10 classic metal songs we can't believe don't get played live

ACDC/Iron Maiden/Type O Negative/Slipknot/Ozzy Osbourne
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Building a setlist is tricky business - particularly when your band has been around for  decades and has more albums than some bands have had tours. Inevitably something has to give as new material is brought out alongside expected hits - after all, not playing those is "a little cunty", to take words from Josh Homme - and some songs can drop off setlists for decades. 

While Metallica and Iron Maiden have found creative solutions to this on their most recent tours - the former doing two-night career spanning setlists on their M72 run, while Maiden have outright dropped most of the hits for a more focused, themed set - but there are still some songs that are or have been surprising omissions in band setlists. That in mind, here are 10 songs we're surprised haven't cropped up in setlists more over the years. 

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Iron Maiden - Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter (No Prayer For The Dying, 1990)

1990's No Prayer For The Dying is hardly a beloved record in Iron Maiden's back catalogue, so its not too surprising that few songs from the record have popped up in setlists more or less since it was released. That said, the fact the band haven't played the album's biggest hit - Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter since 2003 is quite impressive, especially considering that not only is it their only #1 in the UK, but in fact the first ever metal #1 single period. 

Yes, we know it's a cheesy song, but then this is Iron Maiden we're talking about - they of gong mishaps and "climb like a monkey" commands - and who doesn't love a bit of B-movie cheese every now and again? And you'd think the song that literally conquered the UK would get another look in at some point. 

Slipknot - All Hope Is Gone (All Hope Is Gone, 2008)

The last Slipknot album to feature the classic 9 line-up, All Hope Is Gone is positively packed with massive sing-alongs. To whit, Psychosocial has been played at almost every Slipknot show since it made its live debut on July 9, 2008 - two days after the single itself was released. Yet somehow, the album's title-track - and first single - has only ever been played once, at that very same show. 

Granted, the fact Clown has openly admitted to hating the album might have something to do with it, saying: “It’s my least favourite [Slipknot album]: no tension, no pain – just efficiency. Being able to go home, able to sleep, is not good, not for what we do.”

Mastodon - Curl Of The Burl (The Hunter, 2011)

As anyone who's ever seen Mastodon at a festival can attest, they aren't exactly the kind of band to turn up, play all the hits and leave. Instead their setlists are often an odyssey into album tracks intersperesed with personal favourites, sometimes bypassing singles almost entirely. Even so, it's surprising that the band have ignored Curl Of The Burl for over a decade. 

On release, Curl Of The Burl was Mastodon's highest charting single on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock Charts and earned the band a Grammy nod for best Hard Rock/Metal Performance [though lost out to Foo Fighters' White Limo]. Yet the song hasn't appeared on a setlist since 2013, when the band kicked off the campaign for their next record, 2014's Once More Around The Sun

Cave In - Anchor (Antenna, 2003)

The only Cave In song to chart as a radio single, Anchor was released at a point where it looked like the band might just about explode in popularity, particularly after they were picked up for tours with the likes of Foo Fighters and Muse. Sadly, it never came to pass and the album stalled at No. 169 on the US Billboard 200, leading to the band returning to their metalcore roots on next album Perfect Pitch Black. 

With its gargantuan hook, you'd think that Anchor would be a mainstay of Cave In sets, but the song only sparingly appeared in setlists around the album release, and has not been revived in the 20 years since. 

Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, 1973)

When you can lay claim on having effectively laid the blueprint for heavy metal, it stands to reason that you might struggle to fit every classic and fan favourite into a setlist and there are inevitably going to be glaring omissions in any set. Massive tunes like Hole In The Sky and Sabbra Cadabra can be explained away as being non-single casualties that would struggle to fit into a comprehensive hits set, but the lack of the title track of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is a huge void in the set. 

Granted, the band did at least acknowledge the song by including an instrumental segment of it in their 2010s comeback sets alongside Supernaut and Megalomania, but the original track never returned to Sabbath setlists after airings during their 90s reunion and was played sparingly even during Ozzy's heyday with the band in the 70s. 

Type O Negative - I Don't Wanna Be Me (Life Is Killing Me, 2003)

Type O Negative's last album with Roadrunner records, 2003's Life Is Killing Me was hampered by a lack of promotion despite being one of the band's most straightforward efforts. Even so, the album's only single I Don't Wanna Be Me was an iconic entry in the band's canon, and made regular rotation at radio stations and metal clubs around the world. 

Considering the epic length of many other Type O tunes, you'd think the band would relish having a (comparatively) shorter song that could get in and out in five minutes. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be: I Don't Wanna Be Me was only played on the album promo tour, and promptly dropped from setlists in their final years.  

Metallica - The Outlaw Torn (Load, 1996)

Metallica have more than their fair share of epic album closers, not to mention one of the most impressively loaded discographies in heavy metal period. So it's not surprising some songs have taken the backseat over the years, particularly when the parent album is hardly beloved - Some Kind Of Monster, anyone? - but we're at a loss to explain why Load closer The Outlaw Torn hasn't cropped up in more setlists. 

A highlight from 1996's Load, The Outlaw Torn was later reimagined for S&M, yet languishes on the lower end of Metallica's setlist picks, popping up infrequently. Considering just how expansive Metallica's setlists on the M72 run have been, we'd have expected it at least once. C'mon lads. 

AC/DC - It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll) (T.N.T., 1975/High Voltage, 1976)

Considering they changed singers in 1980, AC/DC have nonetheless ensured that plenty of Bon Scott-era hits remained in their setlists over the ensuing decades. But perhaps one of the band's most iconic hits - and a song that has become a worldwide favourite intro track for everyone from Saxon to Metallica - It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll) has never been performed by the Brian Johnson iteration of the group. 

Reports that Johnson didn't perform the song out of respect for his predecessor offer some explanation as to its rarity, but 40 years since he joined the band it's still astounding the band have never dusted off their bagpipes.  

Ozzy Osbourne - Diary Of A Madman (Diary Of A Madman, 1982)

We've already acknowledged the difficulties of balancing a setlist when you have fresh material alongside an arsenal of past hits, but Ozzy Osbourne would have been hit doubly hard in the early 80s, trying to squeeze songs from his tenure with Sabbath in alongside his newer, fresher solo hits. 

One of the more surprising omissions however is Diary Of A Madman, the title-track and closing number of his 1982 record. Granted, Diary... was never released as a single, but the track has popped up on a number of compilation releases and is an iconic entry in Ozzy's catalogue. Yet, the song was apparently played only once the year of release, and appeared very infrequently since, its last airing coming in 2000. 

Rob Zombie - Foxy Foxy (Educated Horses, 2006)

The lead single from 2006's Educated Horses, Foxy Foxy also gave Rob Zombie his third top 10 hit on the US Mainstream Rock singles charts after Dragula and Living Dead Girl and helped propel the album back to a top 5 position on the Billboard 200 in the US after Sinister Urge failed to match the success of Hellbilly Deluxe

But while a number of Educated Horses songs have endured in the sets over the years, Foxy Foxy was dropped fairly quickly after the album promo was done in 2007. While as eminently danceable as other Zombie tunes, the song's more hard rock flavours perhaps doesn't always fit in with the sheer bombast of a Dragula or American Witch, but we're nonetheless suprised it hasn't popped up again at least once over the last 16 years. 

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.