All week, we’ve been running a companion piece to the Top 25 Album Openers list we did a couple of months ago — the Top 25 Album Closers!
There were two rules: A 30-second outro does not a totally awesome song make and only one song per band.
Now, we conclude the list with the top 5.
5. Judas Priest, “Dissident Aggressor”
Judas Priest were riffmeisters in the ‘70s, giving Black Sabbath healthy competition. The fade in of the riffing comes to full effect with the multi-layered ball-ascending falsettos of the master Rob Halford. As usual, Halford displays his jaw-dropping vocal range as the band tears away with their menacing midtempo riffs and the footwork of drummer Simon Phillips. The band was on a hot streak of albums, leaving their fans chomping at the bit for more at the end of the record.
4. Queensrÿche, “Eyes of a Stranger”
Operation: Mindcrime is one of the most perfect albums ever made. Each member of Queensrÿche were at their peak, making for an alchemic reaction in the studio, turning their music to gold. Geoff Tate took a pretty lame concept and turned it into a masterpiece. The tale culminates with “Eyes of a Stranger,” which depicts Nikki becoming fully aware of his actions and unable to cope with what he has done and who he became. The song brings the album to full circle with him in the hospital after the flashback that started at the beginning of the album.
3. Slayer, “Raining Blood”
Do we need a paragraph dedicated to this song? Probably not, but here we go anyway. Reign in Blood paved the way for death metal and set the bar for thrash. We all know that riff and how totally awesome it is. Arguably the best Slayer song, it not only ended the legendary album, but put a bookend on the early era of the band. Knowing they couldn’t possibly top this, they slowed things down considerably on the next album.
2. Helloween, “The Keeper of the Seven Keys”
Michael Kiske was only 20 years old when he sang on the power metal classic Keeper of the Seven Keys, Pt II. The song defines the word epic (still trying to use this word as least often as possible) with the musical push and pull of might and melody with Kiske’s pipes soaring over it all. Michael Weikath wrote the entire thing by himself somehow, locking into a groove and mastering the art of songwriting. The band was untouchable after crafting “The Keeper of the Seven Keys.”
1. Iron Maiden, “Hallowed Be Thy Name”
What else did you expect? Iron Maiden wrote the show-stopping be all, end all of album closers. Bruce Dickinson’s 23 year old voice pulls no punches. The eerie beginning of the song marks the end of a man’s life with Dickinson’s chilling voice perfecting the mood evoked by the rest of the band. His voice gets the spotlight screaming out mental dilemmas after Maiden deliver one of their best melodies. Clive Burr’s drum performance is of legend here, bouncing around at times and laying down the groove at others. The title is screamed out by Bruce at the end with the melodies ringing the end, cutting off the pace. There’s nothing like going to an Iron Maiden show and watching the band close with this song. Absolutely perfect.
So, that’s the list. A companion list of honorable mentions is coming Monday. Who do you feel we left out? Let us know in the comments section below.