Wow, it’s been a long time and you’ve all been waiting patiently. So here’s my 20-11 of the best heavy metal songs of all time. If you’re in desperate need of an update as to what else we’ve posted, here are some links: Mine: 50-41, 40-31, 31-20 and Steel Druhm’s: 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11.

20. NileIn their Darkened Shrines – “Unas: Slayer of Gods” –  Motherfucking Nile. How beautiful your Egytian themed death metal is. While In Their Darkened Shrines isn’t the band’s best record ever or anything, but this is also one of the band’s best and most memorable songs in my opinion. Not only that, it’s really just a fucking colossal track. It clocks in at 11:43 (and apparently no one can get that full track on YouTube) and the riffing is immense, the solos are rad and… and I just never got over it. I think this is probably the most listened to Nile track in my collection and one of the most frequently listened to epic death metal tracks I own. Oh, the drums are fucking rad, too.



19. God ForbidIV – Constitution of Treason – “Into the Wasteland” – This is gonna ruffle some fucking feathers. I love this track. And, you know what else? I think that God Forbid is actually one of the best things to come out of the ‘metalcore’ thing, largely ’cause I don’t think that they’re metalcore at all, but a modern thrash outfit and a fucking good one at that. It’s always been baffling to me that they never have gotten bigger than they are given their writing and playing. But actually, again, while this record isn’t their best, this track just fucking rules. The riffing is fantastic, the vocals are tremendous and most importantly the last minute of the song is goddamned incredible. Credit where credit is due, that was Jason Suecof who produced the record playing at least one of the solos there and if that doesn’t land in the ‘pure metal’ category in spite of some chug then you and I have very different definitions of what makes metal awesome.



18. Type O NegativeSlow, Deep and Hard – “Unsuccessfully Coping with the Natural Beauty of Infidelity (I Know You’re Fucking Someone Else)” –  It’s hard to remember, but 1991 was a bad time for metal. There was good metal coming out, actually, the underground was pretty awesome in the early 90s, but popular metal? Oh man. And while these guys never hit the big time with this record, they did make awesome metal that was pretty accessible for a kid whose only metal experiences up until that point had really been Metallica and Iron Maiden (and the like). And really, Type O Negative was a gateway band back to metal for me. Of all their material, though, it’s the first three records (particularly the first two [sans live record]) which I think are the best. And of all of that, the crowning jewel is this track. I just don’t think it gets a lot better than this. It has everything that defined the band  (the dirge and the humor), and was just so damned good. Listen and if for some reason you haven’t heard it, enjoy.



17. ArcturusLa Masquerade Infernale – “The Chaos Path” –  The unholy vocal union of Garm and Simen on this track just hooked me immediately. The crazy circus sound, too, was something new for me and I fell in love with it. And really, this whole album is fucking amazing. Arcturus is a band that people still can’t get over, either. Despite what I see as being a spiraling output later on, they have diehard fans and they are still iconic for a reason. And that reason is best embodied by “The Chaos Path” which was something that metal had never heard before and hasn’t really heard since done in the same way.



16. UlverNattens Madrigal – “Hymne I – Of Wolf and Fear” –  Here’s another one of those tremendous songs that are undeniably among the best metal songs ever written and performed. I’m particularly fond of this one because it combines the sound from Kveldssanger in with the ultimately spiky, icy cold riffing that no band has ever really been able to mimic and make work. This track has some amazing riffing, some audible bass, and a feel that will never be matched again. Also, Garm is the best black metal vocalist of all time in my opinion. I just don’t think it gets better than him. And it hardly gets better than this.



15. VintersorgÖdemarkens Son – “När alver sina runor sjungit” –  OK, so I have to admit it. I’m a big Vintersorg fanboy, and for me it was Ödemarkens Son that got me into the band. “På landet” and “Svältvinter” still stand out for me from the record, but “När alver sina runor sjungit” is definitely the take the cake moment on the record for me. The chorus is tremendous, the writing is awesome and the whole song is representative of what Vintersorg was (is). I mean, if you think about it, in this day of post-black metal, Vintersorg is the first post-black metal band. Focused entirely on non-Satan related things, while taking Ulver‘s Bergtatt formula and perfecting it. Ödemarkens Son, and particularly this song, stand(s) as a testament to that period in metal music. And is so fucking win.



14. Shining V: Halmstad – “Besvikelsens dystra monotoni” – This song is fucking amazing. I love, love, love the introduction and when I complained about Shining “losing” the same kind of feel that they had on previous records, it’s really this track that I think of. Kvarforth sounds genuinely tortured here. While the production is perfect, the writing is crushing, the bass work is excellent and I love the song as a whole—this is the first (and last) “depressive black metal” that has ever moved me emotionally for real, because Kvarforth’s vocals are so fucking sick. This song is just fantastic and it ranks among my favorite tracks ever.



13. Theatre of TragedyVelvet Darkness They Fear – “And When He Falleth” –  This is another track from a record that is almost entirely perfect. For me, Theatre of Tragedy is the one band that truly nailed the “beauty and the beast” vocals and fuck did they nail it. This record is just such a good feel, with beautiful, delicate vocals from a young Liv Kristine and before the growler decided that it’d be way cooler if he just talked all stupid. While there are a number of songs that could go in this position, this track takes the place because it’s the best example of the style as it was and the samples are perfect: “There is also love and life and hope!” “Very little hope I assure you. No. If a God of love and life ever did exist, he is long since dead. Someone… Something! Rules in his place…”



12. ÁsmeginHin vordende sød & so – “Til rodenfolkets herskab” — Holy motherfucking excellent folk metal. This is, basically, as good as it gets. Yeah, that’s right, folks, I rated this song above Vintersorg and Otyg. In fact, I rated this song #12 OF ALL because the vocals are so incredible. Yeah, that’s Lasare from Solefald and Borknagar and a bunch of people from out of nowhere, but this song is simply one of the best I’ve ever heard. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times I’ve listened to it. Probably thousands. And, much like one poster at YouTube, it once caused me to rip off all my clothes, run out into the woods and kill a bear with my bare hands. It’s some powerful stuff.



11. EmperorAnthems to the Welkin Dusk – “Ye Entrancemperium” –  Yeah, so Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk is Emperor‘s crowning glory if you ask me (and since you’re reading this, you asked me). I know that most people don’t agree with me about that, but they probably also don’t agree with me that “Ye Entrancemperium” is the best track on this CD, or the 11th best heavy metal song of all time. Well, they’re motherfucking wrong. This track is awesome, and I remember how it just gripped me by the throat and wouldn’t let go the first time I listened to this album. A highly addictive opening track is a very necessary part of one of the most successful albums of all time. And this track has it all, amazing riffs, amazing riffs, some more amazing riffs, oh right, some amazing riffs and Ihsahn’s least embarrassing clean vocals during the entire Emperor tenure. Oh, right, also amazing riffs. Though, honestly, you can’t go wrong with any track on this album.



Yup. That’s that.

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  • Kevin

    Holy shit, I’m really surprised to see God Forbid on here. It turns out I’m not the only one that thinks they’re far more talented than you’re standard metalcore band.

    This has also been eye opening for me because I though Nile played Egytian themed metal. I’m going to have to look into this “Egytian” metal. Sounds metal as fuck, that’s for sure.

    • “This has also been eye opening for me because I though Nile played Egytian themed metal.” It’s funny, ’cause if you’re making fun of me for having a misspelling and then you do it yourself, you look like a total dumbass. ;)

      Also, that God Forbid track fucking rules.

      • Abdul Al-Saieed

        You forgot to quote “they’re far more talented than you’re standard metalcore band.” If someone can’t differentiate between your and you’re, then they shouldn’t be fucking correcting someone else’s spelling/grammar.

  • Soze

    Fairly underwhelmed by this lot ( and yes, I’ll be predictably metal and call out God Forbid for being rubbish ). The Emperor is the only track there that would make any list of mine ( it’s one of my favourite songs by them too ) although there are a few other decent tracks. Looking forward to the top 10 though!

    • What’s rubbish about God Forbid? How is that not just balls to the walls fucking metal, dude? There’s nothing rubbish about that band.

      Still, I’m surprised, all of these tracks excite me.

  • Bogdan

    I’ve never listened to God Forbid, mostly because of the “metalcore” tag (I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of thrash either), but this track fucking rocks. I’ll give that record a few spins these days.

  • awesome – Love the asmegin – never heard them before – thanks for enlightenment!

  • ZacP

    Hell yeah Emperor and Theater of Tragedy! I caught a drumstick at a Leaves Eyes show recently. Go Liv Kristine! I got her autograph but forgot to ask for the drummer’s whoops

    I’ve never heard of Asmegin but I’m willing to check out anything related to Solefald. That’s definitely a great song.

  • The Metal Pig

    AGM, love the God Forbid entry. It baffles me also why these guys have never got the following of say Lamb of God or In Flames etc. They have improved their playing and songwriting with each new release. Shame their rythym guitarist left as his clean vocals were quite unique sounding and I really liked them…although to make us forget this, he has been replaced by ex-Himsa axeman Matt Wicklund.
    Bogdan…u shouldn’t get caught up in genre tags! God Forbid are no metalcore band…not that it matters.

  • The Metal Pig

    please forgive my spelling of rhythm.


    I’ve been listening to Asmegin for years…awesome band. Glad to see they are finally getting some recognition.

    Solid work with the Arcturus, Nile, and Ulver as well.

  • Tom

    Totally agree with the Chaos Path as a necessary inclusion. That is the type of song I can listen to multiple times in a row. So bizarre and mesmerising.

    As a massive Emperor fanboy, I think I would have liked to have seen a top 10 entry for them. I do agree with Anthems as their crowning glory, and to pick a song from that alone is tough. I am not sure if I would have gone with Ye Entrancemperium over Loss and Curse of Reverence, or With Strength I Burn… but this is the nature of list making!

    Enjoying the blog so far, looking forward to the top 10

  • johan

    Good pick on the God Forbid, people don’t realize that they were god because they got lumped in with shitty metalcore bands. Gone Forever and Constitution of Treason are good albums, though.

  • Brian M

    La Masquerade Infernale remains one of my top ten albums of all time (I actually prefer “Of Nails and Sinners” because of the amazing lyrics, but…I am listening to Chaos Path right now…and it does ROCK, man).

  • zolos

    excellent choices, thanks for helping me discover asmegin! (go lazare!)
    if i would make my own best songs list, it would look very much like yours :>

  • Ernesto

    Never in a thousand lifetimes I would have guessed that someone anywhere could consider a God Forbid song as one of the top 20 metal soongs OF ALL TIME. I agree with having a song from Emperor’s “Anthems…” in the list, but “With Stength…” would have been my pick.
    Asmegin pick was nice, but I think a Moonsorrow track would have been better. Well, there are still 10 positions left….

  • Mathias H

    I will have to check out some of those songs. Although familiar with the bands I have not listened to 100% by them. The top 10 better include Edge of Sanity’s “Crimson”.

  • Definitely agree  on Chaos Path totally and it permanently brain fucked me.

    Thanks for the intro to Ásmegin as I love Winds and Age of Silence!

  • Great selection of bands and songs… a little surprised with number one… not a bad song but Blaze’s time with Wolfsbane produced many much better written and performed songs… IMHumbleO, but what do I know, I’m 40…

  • Jamison Roberts

    I typically stay away from metal sites and forums because of the herd mentality … my point being is that God Forbid is an excellent metal band.  I would have picked something from Determination or Gone Forever though. 

    The pick from Nattens Madrigal is spot on too.  And you got some classic Emperor in there too!  Excellent!

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  • OK I’m a little late for this, but… I gotta thank AMG for introducing me to a few of the greatest bands I’ve ever heard: Vintersorg (and his projects) and Arcturus. But mostly Vintersorg, because oh man am I addicted to his stuff. I managed to get Till Fjalls and Odemarken’s Son one day (and 2 weeks later found Alvefard and Sagovindar’s Boning available to buy) and I’ve never turned back. Mr V has made his way to become one of my favourite vocalists (and musician) of all time, just from 4 records.
    AMG I don’t think I can thank you enough for introducing me to Vintersorg because, oh man it’s some of the greatest music ever!