THE CRUSADE OF EPICS: Results -> A Change Of Seasons wins!

Not a massive fan of either of Symphony X's mammoth epics, but I prefer Divine Wings both as a song and as an album. Dante's Inferno is honestly pretty weak, and this Savatage song is definitely enjoyable. So I voted for Divine Morphine.
I love large parts of "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy", but it's got a few weaker sections, including some way over-the-top, mustache-twirling delivery from Mr. Allen. "The Odyssey" is significantly larger in scope, yet it manages to feel more directed and cohesive, has more memorable hooks throughout, and it really embodies everything this contest is about. Sorry, MrKnoshwickler 10.75, but I have to go with MrKooselBannon's nominee here. Winner: Symphony X - "The Odyssey"

In the second match we have the Iseditionist Earth song that refuses to die, despite its complete lack of songwriting fundamentals. It's got a lot of nice instrumental parts, but the track as a whole is an incoherent patchwork with a lot of cringey singing. I don't understand the appeal. While the Savatage track is way more showtuney than I would prefer, it's consistently well-written and mostly well-performed. Sorry, @Diesel 11, but this is an easy call for @Black Wizard's nominee. Winner: Savatage
I knew that the easy choices in many rounds would eventually catch up, and now we have my favorite band's two best songs pitted against each other. Damn! I'll say this: The Odyssey is a better-written song. But there is a special magic about Divine Wings that its competitor lacks. I don't know if it's the keyboard sound, the recording in general... but Divine Wings just hits me harder and more personally (obviously we're not talking lyrics here). Maybe because it's more neoclassical? A lot of people get lost during the 6-minute instrumental section, but I love it.

I really wish it hadn't come to this, as both of these songs deserve to last until the end.

Also, Savatage.
The Ocean - Jurassic | Cretaceous (Nominated by @Night Prowler)
Holy. Crap. This is outstanding. While I think The Ocean should have done a trilogy of albums on the Mesozoic alone, this might be the coolest thing I've heard from them. Not a fan of all the screaming at the end, but that's probably how dinosaurs sounded.
Hey guys, I apologize but I messed up something and you need to vote in this round again :oops:
I like “Suite Sister Mary” a lot but if you vote a cyclic, single-faceted, horny choir piece over a true juggernaut of musical force, then I just cannot understand you. “Blackwater Park” almost never repeats a section yet the journey it takes you on still feels complete by the time it’s run its course. Åkerfeldt solely using his guttural vocals is a perfect decision, allowing the clean musical interludes to continue painting the darkened canvas and provide darkening light as the rest of the song fully plunges the listener deep into despairing, blackening, cultish hell. The fact that the song builds up into a banger and then dies down for acoustic lake wandering is a baller choice but it works so well. Unbelievably good; I was just listening through the whole album today and each song is strong, but this one is transcendent. It is an aural painting in the most magnificent nature of such a concept. I’m not the biggest Opeth fan, but I am 100% a “Blackwater Park” fan.

But go ahead, Jer, vote for Queensrÿche cuz of muh clean vocals. But there are fewer finales in music as good aa the one that finishes Opeth’s masterpiece:

Sick liaisons raised this monumental mark
The sun sets forever over Blackwater Park

Your first mistake is assuming that “Blackwater Park” is a dessert and that the weird taste is fecal matter. Nay, “Blackwater Park” is the raw heart of a wild buck ripped out as its mate and offspring witness the destruction of the creature. This heart is then given to you, the listener, to devour in tearful but ravenous hunger. Eat and be silent, for thine is the kingdom of shit.
The first match is indeed a clash of titans. In terms of the music itself, “Blackwater Park” is undeniably a masterpiece, while “Suite Sister Mary” is merely excellent. In the songwriting department both tracks are great in different ways; the Opeth track taking us on a long and winding journey without ever losing the thread of the song or our interest, and the Queensrÿche track for its excellent atmosphere, perfectly framing the climax of the album’s story. When it comes to the vocals, it’s obviously no contest — Åkerfeldt’s growls are some of the most grating and annoying extreme vocals I’ve ever heard, while Geoff Tate demonstrates exactly why he was held in such high regard during his prime. If it weren’t for the horrendous vocals I would totally go with Opeth here, but sorry, @The Flash, I have to go with @Collin’s nominee instead. Winner: Queensrÿche - “Suite Sister Mary”

The second match is decidedly less interesting, with yet another “cool riffs, bro, but get a good singer and learn to write a song” track from Iseditionist Earth vs. a less-coherent-than-usual track from Opeth with great music and a mix of excellent clean vocals and terrible extreme vocals from Åkerfeldt. Even with the growling handicap, the Opeth song is fundamentally superior here — so, sorry @LooseCannon, but I have to go with MrSaaperBosher’s nominee. Winner: Opeth - “Ghost Of Perdition”
I know I've said this before, but: Easiest. Round. Ever.

I find Geoff Tate to be annoying. I have nothing against Queensryche's music, though, and this is easily one of the best songs I've heard from them. I actually think I voted for it in a previous round (it was probably up against a 15-minute track of people banging pots in a forest).

I have no ill will towards Travel in Stygian, as I find it to be one of Iced Earth's better tracks from their earlier years. I think the version from Alive in Athens with Matt Barlow singing rips the studio version to shreds. Disclaimer: My opinion of Iced Earth's music has not changed and will not change based on Jon Schaffer's poor decisions.

However, Blackwater Park is my favorite Opeth song. Ghost of Perdition is in my top five. This is no contest.

acoustic lake wandering
One of the best descriptions of Opeth I've ever heard! Kudos.

Åkerfeldt’s growls are some of the most grating and annoying extreme vocals I’ve ever heard
I am not a fan of most death metal bands because I find their extreme vocals to be far weaker than Akerfeldt's. And I'll say that while it took me years to get into Opeth because of their vocals, once I did there was no going back. Since dropping the growls they have become a shadow of their former selves, with Pale Communion being the only post-Watershed album that gets any regular plays from me.

You may like Damnation, which was released during their growliest years but contains no harsh vocals. It's a brief listen, too, at only 42 minutes. Save it for an autumn or winter day. Additionally, if you like retro '70s hippie prog, check out Pale Communion, In Cauda Venenum, Sorceress, and Heritage (in that order). Just be prepared to crank your treble and lower the bass (and I say this as a bassist).
Dante’s Inferno & Travel in Stygian are out? Seriously?

Doctor doctor please, come examine them.
Father forgive them they don’t know what they are doing.
Are you happy to see me or you’re holding a gun?
Not thrilled with either song in the first match, but the Metallica track has a little more charisma, coherence, and sticking power despite the Mastodon track having more interesting musical passages. Sorry, @Night Prowler, but I have to go with @KidInTheDark666‘s nominee here. Winner: Metallica

The songs in the second match are significantly better, though neither one blew my socks off. I like the subdued feel of much of the Dream Theater track, and its Beatlesesque extended outro is cool. The Nightwish track is pompous, overblown, and wildly overrated, but it does have a lot of compelling parts, and it’s probably the more memorable track overall. Sorry, @Saapanael, but I have to go with MrDooselWogger’s nominee here. Winner: Nightwish