As the words to the John Lennon classic ‘Nobody Told Me’ ring in my head you have to admit these are strange days indeed. Here we are, all around the world in different states of lockdown or isolation. But there’s one thing we can all turn too in an attempt to get through this. So after you’ve binged watched Tiger King you should probably do something useful with your free time and wrap your ears around this diverse list of our Top 50 Heavy Songs To Get You Through Lockdown…
#50 – From First To Last – ‘Kiss Me I’m Contagious’
The first cab off the rack is pretty self-explanatory, but please don’t kiss anyone who you think is contagious. Wait until this is all over and then you can kiss anyone you like (with their permission of course)
#49 – Story Of The Year – ‘I’m Alive’
One of the last songs written for the album The Constant, is also one of the best. Although obviously not written for the current pandemic the lyrics “I’m alive, but I’m barely breathing now” are tragically fitting.
#48 – Quiet Riot – ‘Condition Critical’
Digging way back to 1984 in what many say are the golden years of metal with the first dad rock track of the list. Although this album didn’t match the success of the previous, it was still a soundtrack for a generation.
#47 – Violent Soho – ‘Lying On The Floor
From one of the oldest tracks in the list to the newest. You can take this one any number of ways, but my take: Don’t go outside, stay inside, spend some time just lying on the floor listening to music. Stay alive – thank me later
#46 – Simple Plan – ‘Save You’
“Sometimes I wish I could save you” Those lyrics are powerfully heavy regardless of what’s going on in the world. A song about surviving cancer takes on a very special meaning in the middle of a pandemic, I challenge anyone not to get a lump in their throat after listening to this track.
#45 – Of Mice and Men – ‘Pain’
A very personal song written by former lead singer Austin Carlile about his constant and ongoing battle with Marfan syndrome. The lyrics are as heavy as the music, this won’t brighten your day, but it might make you think.
#44 – Dream Theatre – ‘Learning To Live’
From a time when a very different disease was scaring the living shit out of the world, the masters of prog metal with their take on AIDS. Take 5, or in the case of this song 11 minutes and 30 seconds to enjoy the images and words.
#43 – Bon Jovi – ‘Bad Medicine’
In 1988 there was no bigger band in the world than Bon Jovi and this song was a monster hit all over the world. Chock full of tongue -in-cheeks medical analogies this will release everyone’s inner glam rocker.
#42 – Clutch – ‘Decapitation Blues’
After undergoing neck surgery where the vertebrae replaced came from a deceased donor, lead singer Neil Fallon penned this delightful ditty for 2015’s Psychic Warfare
#41 – Cancer Bats – ‘Dead Set on Living’
Is there a more apt named band on the planet? The Canadian hardcore rockers smash it out of the park with ‘Dead Set On Living’. Written by Liam Cormier after a friend was admitted to hospital with a serious illness.
#40 – Whitesnake – ‘Medicine Man’
1979’s Lovehunter is David Coverdale at his sleezy, bluesy best, packed with lyrical genius like: “When there’s a feeling inside, That just can’t be denied, I will be your medicine man” Music really is the tonic for what ails.
#39 – Slash – ‘Doctor Alibi’
Featuring Lemmy on vocals and bass the lyrics couldn’t be more fitting for the now departed legend. It’s a down and dirty rock ‘n roll song perfect to crank up in your lounge room and bust out a few air guitar solos.
#38 – Bring Me The Horizon – ‘Drown’
In these times of uncertainty, you can’t help but feel helpless at times. Don’t fret, reach out to a friend or a group of friends/family members via zoom chat, take your mind off things momentarily and without a doubt, save yourself from drowning amidst all of this drama!
#37 – Motley Crue – ‘Dr. Feelgood’
Not a song about a doctor but Nikki Sixx’ drug dealer. It’s a heavy metal pick-me-up (if that pick-me-up involves tearing it all down) And while we can’t see the Crue on their reunion tour we can relive a time when they were actually good.
#36 – Alice In Chains – ‘Sickman’
Taken from the ground-breaking album Dirt this is the late Lane Stanley bearing his soul. It has become a grunge classic and is just what you need to get you through a bout of isolation.
#35 – Van Halen – ‘Somebody Get Me A Doctor’
Doctor Dave is in the house! Van Halen II is an eclectic mix of good time rock n’ roll and this song has the right amount of cheesy upbeatness to get you through any situation.
#34 – W.A.S.P. – ‘I Don’t Need No Doctor’
Now this might be sacrilege, but I prefer this cover over the original by Ray Charles. In 1986 W.A.S.P. exploded on to the LA metal scene and was quickly targeted by the PMRC fun police (look it up kids). But all they wanted to do was make music and have a good time. Amen to that!
#33 – Metallica – ‘One’
There is probably none more isolated than the young soldier who’s trapped in his own body. Ground-breaking in many ways, this was the song that delivered Metallica to the masses and still stands today as one of the best metal songs ever written.
#32 – Iron Maiden – ‘Fear Is The Key’
Another take on the AIDS scourge. From Songfacts: The line “nobody cares ’til somebody famous dies” is a reference to Queen singer Freddie Mercury, who died from AIDS the year before this song was released and spread awareness of how devastating the disease is.
#31 – Metal Church – ‘Fake Healer’
Back in 1989 the San Francisco thrashers were railing against privatised healthcare in the US, and here in 2020 we can see how that’s turned out. This song becomes more relevant with every day that passes.
#30 – Andrew W.K – ‘Music Is Worth Living For’
If there’s one person I turn to in tough times its Andrew W.K. The party king always has advice for lifting you out of a rut, and the title track of his latest album does just that. Music people, is absolutely worth living for.
#30 – Nuclear Assault – ‘Third World Genocide’
Sadly no longer together as a band, New York thrashers Nuclear Assault dropped a banger in 2005. Never straying too far from what they know with visions of apocalyptic nightmares it makes you wonder if they knew something we didn’t.
#29 – Motorhead – ‘I’m The Doctor’
Short, sharp and to the point. All the way back in 1982 Lemmy, Fast Eddie and Philthy Animal had the cure to what ails, a good dose of rock ‘n roll.
#28 – GWAR – ‘Hail, Genocide!’
In 2014 at Soundwave Festival we witnessed in the intro to ‘Hail, Genocide!’ Tony Abbott lose his head live on stage. It was tasteless and offensive to a public figure, we loved every minute of it!
#27 – Beartooth – ‘Disease’
It’s no secret front-man Caleb Shomo wears his heart on his sleeve. The title track to 2018’s brilliant Disease is no different, it’s about trying to dig deep and overcome. There’s enough passion and pure emotion just in this one song to get you through quarantine.
#26 – U.F.O – ‘Doctor, Doctor’
The band that influenced everyone from The Smashing Pumpkins to Metallica dropped an absolute banger in 1974. It’s the song you hear before every Iron Maiden show, it’s the moment when the wait is over and the band is about to hit the stage. “Doctor, doctor please. Can’t you see the mess I’m in”
#25 – Fozzy – ‘S.O.S’
This song just makes me happy, ironic that it’s essentially a sad song with someone reaching out for help. But when you have Professional Wrestler Chris Jericho fronting a metal band covering an ABBA pop classic you just have to embrace the ridiculous.
#24 – Black Veil Brides – ‘Carolyn’
Dealing with loss is tough, it’s something we all have to go through at some time in your lives. Andy Biersack penned this beautiful song for guitarist Jake Pitts mother Carolyn who was struggling with a terminal illness. The lyrics “You’re not alone, we’ll brave this storm” certainly ring true today
#23 – Def Leppard – ‘Armageddon it’
This song has absolutely nothing to do with an Armageddon, but when you consider they’ve had to overcome the death of a band-mate and their drummer losing an arm to keep playing music, they deserve a place on this list. Imma getting it!
#22 – Blue Oyster Cult – ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’
There are so many reasons this song belongs on this list, not least of all horror writer Stephen King (mis) quoted the lyrics in The Stand, a story about a super-flu wiping out 99.9% of the population.
#21 – Gang Of Four – ‘Love Like Anthrax’
Post-punk rockers Gang Of Four have influenced everyone from R.E.M’s Michael Stipe to Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain. ‘Love Like Anthrax’ sees them at their absolute best.
#20 – Morbid Angel – ‘Lord of All Fevers & Plague’
There’s no better way to lighten the mood than with a dose of good old-fashioned death metal. Although the song is about the occult rather than plagues and sickness it’s Morbid Angel, it’s death metal, it belongs!
#19 – Helloween – ‘Dr. Stein’
Ok I admit it, the only reason this song made it into my list is it has Dr. in the title. If you’re a fan of the original version, you’ll either love or hate this. Power metal legends Helloween have always had a twisted sense of humour, and there’s none more twisted than this.
#18 – Mudhoney – ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’
A staple grunge classic. My advice: don’t touch sick people if you can help it. Stay home, say inside, listen to Mudhoney
#17 – Death – ‘Leprosy’
Arguably without Death there would be no death metal. Out of sun-drenched Florida came something so dark, heavy. It’s impossible to imagine the extreme metal scene without the influence of Chuck Schuidiner and his band of merry metalheads.
#16 – Silverchair – ‘Emotion Sickness’
1999 saw Silverchair move away from their grunge roots to a more orchestral rock sound. Lyrically the album has Daniel Johns baring his soul, it’s raw and dripping with emotion, best listened to loud.
#15 – The Black Dahlia Murder – ‘Contagion’
2003’s debut album Unhallowed threw up a good dose of controversy as well as some exceptional melodic death metal. At just over 30 mins you could rip through the whole album and still spend most of the day procrastinating. But for the sake of this list, wrap your ears around ‘Contagion’
#14 – Judas Priest – ‘Rising From Ruins’
2018’s Firepower was a return to form for the legendary band, a new updated take on the classic Priest sound. I get the feeling, when this is all over the World may just be rising from the ruins of the coronavirus.
#13 – Slipknot – ‘My Plague’
A slightly more melodic track from the masked wearing maniacs, but no less heavy. With lyrics like “You fucking touch me I will rip you apart, I’ll reach in and take a bite out of that shit you call a heart” it’s a Slipknot PSA for social distancing.
#12 – Slayer – ‘Epidemic’
How could you have a list of heavy songs without a little bit of Slayer. ‘Epidemic’ may have been a scary song idea back is 1986 but it’s got nothing on todays pandemic. So kick back relax and enjoy a song from a simpler time.
#11 – Cattle Decapitation – ‘Bring Back the Plague’
This is pure genius, and a great example of making the best of a bad situation. With a cancelled tour and social distancing in effect the band decided to film a music video on their phones. Mix in some news footage of people behaving badly and bingo, instant topical music video!
#10 – Disturbed – ‘Down With The Sickness’
Including this song is almost a cliché. As soon as coronavirus was mentioned every knucklehead on the internet was posting memes or links to the song. Well, I’ve never pretended to be anything else, so get your bad self ‘Down With The Sickness’
#9 – Anthrax – ‘Among The Living’
From Stephen King quoting Blue Oyster Cult in his epic novel The Stand, to Anthrax basing a song on the book. It just shows you that we really are all connected.
#8 – Frank Zappa – ‘Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?’
This is classic Frank Zappa, I don’t think anyone is in any doubt as to why it hurts. This is just the short little song to lift the grey clouds of isolation and be thankful it doesn’t hurt when you pee. But if it does, see a doctor.
#7 – You Me At Six – ‘Contagious Chemistry’
Some contagions are good and Surrey’s own pop-punk quintet delivered a contagiously good album with Hold Me Down. ‘Contagious Chemistry’ is hailed as the best track on the album by many fans, and I’m not going to argue with that.
#6 – Mastodon – ‘Show Yourself’
In the middle of a concept album about a desert wanderer with a death sentence Mastodon go full tongue-in-cheek Bill and Ted in the video clip. Featuring Death looking a bit worse for wear and playing chess with hospital patients it’ll brighten your isolation mood.
#5 – Architects – ‘A Match Made In Heaven’
There are some things that just go together, like Netflix and chocolate, Batman and Robin, Sam Carter and BLEGH! If you’re stuck in isolation the latter is a match made in heaven and that’s why Architects made our top five.
#4 – The Amity Affliction – ‘Shine On’
“You know we’re all sinking together, but this lifts us up!” And you know one thing that lifts spirits so well? Music. Immerse yourself in it, sing along to it, cry to it and use it as a tool to help you through that troublesome moment when all seems lost!
#3 – The Darkness – ‘Easter Is Cancelled’
It was all a bit of a laugh until Easter actually got cancelled. Way back in October 2019 the lovely lads from Lowestoft prophesied an end to that holiday in April, although I’m sure they didn’t have a global pandemic in mind. Easter is cancelled, so kick back and listen to some good music.
#2 – Korn – ‘Hold On’
Inspired by a blood disease that nearly killed him Jonathan Davis penned ‘Hold On’ as a song of empowerment. No matter how helpless you may feel, hold on, hang in there, ask for help.
#1 – My Chemical Romance – ‘I’m Not Okay’
All of us here at Wall Of Sound hope you’re ok, but if you’re not that’s fine. There is no holy grail of happiness, and in times like these it’s normal to feel down or lost. If you feel in a funk just remember that’s normal, but reach out. Video call a friend or family member, listen to your favourite song. It’s ok to ask for help
I’d like to think there’s a bit of something for everyone in there. A love of heavy music is what brings most people here to Wall Of Sound. It’s certainly one of the reasons I write exclusively for this site. The heavy community is a family, and like any family, we’ll have our disagreements and challenges. But we will also reach out and help those who need it, we’ll also ask for help from each other. Sometimes asking for help feels like the hardest thing to do, but trying to grind through things on your own, many of them out of your control is even harder.
Written by Gareth Williams (@notgareth)
Give the playlist a spin below if you’re on Spotify and kill 3hrs and 33mins of your lockdown blues!