As a general rule, I favor adaptability and flexibility in life. You know, because shit is unpredictable.
However, there are a few key things that I consider to be non-negotiable:
- Writing for the love of it, and not to please other people;
- Surrounding yourself with positive people who believe in you and share in your victories;
- Having a badass soundtrack to motivate you to write badass content.
Every writer – in fact, every creative – needs a killer playlist to get them in the right (write?) frame of mind. This is mine. Submitted for your delectation, 10 songs that make me feel unstoppable and help me write better.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the rights to the music on this list.
- Devildriver – Evil On Swift Wings
A choice cut taken from the California groove-mongers’ latest release, Trust No One, every-groove laden riff of this catchy bruiser positively drips with venom. Dez Fafara’s unique bark coupled with a highly infectious melody make this the perfect tune to get those creative juices flowing and that head a-banging’.
- Machine Head – Take Me Through the Fire
When Robb Flynn tells you to take him through the fire, you put on your Nikes and you take him through that goddamn fire. Dude’s gangster AF.
- Terminal Choice – Never Be Like Me
What, I can’t have a dance-y tune on here? Well, excuse me for wanting to expand my musical horizons. Just because a song has synths it doesn’t mean it isn’t badass. The German industrial veterans bring the bounce with this ode to malignant narcissism. I approve.
- Behemoth – The Seed ov I
Look, I’ll be honest with ya, Nergal’s lyrics make me uncomfortable at the best of times. But, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that art simply ain’t art if it doesn’t make you uncomfortable and make you question everything about yourself. Art is meant to cause discomfort. So there.
- Amon Amarth – Raise Your Horns
The title of this song can be interpreted in so many different ways, but it’s actually about Viking drinking horns and, more specifically, raising them. Onwards to Valhalla!
- Five Finger Death Punch – Dot Your Eyes
Even my sister, who isn’t really a fan of extreme music, finds it impossible not to headbang to this anthem of pure, unadulterated badassery. Give it a listen and prepare to feel as unstoppable as a motherfucking freight train.
- In Flames – Only for the Weak
You wouldn’t say it from listening to their newer stuff, but In Flames used to be a pretty badass band. As one of the pioneers of the now legendary Gothenburg (a city in Sweden) brand of melodic death metal, they created the template on which countless future bands based their sound.
- Pantera – Mouth for War
No list of badass tunes would be complete without the legendary Texans, and Mouth for War is the perfect combination of Southern groove and unbridled aggression.
- Dimmu Borgir – Puritania
The Swedes have already made two appearances on this list (must be something in the water) but, for this next entry, we take a trip to their neighbors to the North to sample one of the more uplifting examples of Norway’s infamous musical export, black metal.
- Megadeth – Symphony of Destruction
The song that made me want to pick up a guitar and start playing in the first place. Just try not to feel invincible when that riff kicks in. I dare ya. I double-dare ya.
- Lamb of God – Laid to Rest
Randy Blythe and Co. are at their finest on this track from their 2004 album, Ashes of the Wake. This song will assuredly go down in metal history as one of the most powerful album openers of all time. “Swallow another failure/LAY THIS TO REST!” Yessir, Mr Blythe, sir. Whatever you say.
- Chevelle – Comfortable Liar
A deceptively simple riff and singer Pete Loeffler’s flawless vocal delivery make “Comfortable Liar” a mosh pit classic. After a brief respite from the intensity towards the end of the song, Chevelle delivers the killing blow at around 2:54 and you’re left wondering: “What the hell just happened?”