(Here we have the latest installment of Andy Synn’s lists of favorite things that come in fives.)
One thing that metal does very well (compared at least to pop, hip-hop, and even most rock music) is the long-form song. Heck, I imagine if I were to calculate the “average” run time of a song from amongst my vast collection, it would definitely come out somewhere between 5-6 minutes. A “short” metal song is often one that goes up to about 4 minutes after all (in contrast to the fact that this would be considered longer than average in the other genres I’ve mentioned).
One reason for this is that metal often needs room to breathe, to develop its melodic (or dissonant) themes properly. Metal revels in space, stretching itself, filling up the space with noise and sound, light and vision. It’s also a genre often synonymous with story-telling, and one which – largely free from the external constraints enforced upon the 3-minute pop song – contends to offer a deeper and more rewarding (and as such, longer lasting) emotional experience for the listener.
Then of course there’s Napalm Death… so, ok, metal isn’t ALL about length and depth (short, sharp impact is certainly a common trade-mark too) but it DOES tend to do long songs very well.
So I’ve chosen five of my absolute favourites, presented in order from shortest to longest. And there’s not a single Opeth song among them.