The world 'ballad' in the metal genre is enough to make any headbanger's blood boil. In most cases, a ballad is normally the time where everything is toned down and the artist makes the more radio friendly material that has a better chance of connecting with the mainstream. At the same time, not all ballads deserve to be dragged through the mud.
As metal has blossomed out, many different acts have given us different versions of what a ballad can be. Even though you do tend to have the acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies brought out for these tunes, the devil is in the details of each of these songs. Compared to the typical lovelorn lyrics, a lot of these tracks have some genuine emotion poured into them, as if you're getting a peek into the artist's psyche as they try to make amends with the mistakes they've made.
As opposed to just sell out for the hell of it, there's actually a lot more at hand with these power ballads than you might notice on the surface. From touching tributes to a dramatic story unfolding, these songs are much more than just your average poppy tune. Raise up your lighters and see what's really going on.
10. In My Darkest Hour - Megadeth
By the mid '80s, the entire world of hard rock was dealt a heavy blow with the passing of Cliff Burton from Metallica. For most of the metalheads around the world, this was on par with the Day the Music Died, as Burton was just starting to come into his own as the bassist and sonic force of the thrash legends. Though we would eventually see his metal brothers do him service on To Live is To Die, the first real ballad for Burton came from his ex-bandmate.
While Megadeth were touring in support of their album Peace Sells, Dave Mustaine was given the troubling news of Burton's passing on the bus. Even though there was still some bad blood between Metallica and Megadeth, Mustaine was really torn up about it, which led him to pen In My Darkest Hour as an ode to Burton.
Containing the same rolling arpeggio style you'd find in other Deth ballads, the lyrics are a drastic turn for Dave, which see him getting inside his own head about how to deal with one of his musical companions not being on this Earth anymore. Given that Metallica never contacted him regarding Burton's death, most of the words deal with isolation when confronted with great despair. For as much as Megadeth might use anger as their fuel, In My Darkest Hour is the one tune that isn't afraid to have its heart on its sleeve.