TOP 15 best heavy metal songs of all time

By SSPDaily editionFeb 5, 2024 13:36 PMEntertainment
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15 best heavy metal songs
15 best heavy metal songs. Source: wyborcza.pl

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that originated in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the United Kingdom and the United States. The basis for the emergence of "metal" was blues, psychedelic and acid rock, and its characteristic feature was a "dense", monumental sound, with distorted guitar riffs, long solos and emphatic beats.

Singers room writes: "It is generally accepted that the three 'monsters' of British rock - Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple - were at the origins of heavy metal, although today their music of the late 60s is more likely to be classified as hard rock. In the 1970s, several American bands modified heavy metal into more accessible forms. This is how the shock rock of Alice Cooper and Kiss appeared; rock with blues roots of Aerosmith; bright guitar parts and party rock of Van Halen."

In the 1970s, Judas Priest contributed to the evolution of the genre by abandoning the blues influence, while Motörhead brought punk rock to it and placed more emphasis on speed. Starting in the late 1970s, new wave British heavy metal bands such as Iron Maiden and Saxon followed in the same direction.

In the 1980s, heavy metal, thanks to Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe, Poison, Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, and others, was at its peak, followed by a natural decline in the early 90s. However, since the mid-1990s, interest in heavy metal has returned, the style has been supplemented with new trends and remains popular to this day.

Here are the 15 best heavy metal songs of all time according to Singers Room.

Black Sabbath: "Black Sabbath"

"Black Sabbath" is a song by the English heavy metal band Black Sabbath, written in 1969 and released on their self-titled debut album. In 1970, it was released on a four-track 12-inch single along with "The Wizard" and "Evil Woman" and "Sleeping Village" on Philips Records under the name Vertigo.

According to the band's members, the composition was inspired by Black Sabbath's bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler. The musician was fond of the occult and even allegedly appeared to Satan. Butler told this story to Osbourne, who wrote the corresponding lyrics. The song begins with the words: "Who is this figure standing before me? A figure in black, pointing at me".

Black Sabbath: "Iron Man"

"Iron Man" is a song by Black Sabbath from the band's second studio album Paranoid (1970). After hearing Tony Iommi's main guitar riff for the first time at a rehearsal, Ozzy Osbourne remarked that it sounded "like a big iron man walking", and "Iron Bloke" quickly became a conventional name while the band developed the song. Iommi created the riff "on the spot" in response to the bass drum rhythm that drummer Bill Ward began to play, creating the mood of "someone sneaking up on you."

The lyrics, written by Geezer Butler, tell the story of a prophecy in which a man travels to the future and witnesses the apocalypse. Then he returns to the present to warn humanity, but is turned into steel and mocked by the people he wanted to save. As a result, Iron Man takes revenge and causes the apocalypse, from his own vision.

Metallica: "Master of Puppets"

"Master of Puppets" is a thrash metal song by the American metal band Metallica, released on July 2, 1986 as the only single from the album of the same name. The song was recorded in October-June 1985 at Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark.

"Master of Puppets" is considered to be one of the band's most famous and popular songs and is often performed at concerts.

Iron Maiden: "The Number of the Beast"

"The Number of the Beast" is a song by the English heavy metal band Iron Maiden. It is the seventh single by Iron Maiden and the second single from their 1982 studio album of the same name. After its release, the song caused a serious religious scandal in the United States.

Nevertheless, it remains one of the band's most popular songs, reaching number 18 on the UK singles charts after its initial release and number 3 on two subsequent occasions - in 1990 and 2005. "The Number of the Beast" was performed on almost all of the band's concert tours. In addition, the song has been covered many times and used in several video games and movies.

Black Sabbath: "War Pigs"

"War Pigs" is an anti-war song by Black Sabbath, which opens the album Paranoid. The original title of "War Pigs" was "Walpurgis", related to the witches' coven. "Walpurgis is something like Christmas for Satanists. And for me, the war was the big Satan," Heather Butler later said. "It had nothing to do with politics or government or anything else. It was just Evil itself."

As a result, the musicians decided that the title didn't go well with the lyrics and replaced it with War Pigs.

Motörhead: "Ace of Spades"

"Ace of Spades" is the title track of the English heavy metal band Motörhead's album Ace of Spades. The composition was released as a single in October 1980. The song was originally released as a 7-inch vinyl single in October 1980 as a preview for the album Ace of Spades, and then released by Bronze Records in a limited edition of 50,000.

The cover photo of Motörhead dressed as Santa was taken at the Aylesbury Fair when the band was on tour.

The song opens with an overloaded bass intro performed by Lemmy. According to him, he "used gambling metaphors in the lyrics, mostly cards and dice - I'm more of a one-armed bandit when it comes to that kind of thing, but you can't sing about spinning fruit and spinning wheels."

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"Black Sabbath: "Paranoid"

"Paranoid" is a song by Black Sabbath from the band's 1970 album of the same name. The composition is considered one of the best heavy metal songs of all time. It reached #4 on the UK Singles Chart and #61 on the US Billboard Hot 100. "Paranoid" became Black Sabbath's first single after the release of their self-titled debut album.

Black Sabbath's bassist Geezer Butler said in an interview with Guitar World magazine in March 2004: "Most of Paranoid was written while we were working on our first Black Sabbath album. We recorded it in about 2-3 days in the studio. The song "Paranoid" was written afterwards. We needed a three-minute filler for the album, and Tony came up with the riff and I wrote the lyrics quickly.

Iron Maiden: "Run to the Hills"

"Run to the Hills" was released as the sixth single and the first from the band's third studio album, The Number of the Beast (1982). This is the first single with Bruce Dickinson as a vocalist. Dickinson participated in the creation of the song, but could not be credited as a vocalist due to a contractual agreement with his former band Samson.

"Run to the Hills" remains one of the band's most popular songs: VH1 ranked it 27th on its list of the 40 Greatest Metal Songs, and Rolling Stone ranked it 10th on its list of the Top 100 Heavy Metal Songs.

Iron Maiden: "Hallowed Be Thy Name"

"Hallowed Be Thy Name" is the final track of Iron Maiden's 1982 album The Number of the Beast. The song was written by bassist Steve Harris and is recognized as one of the best heavy metal songs of all time, and is also considered one of the band's signature songs.

The song "Hallowed Be Thy Name" has remained in almost all of the band's setlists since the album's recording. Allmusic describes it as "perhaps the most famous of Iron Maiden's extended epics".

The musicians themselves have repeatedly stated that this is one of their favorite tracks, and Bruce Dickinson described it as "fantastic" and said that performing it live is like "narrating a movie to an audience".

Slayer: "Angel of Death"

"Angel of Death" is the opening track of the album Reign in Blood by the American thrash metal band Slayer, released in 1986. The lyrics and music were written by guitarist Jeff Hanneman.

The lyrics tell the story of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele's experiments on people in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II.

The song Angel of Death led to accusations of Nazi sympathies and racism, which they strongly denied, but which followed them throughout their early career. Despite the controversy and the resulting delay in the release of Reign in Blood, the song became an undeniable hit and was included in all Slayer's live albums.

Judas Priest: "Painkiller"

"Painkiller" is a song by the English heavy metal band Judas Priest, released in 1990. Later it was released as a single via Columbia Records. "Painkiller" also appeared on the band's twelfth album of the same name as the opening track.

The lyrics tell the story of Painkiller, a cyborg superhero who saves humanity from destruction.

Since then, the song has remained one of the band's signature compositions. The composition was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category "Best Metal Performance" at the 33rd Grammy Awards (1991).

Dio: "Holy Diver"

"Holy Diver" is a song by the American heavy metal band Dio, released in August 1983 as the lead single from the band's self-titled debut album. Although it only reached number 40 on the Mainstream Rock chart at the time, it is one of Dio's most popular songs today.

After the September 11 attacks, the song was included in the list of inappropriate titles distributed by Clear Channel.

In March 2023, Rolling Stone named "Holy Diver" the 9th best metal song of all time.

Slayer: "South of Heaven"

South of Heaven is the first track from Slayer's self-titled album (1988), which reached number 57 on the Billboard 200. While some critics praised the band's change in sound, those who preferred the style of their earlier albums were disappointed. The songs Mandatory Suicide and the title track became permanent fixtures in Slayer's concert setlist. In 1992, South of Heaven was certified gold by the RIAA. This album was the last for the band on the Def Jam label.

Judas Priest: "Breaking the Law"

"Breaking the Law" is a song by Judas Priest, originally released on the 1980 album British Steel. It is one of the band's most famous singles and is easily recognizable by its opening guitar riff.

Before the release of 1980's British Steel, Judas Priest began to move towards simplifying their music and creating a simpler, less processed sound. This approach was realized on the album British Steel.

For example, "Breaking the Law" combines the famous minor key opening riff and rhythmic chorus as the main hooks.

The song features some sound effects, including the sound of breaking glass and a police siren. The band recorded the album in Tittenhurst Park, at Ringo Starr's house. For the breaking glass effect, the musicians used milk bottles brought to them by the milkman in the morning, and the police siren was guitarist C.K. Downing using a tremolo on his Stratocaster.

Megadeth: "Peace Sells"

"Peace Sells" is a song by the American thrash metal band Megadeth from the 1986 album "Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?", written by Dave Mustaine.

"Peace Sells" became the band's breakthrough hit and is considered one of the best songs in the history of heavy metal. Since 1985, this song has been constantly performed at Megadeth's concerts.

In 2006, VH1 included "Peace Sells" in the list of "40 Greatest Metal Songs" at number 11. In 2023, Rolling Stone ranked the song nineteenth on its list of the 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Songs.

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