The Track 5 Theory

Recommendations, discussions, questions & debates regarding the godly Metal of olde...
User avatar
nightsblood
Posts: 2388

The Track 5 Theory

Post#1 » Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:55 am

Hi folks-
Yes, it's been awhile since I visited. Been a kinda shitty year at home and at work, but things have settled a tad, so I finally caught up on some Corro reading. While doing so I noticed that Noisenik had posted a reply in my old RUNNING WILD thread expressing interest in trying to prove my old Track 5 Theory, but he worried that there's no time to test it out.

Hold my beer.

To save you having to dredge up the old thread, here's the quote explaining my the Track 5 Theory:

"Years ago I developed a theory that, on power metal albums, track 5 is the most important track. Hear me out. Power metal albums typically follow a pretty standard blueprint, or at least they did in the mid 90s-early 00s:
Track 1- an instrumental intro
Track 2- blazing fast anthem to kick things off right
Track 3- a strong follow-up song, not as fast as Track 2, but fast enough to keep the heads banging and the fists in the air
Track 4- the band takes their foot off the gas with a slower number so everyone can catch their breath. You settle down and settle in. You wonder "hmmm, is the speedy stuff all done, or is their more speedy goodness to come?"
And that's why Track 5 is the most important. The smart bands who made the best albums knew to step on the fucking gas and light it up on Track 5 with one of the album's highlights so as to wake folks up and allay their fears that the album was slowing down. If an album screwed up track 5, however, that meant that the scoreboard now read 2 Good tracks, 2 average tracks, 1 instrumental, and you go into Track 6 feeling like the album is quickly slipping into mediocrity."

So time for us all to compile evidence for and against this theory.
Remember, we're talking POWER METAL albums from roughly the mid 90s to early-ish 00s. So don't post some bullshit claiming to shoot down my theory using a bunch of death-thrash demos from 1988.
Also, note that track numbering can get a tad tricky, as opening instrumentals sometimes get their own title and/or number, and sometimes they don't, so some leeway is allowed.

The 2 albums that made me first postulate Track 5 Theory are the following, both from 1997:

Exhibit 1: Gamma Ray 'Somewhere Out in Space'
This one skips the intro instrumental unless you count the short bass intro on track 1, but otherwise it fits the pattern exactly:
Opens with the speedy 'Beyond the Black Hole'.
Follows up with the driving 'Men, Martians and Machines'.
Let's up a tad with 'No Stranger'.
Floors it again on 'Somewhere Out in Space'

Exhibit 2: Iron Savior s/t
Follow the pattern exactly:
1- warm up on 'Arrival'
2- Then opens on the zippy pounder 'Atlantis Falling'
3- Keeps the pressure on with 'Brave New World'
4- Lets off the throttle a bit for 'Iron Savior'
5- Goes to eleven on 'Riding on Fire'

So that's where Track 5 Theory originated from.

Rather than spending the next 3 days mapping out every Euro power metal CD I own, I now turn it over to y'all- take the ball and run with it! What great albums follow the pattern? Which ones don't?

Have fun, I'll check back sooner or later.
"I'm sorry Sam, we had real chemistry. But like a monkey on the sun, our love was too hot to live"
-Becky

User avatar
mordred
Posts: 1706

Re: The Track 5 Theory

Post#2 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:27 am

This is truth.

All the Rhapsody albums from the classic 1997-2002 period follow this pattern. Instrumental intro, then fast and/or very anthemic opener, another track that sticks like glue to the opener but is slightly slower, a token folkish song, and then unleash a million toy swords for serious dragon slaying. All the 5's – Flames of Revenge, Eternal Glory, Dargor Shadowlord of the Black Mountain, and When Demons Awake – are important centre pieces on the albums.

I know full well nobody here listens to this kind of music, but Rhapsody were the enchanted dragon kings of the toy sword metal craft and proves the theory.

No later Rhapsody album follows the pattern, so there you go.
In some lost corner of the world there sits a leprechaun laughing merrily atop a mountain of mysteriously lost LP innersleeves

User avatar
Khnud
Posts: 2312

Re: The Track 5 Theory

Post#3 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:49 pm

I don't own many power metal albums, but I dug out the latest BLAZON STONE offering from the shelves, and sure enough we have 1) instrumental intro 2) all guns blazing 3) slower but still killer 4) much more mid tempo 5) meep meep!

I'm a believer!
Laugh at you in ecstasy, wallow in the gore.
Blast you with their twisted minds, behold the Dogs Of War.

User avatar
bigfootkit
Posts: 2315
Contact:

Re: The Track 5 Theory

Post#4 » Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:47 am

I don't really know if this is a trait/trend that you can only attribute to power metal albums, it seems like that general pacing template could be (and often is) true for almost any sub-genre of Metal or Hard Rock.
For instance, i was listening to Sabbath's 'Vol 4' earlier which goes through quite a few stylistic & atmospheric changes over the course of 'side 1', (including that crushingly mournful pseudo-intro at the beginning of 'Wheels Of Confusion'), but hey presto, i'm back in a heavy groove again by the end of the side courtesy of the speedy-by-Sabbath-standards 'Supernaut', which is of course, track 5.
The theory definitely holds water, but i think the bucket should be bigger.
:D
I cannot, I shall not, I will not obey.
Avenger wrote : I'm not a copyright office nor a judicial entity.

User avatar
nightsblood
Posts: 2388

Re: The Track 5 Theory

Post#5 » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:30 pm

Mordred- I figured Rhapsody would support my theory. I bet Stratovarius does too, but I'll let someone else do the legwork to confirm that suspicion.

Kit- I hereby put you in charge of testing Track 5 Theory to see if it does indeed apply across subgenres. If so, we may have actually stumbled upon a unifying theory of heavy music. Discographers & musicologists have been researching for years trying to validate the Universal Linguistic Theory Integrating Metal Across The Eons. That's the kind of thing that gets someone nominated for a Nobel Prize AND a Grammy all at once!
"I'm sorry Sam, we had real chemistry. But like a monkey on the sun, our love was too hot to live"
-Becky

User avatar
bigfootkit
Posts: 2315
Contact:

Re: The Track 5 Theory

Post#6 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:54 am

nightsblood wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:30 pm
Kit- I hereby put you in charge of testing Track 5 Theory to see if it does indeed apply across subgenres. If so, we may have actually stumbled upon a unifying theory of heavy music. Discographers & musicologists have been researching for years trying to validate the Universal Linguistic Theory Integrating Metal Across The Eons. That's the kind of thing that gets someone nominated for a Nobel Prize AND a Grammy all at once!
nightsblood, I'm sure it's rather unwise to put me in charge of anything as i have it on good authority that i "couldn't organise a piss-up in a brothel", (a genuine quote BTW), but i'll definitely be keeping Unified Heavy Theory in mind whilst i go about my listening.
With that in mind, do i now get to write off getting nothing done coz i've spent my time listening to music under the guise of conducting vital scientific research?
If so, then count me in. Now, where do i apply for the research grant?
I cannot, I shall not, I will not obey.
Avenger wrote : I'm not a copyright office nor a judicial entity.

User avatar
mordred
Posts: 1706

Re: The Track 5 Theory

Post#7 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:25 pm

I resent the notion that this template is ideal for all sub genres!

Pacing, headbanging value, catchiness etc is important in power metal. You need some variation in tempo to get the most out of the speediest number, but you never want an album to drag so the sequencing is important and this is as close as you can get to how to perfectly structure an album's first half.

Not necessarily true for other sub genres. For example, I find it tiresome in a doom metal album where only two out of eight songs are up tempo and one of them is the opener (yes, Candlemass I'm looking at you). Same with epic metal of generally moderate tempos.

For such cases, I'm rooting for the "Headless Cross" formula. Open with the most grandiose epic track (as long as it's not overly long or intricate) and then step on the pedal to launch into the fastest track. It was so effective, they repeated the same formula on Tyr. Simply perfect. Which is why Heaven and Hell shouldn't have opened with "Neon Knights" but rather "Children of the Sea".

And, in an album where a fast song is not the ideal opener, the track 5 theory, as descibred here, falls.
In some lost corner of the world there sits a leprechaun laughing merrily atop a mountain of mysteriously lost LP innersleeves

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 11 guests