thousands of yearsAfter the Bronze and Iron Age came the true Metal Age about half a century ago. In 1970, Black Sabbath convincingly summoned the true essence of evil with the pounding three-chord guitar riff at the beginning of the song "Black Sabbath," which embodied the first pure heavy metal shredder, and the waves have spread virulently ever since. Judas Priest tuned Sabbath's dark, jagged melodies to create their own intricate, law-breaking mini-epics, Metallica sped up Priest's tempo to give headbangers whiplash, hair bands like Mötley Crüe and Quiet Riot graced the music for MTV and nu metal mutants like Korn and Slipknot gave it a post-alt rock and dark hip-hop feel. At the same time, their true believers created extreme global offshoots like death metal, doom metal, and black metal.
For more than five decades, metal fans have perceived the genre's songs as intense statements of individuality. As a metalhead you reject normality, are willing to believe in yourself and visit your dark side, knowing that the deafening decibels and aggressive lyrics are the crucible in which you feel something new and unique. Years away from its initial rumors, metal is now a cultural force. In time heavy metalat the top of the pop charts, served as the basis forsuccessful films,saved the dayfeatured in TV shows and evenprosperity around the world.
What millions of fans around the world have realized is that good metal music pulls you in. Amidst the deafening drums and snarling vocals, the ideal metal melody reflects power, resilience and even hope. Where less cultivated ears only hear noise and anger, metalheads recognize the nuances. For example, a song like Metallica's "Fade to Black" will help you escape your personal darkness rather than encourage it. Metal has always been about overcoming fear and finding community among like-minded outcasts. It's about togetherness.
The group of headbangers thatRolling Stonegathered to rank the 100 greatest heavy metal songs of all time, debated the merits of over 300 songs over the course of several months. These individuals include writers and critics who have written for themRolling Stonefor decades and contributors to metal-related publications. Many voters on the list contributedList of the best metal albums by RSa few years ago.
This time we're talking early metal songs from Blue Cheer's ear-splitting cover of "Summertime Blues" to current classics like Power Trip's "Executioner's Tax (Swing of the Axe)". And we kept our minds open to the basic definition of metal (heavy riffs that hit 11) and discussed the fine lines between hard rock and metal: Motörhead and AC/DC, hard rock bands that have recorded inspirational outbursts of rage. Crossovers to Metal are here, while Guns N' Roses and Kiss, whose music carries more of a general Hard Rock boast, are not. You'll also find music from Def Leppard, Lita Ford and Ratt, bands that defined a metal ethos at the time of their release, even if their music didn't sound as intense as, say, Emperor. In the case of metal forefathers like Led Zeppelin and even Black Sabbath, who shied away from the "metal" label, we picked most of the metal songs in their catalogues. Our contributors submitted ballots with their personal favorites for the best metal songs, we compared them and saw some pleasant surprises as the rankings faltered.
So put on your combat vests, raise your horns and have a neck brace ready.Rolling Stonecounts down the top 100 heavy metal songs of all time.
"Welcome to Hell", Venom
that was blasphemyAn effective attention grabber for centuries, but up until 1981, heavy metal had never seen a band so mad at Satan as the three Newcastle lads who called themselves Venom. In contrast to the pioneering innovation of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (aka NWOBHM), the trio stripped down heavy metal to its most primitive and hard-hitting form. The title track of their debut album is a fiendishly long-lived classic, boasting a wicked riff that rivals Motörhead's "Fast" Eddie Clark, not to mention some of the most cartoonish lyrics the genre has ever heard. Critics horrified, metal fans loved it, and soon a generation of Scandinavian teenagers would take Venom's concept of "black metal" and run straight to the gates of hell with it.AB
"Planets Collide", crowbar
at firstDuring the '90s, Crowbar established themselves as the grittiest band in New Orleans' bustling metal scene. But "Planets Collide," the opener of the band's fifth album in 1998,Rest of the Strange Fellowship, showed that guitarist, singer and bandleader Kirk Windstein had a lot more to offer than he didmtv face screams and grimacesrecommended. The song replaced the previous Crowbar's hardcore-infused punch with a beautifully slurred melodic march, no doubt inspired by Windstein's voice.enduring love for the morning gold of the 70's, while the singer traded his signature bark for a low whisper as herecounted her sister's struggle with substance abuse. The result was perhaps the first sludge metal power ballad and the blueprint for it“heavy and emotional music”it has since become a registered trademark of Crowbar. —H.S.
'Executioner's Fee (Axe Strike)', Power Trip
all about powerTrip screamed back, from his tasteful marriage of hardcore and thrash building on the golden age of so-called "crossover" to his 1987-style album cover lettering. a true new-school anthem with "Executioner's Tax (Swing of the Axe)", the highlight of their 2017 LP,nightmare logic. "Go ahead and look at you/Today is your lucky day," frontman Riley Gale spat into the opening lines, aiming for thesoporific daze that hides the rigors of modern life. "The executioner is here and ready to make you pay!" to Galetragic death in 2020, many cover versions of "Swing of the Axe" were created, including awith members of the obituary, a band loved by the late frontman, cementing the song's status as a modern metal standard. —H.S.
"43% burned", Dillinger's escape plan
Progressive and hardcorePunk once seemed like polar musical opposites, but by the late '90s a handful of groundbreaking acts found a way to combine the complexity of the former style with the fury of the latter. "43% Burnt" from The Dillinger Escape Plan - from the New Jersey band's debut LP in 1999,Calculation of infinity- became something of a theme song for the movement that later became known as Mathcore. The song's brilliance lies in its contrast between the groovy, head-nodding crush of its book ends and the frantic frenzy of its middle section, in which the pointillistic beat of odd-beats collides head-on with jazz-fusion-style passages of clean tones. Guitarist Ben Weinman later saiddecibelAgainCalculation of infinitywas that "the only way to extract energy from technical things was to do it like a machine gun hitting you in the chest", and "43% Burnt" was the archetype of this widely emulated approach. —H.S.
"Yeah, right," girls' school
Combination Strike NWOBHMWith classic rock 'n' roll cheer, Girlschool's 1980 single offered a charmingly cocky two-finger salute to naysayers everywhere. The song's message of staying focused in the face of negativity — whether you're making much-needed life changes or just drinking — would resonate with any era, but the fact that it came from an all-female band (which became a time) is performed when such things were still a relative novelty) adds an extra note. So does some signature leads from Kelly Johnson, who remains one of the most underrated guitarists of the era..—OF
Rob Flynn playedplayed a major role in the Bay Area thrash scene in the mid-'80s, but the guitarist-vocalist's greatest contribution to the heavy metal canon came as the frontman of Machine Head, the band he formed in 1991 after singing Violence had left. Davidian, the opener to the band's 1994 debut album,my eyes burn, crystallized 90's heaviness with a seismic groove feel and an almost industrial-sounding central riff that brilliantly combined menacing power chords and piercing harmonies. The musicgot inspiredthe 1993 Waco siege—during which more than 80 members of the Davidian religious sect were killed by Texas police—but Flynn's writings on violent catharsis are general enough to be applicable to almost any scenario of overcoming oppression. —H.S.
"In the meantime," Helm
Helm came outUnderground noise rock debuted on Minneapolis punk label Amphetamine Reptile with a 1990s chill attackarrest himmerger orchestrated noise, metal precision, tricky time signatures, avalanche riffs and the barking of singer/guitarist Page Hamilton's drill sergeant. "I really liked loud stuff and I really liked funky stuff. I really love AC/DC, Sonic Youth and Led Zeppelin,” Hamilton recalls, “somewhere in there is the helmet”. It all came together with glorious brute force on "In the Meantime" off their 1992 albumAbout the,one of MTV's most unlikely and extreme advances on the post-Nirvana alt-rock feeding frenzy. — J.D.
'Hammer Smashed Face', Canibal Corpse
From the mid eightiesIn the early '90s the fringes of metal became more extreme, but Cannibal Corpse took the darkness to really uncomfortable levels, creating songs that sounded like snuff movies. Their best track is a relentlessly devastating ditty about, yes, smashing the face of a helpless victim with a sledgehammer. The music fits the mood: a brutal but ultra-catchy intro is punctuated by explosive jackhammer beats giving way to a deft bass break, but it's Chris Barnes' almost subsonic growl ("I...feel like to kill. ..duuuu' is one of the few lines you can decipher without a lyric) that makes Hammer Smashed Face as intrepid as onefaces of deathclip. Millions of unsuspecting viewers got their first taste of the awful music, and death metal as a whole, when they showed up in an unlikely setting: a club scene from Jim Carrey's pathetic 1994 hitAce Ventura: Third Detective. —H.S.
'All we are', Warlock
See Rob Halfordis the god of metal, so Doro Pesch from Warlock is the goddess of metal. The singer co-wrote the thunderous anthem "All We Are" with producer Joey Balin after relocating to New York City from West Germany. It became an instant worldwide hit thanks to its irresistible chorus and Pesch's powerful lyrics delivered in his signature multi-octave growl. To this day, Pesch remains one of metal's most beloved icons, a trailblazer for female metal musicians around the world, and "All We Are" remains her trademark. "Maybe God said, 'Okay, you've got some success now,'" Pesch said. Ö Classic metal show in 2017. "It was a bit of a surprise. But as people sang in the studio, I realized there was some powerful magic there.” —AB
"Put me under", dream theater
sequentiallyFrom '80s pioneers like Queensrÿche and Fates Warning, Dream Theater rose to become the leading lights of American progressive metal in the '90s. A year after Nirvana released "Smells Like Teen Spirit," with all its crude, simple guitar riffs, Dream Theater latched onto the garish techniques of prog rock and achieved unlikely success with a stunning performance of their debut single, "Pull Me Under." A cleverly curated epic built around Mike Portnoy's massive-sounding drums and guitarist John Petrucci's muscular yet intricate riffs and Yngwie Malmsteen's flourishes, the track effortlessly shifts from movement to movement, reminiscent of Yes from two decades earlier. . Singer James LaBrie passionately sings verbose, philosophical lyrics inspired by the work of Shakespeare.Dorf, which keeps this seemingly arched composition accessible for eight minutes. —AB
"Bring the Noise" feat by Public Enemy. anthrax
Public Enemy ChuckD needed convincing that "Bring the Noise," a single from the rap group's groundbreaking 1988 masterpiece,It will take a nation of millions to stop us, could work as a metal song. So Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante sent him a demo of his speaker-busting vision. He went down well with the rapper, as the thrashers imaginatively interpreted the original song's guitar samples and Benante's live version of James Brown's stick figure Clyde Stubblefield's "Funky Drummer" beat. The feeling was so good that the two groups decided to tour together and put on the first rap metal tour to perform the song live. "Even if Anthrax bang their guitars during the number, when we played it live I cut that motherfucker like a chainsaw," Chuck D recalled in the bookThe sound of the beast. "George Clinton said, 'Damn, you're one of the few people I know who can ram a Marshall amp up your ass.'"-KG.
"You can't bring me down", suicidality
Mike Muirwho railed against schools, churches and a mother who wouldn't comply with his simple request for "just one Pepsi" on "Institutionalized" seems like a tearful teenager compared to the unruly dynamo he evokes on "You Can't Bring Me." Down” embodies. The track that cemented Suicidal Tendencies' transformation from hyperactive '80s skater punks to a slick '90s metal band, as the singer hammered out the song's core message of all-purpose defiance while fueling many of his unique patented amps. lining. "And if I've offended you, oh I'm sorry," he quips towards the end, preparing to wrap up one of metal's greatest middle-finger anthems of all time, "but maybe you need to feel offended. But here's my apology. And one more thing… fuck you!” —H.S.
'This time' life in agony
River runs red, Life of Agony's 1993 classic debut, chronicles the life of a young man falling apart in one horrific week, and the album opener, This Time, provides a backstory that details the protagonist's frustration with his unreliable father . The song showcases the unique blend that has made the New York quartet one of the newest heavy bands of the early '90s, juxtaposing chunky hardcore riffs against Mina Caputo's soulful, melodic vocal style. "I have time, but you don't have time for me," she wails bitterly mid-song, bringing out the album's generational angst -- bassist and lyricist Alan Robertonce described as "basically my diary"- to an initially painful but cathartic climax. —H.S.
"Abate da Alma", At the Gates
at the gateshail from Gothenburg, Sweden, and embodied the port city's melodic death metal revolution with their 1995 masterpiecesoul killer. Singer Tomas Lindberg's tortured scream was never louder than on the title track. "What I wrote was a lot tougher than it used to be," says LindbergcountedRevolver. „All mentions of dragons and vikings are gone. I focused on real life and social issues. It was more down-to-earth and less mythical.” Less than a year later, At the Gates shocked everyone by disbanding at their artistic peak. But their influence remains huge - you can hear "Slaughter of the Soul" amid the roar of American metalcore bands from Lamb of God to As I Lay Dying. —RS
"21st Century Schizoid Man", King Crimson
the central motivefrom 21st Century Schizoid Man, the opening track of King Crimson's 1969 debut classic album,Am Hof of the Crimson King, is a strong contender for the title of greatest proto-metal riff. He is a dark and arrogant character, enhanced by the knowledge of guitarist Robert Fripp and drummer Michael Giles, which inspired Pete Townshend to voice him.in a contemporary brand ad, "the hardest riff to be center-haunted since Mahler's 8th on this black vinyl record". Peter Sinfield's poetic yet disturbingly graphic anti-war lyrics (featuring lines like "Blood Rack, Barbed Wire/Politician Funeral Pyre/Innocents raped with Napalm Fire") and an over-the-top vocal effect from Greg Lake add to the song's menacing vibe, eclipsing even that of classical and jazz-inspired instrumental excursions in the middle of the song seem like expressions of pure apocalyptic horror. —H.S.
"There Goes the Neighborhood", Leichenzählung
between recordingA pioneering gangsta rapper and TV cop, Ice-T was briefly the most controversial metal act on earth thanks to the widely banned Body Count."Police Killer".But in a way, "There Goes the Neighborhood" (from the same album) was more of a challenge because it was a metal song performed by black musicians and vocally challenged racist attitudes among metal fans. "Don't they know that rock music is only for white people?" Ice-T sings mockingly before the rest of Body Count demonstrates their mastery of metal styles, from slow Sabbath-style riffs to full-throttle Van Halen-style thrash and shreds. Sometimes good play is the best revenge. —JDC
'Thunder Kiss '65', white zombie
"It was oursmore normal music,” said Rob Zombie from the main entrance of White Zombie. "A song a normal person might like." Even in a grunge-ridden 1992, Thunder Kiss was a smash hit, its uncompromisingly simple groove hardened with the plaintive screech that betrayed the band's New York noise roots. Over police sirens and B-movie samples, Zombie mutters and stammers his creation myth, an art school outcast – born 65, of course – who revels in Harleys, horror and lustful Satanism. "Demon-Warp comes alive," he coughed into the chorus, presciently announcing his arrival as one of the last metal dudes to become a mainstay of pop culture. —G.H.C.
"World Eater", Bolt Shooter
a sober portrayalFrom the horrors of war yet feeling like a triumphant call to arms, Bolt Thrower's "World Eater" is propelled by the band's signature hard gallop, meaty riffs and underground growl from Karl Willetts. A shrieking mid-song solo and relentless drumming only add to the chaos. It's a prime example of the British death metal band's heroically uncompromising attitude. "Pride is the most important thing," guitarist Gavin Ward told oneInterviewerin 2002. “We knew from the start that Bolt Thrower would never be a great band because we would never have commercial vocals. We would never play the game. We would never bow. —K.K.
When Kittie eruptedIn the metal scene of 2000, young Canadian girls (all aged 15-18 at the time) were immediately put on a pointed pedestal because of their "girl band" status, a label they despised. his debut album,saliva, was a catchy mix of thrash, grunge, death metal, alternative rock and pure teenage rage. Its title track is a death-heavy proto-feminist anthem that targets misogynists, landing a fatal shot in under three minutes. More than anyone at the time, Kittie understood the power they wielded. "There's something magical about itsalivageneral”, Landerreflectedin 2021. "You can feel our youth, our anger, all these emotions that made Kittie who we were then." —K.K.
"We won't take it", Twisted Sister
it took twistedWeave together a decade of gigging in 1970s New York City to arrive at We're Not Gonna Take It, which features the catchiest drum intro since Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" and one of the album's most phenomenal hooks . Metal. "I'm from the Alice Cooper school of 'School's Out', 'I'm Eighteen,'" Snider said.NPR. "And Alice was really excited about those hymns. So I wanted to write an anthem to get the audience raising their fists in the air in anger.” Snider and Co. brought home his message in an unforgettable music video made possible thanks to his sense of humor and the New York Dolls-on-steroid -Looks of the band quickly became a mainstay of MTV. Snider soon began hosting MTV showsHeadbanger-BallPredecessor,Difficult Metal Man, but the bubble burst after he testified at the PMRC hearings,Soften your public image, though taking on Tipper Gore to challenge authority was the ultimate act. —AB
'My Own Summer (Shove It)', Deftones
"My own summer(Shove It)" served as the lead single from Deftones' second album,around the skin, and it would not only become the band's breakout hit, but would define the sound of nu metal for decades to come. It's a master class in building suspense, with a throbbing guitar under vocalist Chino Moreno's muted, raspy delivery. And in a moment of raw rage in the genre, Deftones went ahead with clever, complex lyrics ("Shadow is a tool, a device, a savior/See, I try to look to the sky/But my eyes burn (cloud)") that Songs like these are as dynamic and insightful as they are deeply captivating to play at full volume. —BS
'Balls to the Wall', Aceite
Metal bands arenot known for admitting their vulnerabilities, but by the early 1980s the West German members of Accept were smart enough to recognize their limitations and asked their manager Gaby Hauke, who spoke better English than her clients, to write lyrics for them. She ended up writing shocking visions of toxic masculinity — sex, violence, dystopia — for her peers.balls against the wallalbum, and the title track is a Cold War-era anthem. The twin guitars are sharp; Udo Dirkschneider, clad in camouflage, leads the attack with a gurgling voice and eerily gnashing teeth; the production is reminiscent of leather, chrome and steel; and Hauke's lyrics are full of provocative images of torture, bestiality, heaps of bodies and riots. Thanks to a memorable video and some of the best riffs this side of AC/DC, the song became an instant classic. —AB
converge explode inTaboo territory on "Concubine" and makes brutalist metalcore sound out of the wreckage of a dysfunctional relationship. The song is only 80 seconds long, but that's all Converge needs to make "Concubine" a template for the furious emotional catharsis of their 2001 classic.Jane Doe. The band started out in the hardcore Massachusetts punk scene but evolved into a metallic math-core, with Jacob Bannon screaming his tosily brilliant poetic agony over the disordered polyrhythms. Oddly enough, when Converge recorded it, they were in the same studio as a certain 70's soft rock legend. "James Taylor was across the hall," said bassist Nate Newton.counteddecibel. “And he kept sending his engineer to tell us to be quiet. 'Mister. Taylor's trying to record vocal tracks and you guys are kidding and talking really loud here.'” But “Concubine” still brings the fire and rain. —RS
„Pose de Jesus Cristo“, Soundgarden
Opening with aSwirling feedback over bouncing bass and pounding drums, “Jesus Christ Pose” is primarily an acoustic assault, Soundgarden at its most brutal intensity. But it had the words "Jesus Christ" in the title, so naturally some people were eager to be offended. Although singer Chris Cornell explainedturnthat the song was actually a critique of celebrities claiming to be victims - "It's pretty much a non-religious song but expresses his irritation at the sight" - its crucifix-filled music video was pulled by MTV. But you don't need visual aids when you have sounds as expressive as Kim Thayil's piercing guitar behind the screams of "Saved! Saved!" Rescued! Rescued!" -JDC
"A beautiful day to die," Bathory
Bathory was a pioneerof the Swedish black metal scene and "A Fine Day to Die" from 1988Death by blood fireit shines darkly like its finest hour. The lo-fi bloodlust and shaky solos that defined the band's early sound are at the forefront, yet you can already hear them surpassing the style they just invented to create the bombastic sound tied to the well-known Valhalla-esque Viking metal. It's a hybrid beast that packs the best of Bathory into an eight-minute epic that manages to transcend a just-defined genre. —K.K.
"Youth Gone Crazy", Skid Row
There Bon Jovi StyleThe power ballads "18 and Life" and "I Remember You" catapulted Skid Row to mainstream success in 1989, but "Youth Gone Wild" had already won over much of the metal crowd. Though penned by the band's frontmen, guitarist Dave "Snake" Sabo and bassist Rachel Bolan, it was Skid Row's charismatic and powerful vocalist Sebastian Bach who transformed "Wild" into an anthem of rebellion. He sang couplets like "I never played by the rules, I never really cared / My bad reputation takes me everywhere" with such ferocity as he swaggered and growled that it became a star performance. "When I joined the band, I got the 'Youth Gone Wild' tattoo on my arm before we signed a record deal, before we had a manager," Bach said. International guitar. "I believed in this song with all my heart before anyone else." —AB
'Cut in half', obituary
Peak delivered obituaryDeath Metal in its true glory and splendor. On their second album, 1990cause of death, the Florida swamps have refined their sound (somewhat) since their early splatters, but they've retained the dripping grooves, Southern swagger, sporadic speed and blistering riffs. Singer Donald Tardy hasthis, "It was the album that really made kids understand what the two words mean when they say 'death metal'," and its crown jewel, the gory anthem "Chopped in Half," is the platonic ideal of '90s death metal Years - to incredibly heavy, bass-driven, thrash-infested ode to literally cutting a guy in half. Blossoms!—K.K.
"You have", Rammstein
knock and dance,Rammstein's 1997 single marked an unlikely global breakthrough in the nu metal era. If they didn't, millions of teenagers would have to learn at least one sentence in German.speak Germanalready. The industrial jam has a gothic rave feel to it with its pounding beat and some techno breaks in the back half. Guitarist Richard Kruspe would note that the song is about loyalty, specifically the type of marital commitment the band has made to one another. It's as catchy as it is heavy, with a shocking mass appeal that would make for a pop superstarLizzo happily covers himthis year. —BS
"You suffer", Napalm Death
Napalm Death singt „YouSuffer” summed up grindcore in its original, unbridled identity. The track is taken from the British band's 1987 debut,scum, and its Guinness Record running time of 1.316 seconds started out as a joke but became a perfect distillation of the nihilistic blend of dismissive hardcore punk fury and manic thrash speed that animate Grind's finest moments as its four words stretch Lyrics of a mercury anthem are the painful futility of existence. As Opeth's Mikael Åkerfeldt - no stranger to lyrical flourishes himself - commented after his band took over the tune during a 2017 festivalLook, "It's so precise: 'You suffer/But why?' You don't have to be Bob Dylan." —K.K.
"Blood and Thunder", Mastodon
Mastodon already haddecided to make a concept album afloat - unlike their debut LP,Remission,centered around fire - when drummer Brann Dailor picked up a copy of Herman Melvillemoby tailon the way to meeting the rest of the band for a series of shows in Europe. He quickly wrote most of the music based on Captain Ahab's quest for aquatic vengeance, even borrowing several lines of maritime madness straight from the book; the central riff and bridge, he says, are based in part on 1990s Egyptian pop music. "I was only a few pages old when [the characters] started referring to the whale as 'sea salt mastodon,'" says Dailor and interprets the mention as a character. "By the time I arrived in the UK I had already prepared my elevator speech for the boys." They would end with a decisive and heavy blow. —D.F.
'Flying Whales', Gojira
Just like Gojira"Flying Whales" samples whales moaning in and around Joe Duplantier's melancholy riffs. The singer and guitarist claims he had never seen any of the large mammals before writing the song. However, this stands out from the band's groundbreaking LPFrom Mars to Siriusbecame one of metal's great environmental anthems. As taken from a climatological-futuristic manifesto, in "Flying Whales" Duplantier envisions our largest animals after they have fled to the relative safety of space and "emerged from the darkness". The dizzying dynamics and rhythmic maneuvers of the music make clear the associated risks of survival. "It might seem paradoxical to have a message of hope," Duplantier later said, "and play this violent music." But bands have found a way out of deepest despair.—G.H.C.
"Evil", merciful fate
"I was bornin the graveyard under the sign of the moon," sings King Diamond over "Evil," the opening salvo of Mercyful Fate's first LP,lemon balm. With those lyrics, King's glass-breaking screams, and the band's assertive riffs, the song lived up to all the rumors surrounding the band: King's mic stand was a cross made out of human femurs, he sang to a skull named Melissa and the scariest of them all . all in all, his richly satanic texts were recited with liturgical solemnity. "Evil" proved that Mercyful Fate was a band that could write as well as shock, with the groove, artful melodies and masterfully timed dynamics that complemented King's grisly tale of necrophilia. "We were serious about what we were doing," King Diamond once told author Martin Popoff. "It was never just a picture. Making music, writing music was just candlelight. ... In the studio I would have two candles just to see the lyrics. —AB
"Running with the Devil", Van Halen
with your premonitionbeat and dramatic chords, the opening track of Van Halen's self-titled 1978 debut is considerably darker than the good hard rock they became best known for. Eddie Van Halen keeps lead guitar exploits to a minimum, as if conserving ammunition for an even bigger fight, while David Lee Roth's sombre lyrics deliver the dynamic tension and expert release of his bandmates. Worldview at odds with his Louis-Prima-in-assless-chaps persona. And when the song's powerful chorus kicks in, its message of satanic solidarity sounds serious enough to terrify devout churchgoers. —OF
Originally written forJonathan Davis' band Sexart, "Blind", not only introduced Korn to the world, but also helped usher in the empire of nu metal. The first single from the band's debut album is full of twists and turns - every musical and vocal choice feels like a shock. Davis' tense vocals vary wildly between forced restraint and wild screams. Beneath their vocals lies a sound that's both groovy and downright heavy, yet steeped in the grunge and rap that dominated music at the time. NO "Are you ready?“ Never before in music have questions been asked so urgently and intensely.—BS
„Bang Your Head (Metal Health)“, Quiet Riot
Ruhiges Riot-SpentNearly a decade of performing in Hollywood clubs when they released their third album, Right Time/Right Place,Heath made of metal, in 1983, guarantees his legacy. If the Top 5 album cover of Slade's "Cum on Feel the Noize" was the bait, its title anthem was the trap that secured the band a place in headbangers' hearts and made the album the first metal LP to hit number one reached diebillboard200. "It sounded like a runner running up a mountain so busy huffing and puffing you don't lift your head to take in the beautiful scenery you're reaching," said bassist Rudy SarzoRolling Stone. "It's not just been a long, steady climb, it's been a long, hard climb." With a monstrous riff from guitarist Carlos Cavazo, drums from Frankie Banali and an insanely bombastic performance from lovable loudmouth Kevin DuBrow, “Metal Health (Bang Your Head)” is still enough to drive you insane.-A.B.
"Over My Head", King's X
"Over My Head"it's a song about two other songs. As the lyrics make clear, they are partly inspired by bassist dug Pinnick's memories of his grandmother singing the gospel song "Over My Head" while she was praying. (Curiously, the Trammps' "Disco Inferno" also refers to this spirituality.) But, as he told Greg Prato, Pinnick also had Lenny Kravitz's "Let Love Rule" in mind when writing the song, specifically the way Kravitz felt withdraws when it comes to the choir. "It was the first time I've heard a disappointing chorus, but it works." As happens here, where King's X goes for the rhythm rather than opting for an anthemic chorus with deliciously ethereal results. —JDC
'Black No. 1 (Little Miss Scare-All)', Typ O Negativ
trotz PitchBecause of their powerful songwriting, Brooklyn mope metal kings Type O Negative and their imposing lead singer, Pete Steele, loved a good joke. His first major single, "Black No. 1 (Little Miss Scare-All)' from 1993, is a classic example: narrated by Steele in his rich, velvety baritone purr, he delivers all the dumbest gothic tropes with studied seriousness, from Nosferatu to Lily Munster, to a great soundtrack of harpsichord, booming bass and playful rock riffs. “Type O Negative took that to the nth degree. You had to take everything with a pinch of salt.”rememberedGreg Mackintosh of Type O tour mate Paradise Lost. "Black No. 1 (Little Miss Scare All)", which began as a tongue-in-cheek tribute to an ex-girlfriend, ended up being an iconic moment in American gothic metal. —K.K.
"Summertime Blues", Blue Cheer
Often credited asAmerica's (and possibly the world's) first heavy metal band Blue Cheer, the Bay Area biker favorites, topped Black Sabbath on the charts for two years with this hard-hitting, brutally distorted version of Eddie Cochran's anthem of teenage alienation, and laid one deafening track for countless stoner, doom and other earthquake bands. "Blue Cheer made a lasting impression on this once young drummer," said the late Neil Peart.Rolling Stonein 2009 "and definitely played his part in founding the early Rush – a raucous power trio with a fortress of amps, drum cannons and the high-pitched voice of a bassist trying to pierce the darkness". —OF
"Dragonaut", that's me
You say San Jose,The Californian band is perhaps best known for their creative outputdrug smoker,a concept album consisting of a single 63-minute song. But it's the glorious, doomier-than-you opener from 1993.Holy sleeping mountainwho make the difference in delivering the purest tension of their weed-driven sound. Opening with the straight-forward guitar riff of Matt Pike's "Into the Void," this paean to the cosmic warriors who "ride the dragon to the Crimson Eye / flap their wings beneath the red skies of Mars" is a load of sludge metal and sci - fi and fantasy tropes - imagine a character in a Frank Frazetta painting coming to life and picking up a tuned-up Gibson Les Paul between monster hits. "There was an obvious worship of Black Sabbath," admits Pike of the song's sonic template. "But we also listened to a lot of dub...and smoked endless weed." —DF.
"We will rise", nemesis
This highlight ofArch Enemy's groundbreaking 2003 albumHymns of Rebellionis a stirring artifact of the early melodic death metal boom. Daniel Erlandsson's heavy drums, Michael and Christopher Amott's thickly layered guitars, and (especially) Angela Gossow's venomous vocals deliver equal parts exaltation and menace, encouraging the listener to brace themselves while seriously screwing up. On paper, a line like "In this sea of mediocrity/I can be everything/anything I want to be" might sound like a mundane self-assertion — but flung out of Gossow's seared-as-hell larynx, it sounds like a damnDanger. —OF
"People = Shit," Slipknot
"Count me inband because of everything I hate about everything in the world," said Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison.Rolling Stonein 2000. True children of corn, the nine mutants of Slipknot arrived from Iowa in the late '90s with their spooky masks and bone-crushing live shows, and turned their dizzying extremism into Ozzfest's hottest attraction. They encapsulated their hateful worldview with incisive anger in the nu metal maelstrom "People = Shit," an undeniable statement of tribal misanthropy and outcast self-determination. —JD
"Freezing Moon", Mayhem
„Eismond“, aOne of black metal's defining anthems, it experienced serious growing pains prior to its official release in 1994. The band's lead singer, Dead, a Swede who joined Norwegian black metal innovators Mayhem in 1988, wrote his lyrics from the perspective of a vengeful spirit, but he committed suicide in 1991 before the band could record him in the studio. So Euronymous hired one of Dead's favorite singers, Hungarian black metal O.G.Attila Csihar de Tormentor, attempt. The result - with its mournful riff, cryospheric poetry and swaying drums - created a grindcore monument that black metal groups have long sought to emulate. Even better, Euronymous' free solo is a beautiful paroxysm over the swinging rhythms of drummer Hellhammer, an unsentimental celebration of the pain Mayhem once felt and would continue to endure. —G.H.C.
in the middleThrash was a bit subversive in the '80s, but in Brazil - just emerging from 21 years of military dictatorship - thrash bands like Sepultura were downright subversive. Sepultura not only thrived in their environment, however, but also managed to suggest a sense of national pride, infusing their thrash guitar style with a percussive groove derived from traditional Brazilian music. However, when guitarist Max Cavalera saw the phrase "Refuse/Resist" written on a Black Panther's leather jacket, a sound immediately came to mind. "It reminded me of a riot," he said.Once again!"Cars on fire and upside down, shit splattered everywhere, chaos everywhere. Even now, if I listen and close my eyes, I can see turmoil.” —JDC
"The Cry of Mankind", "My Dying Bride".
An 11 Hour Miracle"The Cry of Mankind" grew out of guitarist Calvin Robertshaw fingering the song's eerie opening melody (which lasts forever through the 12-minute song), building each part as the dark musicians of My Dying Bride envisioned had. Even after the "music" portion of the doom metal epic settled into a heavy atmosphere, they tried new things, like vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe plucking the bottom string of a five-string fiddle to conjure up a mournful ship's horn. The effect is somber and romantic, as Stainthorpe - drunk on Byron, Keats and Shakespeare - moans like a lonely vampire at the grueling riffs of his bandmates. "I thought, 'Rather than writing about the typical heavy metal stuff - the devil, blood, guts and woman abuse - why not write about something thought-provoking?'" he said.decibel. "I'm sure some people thought my lyrics were crappy and not very heavy metal, but... I wanted to write about highly emotional subjects."-KG.
„Bark at the Moon“, von Ozzy Osbourne
subsequentlyof the fast-fingered guitaristThe tragic death of Randy RhoadsIn 1982, it was imperative for Ozzy Osbourne to find a musician who could deliver the same brilliance, and he found a perfect match in Jake E. Lee, as heard on the title track of their first album together.ring the mouth. "The title of this song came from a joke I used to tell, where the joke was, 'Eat shit and bark at the moon,'" Osbourne recalled in hisOh Ozzman is comingliner notes. "It was the first song [Jake and I] wrote together." Built around a distinctive staccato riff that combines muscle and melody with shocking skill, "Bark at the Moon" brilliantly plays Osbourne's nickname "Prince of Darkness, with lyrics that read like a Hammer horror movie, and its werewolf-themed music video has won over a new generation of metalheads. —AB
„Koffein“, Faith No More
"Caffeine" is thatheaviest and scariest music byangel dust- Faith No More's masterful 1992 album about, as drummer Mike Bordin put it, "the beautiful and the sick". Musically it uses a Metal take on the old Holland Dozier Holland trick of combining a happy sound with a sad message. "Caffeine" is a little more depraved than Motown. "Pour shame on us / Harden to a scab," screams Mike Patton. Patton spirals as the song progresses on the back of Jim Martin's powdered blues-rock guitar and Roddy Bottum's theatrical synths.Dorf-style insane. He reportedly wrote the song in the midst of a sleep deprivation exercise that saw him embody, in a kind of methodical act, the object of his scorn: society on autopilot. "White trash cafes and restaurants were a great inspiration," Patton said.circusin 1992. —S.G.
„Photographs“, Def Leppard
Def Leppard kamoutside of the N.W.O.B.H.M., but they didn't stay long in this world. Physically presentable as any new wave band, with hooks as big as their riffs, riding the teflon glide of Mutt Lange's production on their 1983 breakthrough,Pyromania, these rock 'n' roll clowns became the quintessential '80s pop metal band, extending the music's reach to people not miles from a country.Motörhead Music. "Photograph" was their big break in the States, with its rattling cowbell chime, Joe Elliott's graceful twist on the standard metal boy cry, and a beautiful, melancholic melody in the chorus. No one has ever understood the fluffy dog formula better. —JD
'Forty six and 2', tool
By the timeTool began assembling his second full-length album,GeistSinger Maynard James Keenan looked for ways to change his cathartic Primal Scream writing. This involved him "doing much esoteric research, reading many mathematical and psychological books". The result was a standout track that explores Jung's conception of the dark self and New Age philosopher Drunvalo Melchizedek's concept of a genetic mutation that would signal a more "uniform" humanity. What better way to evolve than with a song about literal evolution? "Forty Six & 2" also features killer stop-start syncopation and one of the most rhythmic basslines, thanks to the band's new blood: new bassist Justin Chancellor. "He wrote most of the riffs on 'Forty Six & 2,'" says drummer Danny Carey, "and when you listen to the takes, there's a lot of spontaneous energy." —DF
An extensive, 13-minuteepic, "Deliverance" perfectly embodies the various musical impulses that find a home in the sound of this Swedish quartet. First, there's the suite-like multi-part structure in which the band changes mood, texture and meter every minute or so; then there's the contrast between the band's progressive impulses and their death metal side, perfectly mirrored by Mikael Åkerfeldt's Jekyll and Hyde vocals - a sweet Greg Lake tenor on the one hand, and a snarling cookie monster on the other. Fueled by drummer Martin Lopez's double-kick attack, the band sounds like a monster, but don't be fooled. As Åkerfeldt admitted, "English rock bands could probably beat us anytime". —JDC
"I'm basically oneweak person,” Justin K. Broadrick of Godfleshsaid once, "generally quite nervous and very, very weak". The industrial metal band from Birmingham, England, perfectly captured this inner turmoil - and provided a blueprint for metal's impressionistic potential - in "Slateman". The drum machine on the track is like a merciless mechanical beast, and so is the ferocious, strangely strangled guitarsvicious. But it's Broadrick's distant voice, buried by the earth and smeared by the wind, that is most impressive, sounding more and more hurt as the song progresses. “Slateman” is that rare Metal song that overwhelms you with its vulnerability rather than its power. —G.H.C.