2018 Award Nominations: Best Slow Song/Ballad

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Welcome to the 2018 Musicalypse Awards nominations! There are a few things that remain constant across all genres, and one of those things is that all bands have the power to write slow songs or ballads. Whether it’s a haunting acoustic ballad or a slow symphonic tune, these tracks have the power to be some of the most gripping, so here are our favorites of the year:

1. Arion – “Through Your Falling Tears”
2. Kamelot – “In Twilight Hours”
3. Shinedown – “special”

Sometimes songs sneak up on me, but not in the case of “Through Your Falling Tears.” From the first moment I heard this song, it had my emotions standing at attention and ready to respond at a moment’s notice. There are so many stories being told in this song. It also doesn’t hurt that it has a memorable enough riff that it stays humming in your head long after its over.

Kamelot have always been pretty clear go-tos for ballads, and this year is no different, with “In Twilight Hours.” I must appreciate these guys for always trying out talented up-and-coming female vocalists on their albums. This track features Jennifer Haben [Beyond the Black], who proves to have a gorgeous voice that compliments Tommy Karevik perfectly.

Some might give me a bit of crap for including Shinedown in here, since they may not really count strictly as a ‘metal’ band, but hey, ballads and slow songs aren’t so ‘metal’ anyways. This song has some brutally honest yet beautiful lyrics, along with a catchy beat that’s easy to sing along to. I was pretty excited to hear them play it live at their show at The Circus.

1. Alice in Chains – “All I Am”
2. Lunatic Soul – “Under the Fragmented Sky”
3. Lucifer – “Dreamer”

Alice in Chains‘ existential woes on “All I Am” struck a chord with me, and the song is a great album closer.

The Slavic melancholy of the title-track of Under the Fragmented Sky by Lunatic Soul is likewise gorgeous, even though the “He av en” reprise at the end feels a little tacked on.

Finally, there’s “Dreamer” by Lucifer, which is the lovechild of “In Trance” by Scorpions and “Children of the Sea” by Black Sabbath, and great just like those two classics.

1. Ihsahn – “Samr”
2. Warrel Dane – “Mother is the Word for God”
3. Blaze Bayley & Thomas Zwijsen – “December Wind”

I already talked a little about “Samr” in the Best New Song category. It has a slow build up that culminates in a powerful chorus. It really shows off Ihsahn‘s sensitive side as well as his ability to belt out clean vocals. The name appears to derive from Ámr which can either mean dark, loathsome, or it may refer to Amr, the giant. It’s a simple slow song in the middle of an in-your-face prog metal album.

My second nominee is taken from Warrel Dane‘s posthumous album, Shadow Work. Full disclosure: I have no idea what “Mother is the Word for God” means, I just know it’s a great song. Dane has channeled his grief for his mother’s passing before but this one seems a bit less literal and it takes on an additional layer since Dane himself didn’t live to see it finished.

Blaze Bayley is one of my favorite singers and I follow him religiously. After already releasing a good album, The Redemption of William Black (Infinite Entanglement part III), this spring, he continued to amaze with an acoustic album with Thomas Zwijsen. Blaze’s tendency to go big can turn some people off but he held back that instinct for “December Wind.” It’s a laid-back, reflective song. It encapsulates the feeling of the end of a long year perfectly.

Honorable mentions:
Deafheaven – “Honeycomb”, “Canary Yellow”, “Glint”, or “Night People.”

1. Judas Priest – “Sea of Red”
2. Warrel Dane – “Mother is the Word for God”
3. Arion – “Last One Falls”

If I’m fairly honest, I’m not a big fan of ballads, which is why I only managed to pick three songs that really impressed me and the only ones that I wouldn’t skip. The first one is Judas Priest‘s “Sea of Red”, which gave me instant goosebumps I listened to it.

To be fair, the posthumous album, Shadow Works, made me cry as a whole. Since I’m a huge Warrel Dane fan, this song stuck out to me. It’s one of my favorites on the album.

My third pick is Arion‘s “Last One Falls” – there’s just something in Lassi Vääränen’s voice that totally struck me and surprised me. I didn’t know he had such a deep and warm voice. In general “Last One Falls” is probably the most beautiful song on the whole album.