There is something about a 7 minute long war epic that makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. Cut through the surface, ignore the pounding guitars and wailing vocals, delve deeper than the crash ending and you can feel the energy, sadness and torment of a world long gone. I often think that one of the best ways of conveying the important message of not forgetting the sacrifice made during the Great War to the younger generation is through music. I know for me when i was a kid when Metallica released the epic “One” a song about an ordianry soldier who survived a landmine blast although he had both arms and legs amputated. It really opened up my eyes to the personal pain – both physical and mental – many thousands of ordinary soldiers went through.
That was back in 1988, and in 2003 Iron Maiden released “Paschendaele” which for me is the best song about the War I have ever heard. It has a haunting tune and really takes you into the hell of the trenches. Lyrics such as “The sound of guns cant hide our shame, and so we die at Pashendaele” gives you a clue as to the songs attitude to the sheer waste of human life.
So there you have my first two recommendations for epic Great War Songs: “One” from Metallica and “Paschendaele” from Iron Maiden. Click on the links to see videos of the songs from YouTube.
I will add some more over the coming weeks/months. If anyone else has a suggestion then lets hear it!!