5 Heavy Metal Songs About Dealing With Depression
Heavy metal has never been afraid to flirt with the “darker” side of the human psyche, which means the genre is capable of some remarkable introspection, especially when it comes to issues that other, less brazen genres tend to tiptoe around.
Sure, some of the early bands — especially those operating during the much-maligned “glam” phase of the 80s — presented a hard-partying image more concerned with having a good time than expressing any real emotional depth, but trouble was brewing behind the thin veneer of youthful shenanigans.
By the time the 90s rolled around, the inevitable comedown and disillusionment had kicked in, giving rise to grunge, a notably morose sub-genre of rock music. The party was officially over, and musicians started playing around with ever-darker lyrical themes.
1. “Inga Broar Kvar Att Bränna” by Shining
Sweden’s Shining seems to have built an entire career out of writing devastating songs, and, in this particularly bleak number from 2015’s “Everyone, Everything, Everywhere Ends,” singer Niklas Kvarforth laments how he is perpetually consumed by anxiety and despair. Though it’s all sung in Swedish, the anguish in Kvarforth’s tortured screams needs no translation.
2. “Alone I Break” by Korn
As one of the pioneers of the so-called “nu-metal” sound, Korn has had more than a changing musical landscape to deal with and, indeed, the lives of its members have been marred by personal tragedy. From the sexual abuse singer Jonathan Davis experienced as a child, to the drug addiction (and eventual recovery) of guitarist Brian “Head” Welch, life has been anything but peachy for these guys from Bakersfield, California. With a repertoire that includes such soul-crushing dirges as “Daddy” and “My Gift to You,” it’s hard to choose just one song that represents the band’s melancholy sound. However, this hymn to loneliness and isolation from 2002’s “Untouchables” is especially grim, which earns it a spot on this list.
3. “Damage Inside” by Machine Head
These Bay Area thrashers may be best known for blisteringly heavy anthems like “Davidian,” but that doesn’t mean they’re afraid to show off their sensitive side when the occasion calls for it. In “Damage Inside,” frontman Robb Flynn tells us just how vulnerable his depression makes him feel, something many of us can relate to.
4. “Everything Dies” by Type O Negative
Type O Negative made a name for themselves in the 90s as a progenitor of “doom metal,” a sub-genre known for incorporating themes of suicide and depression and creating dark atmospheres through their lyrics and music. The Drab Four, as they are affectionately known, have given us some of the most soul-crushing songs in the history of heavy music, and “Everything Dies,” a somber reflection on the inevitability of death, has to be one of the most poignant.
5. “Snuff” by Slipknot
No list of sad heavy metal songs would be complete without this certified tearjerker by Iowa’s Slipknot. Obsession, loss and heartache collide in this brooding masterpiece of misery. Of course, Slipknot has always been experts in dealing with heavy subject matter, and any number of songs could have made this list, but, when it comes to sheer sonic sadness, “Snuff” delivers a hard kick to the gut.
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