Some of these have the best screams, some are the most melodic ones, some are the most outrageous and debatable ones: we have attempted to go back in time with an eye to the present and bring you the best metal songs of all time.
Nu metal, thrash metal, heavy metal: you surely can’t like all the sub-genres of metal, but the following hits are taken from all of them, so don’t be hard on us if we have put Pantera next to Limp Bizkit, we know it would be like putting Nirvana next to Coldplay. It is a matter of fact both these groups have created some of the best metal songs ever.
Master of puppets – Metallica
What is it that makes a metal song one of the best metal songs of all time? In the world of Metallica, ‘light’ isn’t one of the things you need to come up with the best tunes, as they recorded the entire album from which the song comes from in the dark. They told Revolver that they didn’t see daylight for three months.
Hallowed by thy name - Iron Maiden
Written by Steve Harris for The Number of the Beast, the most important album the band released along their career , Halloweed by thy name has been considered one of the best heavy metal songs of all time: it tells the story of a prisoner who is about to be killed by hanging.
Hangar 18 – Megadeth
Did you know what this epic metal song was inspired by in the head of Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine? The name Hangar 18 stands for the Air Force base in Ohio. This place is linked to the mystery of some alien bodies being taken after UFO supposedly crashed in New Mexico in 1947.
Angel of death – Slayer
The subgenre is thrash metal, and Slayer are the ones who created the best metal songs out with that name. In 1986 they released Reign Blood and this track had many people up in arms as it talked about a Nazi physician (Joseph Mengele) and the horrific human experiments he held at Auschwitz. It was not that clear whether the lyrics were sympathising or criticising the abuses in their song Angel of Death.
Paranoid – Black Sabbath
We are going back to the very beginnings with some of the classics amongst the best heavy metal songs: they were Ozzy Osbourne, voice, Tony Iommi, guitar, Geeze Butler, bass and Bill Ward at the drums. From the eponymous album released in 1970, this is one metal song to kn
Holy Diver – Dio
Dio means god in Italian, but in the world of the best metal songs of all time, it is Ronnie James Dio we are referring to. He was Ozzy Osbourne’s replacement in Black Sabbath although his solo artist successes were way inferior than the boom Ozzy’s went out by ‘himself’. He died of cancer in 2010.
Cemetery Gates – Pantera
There’s always something rather sinister in a metal song, but the best metal songs make their dark intentions pretty clear from the start. Phil Anselmo never made it obvious on what or who inspired this song: he once stated it was the death of a good friend who committed suicide.
One – Metallica
Metal songs did not reach popularity on TV until 1987, when MTV took on the risk of endorsing this genre with their 90 minute Headbangers Ball. And One was the first ever video Metallica made, a 7:44 masterpiece that helped the band reach out to a wider audience. One of the best heavy metal songs of all time.
Dead Embryonic cells – Sepultura
Sepultura had to be in the list of the bands who created some of the best metal songs in history: Max Cavalera’s distinctive metal voice appeared in other bands too such as Soulfly and Killer Be Killed. But his biggest works came with joint venture with his brother Igor Cavalera. Thrash metal has the name Sepultura all over it.
Psychosocial - Slipknot
Slipknot are one of those metal bands who can appeal to a wide audience: yes they are dark and they wear scary af masks, but lead singer Corey Taylor, who also sings in Stone Sour, can really switch his melodic and screaming side to the maximum level. Psychosocial is one of the best metal songs of the last decade.
And the rain will kill us all,
Throw ourselves against the wall
But no one else can see,
The preservation of the martyr in me
ADIDAS - Korn
One of the best acronyms ever created in marketing. Too bad it was not a marketing operation that led to branding the famous sports brand into the letters standing for “All Day I Dream About Sex.”Although Korn did wear plenty of Adidas tracksuits in their videos, the song is not related to the brand. From the album Life is Peachy, it is one of the best metal songs made in nu metal.
Yes, all day, I dream about sex
And all day, I dream about sex
Wicked Game - HIM
The Finns led by Ville Valo have caused some serious heartache through their music career and Wicked Games comes as one of the best metal love songs you will ever hear.
The Beautiful People - Marilyn Manson
How not to mention the scariest ‘character’ – you wouldn’t just call him a singer – out of the music industry? The illusionist of metal, Marilyn Manson. We’d rather tell you about this tune through your comments to the video:
Marilyn Manson is not afraid of having a nightmare, nightmares are afraid of having Marilyn Manson
Marilyn manson would do an amazing character in American Horror Story.
Caught in a mosh – Anthrax
Going back in time just a second with one of the best heavy metal songs coming out of the 80s: released in 1987 with the album entirely dedicated to Cliff Burton, who was killed in a bus accident the year before.
Chop Suey! – System Of A Down
You have all asked yourself what is the secret meaning behind one of the best metal songs of all time, haven’t you? It’s all linked to the Chinese quick dish tsap sui, a term that was Americanised to Chop-suey.. Somehow in the song these words end up being a play on “Self-right-Chop Suey-cide,”
Walk – Pantera
Another classic amongst the best heavy metal songs: Pantera released it with their sixth album Vulgar Display of Power.
The trooper – Iron Maiden
Iron Maiden also had to be included amongst the bands who created some of the best metal songs of all time. The Trooper was written by Steve Harris, Iron Maiden’s bassist, who based it on the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava in 1854, during the Crimean War.
Iron man – Black Sabbath
Another great metal song from Black Sabbath: the riff alone makes Iron Man one of the best metal songs in history. Too bad the song and Marvel’s Iron Man are not related.
Du hast – Rammstein
Their music has been defined industrial metal: they come from Germany and Du Hast – You Have – was released in 1997 with their second album. It has reached worldwide audiences also because it has been in the soundtrack of The Matrix: Music from The Motion Picture.
Them bones – Alice in chains
We know Alice in Chains are grunge, but Them bones has the looks and the quality to feature as one of the best metal songs of all time. Cantrell stated in 1999 in the Music Bank box collection:
“I was just thinking about mortality, that one of these days we’ll end up a pile of bones. It’s a thought for every human being, whether you believe in an after-life or that when we die, that’s it. “
My Generation – Limp Bizkit
That’s when you realised you have gotten into metal music without any intentions as such. The rhythm of this nu metal global hit is ever so catchy becoming one of the best metal songs of the 2000s.
Symphony of Destruction - Megadeth
Symphony of Destruction comes as one of the best songs released by Megadeth: the song is actually the story of a citizen who is in charge of a puppet regime, ruled by a phantom government.
Ace of Spades - Motorhead
Is it Rock or metal? Lemmy wouldn’t agree with us on this probably, but in any respectable list of best metal songs of all time there must be a Motorhead top hit.
Primal Scream - Mötley Crüe
Starting with some dogs growling cueing some of the most symbolic riffs by Crue, Primal Scream is part of some of the best metal songs of the 90s. It was released with the Compilation Decade of Decadence.