Study Music Feature: 50 Killer Album Interludes

Most people consider me to be a metalhead – that is to say, I spend most of my music-listening time pumping post-hardcore and metal bands through my ears. Bands like Memphis May Fire, Underoath, Outline in Color, As I Lay Dying, and Protest the Hero are staples of my musical diet. However, I am not a metalhead by any means, as my taste extends widely to realms untouched by most people and is as diverse as the colors in a McDonald’s ball pit. Case in point – on any given day I might go from Janelle Monae to Looptroop, and then switch over to Fleet Foxes just for a change.

However, it must be said that I do still listen to lots of rock and metal. One thing I’ve noticed about this particular style of music is that it is a breeding ground for interludes. What is an interlude? Well, it’s basically a short filler track in the middle (but sometimes at the beginning or end) of an album. Interludes are usually instrumental, and they’re also typically tamer than the material that surrounds them – or at least of a different musical genre. Of course, there are exceptions (as you’ll see); however, this is true for the most part. Interludes also make for great study music.

And so (yeah, I just started a sentence with “and” – come at me bro), being the rock and metal connoisseur I am, I set out on a great quest to find the best album interludes out there. I daresay I have.

To find these musical misfits, all I had to do was sort my iTunes library by song duration, and then look in the 1:30-2:00 range. Oh, sure, I had to sift through plenty of game soundtracks and DDR songs, but I eventually found what I was looking for (of course, there are exceptions – one of these is over 7 minutes long). This is my list of the 50 greatest album interludes of all space and time (from what I could find). It is important to note that some of the songs will end abruptly – that’s because they’re meant to lead into other songs. With this being a playlist, those other songs are obviously not there to be led into. Also note that a lot of the songs are titled “Interlude”. Try not to get confused.

Each song is listed along with its artist and the album it’s from, as well as a short description (these descriptions are pretty stream-of-consciousness, first-impression deals. I guarantee no coherency). Each artist link goes to the artist’s page on Last.fm. Enjoy, and if you like it, check out our last big study music feature as well.

Note: Once again, all links on this page are set to open new tabs or windows in your browser. That way, when you find a link that interests you, you’ll be able to click on it without interrupting the playlist. If you’d like to listen to the playlist on the actual Grooveshark website, I’ve made it publicly available here.

Alright, here they are. Oh, and one last thing: this feature took a loooooong time to create. If you like it, I’d love to hear about it in the comments. 😉

“Viridian”

  • Between the Buried and Me - ColorsArtist: Between the Buried and Me
  • Album: Colors
  • My Take: Cute frilly chimes and all that to start. A guy with a bass guitar who thinks he’s Steve Vai or something. His fingers are at least stronger than a kindergartener’s. This is the only song on the album your mom could listen to. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feature an audio bar fight like another song on this album. Leads into one of the best metalcore songs ever.

“Interlude”

  • Attack Attack! - Someday Came SuddenlyArtist: Attack Attack!
  • Album: Someday Came Suddenly
  • My Take: Straight-up techno song, which isn’t surprising given that Attack Attack! is known for putting a lot of dance/techno beats into their brand of post-hardcore. This song is no hardcore, all techno. Pretty good synth work. It’s upbeat and happy. Side note: the album also has a pretty cool outro called “Outro” with lots of nice piano.

“Amygdala”

  • Sienna Skies - Truest of ColorsArtist: Sienna Skies
  • Album: Truest of Colors
  • My Take: First thought – “Where’s my dictionary?” Amygdala means, “almond shaped mass of nuclei located deep within the temporal lobe of the brain.” Spoiler: telling a girl she has a nice amygdala will not attract the type of attention you’re looking for. This song is pretty cool – 2 minutes chill drumming, low synth, and a simple sequence of notes played over and over. Definitely nothing that’ll make you think too hard.

“The Burden”

  • Memphis May Fire - The HollowArtist: Memphis May Fire
  • Album: The Hollow
  • My Take: Yeah, this is one of those albums where every song title starts with “The” and is followed by only one word. The Sinner. The Victim. The Commanded. Still, it’s probably the best post-hardcore release to drop this year. This song is an argument put to music. Seriously – you can hear your ex-girlfriend in the back telling you she doesn’t care that you only need one more level to get your flying mount in WoW. Some girls just don’t understand.

“All of the Lights (Interlude)”

  • Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted FantasyArtist: Kayne West
  • Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
  • My Take: You already knew about this one, didn’t you? I’m sorry for detracting value from your time – this guy is just too famous. Side note: it took me quite a while to find an album cover that was suitable for this blog. The man truly does have some dark, twisted fantasies. Like stuff with teddy bears. This is straight-up piano and violin. Real short. Pretty good.

“Folkin’ Around”

  • Panic! At the Disco - Pretty. Odd. Artist: Panic! At the Disco
  • Album: Pretty. Odd.
  • My Take: Clever, P!ATD, clever. This is one of those interludes that’s almost a song – but I say it’s too short to be a song. This is a shame, because “Folkin’ Around” is probably my favorite folk song – all you Bob Dylan fans can go eat rocks. I definitely don’t understand the lyrics, but that doesn’t stop me from singing along with that sweet fiddle and harmonica… anywhere.

“Interlude”

  • All Time Low - The Party SceneArtist: All Time Low
  • Album: The Party Scene
  • My Take: Alright, out second song named “Interlude”. Not very party-ish; it’s just people kinda mumbling over some drums, a guitar, and a sound that’s, well…. laser-y? It’s definitely something that The Nova Echo would use in one of their songs.

“ReBirth + ReVerse”

  • Abingdon Boys School - Abingdon Boys SchoolArtist: Abingdon Boys School
  • Album: Abingdon Boys School
  • My Take: This is the 7-minute song on the list. However, it might as well be two separate songs; the first 2.5 minutes consist of a peaceful, airy piano melody. The latter 4.5 take on a decidedly industrial feel, and they remind me of something Celldweller might come up with. Some nice orchestral additions complete this portion of the song, along with a great piano part.

“Hiatus”

  • Asking Alexandria - Stand Up and ScreamArtist: Asking Alexandria
  • Album: Stand Up and Scream
  • My Take: Not unlike Attack Attack! – Asking Alexandria have a hardcore, breakdown-heavy album with lots of synth elements, then throw in a techno interlude for good measure. While personally I don’t think it’s as good as the former, this one is still nonetheless a solid interlude.

“St. Anne’s Lullaby”

  • Becoming the Archetype - DichotomyArtist: Becoming the Archetype
  • Album: Dichotomy
  • My Take: There certainly is a dichotomy between this song and the rest on the album. Even though Becoming the Archetype gave up some of the rawness they used to have in favor of progressive elements on this album (thanks to Devin Townsend), this song is still much, much softer than everything else. In fact, it’s just a single guitar. If might as well be some bard in a medieval tavern somewhere strumming away.

“Interlude”

  • +44 - When Your Heart Stops BeatingArtist: +44
  • Album: When Your Heart Stops Beating
  • My Take: A simple drum and guitar duet. Easy on the ears, no frills, nice interlude. +44, good job.

“Eremus”

  • Haste the Day - Pressure the HingesArtist: Haste the Day
  • Album: Pressure the Hinges
  • My Take: Like a synth and guitar metronome. Pretty relaxing, which is good considering the epicness it leads into.

“Woodbox”

  • Damiera - Quiet Mouth Loud HandsArtist: Damiera
  • Album: Quiet Mouth Loud Hands
  • My Take: Now here’s something a little different! A truly interesting interlude. Part of the percussion is played on a wooden box – fitting. The guitar work is genuinely fun as well. Damiera is always good at coming up with something different.

“Interlude”

  • The Butterfly Effect - Begins HereArtist: The Butterfly Effect
  • Album: Begins Here
  • My Take: An ethereal guitar and drum duet. Lots of delay on the guitars – signature Butterfly Effect. No, Ashton Kutcher is not on bass, even though you wish he was.

“Brushstroke: Reprise”

  • Dredg - El CieloArtist: Dredg
  • Album: El Cielo
  • My Take: Here’s a brushstroke – get used to seeing it. There are a lot of “Brushstroke” songs on this list, and for good reason. They’re all great interludes; Dredg is apparently just good at coming up with those sort of things. Lots of western-style slide guitar and sustained notes here.

“Laser Speed”

  • Between the Buried and Me - AlaskaArtist: Between the Buried and Me
  • Album: Alaska
  • My Take: “Alaska” is raw metalcore through and through (except for the last half of the amazing “Selkies: The Endless Obsession”), so this song comes as a bit of a surprise. A bit of nice guitar, and then it turns into… elevator music? Nice, BTBAM.

“Brushstroke: New Heart Shadow”

  • Dredg - El CieloArtist: Dredg
  • Album: El Cielo
  • My Take: I told you! More brushstrokes. This one adds some cool drumming and some wavering guitar tones to its instrumental mix. There’s also a cool voice clip at the end.

“Interlude”

  • I Set My Friends on Fire - You Can't Spell Slaughter Without LaughterArtist: I Set My Friends on Fire
  • Album: You Can’t Spell Slaughter Without Laughter
  • My Take: I think this band’s name says it all.

“Youtube.com/watch?v=tgMzriO93-Y”

  • Sleeping with Sirens - With Ears to See and Eyes to HearArtist: Sleeping with Sirens
  • Album: With Ears to See and Eyes to Hear
  • My Take: Really, Sleeping with Sirens? This is lazy song-titling at its finest. And no, I haven’t visited that URL. You really think I’m stupid enough to download your virus? My mom told me to never go to strange people’s URL’s, no matter how nice their piano playing is.

“Sotta Voce”

  • The Human Abstract - NocturneArtist: The Human Abstract
  • Album: Nocturne
  • My Take: This is basically “St. Anne’s Lullaby”, but better.

“Commence”

  • Sienna Skies - Truest of ColorsArtist: Sienna Skies
  • Album: Truest of Colors
  • My Take: This is the intro to Sienna’ Skies album – and I just can’t get the cool ‘twang of the guitar out of my head. The electronic drums and tape-recorder quality fanfare are also nice.

“The Great Collapse”

  • Shadows Fall - Threads of LifeArtist: Shadows Fall
  • Album: Threads of Life
  • My Take: Shadows Fall attempts a soft guitar interlude and is pretty successful. It’s nothing amazing, buy you’ll enjoy it – probably a lot more than their vocalist. Wait, do I hear an accompanying piano halfway in?

“Orph”

  • Dredg - Orph EPArtist: Dredg
  • Album: Orph EP
  • My Take: Different album, same Dredg. This interlude is truly unique. Whether it’s the lute or the xylophone, this song has a special quality about it. Sounds like it belongs on Caravan of Thieves.

“II. Softlight”

  • House vs. Hurricane - PerspectivesArtist: House vs. Hurricane
  • Album: Perspectives
  • My Take: I seriously wish this song was longer than 1:39. It’s just really, really good instrumental rock.

“Brushstroke: Walk in the Park”

  • Dredg - El CieloArtist: Dredg
  • Album: El Cielo
  • My Take: Bam! You thought we were done with brushstrokes – and here I’m hitting you with one again! This one really does seem like a walk in the park – if it’s the day after your dog died.

“Interlude”

  • The Graduate - AnhedoniaArtist: The Graduate
  • Album: Anhedonia
  • My Take: Ah, The Graduate – I love your innovative music. The synth comes to the forefront on this one, though it’s not dancalbe techno like Attack Attack’s interlude – there’s some rock drumming to be heard here. There’s also some cliche “ooh ooh ooh’s”, but that’s just icing.

“Salmarnir”

  • Underoath - Define the Great LineArtist: Underoath
  • Album: Define the Great Line
  • My Take: It’s Psalm 50 spoken in Russian and set to somber, minimalist music. The prayer is yelled in the background in English by another band member along with fanfare, but it’s still pretty hard to hear. Still, this song inspires me.

“Sorrows II”

  • Sights and Sounds - MonolithArtist: Sights and Sounds
  • Album: Monolith
  • My Take: Another cool western-sounding interlude, with lots of desolate-sounding effects thrown in. The bass line is particularly good, and when the vocals come in the song just washes over you.

“The Lake South”

  • The Dear Hunter - Act I: The Lake South, The River NorthArtist: The Dear Hunter
  • Album: Act 1: The Lake South, The River North
  • My Take: The opening to the first of the amazing Dear Hunter albums, this song sounds like a vaudeville, Tim Burton-style opening to a Disney movie. I think.

“Without a Name”

  • Killswitch Engage - Alive or Just BreathingArtist: Killswitch Engage
  • Album: Alive or Just Breathing
  • My Take: Another peaceful, tranquil acoustic interlude by another band who usually plays stuff that makes Iron Maiden sound like Yanni. Pretty minimalist, but enjoyable.

“Brushstroke: An Elephant in the Delta Waves”

  • Dredg - El CieloArtist: Dredg
  • Album: El Cielo
  • My Take: “You can find anything on Moroccan streets, my friend.” A very mysterious, eastern-influenced interlude. I’m getting tired of looking up the names of all the weird instruments Dredg uses, so I’m not even going to try on this one. It’s not a lute – it might be a steel guitar. Prove me wrong.

“Interlude”

  • Eyes Set To Kill - When silence is broken the night is tornArtist: Eyes Set to Kill
  • Album: When Silence is Broken the Night is Torn
  • My Take: I do dearly love piano interludes. This one sounds like it was possibly played on a piano that was past its prime/never had a prime, but it’s still enjoyable. I’m not a huge fan of Eyes Set to Kill, but this is an exception.

“Elysian”

  • Pillar - The ReckoningArtist: Pillar
  • Album: The Reckoning
  • My Take: This album, by my reckoning (tee hee), is probably the most un-Pillar-like piece of music Pillar has ever recorded. That’s not to say it’s not good… it’s just, well, just look at the cover! All their other covers look the same. That’s all I’m gonna say.

“Compendium”

  • Circa Survive - Blue Sky Noise Artist: Circa Survive
  • Album: Blue Sky Noise
  • My Take: I always have it in the back of my mind to get into Circa Survive. I do love Saosin, and since their ex-vocalist Anthony Green, also known as the guy everyone loves (apparently), front this band, I should love it too. However, I just never find the time to sit down and listen to their stuff. This was only two minutes, though, so I could spare the time. It’s pretty good.

“Departures”

  • Damiera - M(US)ICArtist: Damiera
  • Album: M(US)IC
  • My Take: This interlude has some interesting guitar work that sounds like of like of like it belongs on “Breakthroughs in Modern Art” (which is stupendously amazing, by the way) – but hey, it’s Damiera. To be expected.

“Clouds”

  • Casino Madrid - For Kings and QueensArtist: Casino Madrid
  • Album: For Kings and Queens
  • My Take: I’ll take a bit of techno in my metal from time to time. This interlude eschews the upbeat stylings of Attack Attack! and Asking Alexandria in favor of something a little more somber (with some screams). This is one of those abrupt-enders.

“One”

  • Coheed and Cambria - Year of the Black RainbowArtist: Coheed and Cambria
  • Album: Year of the Black Rainbow
  • My Take: Alright, how do I judge an intro done by what is probably one of my top five favorite bands? Do I stay biased and say it’s the best thing ever? Do I be a hater so I don’t sound like a fanboy? In truth, this is good; however, it’s not as good of an intro as “Keeping the Blade” – which is on this list, below.

“The Denouement”

  • I am Ghost - Lover's RequiemArtist: I am Ghost
  • Album: Lover’s Requiem
  • My Take: This was hands-down my favorite album in high school, even though I wasn’t one of those gothy emo “I take mom’s minivan because it’s less conformist than the bus” types. I loved this album because this is the album on which I am Ghost tried. They put so much effort into this piece of art, and it shows in spades. The Denouement is no exception. It’s really a shame that half the band left and the other half released a piece of trash a couple years later.

“Cannonball Hands (The Tomato Parade)”

  • He is Legend - Suck Out the PoisonArtist: He is Legend
  • Album: Suck Out the Poison
  • My Take: He is Legend’s “southern” album, Suck Out the Poison is a very enjoyable listen if you’re into that sort of thing. Even if you’re not, you’ll enjoy the airy guitar tones, the thick bassline, and the funky percussion here.

“Even Bad Men Love Their Mothers”

  • Emarosa - RelativityArtist: Emarosa
  • Album: Relativity
  • My Take: Oh, Emarosa. Your singer, Jonny Craig, huge jerk though he may allegedly be, is god-like in singing ability. I think I listen to you at least once a day just to hear that voice. It’s pretty subdued here, but I can still here it. I hope you don’t think I’m coming on to you. Well, maybe I do.

“InstruMETAL”

  • Haste the Day - When Everything FallsArtist: Haste the Day
  • Album: When Everything Falls
  • My Take: Haste the Day does an acoustic interlude with some “windy” sound effects and a repeated, echo-y chant.

“The Power of Resolution”

“The Jester’s Dance”

  • In Flames - The Jester RaceArtist: In Flames
  • Album: The Jester Race
  • My Take: “Hey, you got your distorted guitar mixed up with my clean guitar!” “Hey, you got your power chords mixed up with my shredding!” “Alright, let’s just turn this interlude into a short metal instrumental.”

“Interlude”

  • Broadway - KingdomsArtist: Broadway
  • Album: Kingdoms
  • My Take: Good music for contemplation? The only way I can describe this is by saying it would make good background music if you ever found yourself walking on a large glass pathway in space.

“Stir of Echoes”

  • Anterior - This Age of SilenceArtist: Anterior
  • Album: This Age of Silence
  • My Take: Here’s another cool acoustic interlude. The real, straight-up metal bands seem to do this kind of thing a lot. Anterior’s offering is pretty solid, but that’s to be expected from a band as instrumentally talented as they are.

“The Serpent”

  • Still Remains - The SerpentArtist: Still Remains
  • Album: The Serpent
  • My Take: I think this is the album that really got me into the whole techno-synth-metal genre, simply because Still Remains were pretty much the forerunners of said genre (or at least the first ones to gain recognition). While their previous album did have the synth elements, they really let them shine here. Too bad only the first few songs on this album are actually good.

“Psalms 150”

  • Harp and Lyre - Harp and LyreArtist: Harp and Lyre
  • Album: Harp and Lyre
  • My Take: I honestly have no idea what instrument makes the sound at the beginning of this song – tornado siren? Anyway, piano and guitar soon follow, along with what is either a prayer or praise. It’s pretty awesome sounding, and I think I’ll give this band a bit more attention from now on.

“Traversing Through the Arctic Cold We Search for the Spirit of Yuta”

  • Dredg - LeitmotifArtist: Dredg
  • Album: Leitmotif
  • My Take: This is probably my favorite interlude from Dredg (and they have a lot). It’s just a simple drum beat mixed with bass, guitar, and piano, and it sounds great.

“Music of the Spheres: Requiem Aeternam I”

  • Becoming the Archetype - Celestial CompletionArtist: Becoming the Archetype
  • Album: Celestial Completion
  • My Take: I came across this one after I was almost done writing the entire post, so I had to change the title and everything to reflect the new number of songs. Still, it was worth it. This is a great interlude. I had almost forgotten that Becoming the Archetype released a new album this year, until I remembered watching their hilarious music video about them being medieval warriors inside a kid’s NES game.

“Keeping the Blade”

  • Coheed and Cambria - Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One- From Fear Through The Eyes Of MadnessArtist: Coheed and Cambria
  • Album: Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Vol. 1: Fear Through The Eyes of Madness
  • My Take: Like I said above, this intro is better than “One” from “Year of the Black Rainbow”. It’s got creepy piano, lots of strings, and more epic buildup than you can handle. It’s a great intro to one of my favorite albums.

 

That, my friends, is the product of a very exhausting writing session. Hopefully you’ve found some great stuff to add to your study music collections! If we missed a great interlude, be sure to tell us about it in the comments.

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Thomas Frank is the geek behind College Info Geek. After paying off $14K in student loans before graduating, landing jobs and internships, starting a successful business, and travelling the globe, he's now on a mission to help you build a remarkable college experience as well. Get the Newsletter | Twitter | Instagram

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