Dan & Arno’s 2011 In Recap: Best Album Openers

December 21, 2011 in Top Lists by Arno Callens

We continue our trip down power metal memory lane with a rundown of the best album openers of 2011, as furiously debated over by Daniel and Arno (it’s safe to say their friendship is forever scarred after this). Perhaps the most important track on any power metal album, the kick-off should set your heart alight and haunt you for days on end, whatever the overal quality of the record turns out to be. We decided not to count short instrumental or other intros, since that would leave out most of the eligible songs. So the first track with a proper length and chorus counts. Obviously not every great opening tune of the year is mentioned on this list, so feel free to chastise us in the comments for anything we’ve left out.

Because it’s hard to pick favorites among these songs and we’re not judging them on how good they are but on how well they open their respective albums, the list is  in order of release date, as indicated by the Metal Archives, rather than any ranking.

Manigance – “Larme De L’Univers”, from the album Recidive

Arno: Blistering lead guitar, subtle keyboard work, and a soaring chorus. It’s all in French so singing along requires some linguistic flexibility, but trust me, it’s all about cheese.

Sequester – “The Awakening”, from the album Shaping The Life And Soul

Dan: Decidedly different from a lot of other power metal, one-man band Sequester builds an atmosphere that is typically sober and somewhat forlorn, yet simultaneously hopeful. “The Awakening” is an excellent opening to an album that is awash with themes of human struggle, internally or collective.

Serenity – “New Horizons”, from the album Death & Legacy

Arno: Not just the opening track of Serenity’s finest work to date, but also the starting shot for my illustrious career here at Black Wind Metal, since this is the first album I reviewed. Swept to the sea by the call for adventure, “New Horizons” sets sail for an epic journey through world history with the fire of cannons as guidance.

Wisdom – “Fallin’ Away From Grace”, from the album Judas

Dan: Hailing from an album that could have been titled How To Write Ten Variations Of The Same Incredibly Catchy Power Metal Song, this tune is one of the best of the (similar) lot, but has a bit more bombast and a completely unforgettable chorus (though you might confuse it with some others from this album- do you get my point?)

Dreamtale – “Firestorm”, from the album Epsilon

Arno: With an epic lead and a stellar chorus like that it’s hard NOT to set fire to wherever you are while listening to this. “Dreamtale made me do it” should probably fly as an argument in Finnish courts.

Merging Flare – “At Daggers Drawn”, from the album Reverence

Dan: Of all the year’s openers, this is possibly the most outright explosive. Probably one of the most energetic tunes of the year. Thank goodness the Finnish and the Germans finally decided to quit resisting and have children!

Wildpath – “Unearthed”, from the album Underneath

Dan: I fought tooth and nail to have this song on this list against Mr. “I don’t like female vocalists” Callens, but it was totally worth all the grunts and snorts that he threw at me. Actually it wasn’t that bad. Anyways, Wildpath have been a minor obsession of mine, and this new album is absolutely marvelous. “Unearthed” combines some great guitar lines with symphonic goodness and some delightfully light and attractive female vocals, often supplemented by violin.

Pagan’s Mind – “Eyes Of Fire”, from the album Heavenly Ecstasy

Arno: It may not rival the progressive highlights of Celestial Entrance and Enigmatic: Calling, but Heavenly Ecstasy is filled to the brim with high-octane spacey tunes such as “Eyes Of Fire” and many a vocal chord will burst into flame during the refrain. Also the line “I can’t believe it, I’m lost in your eyes” sung like Nils K. Rue should be a hit on romantic dates.

Morton – “Calling For The Storm”, from the album Come Read The Words Forbidden

Arno: Openers about storm are common fare among power metal bands and Morton honors the tradition with splendor. This song changes mood and pace more often than Bloodbound changes vocalists and it sets the tone perfectly for an album that refuses to play the same type of song twice.

Neonfly – “Broken Wings”, from the album Outshine The Sun

Arno: No-nonsense straightforward riffing leads to an uplifting chorus preparing you for a war on the masses. Neonfly could not keep the quality this high over the whole record, but they have potential in spades and “Broken Wings” is an excellent example of that.