Chimaira Frontman Mark Hunter’s Top Metal Songs with Which to Kill Depression
Like so many of us, Mark Hunter, vocalist for longtime MetalSucks favorites Chimaira, has struggled with depression and mental health. (Hey, we’re all drawn to such aggressive music for a reason, right?) Mark used to that negative energy into Chimaira, but just because that band is now semi-defunct doesn’t mean he has hasn’t found a creative outlet through which to share his feelings: on October 10 – World Mental Health Day – Hunter released Down Again, a heartfelt documentary in which the frontman shares his personal story about utilizing his art to battle personal struggles and bipolar disorder. Taking its name from a song on Chimaira’s The Impossibility of Reason (2003), the film is directed by Nick Cavalier – also recognized for directing Derek Hess’ award-winning Forced Perspective documentary – and is available to stream for FREE right now.
If you’re a Chimaira fan, you’re definitely gonna wanna check out Down Again, ’cause in addition to interviews with Mark and those in his life about his mental health, upbringing, and the formation/rise of Chimaira, the documentary also includes high-quality video footage of the band’s 2017 Christmas show at the Agora in Cleveland, featuring the band’s classic line-up performing together again after nearly seven years of separation. But even if you’re not a Chimaira fan, Down Again is essential viewing, an intimate look at issues which touch all of our lives.
We implore you to check out the movie, which you can do here. But first, to help celebrate the release of Down Again, we asked Mr. Hunter to make us a playlist of his top Metal Songs with Which to Kill Depression… and lucky for us, he obliged! Check out Mark’s picks, as well as his explanations for those picks, below. Feel free to come back and revisit this post the next time you’re feeling down again.
Morbid Angel – “Dominate”
I recently tried to listen to this song while editing photos for a client. I could not stop tapping my fingers along to the blast beats. Dopamine and feel good endorphins filled my body. All I wanted to do was get on stage and crush. This song is pure adrenaline.
Devin Townsend – “Earth Day”
I know Devin battles with mental health issues, and I’m somewhat thankful for that because the music is so brilliant. Of course, I don’t like to see a fellow human struggle, but I think it’s sometimes necessary for next level art. You can’t create it without it. Earth Day is full of intense highs and dark lows mixed with spastic wild emotions. Just like Bipolar.
Meshuggah – “Demiurge”
There are so many tracks to choose from if you want to feel invincible, but I’m not sure there are many out there as devastatingly heavy as this. Meshuggah get straight up nasty on this song and create a hypnotic and unrelenting groove that makes me feel like I can take on the whole Empire myself.
Nine Inch Nails – “The Becoming”
I might be crazy, but I think this is NIN’s heaviest song. It’s full of dynamics, but the ending is straight up metal AF. The lyrics “won’t give up wants me dead, god damn this noise inside my head” was my shit back in high school. I felt less alone, and a little more angry instead of sad. I felt like I wanted to create music that had this type of realism.
Cannibal Corpse – “Devoured by Vermin”
Apologies to my dear friend Chris Barnes and other Cannibal Corpse purists, but when I first heard this song in 96 I wanted to quit music. I didn’t think it was possible for anyone to get more intense than this. It’s not my favorite Corpse song (that would be “Stripped, Raped, and Strangled”), but at the time it tore my face off. 1:49 – 2:30 MY GAWD. But instead of quitting, I decided to throw my hat in the ring and make some heavy stuff too.
Death – “Bite the Pain”
Death is one of my favorite metal bands. It’s impossible to point out which song helped me or inspired me the most. Bite the Pain is ranked high. I love the sadness in the melodies and the aggressiveness of the thrashy technical parts. The riffs speak to me, and the title says it all.
Gojira – “From the Sky”
I wore this album out when it was first released. We were working on Resurrection when it blew me away. The grooves, the musicianship, and the lyrical content were all invigorating. I discovered Gojira during an amazing period in my life. Whenever I listen to them, I am transported back in time.
Pantera – “Strength Beyond Strength”
I realize most of the songs I’m listing are ancient to younglings out there. I don’t listen to much modern metal. I like what I like. There is no other band that made me feel as empowered. Despite all the bad press and damaging career moves, I don’t think it’s possible to be a metalhead and not love Pantera. At least not my generation.
Deftones – “Lhabia”
I used to play this song on guitar over and over again. Deftones inspired the hell out of me. I saw them open for Anthrax and never looked back. Stef is one of my favorite riff writers period. Playing along to these songs helped my depressive states and were easy enough to learn and lock right in with the band. I am a sucker for palm muted riffs.
Down – “Bury Me in Smoke”
My goodness, the riffs on this album are godly. And 7:04 of NOLA sludge is still not enough. I was a pizza dude with high aspirations when I got this album. I had piss and vinegar and wanted nothing more than to write sick riffs like this and be in a band someday. I still think the lyrics: “I have an escape. Alone it keeps me safe and in my home. I have to use it. To keep me satisfied until I’m gone. Don’t regret the rules I broke, when I die, bury me in smoke” are still as relevant to me now as they were in my teen years.