My Top 10 Best Heavy Metal Songs of All Time – Reference Music for Mixing

2.)Becoming” – Pantera

This song bears the trademark of Vinnie Paul (Pantera drummer) legendary double bass. And the mixing engineer of “Far Beyond Driven” album does a great job of establishing the clarity on the double bass drums by putting some thump and spike. The primary reason is to make it shine in the mix and not be drowned with the bass guitar.

3.) Too bad” – Ugly Kid Joe

I won’t consider this song to be pretty heavy. However, this one sounds great as a reference between heavy-metal music and alternative rock. In fact, I was pretty impressed the way the guitars , drums and vocals are mixed in this song. Try listening to the low-fidelity version in Youtube. The song still sounds great! I use this song as a reference to mixing guitars for heavy rock music. The snare also sounds pretty cool too.

4.)Davidian” – Machine Head

The guitar and drums mixing in this song is great.

5.) Master of Puppets” – Metallica

This song is a masterpiece by Metallica and in fact, one of the best Metallica songs. The bass mixing is great as well as the vocals and the guitars. If you are mixing metal music with good bassist, you can use this a reference material, since some of the sections in this song feature a bass solo mixed really well. Although a casual listener won’t notice it because it sounds like a guitar solo.

Metallica first bassist Cliff Burton is a very talented bass guitar player. James Hetfield guitar riffs and drums also sound great. I’ve read a post somewhere about the recording of Metallica “Master of puppets” album, and it says that the band was recording the tracks one at a time instead of recording it together. However, in one of their more successful “Black” self-titled albums, the producer starts experimenting about recording them together in the studio. You can read more details here:

6.) Roots Bloody Roots” – Sepultura

Sepultura “Roots” album is one of the most ambitious mixing projects I’ve observed in heavy metal. Try listening to one of their singles “Roots Bloody Roots”. It may sound ordinary to you; however, this song consists of highly sophisticated and elaborate mixing of native drums and Brazilian/African beats. If you want your mix to sounds like a tribal metal band, then this album is a highly recommended reference.

7.) Bleed“- Meshuggah

This list will not be complete without my present-day favorite Meshuggah, one of the heaviest bands today. If you listen to this song, it has one of the most complicated double bass drum sequences I’ve ever heard. If the band’s drummer is ambitious enough to be as good as Thomas Haake, then its no problem. You can use this mix as a reference.

8.) Children of the grave” – White Zombie

This is a cover song done by White Zombie and originally performed by Black Sabbath. The new mix is a complete makeover of the Black Sabbath original. It features heavier guitar tracks as well as drums.

9.) Hell Awaits” – Slayer

This is one of the earliest heavy-metal songs that I used to listen. This is a good example where the mixer does a great job in establishing clarity of the drum mix. If you listen to the studio version of this song – Dave Lombardo’s performance is magnificent. You can use this as a reference mix if you want your song to sound like a classic heavy metal.

10.) Before I Forget” – Slipknot

This is the typical sound of a modern heavy-metal music released in year 2000 and beyond. Try comparing this mix to the Slayer track previously, and you will notice a big difference in bass response and total loudness. Today’s heavy-metal music is plagued with loudness wars. You might not like this trend. Read this tutorial if you are interested in creating broadcast/radio friendly mix. This preserves the dynamics while still having a very loud music common in the metal genre.

So what’s your favorite heavy-metal song reference?

Content last updated on July 14, 2012