Checkout the below listed latest and best top 10 best Symphonic Metal songs of all time 2017, “Symphonic metal” sounds like an oxymoron, but this genre of heavy metal music is the best of multiple worlds. Starting with heavy metal music with its bass-rich drums, minor chords, guitar riffs, and high speed, symphonic metal goes a step further by adding operatic vocals, stories, and symphonic instruments. It’s no surprise that the style is most popular in Europe, the birthplace of Western opera and symphony. Many symphonic metal bands also draw influences from Western mythology. To experience symphonic metal for yourself, start with the top 10 best symphonic metal songs of all time.
- 10. The Misery (Sonata Arctica)
- 9. The Dark Tower of Abyss (Rhapsody of Fire)
- 8. A Tale from the Deep Woods (Bal-Sagoth)
- 7. “Unleashed” (Epica)
- 6. Pompeii (E.S. Posthumus)
- 5. I Don’t Care (Apocalyptica)
- 4. “Insomnia” (Kamelot)
- 3. World Under Ice (Lunatica)
- 2. Higher (Edenbridge)
- 1. Storytime (Nightwish)
Here we present the list of top 10 best Symphonic Metal songs of all time 2017.
10. The Misery (Sonata Arctica)
“If you fall I’ll catch, if you love I’ll love… If you only love me back.” With lyrics suspiciously similar to the sort found in teenage pop music, Finnish band Sonata Arctica’s “The Misery” at least boasts excellent vocals and “epic” sound, according to Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives, which also recommends the track as the best ballad on the Winterheart’s Guild album. What Encyclopaedia Metallum touts as “good verse,” however, Sputnik Music blasts as “cheesy” and “cringe worthy,” albeit “not cheesy in the same way that DragonForce’s or Hammerfall’s are.” That doesn’t sound like a compliment to us, but perhaps it is just the grumblings of power metal fans. The extreme reviews prove the album is more provocative than dull, and we can all agree “The Misery” is definitely catchy in a retro way. Sonata Arctica released The Ninth Hour, its ninth album, in October 2016. The album contains a track based on the band’s response to the 2016 presidential election in the United States.
9. The Dark Tower of Abyss (Rhapsody of Fire)
Italian symphonic power band Rhapsody of Fire presents the listener with a larger platter of cheese than Sonata Arctica. One of the band’s deliciously cheesy albums is 1998’s Symphony of Enchanted Lands, of which “The Dark Tower of Abyss” is the top-rated track. Encyclopaedia Metallum argues that “it is the best combination of metal and classical music you will ever hear,” with “phenomenal” guitar and string as well as “excellent lyrics and very good vocals.” Metal Storm calls the song “THE mix of classic and metal.” Most reviewers praise the neo-classical, Vivaldi-influenced styling of “The Dark Tower of Abyss” as well as former member Fabio Lione’s operatic vocals in the track. Lione and drummer Alex Holzwarth left the band in September 2016, although both returned to participate in Rhapsody’s 20th anniversary tour in November of the same year. The currently five-member band is working on a new album as of 2017.
8. A Tale from the Deep Woods (Bal-Sagoth)
Another band from Europe — although no longer the European Union — is England’s Bal-Sagoth. The band draws its name from a fantasy short story, which seems apt because band leader Byron Roberts has an English degree. The answer to “What can you do with an English degree?” is, apparently, form a symphony black metal band. Metal Storm lists “A Tale from the Deep Woods” as a personal favorite, noting the “lyrics are far more advanced than your usual glory anthems such as the likes of Rhapsody”. If “A Tale” isn’t dark or heavy enough for your ears, try the other tracks in the Battle Magic album. It is said to “offer great variation and depth. It’s like an enchantment.” As a bonus, the album cover features epic MMORPG-worthy art based on a fantasy character created by Roberts, a modern Renaissance man if there is one. Battle Magic was re-released with remastered audio in September 2016.
7. “Unleashed” (Epica)
Dutch symphonic metal band Epica combines “death grunts and brutality on one side, airy female melodiousness on the other,” according to Metal Review. Since its 2003 debut, the six-member band has been a hit in Europe and even made top 200 in Oricon in Japan. “Unleashed” came out in 2009 in the album Design Your Universe, which deals with the themes of human thought and quantum physics, according to Epica founder/guitarist/vocalist Mark Jansen. The song and album are well received in the Netherlands and rest of Europe, with Metal Storm calling it “the product of a confident and mature band, packed with quality content.” Besides the progressive metal, death metal, and gothic metal elements, Epica is most often praised for the voice work of lead vocalist Simone Simons. Simons, like many symphonic metal artists, names Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish as her inspiration — we think her glorious singing might even surpass what the members of Nightwish have to offer. Epica released The Holographic Principle in September 2016 and is touring for the album from 2016 to 2017.
6. Pompeii (E.S. Posthumus)
American band E.S. Posthumus plays across the modern classical rock and symphonic rock range, producing albums that seem to be perfectly designed for movies. Unearthed is the two-brother band’s first album, and all 13 tracks are named after and influenced by ancient cities of the world — one of the brothers received his degree in archaeology shortly after forming the band. Unearthed “consists of constant drumming in the background, soaring violins, spacious flutes, tragic Latin vocals and intense buildups,” notes Sputnik Music, which concludes that it is “worth your time.” While questioning the genre label of the album, Sea of Tranquility concedes that “Pompeii” and “Lepcis Magna,” the two heaviest tracks in Unearthed, are grand, moving, and use guitars and synthesizers in a way that is subtle yet complimentary: “a near perfect mixture of all elements — classical, modern, and traditional.” Like its namesake city, “Pompeii” is worth returning to over time. E.S. disbanded in 2010 after the death of one of the brothers.
5. I Don’t Care (Apocalyptica)
Cello-playing Finnish band Apocalyptica is beloved for both its more innovative fare and its mainstream, commercial songs. Worlds Collide, the band’s sixth album, falls in the latter category. The “cello metal” track “I Don’t Care” is “thought through with high caliber and would please all fans,” according to Metal Storm. Although Sputnik Music criticizes the vocals of Adam Gontier (lead vocalist/guitarist of Canadian band 3 Days Grace), declaring it “less than worthy of being on an Apocalyptica album,” it and other reviewers praise the cello music, experimentation, and diversity in every track. Encyclopaedia Metallum also denounces the guest vocals while praising the instrumentals. Regardless of the critics, “I Don’t Care” took the topmost spot in Billboard’s top 100 songs charts for a week and ranked among the top 20 of Modern Rock Tracks for an entire year. The audience has spoken. Apocalyptica released its latest album in 2015 and plans to perform at numerous concerts across Europe in 2017.
4. “Insomnia” (Kamelot)
American power metal band Kamelot is noted for its “sophisticated” offerings, which is why we look towards “Insomnia” for our purposes. While the album Haven “could be played at Lincoln Center with only a few monocles dropping in shock,” the second track, “Insomnia,” contains “more actual metal woven into the band’s classic sound,” as described by Angry Metal Guy. Encyclopaedia Metallum praises the way the “guitars and keyboards walk hand in hand perfectly” in “Insomnia.” “The symphonic parts in conjunction with the drumming sound ominous and even cinematic. There are no compromises made in terms of heaviness and their trademark dark velvet hues, which is always a positive,” reports Metal Storm. Haven also features the vocals of Nightwish musician Troy Donockley, adding a touch of star power for fans. Kamelot expects to release its next album in 2018.
3. World Under Ice (Lunatica)
Atlantis is the debut album of atmospheric/symphonic metal band Lunatica. The Swiss band features the vocals of Andrea Dätwyler, who has what Rock Report describes as a “special voice.” The track “World Under Ice” features “an interesting mix of mythology and real life,” with “‘in your face’ metal with great keyboards,” according to Encyclopaedia Metallum. Overlaying the solid metal backdrop is the haunting voice of Dätwyler, who sings as if she truly is the sole person left in a frozen world. Listening to this track, we are reminded of Tony Award-winning singer Idina Menzel’s performance in Disney’s Frozen. Although Lunatica’s next album, Fables & Dreams, boasts greater production values, “World Under Ice” and the full album remain a mesmerizing introduction to the band, leaving the listener shivering for more. Lunatica’s album Love to the Music is in pre-production as of 2015.
2. Higher (Edenbridge)
Symphonic metal band Edenbridge hails from Austria and is fronted by vocalist Sabine Edelsbacher. In “Higher,” the third track of 2010’s Solitaire, Edelsbacher’s pretty, otherworldly vocals meld with the scratchy guitars as seamlessly as the soap bubbles and swordfighting combine in the music video. Despite criticizing the lack of aggression in the music, Angry Metal Guy praises the “near operatic, ever-so-melodic and beautifully enchanting vocals, melody drenched keyboards, and the subdued guitar and drum work.” Putting the “symphonic” back in symphonic metal, Edenbridge even uses contributions from the Czech Film Orchestra for the authentic classical sound. “Higher” may be fairly easy listening, but no one said enjoying music had to be difficult. Edenbridge will release the album The Great Momentum in February 2017.
1. Storytime (Nightwish)
Everyone’s symphonic metal role model, Nightwish, is the biggest Finnish band in the world. “Storytime” is the first and “most representative” single in Nightwish’s Imaginaerum album, according to its composer. Encyclopaedia Metallum agrees — “Storytime” is “an incredibly wise choice for lead single thanks to its infectious vocal lines and grandiose chorus,” it states. The review also notes that “the keyboards are strong in the face of the orchestra and the bass is surprisingly quite driving.” The song “shows off the melodic goodness of frontwoman Annette Olzon,” whose “vocal talent is irresistible,” according to Loudwire. Angry Metal Guy describes the track as “unpredictable” even as it reminds the listener of previous Nightwish albums. For such an accomplished band as Nightwish, that might be the greatest compliment of all. The band released the album Endless Forms Most Beautiful in 2015. It expects to go on hiatus in 2017 and return in 2018.
Europeans know and create good music, and symphonic metal is certainly evidence of that. To feel more cultured without feeling bored, add these symphonic metal songs to your playlist and then check out the bands for more — the wonders of the genre can’t be contained in merely 10 tracks.