11 Greatest Metal Songs of All Time
Lambgoat ranks the eleven greatest metal songs of all time. In history. Like ever.
So much great metal, how is it possible to decide which 10 songs are the greatest ever? We couldn't. So we went with 11.
When choosing which songs are the "greatest," what is the criteria? Do you go by speed? Power? Precision? Heaviness? Mood? How popular it is? How influential it was? How successful it was?
For us, we made it simple: these are the 11 heavy metal songs throughout the course of history that best embody the genre. They're dark, fast, heavy and laden with overt anti-establishment, demonic and/or morose imagery. But most of all, they simply grab you by the guts, force you to listen intensely and leave you no doubt that you've just witnessed the sheer ferocity of quintessential metal.
Here then, are Lambgoat's Eleven Greatest Metal Songs of All Time...
Lamb of God has about 20 songs that could make this list, including "Black Label," "Redneck," "Now You've Got Something to Die For," "Walk with Me In Hell," "Laid to Rest," "In Your Words," "Set to Fail," and "Insurrection." But we've chosen "The Faded Line" because of its raw fury, force and incredible musicianship.
The song, from the band's 2004 breakthrough, Ashes of the Wake, combines all that makes LoG one of the standard bearers in modern metal: gut-wrenching grooves, pummeling double bass, desperate, bleak lyrics of hopelessness and loss and furious time changes perfect for headbanging.
A modern classic.
Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing, Ian Hill and Scott Travis have had lots of incredible metal moments but none that come close to the near-riot on tape captured in this 1990 tour de force.
From Travis' jaw-dropping fills to Halford's piercing screams to the face-melting solos swapped off by Tipton and Downing, it's hard to argue that this track isn't Priest's fiercest hour. Other songs were bigger hits and were perhaps even better songs, but the power, balls and stage-storming glory of this one make it onto our list.
From the influential Florida band's second disc, Leprosy, this one hits like a sledgehammer to the face and is the late Chuck Schuldiner's crowning achievement.
The frenzied riffs, dark chug, hellfire solos and guttural roars launched the tech-death subgenre and inspired thousands of purveyors of brutality from the icy forests of Scandinavia to New York's seedy underbelly to the bowels of the Florida underground.
But beyond the influential aspects, it's simply a brutal four-and-a-half minutes that perfectly captures the heaviest, darkest, most extreme elements of metal in a tight, infectious package.
Punishing, riotous and filled with anger, it's a prime example of the coarse energy and precision that defines the greatest metal.
While hair metal was exploding on Sunset Strip, to the north, Bay Area thrash masters Testament were ratcheting up the speed and intensity.
From 1988's The New Order, this one saw Chuck Billy, Alex Skolnick and company turning the amps up to 11 and pushing their own personal limits in stark defiance of the growing legion of hair bands cranking out cheesy ballads and dumbed-down jock metal. Machine gun riffs, a fretboard-snapping solo from Skolnick, sick mosh breakdowns, Billy's furious vocals and battering ram force make this one a speed metal classic.
Dave Mustaine was famously booted from Metallica and is one of the most polarizing figures metal has ever seen.
But this track, the first from the band's 1990 classic, Rust In Peace, is Mustaine's full-fledged, unharnessed, audio vengeance. Furious from start to finish, it's driven by Mustaine's lyrics of war and religion and includes as raucous a speed metal rumble as has ever been recorded.
Mustaine and Marty Friedman swap frenetic licks and solos that define face-melting, all barely held together by the chaotic thunder of bass king Dave Ellefson and skinsman Nick Menza. A brief acoustic bridge and chugging groove mid-song serve as a momentary break from the carnage – perhaps a welcome respite to live audiences, who to this day, continue to be slain by this one across the globe.
One of just a handful of Metallica songs that credits Mustaine, the Megadeth maestro's influence is undeniable on this Metallica classic. There are many other Metallica songs worthy of this list – "Master of Puppets," "Blackened," "One," "Battery," "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)," "Creeping Death" – but this one is seven minutes of vintage Metallica, which means, simply, it is some of the most badass thrash metal ever laid to wax.
James Hetfield's possessed anger is palpable. His and Kirk Hammett's riffs are like an audio carpet-bombing one minute before veering into Sabbath-esque, bluesy doom mid-song. Along with late, great bassist Cliff Burton and then-emerging drum star Lars Ulrich, the foursome live up to the song's name, charging across the metal battlefield and into eternity with the type of reckless abandon only a piss-drunk, starving garage band could deliver.
The song's speaker-demolishing finish remains one of metal's finest moments.
Long before there was Lamb of God, Whitechapel, Suicide Silence and like-minded extreme acts, there was the mighty Pantera.
Blending hardcore and metal was new. And no one did it better than Vinnie and Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott, Rex Brown and their fearless vocalist Phil Anselmo.
From the depths of Texas they rumbled forth, with a guttural sound that infected the underground. Dime's thrashing solos and ball-rattling riffs collide with Big Vin's thunderous drums and Brown's driving bass in a caustic cacophony all fused together by Anselmo's angry, tortured wails of survival, perseverance, war, death and destruction.
It is the massive "Mouth for War" that best brings together all the aforementioned elements. Live, it was a song that simply tore venues in half.
With Dimebag's riffs blaring from towering stacks of amps and Anselmo urging soldiers in his metal army to turn their hatred into power, it is, simply, a primal call to arms.
The working class foursome from Birmingham delivered a lot of heavy metal to the world, but they never got it more right than on this dark, scathing anti-war screed.
From Geezer Butler's thumping bass to Bill Ward's pounding tribal beats to Tony Iommi's doom riffs and metallic solos to Ozzy's shaky wails about burning bodies, Satan's wings and destruction, what more could one want in a heavy metal song?
If metal was created by Sabbath, then it was perfected in this eight minute opus filled with violent imagery, occult overtones and loud, distorted guitars.
Ever since this one emerged from the darkness to shatter the hippie dream, generations of metal fans and musicians have been obsessed with the song's themes of war, death, and Satan.
Thank you, Sabbath.
When it comes to the more fantastical side of metal – swords, storming battlefields, wizards and warlocks and chalice-hoisting – the one and only Ronnie James Dio is the undisputed emperor. And you really can't have a "best of" list in metal without including the dude who gave us the devil horns.
Guitarist Vivian Campbell crafted one of metal's greatest single riffs on this classic, while Dio belted out lyrics of tigers, diamonds, cats and deep blue seas. It all added up to a mystical, mysterious pastiche that has mesmerized generations of metal fans – and will continue to do so for generations to come.
Most metal purists will put "Hallowed Be Thy Name" at the top of the list of Maiden's greatest songs.
But it's the title track of the band's 1982 breakthrough album, Number of the Beast, that gets the nod from us.
Short of Dio's horns, the "666" mark of the "beast," is about as metal as it gets and it was this song that sparked accusations that Maiden were Satanists, fueling controversy that made the album a must-have for every burgeoning headbanger from London to Chile to California to Tokyo.
The New Wave of British Heavy Metal was largely propelled to the American shores via this amazing album, and "Number of the Beast" was its darkest, most evil and heaviest moment.
It's mystical, dangerous and perhaps even scary, and, like other songs that made our list, has that little something extra that infects your very being.
Resistance is futile.
Choosing the greatest Slayer song is like a parent trying to pick their favorite kid.
You can't go wrong. Pretty much every song on Reign in Blood, Seasons in the Abyss and South of Heaven are essential metal listening.
But the big debate with Slayer is always "Raining Blood" vs. "War Ensemble" vs. "Angel of Death." For us, it's "Raining Blood" because of its sheer speed, reckless abandon and pure metal fury. It's like a tribal pummel that gets into your soul and just drives you right to the brink of sanity.
Whether it's the dueling fretboard blitz of Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, Dave Lombardo's demon-summoning double bass assault or Tom Araya's maniacal war chants, this song pushed the genre to the brink and took metal to the next level – both sonically and with regards to speed and heaviness.
Simply put, this is the song that most likely made that dude carve Slayer in his forearm.
And what's more metal than that?
Motorhead – "Orgasmatron"
Meshuggah – "New Millennium Cyanide Christ"
Slipknot – "Wait and Bleed"
Ozzy Osbourne – "I Don't Know," "Mr. Crowley"
Morbid Angel - "Rapture," "God of Emptiness"
Sepultura – "Arise," "Roots Bloody Roots"
Machine Head – "Davidian," "Halo"
Fear Factory – "Martyr"
Danzig – "Snakes of Christ"
Deicide – "Dead by Dawn"
Carcass - "Heartwork"
Manowar – "Bridge of Death"
Overkill – "Elimination," "Ironbound"
Anthrax – "Caught in a Mosh"
131 commentsPost Comment
What the f*ck is this? I want to throw the f*ck up.
Welcome to VH1's That Metal Show with your host, Eddie Trunk. f*ck this shit
Wow. Slayer as number one. Whodda thunk it
Hey metal fans, now it's time to Stump the Trunk!!
slipknot and lamb of god do not belong on this list
"StParareNex: What the f*ck is this? I want to throw the f*ck up." MORE SHAT SPAWN ON THE WAY!!!!
lol, f*cking crybabies. WTF WHY IS OBSCUREDEATHMETALBANDSSONG ABOUTBABYf*ckING NOT ON THE LIST?!?!
This list isn't as terrible as some of the other ones I've seen. But that's how Lambgoat is in general. Less f*cking terrible than the rest of the internet.
hoochie mama Loved it WAR PIGS should be #1
Where the hell is ACCEPT's "FAST AS A SHARK"??? None of the above would be made possible without that - it pre-dated Slayer, pre-dated Metallica - and is the reason that dude carved into his arm.....Although I agree with some, I want a recount....DEATH have readily admitted P the P was no better than stool hitting toilet water......
After reading through two songs I knew what number one on this list was gonna be. And really, Wait and Bleed gets an honorable mention? It's as church as old Slipknot gets. I feel like this is my dads best of metal list. I'm surprised f*cking coal chamber didn't get mentioned.
This endless masturbation over the shit from the 80s has got to stop. Not saying it inst good, but c'mon. This whole list didn't need to be a VH1 classic special.
only ones i agree with are war pigs and raining blood. the rest are either shit or not the band's best work. retarded list.
God you commenter's on Lambgoat are some the most closed minded people ever. It makes me feel better knowing you're all so butt-hurt.
Thanks Vh1! I mean noisecreep! I mean Rolling Stone! I mean Kerrang! I mean Circus! What the f*ck website is this again?
Wat the fucc why isn't drowning pool mUdVaYnE or craDIE ov fiLth not on this list. They have the most angry songs that the hurting and alienaded can relate 2. Glad to c that at least SlIpKnOt was MENtioned.
f*ck all the angsty 14 year olds in this thread.
"Welcome to VH1's That Metal Show with your host, Eddie Trunk. f*ck this shit" True. Also, this list is explains why lambgoat lacks severely on metal knowledge/news and focuses on pieces of shit like Dr. Acula. Some great bands on this list, but seriously, who the f*ck chose those titles? A 14 year old who just discovered metal?
Yeah, by the time I got to number 1, there was no doubt what it would be. Despite that I'm pretty sure Vh1, as well as UltimateGuitar.com already made nearly the same list 4 or 5 times each, there's some decent choices. I would say War Ensemble or Disciple over Raining Blood. f*ck Metallica. f*ck Megadeth. I do appreciate the LoG, but some Bodom would be cool. At least there's no Disturbed or Suicide Silence shit on here.
a very arbitrary list...only thing i like at all on here was the lamb of god song yet i kinda feel like LOG didnt belong on this list at all especially that high on it what id like to see is a "best melodic metalcore of all time" or "best hardcore of all time" or "best melodic death metal" etc...hell even "best deathcore" would be fun to make fun of
No Entombed? No Cannibal Corpse? No Pig Destroyer? (they did change my life ya know!)
Apparently there's not been a great metal song since 2004.
not a bad list, not a great list, but its a list none the less and f*ck I love lists.
not bad atall, you pussies need to f*cking get a grip
all you dumb asses that are complaining have got to remember its their list not yours. its their opinion (their right ) not yours. you f*ck tards its not a list for the masses, they didnt write the list for you or there fans. so go cry somewhere else
good list aside from the fact that "Pinball Map" by In Flames isn't on it
No Poison Every Rose Has Throne what is this world coming too
Brought to you by Revolver Magazine. Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaame.
All of you guys are tarded, this list is incredible..
Actually a very decent list. Considering its near impossible to create a list like this in the first place.
nice. i want to include Suffocation- TORTURE ONE TO STRENGTHEN
has this author listened to every possible metal record recorded and as old as methuselah? i didn't think so.
I anjoyed most songs here. Of course people will argue. Americans think one way, Euro's another - and I being Russian think smoething else. If I was stranded on Island or Siberia - and only had 11 songs on pad - I am very happy with these 11
Yeah, what's with all the classic songs? Emmure should be on this.
LOG - lol Four Horstuff - Not even the best song on that album Holy Diver at #3 - lol Pull the Plug - Definitely not the best Death song Number of the Beast - lol
vengeance 973 I will break your neck you gay poser. And to the guy calling this list That Metal Show tripe, f*ck you too. Metal bands from the 80's or not metal bands at all you gays.
piece of shit gay article written by piece of shit goddamn gay. take this site down, already.
At The Gates?? Every comment on here except mine had me laughing like crazy... Specially the angsty 14 year old one. Iwrestledacatonce and withguylinerrunning are my FAVES. /vomited a little due to the seriousness of my sarcasm.
Painkiller should be #1 I've never heard a more METAL track. All of you kids can go f**k a duck
wtf cannibal corpse didnt even get an honorable mention!?
In Belgium, we would include half of this list - but Seth Putnam's visit in 2005 changed everything and we now listen to Ostrogoth every morning
Lambgoat is for f*cking stupid gays. I'm 19 years old, and I personally believe that your list is tactless, and whoever wrote this is probably some fat old f*ck who hasn't heard ANYTHING relevant in the past 10 years. f*cking dad metal. Go get sloppy drunk and embarrass your kids.
Holy Diver is f*cking terrible, makes me cringe. Fear Factory? Slipknot? Meshuggah? And no mention of Cannibal Corpse or any black metal bands at all? Nail in the coffin was not having Angel Of Death as the Slayer pick... have you ever heard that song? The lyrics alone, man. THE LYRICS
All the Chelsea Grin loving gays on here are so butthurt.
I had never seen this site before today...these comments are incredible! Truly this is the saddest representation of metal culture I have ever encountered, it feels like a foxnews nascar discussion. The ignorance and vitriol here is shameful.
as soon as i saw the link to this, i knew slayer would be #1. f*ck thrash, f*ck slayer. fight me.
I'm Pablo Sandoval, and I approve this list (although I would have liked to see Baron Rojo)
i think that the greatest metal songs should be determined by decades in this instance :)
All you guys are asses if it werent for some of this bands you wouldnt have the bands you listen to today. Im not saying i listen to any of these bands but you have to respect what the have done.
notice something? Most songs were from the 80's. Now all you kids know why New metal is mostly crap. A few notables (Nevermore) etc... and some surprises like Acid Bath, Nothingface, Dog Fashion Disco, but mostly GARBAGE. Enjoy the past!
listen to dopesmoker and light your computer on fire.
I could have used Sepultura and Machine Head on this list. derp.
No 'Davidian' by Machine Head? Also, what is the point of lists like this, seriously?
No Emmure? No Iwrestledabearonce? No Dr Acula? No Oceano? No Chelsea Grin? No Motionless In White? No Asking Alexandra? No Black Veil Brides? What is this world coming to?
I'd just say a big fat LOL, not for the choice of songs but for all the comments here it's f*ckin riddiculous. TABARNAK. Personally i.m not a big fant of 80s metal, but i know they're verry influencal on today's metal. I was glad to see that LoG was in it but the rest didin't get to me but i supposed if i was 35 i would've been stocked to see that list. But i agree that it's sad to see that these list always come to the same: better is the past.
And for those who talk french. je trouve ca triste que les liste du genre discrédite tout ce qui se fait maintenant. Je comprends que cest groupe on été des pionniers du genre, mais pourquoi se basé la dessus? Enfin il est vrai qu'il est difficile de classé 11 chanson parmis les meilleurs d'un genre et ce sont des choix personnels. Il serait peut être préférable en effet de faire des top pour chaque genre de metal et ne pas tous inclure, ou bien par décénie.
flat brim hat wearing, bright shirt, little shoe wearing hardcore kids that think bands are metal today are sad.
For this list to even be feasible you would have had to listened to every metal song ever. Likely? Not at all. Second, the fact that "Wait and Bleed" received an honorable mention, destroys the legitimacy of this list, not to mention all of the actual great songs that were apparently not honorable.
It is a free country and one where opinions are welcomed. I welcome the opinion of Lambgoat on the 11 greatest metal songs of all time. I also welcome my own opinion that anyone affiliated with Lambgoat is not licensed to make such a list. But hey, that's just my opinion. P.S. Lamb of God? Really? Really? REALLY?
No (insert currently existing hot topic band here) ? ok its done you guys can stop now
The fact that LOG made the list and "Caught in a Mosh" did not is absurd.
Lamb of God and Holy Diver? Lol. The fruitcake that wrote this list forgot some Korn song as an honorable mention.
LOL @ Nothingface & Dog Fashion Disco. gay.
It is a free country and one where opinions are welcomed. I welcome the opinion of Lambgoat on the 11 greatest metal songs of all time. I also welcome my own opinion that anyone affiliated with Lambgoat is not licensed to make such a list. But hey, that's just my opinion. P.S. Lamb of God? Really? Really? REALLY? You said it. You said it all, man.
wow. this list is f*cking terrible. just god awful. this is almost so embarrassing I don't even want to post on here again. sweet sub-par list for a balding 40 year old shirtless man drinking natty ice out front of his trailer.
What a compilation. How long did this take to come up with? 11 seconds?
What kind of happy horse shit is this!? Where's Dokken "Dream Warriors"!!!
Lamb of God, really? haha this list is so full of shit. Who compiled this a 15 year old kid?
The only truth in music is opinion. Not sure how you can have a serious conversation about metal including the 80s and leave out Van Halen, Motley Crue, Tesla but each song above does have its big part in the genre
My list Paradise lost – True belief Tiamat – Gaia Death – Voice of the soul Hypocrisy – Apocalypse Amorphis – Black winter day W.A.S.P – Sleeping in the fire Metallica – One Megadeath – She wolf Iron Maiden – Fear of the dark Pantera – Cowboys from hell Dream Theater – Hollow years Therion – Eye of Shiva Blind Guardian – Lord of the Rings Korn – Blind Nightwish – Phantom of the opera http://www.pinealglandcyst surgery.com/music/
You 14 year old's are so f*cking butt hurt its pathetic. You might not like these older songs but without them you wouldn't have your shitty Nu metal or black metal or wahtever crap bands you listen to today. Go look up who your favorite bands influences are and 100% at least one of these bands will be in there. Fact so shut the f*ck up and stop crying.
Shit, Raining Blood is nowhere near as good as War Pigs or Holy Diver. I personally think that WP should be number #1, and the other 10 spots on this list should also be Sabbath songs. Thank you, and good night.
Hey, I didn't think this list was so bad. He got most of the bands right, just maybe not their best song.
Holy Diver is f*cking great. Lamb of God is great top 10 though? Lamb of God maybe top 10 modern metal idk about all time.
I'm noticing that most of the complainers of this list are suggesting songs that suck fat c*ck.
Chop Suey didn't deserve even honorable mention? You can't be serious. You just can't.
Not a single after forever/soad song? Comeon.. What? Lol? Wait I still cant figure this blog out..
Hello everybody! Yea I am 14, so what? One of above posters said "if there weren't these bands you wouldn't have black metal whatever", you are pretty stupid. So its true you get older = you get more stupid. Did Nicola Tesla invent the f*king electricity? Why do you then more precious you f*king thomas edison and other inventors for products made of HIS work? Don't be stupid. I am in middle music school I can teach you about music.
list was ok. not gonna trash you guys for making the list, I woulda picked some diff songs but apparently so would a lot of other peeps. but f*cking f*ckballs can people get worked up over stupid shit. if ya didn't like the list then f*ck off, quit hatin and find a list you like and suck off the guy who made it!
For all the little wining bitches who don't like the author's choices, go make your own f*cking list. You have different tastes, I've got different tastes, and EVERYBODY has their own opinion on which are the best metal songs/albums. So shut the f*ck up already and just shoot yourself in the head if you hate it so much. f*cking crybabies.
lol so hard at the kid who said emmure should be on this list. its a list of amazing metal songs, not a list of wanna be heavy hot topic bands.
Where the hell is Metallica's Battery, or Master of Puppets?????
DOOD Dis list iz heckuh gay and homosexual because they have different music taste than I do.
If a song sung by Dio deserve to be on this list it should be Stargazer and not Holy Diver. And if Maiden is going to be on the list I'd pick Hallowed be thy Name instead of Number of the Beast. Oh yeah....Battery.
Wow. All the metallers I know are really laid back and shit. Most of you chaps are proper hung up on looking more metal than the last. Haha. Hal Walker. Sheffield. Not signing up, but not anon. x
To all you complaining prepubescent children in this comment thread. Maybe the reason your shitty little bands didn't make the list was because they are flavor of the month bands. You know like that horrible pop song you hear and you tolerate because it's catchy but after about the twentieth time hearing it you wish it would just go away. The reason these bands were picked is because they have longevity and wrote some of the most amazing songs ever made.
what kind of loser posted this list? heres my list 1. Master of Puppets 2. Diary of a Mad Man 3. Fear of the Dark 4. Hallowed By Thy Name 5. Alison hell 6. Hells Bells 7. Back in Black 8. Du Hast 9. Attack 10. Puritania 11. Metal Heart
why the hell wasnt hallowed be thy name number one -.-
I think Damage Inc. should actually replace The Four Horsemen. And I also think Painkiller is number 2. I agree on Raining Blood. All the guys saying this is the worst list listens to too much Death Metal. Guys listen to these.
Eaten by bloodbath? Dying fetus? Hello? Anyone?
Metallica has songs like one, enters and man, nothing else matters. How can those not listed among the best songs of the band ?
this list sucks so bad my ass is bleeding, slayer sucks.
Dude slipknot: the devil in 1 psycosocial and people=shit
As far as Metallica goes, Master of Puppets! It might be the greatest metal song of all. So yeah, Puppets or GTFO.
The List Could Be Fixed.1.Season In The Abyss.2.ONE.3. Symphony Of Destruction.4.Iron Man.5.Double Monday.6.Fear Of The Dark.7.A New Level. Why Post Here If you Want To Whine Like A Toddler..Those New School Bands Are Not Well Known To Metal Community Thats Why.Duh.Tiamat,Hypocrisy,F earFactory, Etc.And Isnt All Impressive Either.Lambgoat Rulz!!
Lambgoat,come for the information,stay for the keyboard warrior comments.
Its seems they tried to include 40 years of metal into 11 songs to completely f*ck piss off everyone who does not realize all list are subjective no matter what the content. I grew up on metal in the 80"s and the 90's made me realize I was more of a hardcore kid than a metalhead. However how can anyone argue with "The four hourseman, holy wars, pain killer, and reign in blood. As for the rest they kind of f*cked it all up but hey thats life!!
I went through this list multiple times and just cannot figure out how Mmm Bop did not make this list. f*ck Lambgoat for not recognizing the the technical intricacies of a band like Hanson; just f*cking wrong man!
Directions not clear. Frozen burrito stuck in nostril
I understand having respect for the originators, but really?