death metal to top 40 rock radio to everything in between. Sometimes even showing off both sides on the same album! Like I talked about so much in last week’s top 10 list; none of us are making it out of this world alive. Whether you are someone of faith, someone of science, someone of both, or someone who has no idea where they stand in life; Just be the best person you can be. Do what you can to be a good person to others. No matter how much life can and will hurt you, why spend it feeling miserable when you can try to better yourself while you’re still here. So many adversities come in life, don’t be your own downfall. Be strong, be brave, and simply...try.
Trollfest- Happy Heroes
FFO- Fun Metal
Trollfest...probably the other happiest metal band I have on this list. They are just an absurdly fun band that is not only preposterous in their instrumentation and music, but their lyrics simply leave you with a smile, laugh, and/or giggle that you be hard-pressed to be able to remove for quite some time. I’ve seen this band dress up as bees, I’ve seen them dress up as doctors, and with the EP that this song shows up on; they are just about having a fun, happy time. While they have undergone so many musical changes (sometimes on the same release) from absurdly heavy to stupidly fun;l they are just about having a good time while they are still here. Happy Heroes almost acts like a biography song for the band. While it feels like a superhero theme song, the lyrics are so slapstick and funny they will make you want to watch an animated series based on this ragtag team of happy trolls that are both good in nature, but mischievous at the same time. It feels like a paradox, but it makes so much sense in context (especially when you hear the full EP). Overall, Trollfest is known for just wanting you and me to be...happy. In life, that’s all you can really ask for. So go forth and try to be happy!
Devin Townsend Project- Offer Your Light
FFO- Mid Tier Progressive Metal (not my words, but the words of one of their t-shirts)
I could have easily gone with the Devin Townsend Band song, Sunshine & Happiness off the album, Synchestra, and I have been going back in forth wondering if I should have added that one instead as it fits the mold of this list seamlessly. I ultimately chose this song as I feel like this song is much more heartfelt in its message and so much less tongue in cheek. Plus you have Anneke van Giersbergen singing the lead on this song and how could you not include her on a list of positive music? Offer Your Light is a song that is about no matter how down, mad, angry, sad, or negative you are feeling, you still have something to offer the world and those around you. It is so easy to fall into the trap that when you are feeling down that you are of use to no one, but that simply isn’t true. Sometimes your negative feelings are exactly what someone else needs to see or hear to get through the day so they feel less alone. Sometimes it just takes knowing that your positive feelings are still a part of you no matter how down you feel and being able to shine a light on anything that you do in life can help you as much as it helps others. It’s a lesson I need to remember myself. You matter, we all matter. Help each other, help yourself, just help!
Killswitch Engage- I Am Broken Too
FFO- Metalcore, Hard Rock
KSE is a band I mentioned in my top 10 bands at the moment list and for good reason. No matter if you have Jesse Leech or Howard Jones doing lyrics and vocals; their messages are so filled with hope that people like myself really need to hear. I am a broken guy, seriously just read the top paragraph of last week’s list just for a tip of the iceberg reasoning for pain in my life that feels everlasting. In this song, it feels like Jesse is sitting beside me and talking to me and telling me that he is here for me and will do anything he can to be there for me just to be able to stay alive and not take my own life. Sharing his pain so I feel like I’m not the only one who feels the pain that I feel. Of course, Jesse doesn't know me from a hole in the ground, but that is really the point of the song. Everyone can have someone like Jesse in their life, someone who has been through their own personal hell, either self-created or created by circumstance, and can be there to help tell their tales to help relate to you and help you feel less alone in life. The first time I heard this song, I cried so hard, that it hit me harder than almost any other band has done (except for Woods of Ypres). This is a song Where I am on both side4s of the narrative. While I am dealing with so much mental hell; over the years, I have been able to help people both close to me and others I’ve never talked to before, by sharing my stories, listening to their pain, offering my condolences, advice, and simply letting them know I am there for them. None of us make it through this world unscathed. We will all feel the pain that we feel like no one else could possibly understand. And while some people will absolutely have it worse than you in life, that does not make your pain any less real. This is why I HATE the expression that things can always be worse. Of course, things can be worse, they will be worse as life goes on either physically, mentally or both, that’s not the issue at hand, and just a cop-out instead of offering any real help. If you are hurting, reach out to someone you feel you can trust, but it is a hotline, website, an online friend, or someone you know personally. If you are on the opposite end, offer to help others, even if it just means listening to them. Letting someone know they are not alone is a lifesaver. If I had people in my past that I could trust, my suicide attempt count would be a lot less than 9, maybe even 0. Above all, just stay here for as long as you can, don’t die feeling miserable.
Suicidal Tendencies- You Can’t Bring Me Down
FFO- Crossover Thrash
The band name and the song title are shown back to back feels like such a paradox if you are not familiar with the band. This is the ultimate song of overcoming adversity, no matter what it is and telling the world of naysayers and all obstacles in your life to fuck off. ST is a band that was at the forefront of the crossover thrash genre and when you look at their backstory, you can see how much adversity they have had to go through to get to where they did and where they are now. It's a song of knowing the world is not a positive place for so many of us and so many people will either tell you that you will fail or will want you to fail or will try to make you fail. This is a song of overcoming all of it to be who you really are and doing what you have to do to survive or simply just be happy in life. It’s a real battle anthem for the downtrodden. Listen and feel its power.
Woods of Ypres- Don’t Open The Wound/Skywide Armspread
FFO- Doom Metal, Gothic Metal, Black Metal
This song is 100% why I did call this list ten happy metal songs. Woods of Ypres were the masters of the dark, depressing, and saddest of songwriting when it came to metal music. They make bands like Type O Negative, Swallow The Sun, and Mournful Congregation sound like the band that wrote Walkin’ on Sunshine (I know they have a name, but it’s funnier for the joke to not say their name). This is song is possibly their most positive song. It’s a song about knowing how horrible the world is, how wretched things can get, how life may never get better, but if you insist upon the pain, you let it fester and take over your well-being, it will destroy you. While things in life can wreck all of your sensibilities, when you decide to hurt yourself, no matter how you hurt yourself, physically, internally, if you cut yourself if you keep telling yourself that you are worthless, if you just give up; then life will never get better. It’s a real outlier of the band’s career as even on the same album that this song appears on, it includes some of the saddest songs about love loss, hopelessness, and giving up. It’s that brief breath of life that even the saddest of us all need to be able to push forward and move on. Don’t get it twisted, just a positive attitude will not be the only thing that can keep you from falling, but it can be the biggest thing to prevent the fall, to begin with. From what might be the saddest band the earth has ever heard; it’s amazing to hear a positive song like this about not giving up and to stop or stopping hurting yourself, realizing what you needed didn’t happen, and accepting that you need to move forward. This song is a therapy session in and of itself.
Helloween- I Want Out
FFO- Power Metal, Hard Rock
In a true sense of rebellion, Helloween wrote an anthem of breaking out of what you are told you are supposed to be to become what you need to be. Arguably the best-known song from the band, I Want Out is not only catchy, but it is also inspirational to all of the wayward civilians of this planet. You get one chance at life on this planet, if you don’t live it the way that you want, you will either have to settle for what you will never have, or you will fall into a spell of depression and what could have been. Much like the song talks about, you are the one responsible for what you will do in life. Can you overcome the adversity or will you fall in line? You need to realize what you need to do, no matter what it is. Make your own happiness. It may work, it may not, but at least trying is better than simply giving up. It’s simple, catchy, and full of heart. It just might be what you need to make it through and tough times you may face. Plus, how cool of a name is Helloween? Right?
Ad Infinitum- Unstoppable
FFO- Symphonic Metal, Modern Metalcore
Ad Infinitum is the newest band on this list and even with just 2 full LPs to their name, they have written some spectacular, catchy, and memorable anthems that are sure to stand the test of time. With their latest album, Chapter II: Legacy, parts at a time can feel like you are playing a SoulsBourne game and overcoming the challenges of those impossible bosses you will face, but to flip the coin, especially on a song like Unstoppable, it feels like the heroic anthem you need to get through this thing we call life. When you fall, you will fail, and you will get beaten, but it’s important to be able to rise again and slay your demons (internally and externally) to be able to push forward. Its a song about finding your inner strength but reaching out to the universe hoping they hear your cries as you come back from what you may fear is your death (ok, maybe this song is about Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, but still), it’s a great message of no matter how often you fall, you can rise up and persevere. We all have to or else we may never get another chance to survive this life. Be it a video game or real life, never surrender!
And there you go folks, 10 positive metal songs from so many different backgrounds. I hope at least one of them can connect with you and show you that others do feel the pain you feel, even if they ventured another path to feel the same. This felt like such a great counterbalance to last week’s list. The real yin-yang of life in the span of a week. I hope you enjoyed this list as much as I did create it, be sure to check out the Spotify playlist below to hear these songs and let them sink in your soul and I will return with another list next Wednesday. I have so many I’ve created already it’s hard to choose which one will be next, but I’ll make sure it’s a doozy.
I Will Return! Same Heavy Time! Same Debriefings Channel!
- Josh Rundquist- (Heavy Debriefings)