Hail, Satan! The ten best metal songs about Hell
Of the countless contributions heavy-metal music has made to modern society -- leather pants and corpse paint not least among them -- perhaps the finest addition to this often crunchy, driving genre of music has been the focus it's put on Satan. Yes, he's known by many names, but without heavy-metal bands as cheerleaders, Beelzebub, Lucifer, Old Nick, Christine O'Donnell or whatever you'd like to call him just wouldn't carry the same weight in our detached, technological age. In honor of bands that invoke Mephistopheles, we'd like to present to you the ten best (and gloriously cheesy) songs about Hell. Happy Halloween.
1981: A vintage year for devil-worshipping heavy metal.
10. Pest - "Blasphemy Is My Throne" (2001)
The big gripe about black metal from Varg Vikernes of Burzum is that the genre was never intentionally Satanic -- rather, new jacks in the scene, probably influenced by mass media, turned it into a Satanic style of music. The church burnings were more about destroying Christian culture, which first destroyed Nordic culture, Vikernes claimed in last year's black-metal documentary Until the Light Takes Us. Whatever your opinion, the title track off this 2001 EP by Swedish black-metal band Pest is a scorcher, and very much rooted in hailing Satan.
9. Misfits - "Green Hell" (1983)
The last song on the A-side of Earth A.D., this song is just about perfect for its time. The Misfits had moved away from the early-'50s ghoul rock and straight into hardcore punk at the prodding of its polarizing lead singer Glenn Danzig. "Here in this place lies the genie of death/Touch it, see it/Whoa/Here in this place is a means to your end/Touch it, feel it/Green hell"
8. Judas Priest - "Sinner" (1977)
War is hell. And the first song off Priest's Sin After Sin album is about just that. This was slightly before Halford and company moved into an overall sound that was perhaps more radio-friendly, but this song is still a catchy cut, especially the psychedelic, meandering guitar solo. Many a joint was blazed during that twisted solo, we presume. "Searching for the carcasses of war/But if it's hungry then its very presence/Disrupts the calm into the storm"
7. Gorgoroth - Incipit Satan (2000)
Do we know the lyrics to this song more than the hypnotic chorus of "Incipit Satan"? No. Because Norwegian black-metal band Gorgoroth doesn't print its lyrics and stops sites that do. It's kind of evil; it's also kind of pompous. But this song is pretty great, and capable of turning the most pious into sinners.
6. Danzig - "Long Way Back From Hell" (1990)
Okay, we know Danzig is on this list twice, but pound for pound, he's got to be one of the nerdiest, most evil singers in the history of punk and metal bands invoking the devil and Hell. Have you seen pictures of his house? People actually get their pictures taken in front of it because it looks so creepy. Danzig's lyrics and music surprised us by getting even darker after he parted ways with the Misfits. There's no question, his post-'fits material paints a more vivid, ruddy scene. This track has a New Orleans voodoo bent as well, creating some stirring visuals. "Do you want to take your life/Do you want to cross that line/Cause it's a long way back from Hell/And you don't want to go with me...."