The 100 greatest metal songs of the 21st century

Stone Sour

Stone Sour:  (Image credit: Cooking Vinyl)

60. Cave In – In The Stream Of Commerce (2000)

At the turn of the century, the obstinate world of hardcore was undergoing numerous, startling transformations, not least Cave In’s shift into vaulting, luminously progressive realms. …Commerce was Jupiter’s standout, its luminous riffs rising and cascading like celestial shrapnel, reaching a state of emotional exhilaration writ across the widest of canvasses.

59. Grand Magus – Hammer Of The North (2010)

“Grand Magus are one of my favourite bands, and Hammer Of The North is definitely one of their top five songs. I even named my radio show on after that song. We’ve toured with them on numerous occasions and when they end their show with this song, to hear the singalong that continues long after the song is over, is just amazing. Gives me goosebumps every time!” Johan Hegg, Amon Amarth

58. Isis - Weight (2002)

If Isis’ second album, Oceanic, ushered in a whole new wave of wistfully nomadic post-rock, Weight proved to be its most intrinsically transformative track – a nigh-on-11-minute journey weaving a state of rapt, purifying deliverance from the most delicate of timbres in real time. A beacon for the adrift, Weight feels more potent now than ever.

57. Stone Sour – Through Glass (2006)

The thoughtful Through Glass is a classic rock-radio ballad from Corey Taylor’s other band, which somehow avoided the dirge trap thanks to its breakout chorus and impassioned vocal delivery (not that we’d expect anything less from Corey). Ruminating on the superficiality of fame, fortune and the music industry, it showed another, more soulful side to the man behind the mask.

56. Immortal – All Shall Fall (2009)

“Immortal are one of the strongest shining stars up in that ice-cold Norwegian black metal sky. All Shall Fall, the title track from Abbath’s final album with Immortal, does an excellent job of summing up everything I love about them; demonic croaks, heroic battlefield riffs, relentless blastbeats and the signature calm-in-the-eye-of-the-storm acoustic guitar breakdown. A frosty anthem that will make you want to permanently relocate to Blashyrkh – if not only for the reduced tax benefits!” Erlend Hjelvik, Hjelvik

55. Cradle Of Filth – Nymphetamine (Fix) (2004)

As Cradle Of Filth entered 2004, they were looking to build on the momentum they had been solidly amassing since the 90s and assure their place as the breakout band of the British metal underground. 

“We had been on Sony for the last couple of years, and that had led to a place where we’d started getting a little more commercial success,” says frontman Dani Filth. “Babalon AD, from the album Damnation In A Day, had actually had some chart success; I remember hearing it on the radio in my car one day, which was very strange, and we had headlined a big stage at Ozzfest, so when we signed to Roadrunner they were looking to amplify that.” 

One song from the writing sessions - and the song that’d end up being the title track, Nymphetamine - featured numerous, distinct parts, evolving from high-tempo, rolling black metal into slow, gothic grandeur (and back again). As it turns out, it was that slower passage that held the most potential as a lead single.

“The label were keen to take the song and take that middle section from it to make it a single, which we were quite happy with,” remembers Dani. “We had some time off from the studio over Easter and came back and messed about with it and the results were one of those rare times where you go, ‘Fuck me! This is good, I think we’ve got something here!’”

They absolutely did. The section the band opted to use - titled Nymphetamine (Fix) - sounded like a nightmarish lullaby, unsettling and soothing all at once, Dani’s demonic gargles perfectly bouncing off the haunting vocals of guest singer and symphonic metal powerhouse, Liv Kristine. It practically screamed ‘big song’. It just needed an iconic video to go with it. 

“The label were keen for us to work with Dani Jacobs,” explains Dani, “who had done a lot of top pop acts of the day [including Tears For Fears, Phil Collins and, er, Steps]. “We sat down and discussed ideas. We had Liv on this swing and me with the big coat. There was a lot of pre-production on it; we filmed it beneath the London Dungeon and it gave it this dank, dark feeling.” 

In other words: it was all absolute mana for goths. Nymphetamine (Fix) has become Cradle Of Filth’s biggest ever hit, with the video clocking up more than 64 million views and counting on YouTube. It also brought the band some new, high-profile fans.

That song is how Bam Margera discovered us!” chuckles Dani. “He heard that album and fell in love with it, and then flew us out to America to be on his TV show [Viva La Bam]. We would hang around with him quite a lot at that time. I mean, it was our biggest-selling album by far. It always makes me laugh that this is our biggest song and it helped the album do so well, because once fans put the record on they were confronted by the first song being Gilded Cunt! That always makes me chuckle.” 

54. Carpenter Brut – Turbo Killer (2015)

The song that truly kicked the synthwave revolution into fifth gear, this fast, urgent single also boasted one of the most retina-singeing videos of recent years. Sounding simultaneously like it was beamed from 1985 and 3085, it became an instant dancefloor classic – for ravers and metalheads alike.

53. Zeal & Ardor - Devil Is Fine (2017)

A track that stunned the underground and established Zeal & Ardor’s Manuel Gagneux as the most unique voice of a generation, this driving, black metal ’n’ blues mash-up was unlike anything any of us had ever heard before. Mixing chain gang chants with blackened riffs, it sounded emotional, eerie and evil as fuck.

52. TesseracT – Of Mind – Nocturne (2013)

TesseracT were already under pressure to follow up their excellent debut album, One, and then they had to contend with singer Daniel Tompkins leaving. They recruited Ashe O’Hara, who helped make Of Mind – Nocturne one of this century’s greatest progressive yet succinct songs, spanning the gamut of human emotions in just five minutes.

51. Meshuggah – Bleed (2008)

“This song alone changed the blueprint on how to write metal music for a new generation. The production screams ‘21st century’. The individual musicianship was untouchable. It became a challenge in the social media world that if you could play the song on drums, you were legit!” Adam Beard, Metal Hammer reader

Metal Hammer

Founded in 1983, Metal Hammer is the global home of all things heavy. We have breaking news, exclusive interviews with the biggest bands and names in metal, rock, hardcore, grunge and beyond, expert reviews of the lastest releases and unrivalled insider access to metal's most exciting new scenes and movements. No matter what you're into – be it heavy metal, punk, hardcore, grunge, alternative, goth, industrial, djent or the stuff so bizarre it defies classification – you'll find it all here, backed by the best writers in our game.