TheMoonchild
Scott M. Baldwin
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10 great album closers

A list of what I think are some of the best closing tracks.
1Iron Maiden
Empire of the Clouds


EMPIRE OF THE CLOUDS (18:06) - Rounding off THE BOOK OF SOULS

The best album closer in Maiden's history, IMO. After a 74 minute buildup, this almost seems like a "main event" and it's filled to the brim with piano, strings, orchestras, delicious riffs from the three amigos and stellar vocal work. 18 minutes of Bruce's finest hour, bar none.
2Seventh Wonder
The Great Escape


THE GREAT ESCAPE (30:22)- Rounding off the titular album

This is a song that definitely deserves more attention. It's a musical adaptation of a famous Swedish poem "Aniara", about a spaceship that is carrying refugees from an apocalypse-ravaged earth. It's epic in scope and features tons of twists and turns and surprises- and the lyrics are, despite being a tad silly in nature, very intense and suspenseful.
3Opeth
Heritage


MARROW OF THE EARTH (4:19)- Rounding off HERITAGE

Say what you will about Heritage, but I definitely think "Marrow of the Earth" is a great track. Opeth's only instrumental closer to date, and it works mostly due to its eerie atmosphere. It almost sounds like the band just chilling around a campfire as its flames are about to die down, and the final riff leaves you with that mysterious feeling. A slow, collected and calm track that definitely deserves a better album.
4Dream Theater
Train of Thought


IN THE NAME OF GOD (14:12)- Rounding off TRAIN OF THOUGHT

I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of this album, but I do love this song. It's the one track on "Train of Thought" that doesn't feel technical for the sake of it, and not to mention the number of twists and turns in the music is absolutely fantastic. Probably the best part is the samba groove at about 8:36 in, which serves as a nice break from its intense atmosphere. Interestingly enough, you can also hear a downbeat version of the battle hymn of the Republic in the right ear if you listen closely, as the song nears its end. Debatable if it's necessary, but it does add a nice touch.
5Black Sabbath
Sabotage


THE WRIT (8:46)- Rounding off SABOTAGE

The Writ is one of Sabbath's most underrated tracks, and it serves as one awesome closer to an excellent album. Ozzy sounds proper pissed the fuck off here, and it's for a good reason- the song is a vicious attack at the band's record label, who treated the band like a one hit wonder past their prime at the time. The song interestingly lets the music take a backseat to Ozzy's vocals, and it's a surprisingly wise decision. Oh, and as the song ends, turn it up to hear Bill Ward drunkenly singing "Blow on a jug, come on everybody and blow on a jug..." over some ragtime piano.
6Rush
A Farewell to Kings


CYGNUS X-1: THE VOYAGE (11:26)- rounding off A FAREWELL TO KINGS

In addition to making a career on just generally fucking kickass music, they've made a career off of amazing album closers. This was a hard decision, but I chose Cygnus because it's proper fucking kickass. 11 minutes of frantically changing tempos and moods, stellar vocals from Geddy Lee including his highest studio note ever, and as it ends, slow, creepy guitar over a fading heartbeat.
7Pink Floyd
Meddle


ECHOES (23:30)- Rounding off MEDDLE

As far as Pink Floyd album closers go, "Echoes" is where it's at. Slow, moody and melancholy atmosphere enhanced by a great funk section and some creepy sound effects in the middle, an epic buildup and an ending with creepy ghost voices. A Must hear for sure.
8Yes
Open Your Eyes


THE SOLUTION (23:47)- Rounding off OPEN YOUR EYES

This is a bit of an interesting one. The Solution is the first 5 minutes of the song, then we get some 2 minutes of silence followed by 16 minutes of ambient sounds, soundbites from previous songs and nature noises. It's sort of similar to "By the Pain I See in Others" by Opeth, except a lot less creepy. Definitely worth checking out.
9The Beatles
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band


A DAY IN THE LIFE (5:39)

"I read the news today, oh boy..."- the minute you hear that, you know you're in for something special. John Lennon and Paul McCartney give us a look at a day in their lives, enhanced by a deranged orchestra that pipes in twice throughout the song. The mournful atmosphere of the song definitely enhances is, and the final crashing piano chord, played on FIVE pianos (!!!), bring you down from this intense journey. Just don't have your dog in the room, though, as they'll go crazy as they hear that dog whistle and those creepy backmasked voices...
10X Japan
Art of Life


ART OF LIFE (28:59)- would have rounded off JEALOUSY if executive meddling didn't persist.]

I left this last, because it's sort of cheating. Art of Life counts as the band's fourth album, mostly because it originally was to be the last song on Jealousy (making said album a double album), but Yoshiki couldn't finish it in time. This would have been a great way to round off Jealousy- a half hour of orchestras, pianos and soaring vocals- bar none, Yoshiki's best song to date.

Now, what do you think are some epic closing tracks?
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