A while ago, I was asked by a fellow M&S team member to recommend them some lifting tunes because they were getting tired of listening to the same thing over and over. This conversation spawned the idea to put together a playlist for everyone that likes metal, hardcore, and everything in between to enjoy on Spotify, which is now free on mobile (the only downside being that everything is shuffled).
I have personally tested this playlist in the gym for the past couple of weeks, and let me just say it increased my lifting by 36%. While that last statement isn't entirely true, this playlist is actually what I've been listening to for a while now and at the very least makes me feel like I could lift any amount of weight, so that should count for something, right?
So now that we're both on the same page, I'd like to reiterate that this playlist is geared towards anyone that is a fan of extreme music in any form of metal. If you're more hip-hop/rap oriented, there might be a playlist in the works already so wait on that, unless you're feeling adventurous.
I did a small write-up of each track that should serve as an intro/description of the band and track. This mix includes some titans of the metal genre, as well as some new up-and-coming bands that are worth checking out.
1. Harms Way - "Warriors Will Reign"
Bandcamp: Harms Way
Although these guys have been around for a while, it doesn't look like they're slowing down anytime soon. With a new album dropping soon, Harms Way have definitely made their mark on the hardcore scene. If you're familiar with this band you'd know that frontman James Pligge is one of the biggest, scariest guys in the scene, and a lot of that has to do with the powerlifting he does, as well as the ski mask he dons at shows once in a while. With that being said, it's obvious why I chose this jam for this playlist: heavy tunes by heavy dudes for heavy weights!
2. Time Crisis - "Armageddon"
Bandcamp: Time Crisis
This band is one of the couple of curveballs I threw in the playlist, but for good reason. I'm a big Power Trip fan, and because I didn't want to exhaust my resources just yet I chose a new up-and-coming band that sounds very similar to them. With a demo under their belt, these Australians are pretty new to the scene but are rumored to be releasing an EP in the near future, so keep an eye out for that. Scope this track out if you're a fan of crossover thrash.
3. Pantera - "Rise"
Oddly enough, this is one of the more positive songs on the list...which should say a lot about the rest of this playlist. Anyways, there was no way I was going to leave Pantera out of the mix, considering they essentially created an entire subgenre of metal in the 90s. Before you fight me on that or on the fact that this song isn't "Walk", just listen to this track and remind yourself how awesome Vulgar Display Of Power is in its entirety, and that this album more than makes up for the first four glam metal Pantera releases.
4. Nails - "Unsilent Death"
Everything this band has done is golden. Nails is pretty much a super-group made up of members from other great bands like Carry On, Internal Affairs, Twitching Tongues, Disgrace and Bad Seed. This track is the tip of the iceberg, and I more than encourage you to listen to their entire discography to get a good idea of what the end of the world would sound like. Rumor has it that there's a new album that should be released soon, and it's almost guaranteed to be a rager so keep an eye out for that as well.
5. 100 Demons - "Time Bomb"
Bandcamp: 100 Demons
Even though these guys have been around for about 15 years they've only released two full-length albums, both of which are classics. 100 Demons takes metallic hardcore to a whole new level, so it's easy to see why they would be included in this playlist. The last 30 seconds of this song should make you want to deadlift 9000lbs, even though that's not humanly possible. Seriously though, don't skip this track (or any others on this playlist).
6. Slayer - "War Ensemble"
Slayer is the thrash metal equivalent of pizza: even when it's bad, it's still good. Fortunately for metal fans across the world, bad Slayer tracks are very few and far between. "War Ensemble" is one of the best tracks in their arsenal of perfectly crafted thrash jams, so it's pretty easy to see why this would be one of my top choices to represent the almighty Slayer. Honorable mentions: "Chemical Warfare" and "Raining Blood".
7. Black Breath - "Virus"
Bandcamp: Black Breath
Sandwiched between two of the The Big Four, you'll find a lesser known band that goes by the name Black Breath. Treading somewhere between thrash, hardcore, crust, and just enough death metal, this band is heavy in all the right places. If you're into the idea of a Motorhead and Entombed love child, do yourself a favor and wear this track out.
8. Metallica - "Fight Fire With Fire"
Honestly, do I even have to say anything about this? I remember the first time I ever heard this masterpiece of an album that opens with this track, nothing was the same in my life. While Metallica may have perfected their sound with Master Of Puppets, I remain a huge fan of this album simply because it's sort of a transition point between the rawness of Kill 'Em All and the heavy, more refined sound of the aforementioned album. In case you're wondering, my all-time favorite Metallica track is "The Four Horseman", but something about throwing a 7-minute track on a playlist just isn't right. At least not yet...
9. Autopsy - "Hand Of Darkness"
I will admit that death metal isn't exactly my forte when it comes to extreme music. I will also admit that the album art for this track had a lot to do with the selection of this track. With that being said, this track still crushes everything in its path, which isn't out of the norm for these Bay Area death metal vets, who have been around since '87. Looking back now, I'm not entirely sure why I chose Autopsy over Entombed...
10. Terror - "Spit My Rage"
Terror is just one of those bands that somehow always manages to find their way into one of your mixtapes because they're so good at what they do. They're one of the first bands anyone listens to when they first get introduced to hardcore, and that the reason why I chose this track. Classic, straight-forward hardcore that makes you want to mosh in between sets of squats. To answer your question, yes, there is a crucial breakdown in this song.
11. Ringworm - "Self-Destruct"
Everything you need to destroy a workout can be found in this song. Masters of all things heavy and intense, these Cleveland vets are the epitome of metallic hardcore. I mean c'mon, their vocalists' name is Human Furnace. Need I say more? Expand your music library with Justice Replaced By Revenge, and their latest effort Hammer Of The Witch. You won't regret it.
12. First Blood - "First Blood"
Website: First Blood
Sigh. If there's any one track that I'll catch guff for its this one, and I'm ready to defend my honor. Like Terror, First Blood is one of those bands that works to transition people into hardcore, and they do a good job at it. Breakdowns are an ongoing theme with First Blood, but you learn to appreciate it because they do it so well! Pick up some dumbbells and circle-pit around the gym, you'll feel better when everything is said and done. Just go with it.
13. Death - Pull The Plug
"Why don't you...dudududun dudududun dudududun...pull the plug?" This track definitely makes you want to...pull some weight. Bad jokes aside, these death metal legends not only have the best name for a band in their genre, but the albums to prove that their the best in their genre. Although their sound seems to evolve into something different with every release, Leprosy stands as an exceptional example of the death metal genre, and is definitely a crucial must-listen for any metal fans out there. Do yourself a favor and give this record a spin.
14. Merauder - Ratcatcher
Merauder released one of the most important 90s NYHC (New York Hardcore) records with Master Killer, there's no question about that. I went a different direction and chose a track not from that album because A) I'm sure that's what everyone expected me to do when they saw Merauder on the playlist, and B) this song is too heavy to pass up. Look at it this way, I'm doing everyone a favor by exposing the other side of Merauder that a lot of people tend not to explore: other songs not on Master Killer. But really you should listen to Master Killer.
15. Obituary - Godly Beings
This one is short and sweet. Clocking in at under 2mins, Obituary is another shining example of American death metal at its finest, so why wouldn't they be on the list? Just listen to those riffs and try to tell me this was a bad pick. It's not.
16. Mother Of Mercy - "Suffer"
Bandcamp: Mother Of Mercy
Another killer track, this time from Mother Of Mercy from Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Not unlike Ringworm, these guys also bring their own unique metallic hardcore sound to the table with a couple of EPs and full-lengths. This song is a great gym track solely based on the "SUFFER THE AGONY!" part towards the end of the song that works to get you pumped beyond belief. The rest of III is amazing as well, so make sure to give that a listen.
17. Hatebreed - "Voice Of Contention"
Hatebreed is one of those bands you can always get pumped on, in and out the gym, so there was no question about putting them on this playlist. Honestly, the only complaint I had about this playlist was that "it needed more Hatebreed." If it counts towards anything, vocalist Jamey Jasta is featured in the Terror song posted above, so this playlist DOES have more Hatebreed. You know who you are. Anyways, Hatebreed should be listened to daily, so here's your dose for today.
18. Sepultura - "Beneath The Remains"
I fought really hard not to put a song off Schizophrenia in this playlist, but I knew Sepultura needed to have a spot. You can't go wrong with these Brazilian thrash/death legends, especially when it's the title track from their third release. Luckily, this was still in the early Max Cavalera era, so it's all killer no filler. Beneath The Remains is considered one of the great thrash (and somewhat death) metal classics, so give this one at least a once-through if you haven't already.
19. Young And In The Way - "Eye Of Providence"
Bandcamp: Young And In The Way
This was another interesting choice that I debated about for a while, but ultimately went with because it's one of the newer, lesser-known bands everyone should check out. Usually described as blackened-crust, YAITW hails from our sister state North Carolina, and have made a name for themselves in recent years by not only putting out some epic albums, but for infamously using animal heads and blood as props during their shows. If you're into that sort of thing you should catch them live, and if you're not, just listen to them in the comfort of your gym or own home.
20. Mammoth Grinder - "Frozen"
Bandcamp: Mammoth Grinder
One of my current favorite bands has the honor of finishing off this playlist, and I can only hope you made it this far. Mammoth Grinder treads the fine line between hardcore, thrash and death metal in such a great way that every release they've had is a must-listen. With Extinction Of Humanity, Mammoth Grinder delivers a Texas-sized dose of crossover that can only be described as an unrelenting wall of riffs. They recently released a full-length titled Underworlds that plays in the same manner as the aforementioned album, so give that a listen if you're digging this track.
And with that, I leave you now with hopes that you enjoyed our extreme musical journey together. If you have any questions or recommendations I would love to hear them, so leave me a comment below, or catch me in our forums. This is only the first of many volumes to come, so follow our Spotify for more great playlists coming soon.