Top 10 Metal Songs with Jazz InfluencesMetal_Treasure I need to explain some things in order to avoid any misconceptions about metal-jazz relationship.
1) Metal wasn't based or jazz or inspired by jazz when it emerged circa 1970. So don't start saying that jazz inspired creation of metal because this isn't true
2) What actually happened was that in the late 80s/early 90s progressive metal bands began experiments with incorporation of jazz elements - mostly into guitar solos. So jazz is related only to some metal bands from 1-2 metal subgenres. Moreover, jazz elements aren't obligatory for these metal subgenres.
3) Prog metal musicians used jazz from instrumental jazz music and not from popular jazz music (Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong), and certainly not from smooth jazz that is a commercial form of pop jazz. Popular jazz doesn't go well with metal but art jazz does, especially the instrumental jazz that is more technical and experimental.
4) In some cases metal-jazz fusion started accidentally - for example, the band Cynic included jazz because bassist Sean Malone was originally a jazz bassist who went metal but continued using jazz elements.
5) Even when jazz was incorporated on purpose, jazz was only a hint in the guitars, bass or drumming. And as a rule, these sections were very short. If there's too much jazz, the song would not gonna sound like a metal song. Jazz in metal is like an exotic seasoning and not the main ingredient of the dish.
6) Metal musicians utilized mostly jazz playing techniques from instrumental jazz and not so much particular jazz melodies.
7) Fretless bass came to metal probably from jazz - esp. thanks to Sean Malone. Currently fretless bass is most used in technical and progressive death metal. But it doesn't mean that metal fretless bassists play jazz on the fretless. Most often they play metal on fretless.
8) Jazz drumming techniques are also used in metal - usually prog metal drummers add some jazz grooves between the blast beats (ex., Tomas Haake of Meshuggah, Sebastian Lancer of Obscura).
The Top Ten
Diluvium is a song from their new 2018 album coming out in July. Yes, the album will come out in 2 months but I already heard this song and this is the most fitting song for this list. It's the most crafted song of the needed type - the song is heavy enough to make it harder to incorporate jazz (technical death metal) but in this song jazz is actually the most naturally incorporated and played. What I mean is that in some of the earlier songs of the 90s, very often the jazz part sounded like a patch - well, that's also interesting but not as impressive as when the jazz parts don't make the song lose its tempo and its metal feel.
That's why Obscura song is at #1, and by the way it was the song that inspired me to make this list because when I heard it, I was like 'wow', namely for the way they included jazz.
I would add that already two Obscura members have professional jazz education (in addition to metal):
1) Their lead guitarist Rafael Trujillo currently studies jazz at ...more - Metal_Treasure
The jazz-influenced part is a short interlude in the middle of the song. The bassist for this album, Sean Malone, was originally a Latin jazz bassist, who was actually Cynic's studio engineer and became a band member by chance - before the recording of the album 'Focus' (1993), Cynic's original bassist quit and Sean Malone volunteered. This is how Latin jazz noodling appeared in Cynic songs (songs that are progressive/technical death metal). - Metal_Treasure
Fredrik Thordendal's guitar solo at around 2:25 is straight up jazz-like soloing and improvisation. Thordendal's dad was into jazz so he heard of this music genre in his childhood. Thordendal explained what he does for the solos:
"I usually improvise the first part, then insert the written part and continue to improvise until the end of the solo. It’s a very confusing way to do it, but I do whatever it takes to make it sound like I know what I’m doing."
I liked this - "to make it sound like I know what I’m doing." He's very cool. - Metal_Treasure
Jazz influence is mostly in the intro but there are also some brief sections later. Atheist were one of the first extreme metal bands in the early 90s to include jazz. - Metal_Treasure
A progressive death metal song of 2014 with jazz elements. Besides, they used fretless bass and there are even bass solos on fretless by the incredible Dominic Forest Lapointe. - Metal_Treasure
A technical thrash metal song. Standard thrash metal doesn't go with jazz but technical thrash metal does. Guitarist Jeff Waters' first music lessons in his childhood were in jazz guitar. - Metal_Treasure
A pretty soft song that makes it easier to include jazz - the song's middle section is a playful jazz-like instrumental (plus, there are very short jazzy sections throughout). - Metal_Treasure
If jazz in metal is an exception, this song has to be the biggest exception so far because (1) jazz is in the vocals; (2) the song isn't prog or technical (it's power metal).
The band Aina is a supergroup/side project and the singer of this song is Tobias Sammet (Edguy, Avantasia). Sammet is a power metal singer but he sings jazz for one minute in the middle of the song! (3:25-4:25).
That's an interesting experiment for sure. Moreover his vocal sounds amazing! I would say, one of his best vocal performances, namely for this jazz section. - Metal_Treasure
An incredible song of 2017 with more subtle jazz influences - they are in the fretless bass solo by Robin Zielhorst who was a session musician for this album (Robin Zielhorst is a big name among the fretless metal bassists - he replaced Sean Malone in Cynic).
There are some hints of jazz in the guitar solo, too.
The song is prog death metal (some prefer to call the band extreme prog metal, whatever). - Metal_Treasure
A prog/technical death metal song of 2009 that includes 30 seconds of jazz fusion. - Metal_Treasure
Atheist have many songs with jazz elements, so check them out if you liked the idea. - Metal_Treasure
This is one of the heavier and lesser accessible Blind Guardian songs off of their recent albums and it's equipped with a guitar solo that is jazz-inspired. It's one of my favorite Blind Guardian songs of the 2010s.
Part of Blind Guardian's proggy sound is due to inclusion of elements from other music genres. - Metal_Treasure
Play the sample to hear part of the Latin jazz included by bassist Sean Malone (in the 2nd half of the sample) - Metal_Treasure
This song is mostly known for the jazz solo on fretless bass by Sean Malone (at 2:25). - Metal_Treasure
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2. How could I - Cynic
3. Future Breed Machine - Meshuggah