"You couldn’t go to an MMA show without hearing this one about 10 times in a night." The ultimate heavy metal gym playlist, by Kris Barras

Kris Barras and some of his metal picks
(Image credit: Press (Avenged Sevenfold: Future))

Few genres on this planet can get you pumped like heavy metal, which is why it's almost always the first thing most of us reach for when hitting the tracks for a run or preparing to lift some weights at the gym. Kris Barras, the MMA fighter-turned-frontman for British hard rockers Kris Barras Band, knows a thing or two about metal and working out, so we got the man himself to compile his ultimate gym playlist. Turn it up, and get ready to break a sweat. 

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Avenged Sevenfold - Bat Country 

"Back when I was training for fights, I used to do my morning runs at 6am. I hate running and I am definitely not a morning person, so I needed a track that would fire me up from the get-go. This was always first on my running playlist, guaranteed to get me psyched up and in the zone. I still get butterflies in my stomach when I hear it, reminds me of all those freezing cold mornings on the road!"

Slipknot - Wait And Bleed

"This track was my first introduction to the band, when they started blowing up over here. I was in my early teens and really starting to get into heavier music and when I heard this I just had my mind blown. Lots of Slipknot tracks make it on to my gym playlist now, all the songs you’d expect - Eyeless, Duality etc - but for me, Wait And Bleed will always hold a place in my heart as one of the first tracks that really got me into metal.

Drowning Pool - Bodies

"This one isn’t on my gym playlist any more, but was always there back in the day when hitting pads, sparring etc. It’s a fairly cliche choice; there was a time when you couldn’t go to an MMA show without hearing this one about ten times in a night. I guess that’s why I liked it, though; it always had the association with the fight game for me."

Soulfly - Jumpdafuckup

"This one is a banger, guaranteed to get you pumped. It's always on my weight training playlist. The raw energy and power of the song just gets me going - no way I’m going to quit during a set when this one is on!"

Machine Head - From This Day

This is another nostalgic one for me and sits firmly on my current gym playlist. Whilst The Burning Red probably isn’t the most popular Machine Head album, it was the one that got me into the band. I used to be in a nu metal-type band when I was around 14/15 and this was one of the first songs we covered, playing it at my school’s battle of the bands and local youth clubs. We were terrible, ha ha!"

Disturbed - Down With The Sickness

"I had my first proper fight when I was around 19, under Muay Thai rules. This song was my intro track for my first seven or eight fights. The drum intro playing whilst I stood there getting pumped, then once the ‘OO WAH AH AH AH’ hit, I’d charge into the ring. Got to love the theatrics, ha ha! It would always get me focused and ready for the fight. As I got more experienced, though, I switched it up for something more chilled. I started to feel like needing to be more calm and collected was more important, especially when fighting higher calibre opponents. Just getting mad and psyched doesn’t work against higher ranked guys. So I actually used to do the ring walk to Teardrop by Massive Attack in the later stages of my career."

Architects - Animals 

"Something a bit more recent. I love what these guys do and this track is a banger for sure. It’s the perfect tempo for training too, it just stomps along. The percussive anvil-whacking gives it almost a primal feel. Also, it sounds a little bit like weights dropping. The kind of thing that would get me banned from my local Puregym!"

Bring Me The Horizon - Wonderful Life

"This is by far my favourite Bring Me The Horizon track. There’s something about it that just makes me smile. The orchestration at the end is epic, it just lifts you up and makes you feel good. It's the perfect track for me when I’m on a treadmill, absolutely hating life, this one will come on and I’ll always smile and push through. We actually have this as the last song we listen to in the dressing before walking out on stage."

Kris Barras Band - Unbreakable

"Now, I’m not suggesting for one second that I listen to my own music whilst staring at myself, flexing in a mirror. However, I did once have this on whilst training, when I was getting the mixes sent through after recording the album. Whilst it is no longer on my training playlist, I reckon that it’s a decent enough gym tune for any readers to have a go with!"

Kris Barras Band's latest album Halo Effect is out now via Earache. The band head out on a UK tour starting in Southampton today, April 12

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.