Washington Think Tank with W.: What’s your favorite unconventional song in a band’s repertoire?

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Greetings, friends. I’ve been getting a number of emails/messages/comments with Think Tank ideas, and I love it. Thank you all for be willing to shoulder this glorious burden with me. I promise I am taking note of these ideas and trying to get to them in due time. Today, however, I’m going to fly solo to ask you something that seems a bit time-sensitive. Today’s question is born on the back of one my favorite albums of 2015 so far. So please, once again, lend me your ears and brains.

Today’s Question: What’s your favorite unconventional song in a band’s repertoire?

I’m pulling a Frank Reynolds today because I don’t know how much time I have left on this blog [Edit: Don’t worry, folks. This was meant to be a joke because I’m likely going to be less active for the next month, but I’ll still be around]. I’m gonna get real weird with it. Today we’re talking about those oddball gems in a band’s discography. You know, those bizarre little songs that come out of left-field and leave you thinking “What the wtf was that?” (to quote Stockhausen). These are the sort of little eccentricities that after repeated listens often become your favorite songs on an album because they’re so unusual and distinct from a band’s otherwise uniform sound. Get the picture? No? Well then, I have to examples for you.

Exhibit A: Napalm Death – “Apex Predator – Easy Meat” from Apex Predator – Easy Meat

https://play.spotify.com/track/5JVihIwXBTIBQHB3ZsWJ5I

This album actually has a number of little twists and turns that would seem to go against the grain if the grindfathers hadn’t been forecasting these changes for some times. The melodies, vocal hooks, longer song structures have all been building for several albums now, so if you’ve been keeping up with Napalm Death for some time, the progressive bent of this record really shouldn’t surprise you. What might catch you off-guard, though, is that bizarre title/into track. My pal Edward called it a call to arms with a Godflesh robotic shake. To my ears, it sounds like a deranged war-chant, like something anarchist tribesman might chant as they tie a Capitalist virgin sacrifice to the altar before a rampaging revolutionist King Kong. Both descriptions are simple approximations of the truth, but whatever this song is, it is certainly effective at setting the menacing, vitriolic tone for the album. I sometimes find myself bellowing, “Apex predator! Apex predator! Easy meat! Easy meat!” as I skulk around my home. This song works and is the perfect opening salvo to a great album.

Exhibit B: A Perfect Circle – “Counting Bodies like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums” from eMotive

APC is probably my least favorite of Maynard’s various side projects, and I would hesitate to even label this band metal. However, I still remember the first time I heard this track blaring from the speakers of a house party I was attending. I was utterly transfixed, and it seemed to my suddenly focused senses that the entire atmosphere of the apartment shifted, taking on a much more bestial and brooding tone. This industrial remix of the band’s previous alt-rock tune “Pet” is far superior to the original, incorporating everything from ravening animal growls to audio clips in the middle for an impressive and much more dire end product. This song may not be metal, but it’s definitely heavy, and if you didn’t see the name APC attached to it, you might not even realize the same band wrote it.

So, now that you’ve listened to my examples, it’s your turn. What’s your favorite oddity in a band’s discography? What weirdo song surpasses simple stylistic changes and instead offers a much more creative approach to songwriting. Sound off in the comments below.

P.S. Do you have an idea for Think Tank? Send it to toiletovhell@gmail.com! I’d love to collaborate.

Don’t know what the Washington Think Tank is? This is a weekly column where your former President poses a pressing question and allows the top minds at the Toilet ov Hell to investigate his query.

(Photo VIA)

  • Edward/Breegrodamus

    I don’t know if this counts, exactly, but it is the first thing that sprung into my mind.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjGUBiKh4vs

    • Hubert, Goat ov/of SATAN!!!!!

      Gorguts are getting mentioned quite a lot lately haven’t they?

      • BAXXX BXAXXBXAXX

        I’m getting a little sick of it lol

        • Edward/Breegrodamus

          It fit with the theme of the post today BB! This is a rare instance of me being on topic.

        • Edward/Breegrodamus

          One time (on one of those Trve Kvlt Crowdfunding posts) I was on topic for I swear almost the entire two hours.

          • Väinämöinen

            Staying on topic, that’s a paddlin’

          • VVayne Brady

            That’s gotta be a record. These posts almost never stay on topic.

          • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

            I wonder if anyone one of us even tries.

          • VVayne Brady

            I give it the old college try, but sometimes you can’t fight it.

      • They deserve it.

      • Stockhausen

        Who’s that?

        • Guacamole Jim

          They sound unpleasant and probably worship satan.

          • Stockhausen

            One of them yellin’ bands?

          • Tyree

            AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! AHHHHH!!!! AHHHHH!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! AH!!!! AH!!!! AHHHHHH!!!! AHHHHHHHHH!!!! AHH!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! AHHHHH!!!! AHHHHH!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! AH!!!! AH!!!! AHHHHHH!!!! AHHHHHHHHH!!!! AHH!!!!!

          • Stockhausen

            Wait…is that a yes?

          • “That guy sounds like wants to murder his grandma!”
            -McNulty’s Dad

    • Dagon

      One day we will make contact with species from other planets, with technology so advanced we won’t even be able to grasp it. Not even they will have the capacity to flush this album. It’s just unflushable.

    • VVayne Brady

      You should check out the cover Patrons of the Rotting Gate did of this song.

      • Edward/Breegrodamus

        Oh damn, I wanna.

    • That was the song I mostly enjoyed in that album. I finally finished to listen to it.

    • Max

      Oh, good call!

    • Lacertilian

      Always loved this part of the album.
      It should be incorporated into a movie somehow.

    • George Clarke

      yes

  • Scrimm
    • VVayne Brady

      Well, this is weird.

      • Scrimm

        They’ve got a few like this.

    • Tyree

      Hypocrisy are all over the place.

      • Scrimm

        The only place they don’t go anymore is good.

  • KJM

    I like APC but don’t care for Emotive at all.

    This showed Celtic Frost could do something different without it becoming some kind of ‘Cold Lake’ monstrosity.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37ku1CzCpEs

    • VVayne Brady

      I skip most of the album, but Counting Bodies just feels right.

      • KJM

        The best covers they do(Ashes To Ashes, Diary Of A Madman/Lovesong) aren’t even on it.

        • Herr Schmitty

          Truth. Emotive is far and away my least favorite APC release.

          • KJM

            I saw them at Cumberland County Civic Center in 2003.

          • Herr Schmitty

            ! I caught ’em in like ’04 at a sweet venue in Florida, the Meisner Park Amphitheatre. They were so, so very good.

          • KJM

            I’ve also seen them in Lewiston and Worcester(2001 and 2004 respectively).

            Glad to see you made it home safely. Hope you had a good show.

          • Herr Schmitty

            Fantastic show, and thanks again for the hospitality! Jake Bowen (Periphery guitarist) mingled in the crowd afterward, really nice guy. I came away really impressed!

      • Herr Schmitty

        Yeah. I love APC, hate Emotive. Counting Bodies is great though, as you say!

    • You forgot to switch to M Shadows!

      • lol no I was replying to the post. This song is so delightfully fucked up.

        • VVayne Brady

          This one’s about banging a corpse, right?

          • among other things yea

          • Dagon

            Tig Trager’s seal of approval

    • Jefrey Waylon Mann

      I like this song.

    • Guacamole Jim

      I’m with you here. This song is killer, and so out of left field for A7X.

  • “Bridge Burner” is by far Magrudergrind’s best song and nothing like anything else they do.

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    toilets are more important than religion

    both at once–1st vid muted
    http://youtu.be/71B9S06_1uA

    http://youtu.be/9SOryJvTAGs

  • Scrimm

    Checking out that Death Karma also right now. Hopefully another good rec from the Toilet.

    • VVayne Brady

      I haven’t heard one bad word about it yet 🙂

      • Scrimm

        You have now

        • VVayne Brady

          🙁

          • Scrimm

            Kidding, this stuff sounds great.

          • VVayne Brady

            I don’t think the EP is very good, but the full-length rules

          • Scrimm

            Noted. I’m gonna have to hunt this down in physical form.

    • AxetoFall

      Been jamming it all day, it is indeed another good recommendation from the mighty porcelain throne of hell. “India – Towers of Silence” might just be the best song released so far this year.

      • VVayne Brady

        The Mexico song is my jam.

      • Scrimm

        I’m liking everything so far.

        • Tyree

          AWESOME BRO!

  • Dagon
  • Tyree

    A once Punk/Grindcore band (Sore Throat) to a apocalyptic, depressing, and industrial sounding crust band (Saw Throat). Not sure if this counts, but I want to believe that it dose.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HGOjxXlTMw

    This is one song too.

    • VVayne Brady

      I had more individual songs in mind, but I think right turns in discographies count too 🙂 Good pick. I’m definitely going to jam this. Interesting how they used a different name for it.

      • Tyree

        It’s a long jam but a good one. Very depressing stuff.

    • VVayne Brady

      If I hadn’t already done a piece about longer songs like this, I probably would have included it. It’s the only song off that album that I usually listen to.

  • Dagon

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aE_3n9tU1_Q
    This song comes seemingly out of nowhere towards the end of Songs For The Deaf

    • Formerly Known As Oli Sykes

      Best… bonus track… EVER!!!

  • Väinämöinen

    This one surprised me the first time I heard it.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XP-_C2IXx6A

  • Jefrey Waylon Mann

    One of my favorites from their album.
    They worked more with songs like this later on but it wasn’t as good.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2H4l9RpkwM

    • HessianHunter

      LP were my favorite band when I was 15 and dumb. I still think this song is great. I suspect it will age much, much better than 95% of their other songs, since it already has in just several years.

      • VVayne Brady

        Actually, Linkin Park was the first real concert I went to. I was also 15. I haven’t listened to any of their albums after Meteora, but they were definitely a part of my life for a while.

        • Jefrey Waylon Mann

          I still listen to Minutes to Midnight and A Thousand Suns although those are my least favorite albums

      • it pains me to say this, but they WERE good at what they did for a few albums…

      • NefariousDude

        Real talk. I still listen to re animation and meteora on a regular basis.

        I’ll see myself out

        • VVayne Brady

          No stay

          • NefariousDude

            In my defense those albums were a stepping stone to all gnar I cram in my ears now and days.

    • Guacamole Jim

      Shit, I forgot all about this song. Re-listening to it.. I’m kinda digging it. The vibe is really awesome.

    • Mother Shabubu III

      Speaking of nu, remember when Adema went uncharacteristically heavy to the point of blast-beats?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i03ru72OZps

      • Eddie Trunk Jr., Floor Tech

        I didn’t know about this. Then again I hate Adema.

    • Eddie Trunk Jr., Floor Tech

      Speaking of Linkin Park they’re headlining Amnesia Rockfest with System of A Down.

      • Formerly Known As Oli Sykes

        Wish that lineup would come to the UK, looks so good.
        *DEFTONES PLAYING AROUND THE FUR IN FULL!!! EHRMAHGERD!!!!*

        • Eddie Trunk Jr., Floor Tech

          You should have seen how excited I got when I saw Slaves On Dope performing their classic album on the poster near the bottom.

    • Formerly Known As Oli Sykes

      Also in embarrassing bait and switches that will get people kicked off this site.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hS1Tei90C4A

      This is basically post-rock with screeching. Also, dat solo at 3.35 😀

      • JamesGrimm

        Zombie EP FTW

  • Guacamole Jim

    I’m going to submit this for your consideration, even though it may not seem out of left field initially — but hear me out.

    Porcupine Tree has long been known for being a progressive band, with long songs, atypical structures and sounds, varying moods within pieces, and so on. They don’t tend to “fit the mold.” Which is why “Shallow” is such a surprising tune. It’s conventional in all the aspects of conventionality. It follows the straight up intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus-outro rule. It’s a straight ahead, driving hard rock tune, a great headbanging jam that I have a sneaking suspicion Steven Wilson hates. But it’s really not like anything else in the Porcupine Tree discography, at least that I know of.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WE_tMWD1QFo

    • VVayne Brady

      Ooh, inverting the stereotype. Nice.

    • NefariousDude

      I like that Felix the cat song or whatever.

      Hi Jim

  • Not sure if you’d define this as very different from the rest of their stuff, but this song is fucking sick. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C0F7eFxhXM

    • tertius_decimus

      Incredible shit!

    • KJM

      It’s even better live.

    • Poseur Diposeur

      Nice. I love this song but don’t care much for the band

      • If you don’t mind me asking, why not? I like them quite a bit, wish I could see them live.

        • Poseur Diposeur

          Can’t recall. I’ll give that album a spin and get back to you

        • Poseur Diposeur

          That was actually pretty sick. It’s been years since I’ve heard anything except Deserts Without Mirages and I used to not listen to anything that had the word “core” associated with it.

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain
  • sweetooth0

    I submit:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLQ68cKLT04

    To my knowledge the first and only NIN song played in major key instead of minor. It really put my off initially (alomst sounds like pop punk for chrissakes), but I’ve grown to really dig this track (especially that super noisy, industrial distorted guitar in the chorus).

    • VVayne Brady

      I actually really like this song. It sounds very hopeful.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Yuck. Dude gets married and everything becomes a Hallmark card.

      *banishes this song to the downward flushing spiral of the toilet ov hell*

    • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

      Listen to their new one? It’s pretty much like NIN going back to their synthpop days. A lot more like Evil’s Toy or Depeche Mode’s ‘Ultra’ than ‘Downward Spiral’ or ‘Broken.

  • Only one I can think of is Afgamistam from Botch’s Anthology of Dead Ends EP. Very out of character for them but a great song.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus

      I <3 Botch.

  • “I don’t know how much time I have left on this blog” Well that sounds foreboding! Everything okay, VVayne Brady?
    here’s my pick (yes, topical). after three and a half albums of ferocious, industrial metal Strapping Young Lad surprises everybody with this little ditty:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbrTKuXIvwQ

    • Väinämöinen

      I get a Pink Floyd feel from this.

      • yes yes! that’s what my buddy said when he first heard it. i was gonna burn him a CD of it and he said “you can leave this track out”

    • VVayne Brady

      Everything is a-okay, mate.

      • Guacamole Jim

        .. are you for real leaving though?

        • VVayne Brady

          Hahaha, no. I may be a bit less active in the next few weeks, though. This dissertation business is eating my lunch.

          • Guacamole Jim

            WHEW. You gave me a scare there, chief. Dissertations are no walk in the park though.

          • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

            Good luck to you on all that, Supreme Leader Of Texas/America/Iraq!

          • VVayne Brady

            Haha, thanks!

          • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

            Oh, and Afghanistan!

          • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

            We’re gonna miss ya! From us to you:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHxSYeaHhkA

          • KJM

            Defend that diss!!

  • http://youtu.be/dyVeQCyP3so . There are parts of this song that definitely sound like Gojira, but the other parts sound like they could have been something off of an Incubus album.

    • Wow, you hit the nail on the head. Those parts sound almost exactly like Incubus.

      • Formerly Known As Oli Sykes

        What a lot of people don’t want to admit about Gojira is that they are quite influenced by alt-metal (And by extension, Nu Metal) bands (And not just Tool). Apparently, their quite into Deftones and Korn.

    • VVayne Brady

      Solid selection. I’ve been revisiting these first two albums lately because they sound way different from the later stuff.

      • Dagon

        I really enjoy Terra Incognita. I remember listening to it over and over again in the car. I spent countless hours driving back and forth that day.

        • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

          Their whole catalog is solid, but I still like From Mars To Sirius the best. By far.

          • Dagon

            That’s my favorite too.

          • Formerly Known As Oli Sykes

            Amen to that.

        • Further Down the Metal Hole

          Still can’t find a physical copy of that album anywhere. It drives me nuts, it’s the only one I’m missing!

      • God ov All

        I love how especially on “from Mars to Sirius”, there are some segments of songs that when you hear them you instantly think “oh yeah, this is definitely some Morbid Angel worship”

        • Herr Schmitty

          From Mars to Sirius is the Gojira album that got me going- got it on the advice of our own fantastic W!

          I still need to explore the back catalogue though.

    • Guacamole Jim

      Whoa. This is… different. In a good way.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    How about a favorite song from an unconventional source?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YZ60mQA4Q8

    • Scrimm

      I love this album.

      • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

        I may have something coming fer you. Just sayin’

        • Tyree

          What about that Devouring Star info?

          • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

            Turns out he has hid it deeper than I thought, no confirmation one way or other. Though I have some doubts now.

    • VVayne Brady
    • KJM

      This whole album is THE SHIT. It could end up being a Top 10 album of 2015 for me.

  • Tyree

    An odd song for the album, but a fucking brilliant song. Dixie singing blues.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nm7ybWtJHsk

  • HessianHunter

    Sikth are impossibly techy at all times… until this song lands smack dab in the middle of their album. It has two chords, one drumbeat, and is effectively an 8 minute vocal solo. The end of this track is absolutely genius; I swear to you this song is worth listening the whole way through. It’s transfixing.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJYhesl9OMQ

    • VVayne Brady

      I’ve tried getting into Sikth but haven’t done so successfully yet. Will try with this.

  • Tyree

    The one song with clean singing on the album. Great song, and my favorite off the album.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jnIZ1Ag9CQ

  • Stockhausen you handsome devil, get in here and upvote me (would listen to an entire BTBAM country [or whatever this is] album if there was one…)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vE0FuRlwI8

    • Stockhausen

      You read my friggin’ mind, McSweetie. I was just about to post this one and say how I would love a whole album of stuff like this from them.

    • NefariousDude

      Dude I love this track until they start getting heavy. Btbam is one band I wish would stop with their heaviness and circus riffs. When they slow it down shit gets so tight

    • Stanley

      Excellent song. Always get strange looks when I’m belting this one out in the car.

  • Tyree

    Pete doing some vocals on this one. Super creepy and fitting. I wish he would have done more vocals actually.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTnfh1db860

    • VVayne Brady

      Gateways to Annihilation is my favorite MA album.

      • Tyree

        Interesting. It was the first album I bought of theirs. I found it in a Best Buy of all places. I was in Middle School I think.

        • VVayne Brady

          They were definitely mixing things up on this album.

          • Tyree

            Yeah, I really don’t mind this album honestly. I prefer the earlier classics by them but this album is definitely something different. This song in particular is fantastic! That weird psychedelic solo by Trey is eerie as fuck too.

          • VVayne Brady

            I tend to like my death metal more on the weird side than the straight OSDM side.

          • Tyree

            Most of you toilet warriors do.

          • VVayne Brady

            Weird death forever.

      • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

        The remix CD of their new one was good, in the fact it sounded nothing like the original. That and it has the almighty Project Pitchfork was on it. The fact they actually made a song from that CD listenable is testament to how good they are.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoE1aTB1g-Y

  • NefariousDude

    That napalm death intro doe

  • tertius_decimus
  • Stockhausen

    The only thing I don’t like about this song is how short it is. It’s quite splendid.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diwQpHlqJq4

  • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

    Project Pitchfork doing a nature/new age song. And actually it was pretty fucking good! Definitely different from their other stuff, especially at the time.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZjGNS6-_Zk

  • Akerskronks ov Steele

    I kinda dug Sacred Reich’s message of positivity https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tSX4EexAe0

    • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

      Their ode to Baskin Robbins!

    • JamesGrimm

      Boooooo

  • Mother Shabubu III

    The Mind WASP by Devin Townsend. Nothing he has done up to this point sounds like it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvuRLtsFh8g

  • Tyree

    The closing track for Doom’s The Greatest Invention is really strange. It’s a trippy 9 minutes.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_D4ZFLsENG8

    • VVayne Brady

      This reminds me of the closer of End Time.

      • Tyree

        Yes it dose! It’s interesting how most grind/crust bands end their albums this way. Phobia and Blockheads seem to end their albums with a strange doomy styled song.

  • tertius_decimus
    • VVayne Brady

      See also: Control Room

  • BAXXX BXAXXBXAXX

    I don’t know if this counts but I really enjoy all the stuff on coheeds Year of the Black Rainbow, which most fans didn’t like

  • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

    A metal band doing something unlike their usual stuff? This comes to mind!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fs7TO3oxt6M

  • Eddie Trunk Jr., Floor Tech

    My choice would be Perfect Angel Eyes by Annihilator.

  • Rho Stone
  • OldMetalHead

    How about Judas Priest doing Doom?
    http://youtu.be/9ncnKjZzOPs

  • Take Back, from Green Day lololololol <3

    I can't embed because I'm in my shitty PC. Not in work.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9BEj9gLfFA

    This intro to Skagos’s Anarchic is a game changer. Standard feedback for about 2:20, then . . . come again? Isn’t this supposed to be Cascadian Blackmetal? Why am I so soooooooth-ed?

  • Stanley

    After 30 mins of getting my brain scrambled by guitar wizardry, this gem pops up and throws me for a loop every time. And then after 3:26 it’s straight back into the chaos. It’s a beautiful song though.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmFC1UsmZ6I&spfreload=10

    • Brouroboris

      This song + related videos has ignited in me a desire to know this band. Thank you for extolling (exlol) their virtues to me via digital medium.

  • Stanley

    Another Tom G WTF moment but this one is a winner.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GldjAfBZts&spfreload=10

  • Max

    It’s a bit of an oddball album anyway, but this is definitely the first thing that occurred to me when pondering the question, and it’s pretty unique even by the standards of the album let alone the band’s usual signature sound. But I really like it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBL_S_xYFJs

    • Agreed. This is the only song I bothered to transfer to my computer before selling the CD for Denny’s money. Grand Slam!

  • OldMetalHead

    I don’t know if this counts since it wasn’t a studio album. Suitably horrible though.
    Ozzy Osbourne – Stayin’ Alive: http://youtu.be/TWhj0e60jyc

  • Formerly Known As Oli Sykes

    If you listen to Glassjaw’s first record and expect a song like Ape Dos Mil, you would surprise me.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4b8ZfLKxoRE

  • I guess this is unconventional (I haven’t listened to all their albums): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eDL01w2wC8

  • Virgil the Ghost Poet

    Color Me Once by the Violent Femmes. That song got me to by other Femmes CDs and I was like WTF is this shit?

  • JamesGrimm
  • JamesGrimm
  • john

    Maybe not SUPER unconventional for Iced Earth, but it’s a duet that plays out more like you’re watching a musical on stage–but being IE, it still kills with brutal riffs and a wicked solo, plus Barlow’s ridiculous screams at the end. It’s more unconventional because it’s on Horrow Show, an album full of evil tunes about monsters.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en83EO2-2Bw