A lot of sequels turn out to be like Godfather 3, but then there's Terminator Fucking 2! Hot damn, sometimes a sequel just rules, and these are the metal equivalents to Arnold vs. the T-1000.
We avoided "Part 2" songs if they fall directly after "Part 1" on an album's track listing, so don't expect to see all five parts of Dream Theater's "Octavarium" or all seven tracks from Insomnium's Winter's Gate on here. These are true sequel songs and albums, so check out which masterworks made the cut below.
Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax II: Future Sequence
Sure, Between the Buried and Me did Colors II, but this is the far more glorious sequel. The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues was a cool EP… it kept the excitement going from Between the Buried and Me's near-perfect duo of albums — Colors and The Great Misdirect — but the holy trinity was truly completed with The Parallax II. The 2012 album is a masterclass of modern prog songwriting and even rivals Colors for Between the Buried and Me's all-time best work.
Helloween – The Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part II
There was no way Helloween could surpass The Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I… or could they? With the band's first installment, it could be argued that they perfected the sound of what would become power metal, and with Part II, one could argue that they perfected the sound. If you want to hear what a band on absolute fucking fire sounds like, spin both albums back to back.
Edge of Sanity – Crimson II
Edge of Sanity's Crimson is one of the greatest metal concept albums ever, along with one of the best pieces of Swedish death metal. Released seven years after the original, Crimson II picks up right where the previous record leaves off, and though it's not quite in the same league as the original, Crimson II is another work of glorious Dan Swanö greatness. Someone give that man a medal, already.
Metallica – "The Unforgiven II"
Some Metallica fans actually prefer "The Unforgiven III," but for history's sake, we've gotta include "II" on this list. Crafting a sequel to a track on the fucking Black Album is a monumental task, and "The Unforgiven II" turned out to be a definite high point on the somewhat underwhelming, but still decent, Reload. It's also a high point of James Hetfield's career, who delivers a stirring vocal performance on the soulful track.
Dream Theater – Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From a Memory
This one is unfuckwithable. Dream Theater followed a killer song with an unbelievably great concept album, somehow overshadowing a pillar of their legendary breakout, Images and Words. It's hard to label any prog metal album as superior to Images and Words, but Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From a Memory is certainly on the same level, and it's filled with absolute instrumental majesty from Dream Theater's strongest lineup.
Slipknot – "Vermillion Pt. 2"
We tried to avoid "sequel songs" that exist on the same album, because they’re often just one song broken up into sections for the sake of runtime. Slipknot's "Vermillion Pt. 2" is just different, though. Maybe it’s because "Vermillion" and "Vermillion Pt. 2" are split up between "Pulse of the Maggots" and "Before I Forget," or maybe it’s the tonal differences between the two, but the morose elements of "Pt. 2" ultimately set it apart from the original… not to mention "Pt. 2" is the far more streamed half on YouTube.
Nachtmystium – Addicts: Black Meddle, Part II
Before Nachtmystium mastermind Blake Judd stole fans' money and crashed his black metal project into the side of a cliff, he released the phenomenal Black Meddle duology. The sequel to 2008's Assassins, 2010's Addicts: Black Meddle, Part II boasts a more psychedelic and experimental rock sound than its predecessor. Tracks like "No Funeral" are unbelievably catchy, while "Then Fires," "Addicts," and "Every Last Drop" are melancholic opuses.
Rivers of Nihil – "Terrestria IV: Work"
Rivers of Nihil have stretched their "Terrestria" series over four albums, but we've just gotta highlight "Terrestria IV: Work" because of its pure epicness. From Rivers of Nihil's 2021 progressive death metal gem, The Work, "Terrestria IV" is the culmination of three songs worth of buildup. For death metal fans, there's few better ways to spend 11 minutes than jamming this atmospheric, vicious and wildly technical cut.
Megadeth – "Return to Hangar"
Megadeth's "Hangar 18" is one of the all-time great thrash masterworks, and its instantly recognizable verses were revisited on its sequel, "Return to Hangar." Straight-up lifting one of your most iconic vocal patterns could've been a recipe for disaster, but Dave Mustaine pulled it off extremely tastefully, giving fans a rip-roaring and dramatic second act to the "Hangar" story.
Symphony X – "Accolade II"
Is it possible for a song to be too beautiful for the metal genre? In prog metal, absolutely freakin' not. Symphony X's "Accolade II" is arguably better than the original, but there's really no definitive winner here besides the fans. Just listen to that gorgeous piano work amid driving guitars and soaring vocals. It's just phenomenal all-round.