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HEAVY HEARTS: Exploring the Lyrical Depth of Anger in Metal Songs

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With John McCauley

Hands up who actually listens to and digests song lyrics? I mean, who REALLY digs deep and listens?

One of the beautiful things about music is its ability to connect with different people in different ways. It soothes, it comforts, it angers, and it saddens – often all within the one song and even more often to varying degrees of acceptance across all those who listen.

It breathes a life of its own, swept away or glossed over depending on your mood or what is happening in your life at that particular moment.

But how deep do or can metal songs get? How many different ways can they be interpreted or used to guide mood, feel and emotion?

HEAVY is pleased to introduce a new monthly segment, Heavy Hearts, with John McCauley going into greater depth surrounding the lyrical components of metal, dissecting the inherent themes of breakup, mental health, loss and more that combine to touch each and every one off us in different ways.

Music is not, and never will be, an exact science, but each month John will offer his opinions and answers after analyzing some of the most popular metal songs in history and others you may discover for the first time. You may agree, you may disagree, but one thing we can all agree on is the importance of metal and music in life.

“It’s just one of those days, when you don’t wanna wake up, everything is fucked, everybody sucks.” If you ever felt like Limp Bizkit’s song Break Stuff you’re not alone. There are many songs that deal with anger or being angry. Music can help relieve emotions, whether it’s a sad love song you listen to after a breakup, or a heavy screaming song to blast if you’re angry.

Sometimes you just want to yell when you’re angry, and that’s what these songs feed into. If you’ve been betrayed, backstabbed, lied to or whatever the reason, here is a list of angry songs that you can listen to when you’re pissed off.

Reader Discretion Advised. Offensive language is included.

Leech Anglemaker, 2015
It isn’t just the angry lyrics bashing someone that you hate, but this heavy song will either get some anger out or find a way to get you angrier. Chanting disses about cutting off a person that’s wronged leads into brutal blast beats on the drums and harsh vocals that match the energy of how you’re feeling. This song is at a constant high energy until it reaches its peak at the pre-breakdown callout. The lyrics are easy to understand for yelling, you can feel the energy rise until the final lyric before the breakdown is yelled “I don’t owe you fucking shit.” If that doesn’t make you feel good yelling that to this person that has wronged you or “sucked the life out of [you],” I don’t know what will.

The RiverWage War, 2015
There’s plenty of reasons to be angry at people, but an all too common one is from an abusive relationship, especially where your partner cheated on you. This song covers deep topics of regret and calling out the person who cheated on you. This song is usually heavy but has slow moments to build up energy, then followed by a famous metalcore trope, the “blegh.” This is a well-paced angry song that has a great breakdown callout to end the song. “Here’s to our past I’ll never need, no ‘here’s to you’, rest in peace.” If you have ever been cheated on or hold anger to a loved one who cheated on you, this is the perfect song for that specific emotion.

I Solemnly Swear Like Moths to Flames, 2013
This song has heavy verses but a clean chorus that is slower and more melodic. Continuing the path with perfect callouts, this song takes the cake. It has a lyric that everyone wants to yell when someone pisses them off. “What I really need is for you to go fuck yourself” followed by another yelling “fuck yourself.” It’s cathartic to sing those lyrics when you’re angry, and that lyric alone is enough to help ease your anger.

Holier Than ThouMetallica, 1991
The third song on Metallica’s infamous Black Album is one filled with angry lyrics. James Hetfield calls out someone who is ignorant, arrogant, a liar and someone who judges someone else. Someone that has a sense that they are better than everyone or “holier than thou.

Angry lyrics are usually matched with an up-tempo song, and that rings true here. With a great guitar solo and upbeat drumming, this is a classic metal band showing some anger towards narcissists.

Psychopath Spite, 2016
Spite are known for their gory, dark, and violent sound and lyrics. This might be one of their heaviest and most angry. With vulgar lyrics such as “rot you fucking piece of shit,” “I want to make you unrecognizable, I want to fucking pick you apart, I want to taste your fucking heart.” Paired with guttural vocals that make this song reach a level of hatred and disgust that is unmatched. This is a beast of a song while being under three minutes in length. What lacks in length, it makes up for it in terms of anger and disgust.

Sunshine Sworn In, 2015
Sunshine is an ironic title for a song about being angry. However, when chants of “you are not my sunshine” it seems clear that this dark song is not all bright like the title might suggest. This song picks apart someone and begs for a person to leave them alone, go away and never talk to them. It’s heavy and switches up-tempo throughout the song and if you’re at a point where you’re so angry at someone, they maybe abandoned you or failed you, this is a great choice to release that feeling.

Ded to Me Vended, 2022
Now Slipknot has a huge selection of angry songs, but I’m going to choose a song from the band of the son of Slipknot’s frontman Corey Taylor. His son, Griffin Taylor, sounds similar to his dad and carries a similar sound to his dad’s band. This track holds plenty of anger and dark lyrics cursing at others. This song isn’t just heavy but fast too. It picks up-tempo as it carries on, and it’s so easy to just yell out with Taylor when you’re angry.

Don’t Be ScaredNot Enough Space, 2023
This single from new band Not Enough Space is led by two front women who aren’t just extremely talented, but angry too. This song calls out another abusive and manipulative person. Whether it’s an ex, a former friend or family member or whoever, this song has harsh verses with a melodic but angry chorus. The best part of this song is when they sample a sound from a viral video where a girl screams “I will see you in fucking hell, you fucking asshole.” That kicks off what seems like three breakdowns in one, where it just continues to get heavier and better as it goes.

Innate ThirstDying Wish, 2020
Another band that is on the newer side, emerging in 2018 comes this powerhouse of anger, Dying Wish. Led by Emma Boster whos harsh vocals sound angrier than a typical harsh vocal and is so powerful and raw. In this song, she screams multiple times, “If I see you drowning, I won’t think twice.” Leaving someone for dead is definitely angry and an intrusive thought that some might have towards someone they absolutely despise.

You Make Me Sick Of Mice & Men, 2014
Following the trend of song titles that clearly lay out what the song is going to be about, here is the last entry. A catchy and heavy guitar riff lays the foundation as, you guessed it, the lyrics are screamed out and are about someone making another person sick with hatred and anger. Listening to specific songs pointed to specific instances, like how The River was about an ex, this could be about anyone and is so versatile when it comes to your angry situation. As long as you have someone to be angry about, this song will hit hard.

Whether these songs help you release some of that anger you have built up or you just want to listen to angry songs, these ten picks are definite adds to your angry playlist. Check out all of these songs and more on this playlist.

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