1. The Sound of Silence, by Bobaflex
For years my brother would talk about how he wished that there would be some band who would do a heavy metal cover of this Simon & Garfunkel classic. Lo and behold, a few years ago someone finally did. I have to say, Bobaflex did a pretty damn good job on it too. It's just as epic as I was hoping it would be. The only thing that I feel is missing from it is a big epic melodic guitar solo. Be that as it may, it still rocks.
2. Meet Me in the City, by Bruce Springsteen
The Boss is working on releasing a box set of material from The River era (1979) this coming December. One of the first glimpses of this stuff is an unreleased B-side called Meet Me in the City. To be honest, I'm surprised this wasn't released as an A-side single because it has just about everything a catchy Bruce Springsteen single needs. It's upbeat, has wailing sax, emotional powerhouse singing, punchy guitars, pounding keys, and more.
3. Hills of Eternity, by Buckethead
Most of you who are at least a little familiar with Buckethead know him for his shredding skills. However, he is also quite capable and skilled at making soft relaxing acoustic music as well. Hills of Eternity happens to be one of my absolute favorite songs of his that are in that vein. I could play it on loop for hours and probably fall asleep if I wanted to. It's one of the first songs I ever played on the first acoustic guitar I ever got.
4. Blue Blood, by X-Japan
If you're willing to give a kick-ass metal band that doesn't sing primarily in English a shot, I think you'll be in for a pleasant surprise with X-Japan. Their version of melodic speed metal stands up just as well as any other more well known European or American bands. You won't even miss being able to understand the lyrics when they absolutely tear it up on their guitars and hammer away at the drums.
5. Final Countdown, by Europe
Who doesn't get their jollies the moment this tune kicks on with its iconic synthesizer intro? It's one of the best songs to come out of the 80's hair metal movement, honestly. That whole time you feel the epicness and the pounding tension that the song creates while it builds up to all of the powerful moments it contains. Too bad Europe seems to be only kind of a one hit wonder band as far as the general public is concerned.