Many metal heavyweights — from Zakk Wylde to Metallica — have taken their guitars to “The Star Spangled Banner,” but the truth is that even the most patriotic U.S. citizen can only blast the American national anthem so many times. In those other times, you need other music — preferably of the headbanging, speaker-blowing variety. For those times, here are five hard-hitting July 4th–ready tunes.
Motionless in White – “America”
A deep dive into the corruption below the surface of the United States of A, Motionless in White’s slamming 2013 single is pretty much the opposite of a patriotic jingle. But if you really love something, you have to be honest about it, and Chris Motionless and Co. surely pulled no punches.
Soundgarden – “4th of July”
The song title is the main thing that makes Soundgarden’s Superunknown cut a good fit for Independence Day. Far from celebratory, it’s lyrics read apocalyptic, and according to an old RIP magazine interview with Chris Cornell, far from flags and fireworks, they were inspired by an epic acid trip. Then again, what better way to commemorate America’s birthday than with a little acid and apocalypse?
All That Remains – “Sing for Liberty”
All That Remains singer Phil Labonte actually joined the Marines in 1993, so you can bet that the dude is patriotic. His feelings about his homeland — and those who would, to his mind, bring it down — played out on this standout track off ATR’s sixth A War You Cannot Win: “I have such pride in the land I thought was mine,” he sings.
Iced Earth – “Declaration Day”
American power-metal band Iced Earth have written many songs and albums inspired by historical events, particularly those related to military history. This soaring anthem, sung by former Judas Priest belter Tom “Ripper” Owens, is literally about the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776.
Rob Zombie – “We’re an American Band”
Grand Funk Railroad wrote and recorded the original; Rob Zombie spookified it in 2013, switching out the lyrical reference to Freddie King for a very patriotic nod to Slayer guitarist Kerry King.