This past year, I’ve been getting back in touch with my love for heavy metal. In that time, I’ve rediscovered old favorites and came across new bands with killer songs! This genre is my favorite to listen to during my workouts of if I just need a quick adrenaline rush. These tracks not only sound great, but they carry their own meanings that listeners can connect to. Here’s a list of my top ten heavy metal songs to add to your playlist!
1. “Witch Image” by Ghost
Ghost has grown in popularity in the last couple of years, especially after their “Mary On A Cross” single. “Witch Image” is one of the band’s greater songs that is not talked about as much, despite having over 3.9 million views on YouTube. The song is inspired by the Black Death era and is told from the perspective of Death as he collects the souls that may be reluctant to pass on. But he reminds those souls that there’s nothing they can do about this naturally occurring cycle of life and death. Not only are the lyrics gripping, but the instrumentals give a mystical and somber vibe that fully captures the story and perspective.
2. “Kaisarion” by Ghost
Continuing with Ghost, “Kaisarion” serves as the strong opening for their Impera album. The song is about rebuilding empires from old and lost knowledge. Fans speculate that the song references the Library of Alexandria burning down. It opens strongly with a guitar riff, followed by lead singer Tobias Forge’s vocals paired with drums. This song is reminiscent to the opening of an adventure as it prepares you for what the rest of the album has in store. For me, it’s a great song that gets me pumping after I finish my warmups at the gym.
3. “Sonne” by Rammstein
Next, we travel to Germany with “Sonne”. Rammstein has built up a lot of popularity with metal fans worldwide. “Sonne” especially has been revived in the past year, reaching 10 million views on YouTube. The translated lyrics of “Sonne” talk about the bombing of Hiroshima and the experience of seeing the initial explosion. Like many bands on this list, Rammstein does not shy away from controversial topics such as this. Their music is heavy and often not for the faint of heart. But it is impactful and great to listen to.
4. “Go Forth And Die” by Dethklok
Dethklok is a fictional band from the Adult Swim show, Metalocalypse. As part of the show, creators Brendon Small and Tommy Blacha put together a series of albums containing songs that are surprisingly great. “Go Forth And Die” is about spending so many years in school to receive a degree, only to be left with student debt and no guaranteed job security. It challenges the American education system and points out the flaws in higher education. In today’s day with rising inflation and less jobs hiring, this song is something a great majority of Gen Z can relate to.
5. “The Rumbling” by sim
With these next two songs, we’ll be looking at Japan. “The Rumbling” is the season 4 opening song of the Attack On Titan anime. The song is a reflection of the show’s overall plot. The main character, Eren Jaegar, dreams of a new life and a new world for his people. But he goes about it by committing a global extermination of his people’s enemies. The lyric of the song also reflect the conflict of what he is about to do and what will happen if he fails. But in the end, he sees the plan through no matter what. This is the first of two songs SiM has done for Attack on Titan and this first one is well written and matches the intensity of the show.
6. “The Invisible Wall” by The Gazette
Next from Japan is The GazettE. They are well known for their Visual Kei style, which is the heavy metal movement in Japan. Most of the song is in English with Japanese lyrics mixed in, though it’s often hard to understand what the vocalist is saying. The message of the song is about a nameless person who has committed a crime, more specifically murder. Even though they try to hide it, that person will eventually be discovered and will have to pay the price lawfully and emotionally. The song reflects on the guilt that the murderer will feel for the rest of their lives. The song itself is powerful in its instrumentals, but the lyrics make it one of the most depressing songs on the list.
7. “It is the end” by Ice nine kills
If you’re a fan of classic horror films, you may enjoy this next track. “IT Is The End” is a song from the perspective of Pennywise the Clown as he preys on his next victim. The track starts off with creepy circus music playing over rain as Pennywise introduces himself to Georgie. He lures the boy in with his balloon and assures Georgie that he’s safe before dragging him down into the sewers. Then it jump scares you with the guitar, drums, and orchestra playing as loud as possible. The song overall is a fun spin on the horror movie, It, and is definitely worth the listen.
8. “Tears of an Angel” by Dispyria
Dispyria is a lesser known band, only releasing their first album in 2019 and their second album in 2023. Instead of the more common heavy metal, their main genre is melodic heavy metal or power metal. This genre combined heavy metal with opera and “Tears of an Angel” does this very well. This track is a straight forward love song about the singer longing for someone dear to them. The tone of the song is very theatrical and pulls you in with its beautiful vocals and emotional instrumentals.
9. “Love You To Death” by Type O Negative
“Love You To Death” was one of the more popular songs by Type O Negative. From their formation in 1989 to lead singer Peter Steele’s untimely death in 2010, their music turned many heads and became icons in the gothic metal scene. Their albums caused a lot of controversy during the 90s, as their music mainly consisted of songs about sex, religion, depression, and the effects of drug use. The message of “Love You To Death” is fairly straightforward in the title. It’s a slow and sensual song about love, but more so about obsessive lust. Without delving too much into the lyrics and their meaning, I find that this song and a lot of Type O Negative’s music is great to listen to for studying or during late nights when I can’t sleep.
10. “Cyberhex” by Motionless In White
“Cyberhex” is a fight song. It represents the state of division that our world has seen in the last few years and coming together to overcome that division. According to the lead vocalist, Chris “Motionless” Cerulli, the track is based on how he and everyone else was feeling during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. He reached out to his fans to express his emotional struggle with the current events and was immediately met with love and support. Thus, he wrote “Cyberhex” to make people feel less alone and more empowered. I find that as the world changes, we see more hardships that we have to endure socially and personally. This song is part of my workout playlist and makes me feel powerful physically and mentally. It woke up my senses the first time I listened to it and it continues to give me this feeling months after discovering it.
Each of these songs are unique in their own way. The artists behind the work connect with their fans in different ways, whether it’s musically or aesthetically. I hope you were able to discover some great finds from this list. If you would want more music like this, you can check out my personal YouTube playlist for rock and alternative tracks!
Here at Mic Drop Music, we would like to know your opinions about the listed songs above or any recommendations you would like to share in the comments below!