Monthly Archives: December 2009

“All Nightmare Long”

I can’t rave enough about this song and this video, All Nightmare Long by Metallica. Nightmare is from their wicked new album, Death Magnetic, which I finally picked up a few months ago, about a year after its debut. To say the least, I am nothing short of awestruck by the song and the album. Despite Metallica’s plethora of hits—which include the likes of Battery, One, Enter Sandman, and For Whom The Bell Tolls—I’d venture to say All Nightmare Long is perhaps the best song they’ve ever produced. It’s that good!

I absolutely love the video. I don’t want to spoil it for you, so watch it below first and then read on.

Click Here To Watch The Video

I love the fictitious documentary of how the USSR decimated the USA by using a “special” kind of biological weapon—a spore of of extraterrestrial origin—to trigger an American zombie apocalypse. The video is creative and original, two traits that are sorely lacking in the videos of today’s mainstream music.

Trees were knocked down and burned over hundreds of square kilometres by the Tunguska meteoroid impact. Photograph from Leonid Kulik's 1927 expidition.

Trees were knocked down and burned over hundreds of square kilometres by the Tunguska meteoroid impact. Photograph from Leonid Kulik's 1927 expidition.

Though the video is a fantastic piece of fiction, it’s based upon an actual, historical occurrence, the Tunguska Event. In the morning of June 30, 1908 (not July 30, which is displayed in one of the video’s captions), a sizable chunk of meteoroid or comet exploded in the sky above the Podkamennaya Tunguska river, in what is now the Krasnoyarsk Krai of Russia, obliterating 80 million trees over 2,150 square kilometres. The blast occurred 5-10 kilometres above the Earth’s surface, with its force estimated to be approximately 10-15 megatons of TNT; that would make it 1,000 times as powerful as the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan during World War II by the American B-29 bomber, Enola Gay. That’s quite a wallop!

Update (February 5, 2010). Last week, during a hunt for a live performance of this song—which I have now officially declared to be Metallica’s best song ever—I happened upon the following video. It’s a superb performance of All Nightmare Long that was recorded in Nîmes, France on July 7, 2009 for the DVD, Français Pour Une Nuit. For me, as a lover of antiquities, what’s most notable about the performance is the venue, the Arena of Nîmes. It’s a Roman amphitheater that was constructed circa 70 A.D., during the reign of Emperor Augustus, and is still used to this very day for public events, such as bullfights and concerts.

“Phantom of the Opera”

Phantom Of The OperaI thought, what better way to celebrate the commencement of my blog than with the ultimate song by the greatest band to have ever walked the earth: Phantom of the Opera by Iron Maiden. It would never be my desire to pick a favorite from Maiden’s vast collection of magnificent melodies, but if I had to pick one, it would undoubtedly be Phantom.

Based on the 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera by French author Gaston Leroux, the song was written by Maiden bassist Steve Harris and was featured in Maiden’s self-titled, debut album, Iron Maiden. I could try to describe the song, but Steve did a pretty good job of that himself:

This is a very long song that was done in sections. The middle part was totally separate but it fit in very well. It felt right to go from the slow part into the middle section. Phantom is one of the best pieces I’ve ever written, and certainly one of the most enjoyable to play. It’s got all these intricate guitar lines which keep it interesting. Then there’s the slow middle part which creates quite a good mood. It’s also got fast heavy parts which are really rockin’. And it’s also got areas for crowd participation. It pretty much covers all the bases for the band. It was also a good example of what I wanted to get across.

For your enjoyment, following this paragraph is a video of Maiden’s December 1980 performance of the song at The Rainbow in north London. The video features Iron Maiden’s original frontman, Paul Di’Anno.