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5 Heavy Metal Songs That Are Helping Me Deal With Depression

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When it comes to tending to a wounded heart or mind, there is perhaps no ointment more universal than that of music.

Music offers us an escape and the reassurance that we are not alone in our struggling; that somewhere, at some time or other, someone has felt the same way and has dealt with the same struggles.

Like the world’s sappiest love song, I have dealt with subjects of loss, guilt and loneliness (some fairly recently). While hard rock and heavy metal might not be genres that are traditionally associated with messages of hope and courage, I have always been able to draw immense inner strength from the more extreme side of music.

Here are my top picks for five heavy songs that are helping me deal with a severe bout of depression.

1. “Back For More” by Five Finger Death Punch

Las Vegas, Nevada’s Five Finger Death Punch (often abbreviated as 5FDP) are no strangers to writing about personal and emotional struggles (including addiction), and have even taken on the subject of school bullying in their poignant song “Coming Down.”

In addition, the band has always been very vocal about their support for the troops and their advocacy for veterans’ well-being.

Any number of 5FDP tracks could have made this list, but “Back for More” truly resonates with me as a song about getting back up when life knocks you down, and carrying on even in the face of terrible adversity.

2. “The Light” by Disturbed

Another band with intensely personal lyrical themes, Chicago’s Disturbed recently made a massive comeback and has been embraced by a much wider audience thanks to their haunting cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s seminal “The Sound of Silence.”

“The Light” is a song that is very close to my heart, and has helped carry me through one of the toughest periods of my adult life. I find such comfort in singer David Draiman’s assurance that “sometimes darkness can show you the light.”

3. “Take Me Through The Fire” by Machine Head

The element of fire is steeped in symbolism, signifying strength, life and cleansing. In this head-banging thrash anthem, the Bay Area metallers take us through the fire with their trademark blend of rhythm – with this song having an almost primal feel – and crushing force, accompanied by singer Robb Flynn’s raw vocals.

4. “Atoma” by Dark Tranquility

It’s a common misconception that metal deals solely in darker themes and, with this melodic number from the Swedish melodic death metal pioneers, we see how the genre can be used to deliver messages of hope and encouragement. Vocalist Mikael Stanne implores us to hold our heads up high (“to the end of our time, for the rest of our lives”) and I, for one, feel compelled to take his advice.

5. “Becoming” by Pantera

No list of badass tunes would be complete without the legendary Texans, and “Becoming” is the perfect combination of Southern groove and unbridled aggression.

Besides showcasing the incredible chemistry that the band possessed in its heyday, the song speaks about rising above adversity and coming out on the other side stronger and more resilient than ever before.

Ultimately, music is something that is intensely personal, and it’s a fact that not everyone will find the same sort of connection that I feel with the songs listed above. But, whether you’re a fan of classic rock the likes of Black Sabbath, or enjoy something a bit more contemporary, there’s no disputing the healing power of music.

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Getty Images photo via JovanaMilanko

Originally published: March 14, 2018
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