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10 Metal Protest Songs to Fire Up Your Fourth of July


It’s been a weird few years in America and if you’re not feeling particularly patriotic this Independence Day, we get it. Things probably don’t seem right to you for whatever reason or another and sometimes you’d rather riot than BBQ.

Thankfully, metal’s always had a rebellious streak, so we’ve got plenty of kick ass tunes to play while you’re raging against the corruption, scarfing down hot dogs, or both. Protest is one of the most American things we can do, so why not shout down the powerful with a kick ass soundtrack?!

As such, here are some timeless protest anthems to use as your soundtrack while raging against the machine. (And no, we tried to avoid the biggest cliches, so there is no Rage Against the Machine on this playlist.)

Twisted Sister – “We’re Not Gonna Take It”

OK, so this one is your annoying uncle’s protest song, and it’s not that heavy or cutting edge, but Twisted Sister are timeless. This is the perfect song to sing while you thrash around in your kitchen making potato salad. Even though the lyrics aren’t super deep and seem to be more about rebelling against your parents and having long hair, the vibe is perfect for an angry fourth.

System of a Down – “B.Y.O.B.”

This is another throwback and still a lot of fun. Some of the messaging may be more apt for early-2000s war protest, but it’s still angry and well-written, and a lot of the themes still feel relevant 18 years later. System of a Down know how to write a solid protest song, and many other tracks could have easily ended up on this list as well.

Sepultura – “Refuse/Resist”

Sepultura are the OG underground protest metal band, and “Refuse/Resist” might be a cliche that you predicted would be on this list. But that doesn’t make it any less of a banger all these years later. If you’re fed up with the American powers that be and the current system, this song captures exactly how you’re feeling — even if this is about unrest in Brazil decades ago.

Sharptooth – “No Sanctuary”

An appropriate anthem for everything the LGBTQ community is currently going through, Sharptooth wrote this song about the horrors of mass shootings at queer night clubs. Metal shows have also been the site of rogue shooters, making the concept of a safe space being violated something we can all sadly relate to. And it helps that this is a seriously solid hardcore track!

Misery Index – “The Lies That Bind”

A classic from the American unhappiness-themed death metal band, Misery Index capture all their key themes in “The Lies That Bind.” The song breaks down the oppression of being stuck in a boring routine, both beaten down by the drudgery but also disgusted by the horrors on the news and in the streets. Definitely still a relatable song!

Jesus Piece – “In Constraints”

This represents a brand-new protest song that just dropped this year, and a great example of pissed-off hardcore. There is definitely something powerful about a Black man lending his voice to a song like this, railing against the way society binds and holds back. In fact, this whole Jesus Piece album should be in rotation for a non-traditional celebration.

Vitriol – “Death, Become Me”

If you’re not familiar with Vitriol, go ahead and get familiar. The band are inspired by being ex-military and reflecting on how messed up that experience can be. But this song in particular, like most of their lyrics, explores these themes in an indirect and unconventional way. This track is heavy as hell, and this band should definitely be a go-to when you need to let out some aggression.

Black Sabbath – “War Pigs”

Another mandatory inclusion, “War Pigs” is one of the first-ever metal protest songs, and also an example of how the ’60’s peace and love movement could also fight back. Black Sabbath have a lot of silly songs, and then a lot of songs where the material is much deeper than meets the eye. While the lyrics of this song are pretty obvious, as the kids would say, “no lies detected.”

Iron Reagan – “Bill of Fights”

Iron Reagan are no strangers to making a statement with their music. Although they are all about thrash, partying, and having a good time, they aren’t doing so without a message. “Bill of Fights” highlights a lot of tension that is happening in our country right now and the absurdity of an ancient governing body trying to rule the modern world.

Napalm Death – “Suffer the Children”

This one made it to the list becausel Napalm Death are the obvious choice for protest music thanks to their ability to unify and fuse metal, punk, and hardcore, resulting in giving birth to a new genre, grindcore. And if you’re fed up with the issues of the world and what we’re leaving the next generation to deal with, this is the perfect song to spin while you work out your woes.

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