Drinking will always be an important part of heavy metal culture. Spiritually, alcohol gives way to the loud, brash frenzy fostered by ancient gods like Dionysus, and so is loved by fans of singalongs and wild physical exertion. Historically, the heroes of rock and roll have a taste for the hard stuff, and as guitar riffs grew bigger and louder, so did booze’s man’s-ruin role in rock music. For whatever reason, a stiff drink has undeniably become an accessory to metal, forever staving off the demons of stage fright, boredom, dry rot and rust.
Not all heavy metal songs are true drinking songs, but the ones that are might be the best drinking songs in the world. So as an excuse to go on a particularly poisonous bender, we here at The Pit decided to put together a list of metal’s most potent boozing anthems. Our qualifications were simple:
- The song has to be fun to drink to.
- The song has to be metal, or at the very least very hard rock — no punk, no country, no Pogues (though how fun is it to drink to the Pogues?)
- The song doesn’t have to be about alcohol, but songs about alcohol get special preference.
Here are the forty tracks we woke up next to with a terrible headache…
40. Soil, “Halo” (Scars, 2001)
There are few songs you think you know the lyrics like you do Soil’s “Halo.” That’s why this groove metal classic is so perfect for a night of hard-boozing — you can garble the words of this track while cackling along with your friends, right up until the chorus’ main line of, “My little HA-LO!” Even if you’re not willing to embarrass yourself publicly by trying to sing this one, its molasses-y riffs are perfectly appropriate for slamming the butt of your fist against the bar. Get stoned.
39. Mr. Big, “Colorado Bulldog” (Bump Ahead, 2003)
Overall, Mr. Big were more metal than their mega-hit ballad “To Be With You” would suggest, and “Colorado Bulldog” is a perfect illustration of how. Weird and hilarious while simultaneously fast and technical, the song could go well behind either trashing a basement or getting smashed at a strip club. Not only that, but it’s arguably the only entry on this list named after an actual drink (it’s sort of a white Russian with Coke in it — whatever, we’ll drink anything). Not the heaviest of tracks, but one that’ll light you up like a Christmas tree.
38. Gama Bomb, “Thrashaholic” (Citizen Brain, 2008)
You gotta love a track about drinking that ends with the band screaming, “…IN THE NIGHT!” Irish thrashers Gama Bomb go total psycho with “Thrashaholic,” a song not just about getting wasted but all madness that comes with it. From dicks drawn on faces to beer vomit being re-chugged, these guys go full disgusto with this hilarious rager. Of course, coming from an Earache album, the recorded version is impossible to listen to via streaming services, but diehard fans can still find this beer-soaked gem out there. You know. IN THE NIGHT.
37. Helloween, “Falling Higher” (Better Than Raw, 1998)
Epic, fun, and powered by lyrics about falling — this deep cut by German shredders Helloween was made for getting sloshed. This song has everything a drunken metalhead wants, from its singalong refrain to its wily-yet-furious solo in the middle. Some more contemporary fans might scoff at the track’s unadulterated fest-metal vibe, but get a few beers in ’em and even they will be playing air-guitar harmonies and ordering Becks over Bud in no time. Nothing goes better with wine than a little cheese.
36. Eyehategod, “Serving Time In The Middle of Nowhere” (Gummo Original Soundtrack, 1997)
Hey, they can’t all be good times. Discovered by most fans on the soundtrack for Harmony Korine’s disturbing 1997 film Gummo, “Serving Time In The Middle of Nowhere” might be Eyehategod at their most palatable — but that’s saying something. The NOLA sludge legends certainly bring a lot of desperation to this track, but its teetering pace and groovy riffs make it perfect for those late nights in the ugliest dives imaginable. While not necessarily something to play on St. Patrick’s Day, “Serving Time…” gets at the sweaty, irresponsible heart of the serious alcoholic. Quick question, though, what the fuck are you staring at, asshole?
35. Machine Head, “Alcoholocaust” (Heavy Metal 2000 Original Soundtrack, 2000)
So many of Machine Head’s songs deal with the emotional pitfalls of addiction, but “Alcoholocaust” off of the Heavy Metal 2000 soundtrack seems to embrace the total mess of a wasted night. Not that this cut is especially fun or nice — its lyrics are mostly concerned with accidentally doing yourself bodily harm in the heat of the moment. Then again, Robb Flynn has always been one for brutal honesty, and that includes being real about what happens when you get too loaded. It’s all funny until someone gets hurt, at which point it’s fucking hi-larious.
34. Gehennah, “Piss Off, I’m Drinking!” (Hardrocker, 1995)
Few bands express black metal’s relationship with booze like Swedish street-rockers Gehennah. “Piss Off, I’m Drinking!” is as nasty a lo-fi thrash track as one finds, with lyrics that reflect all the drunken hostility of the song’s title. While not a song for every night at the bar, putting this one on at a certain type of party — preferably one with a trash can fire and a case of vodka — will send the listeners into a warlike frenzy. Not everyone wants an arm over their shoulder.
33. Corrosion of Conformity, “Deliverance” (Deliverance, 1994)
Gimme an “OOOOOOOOOH!” The attack that “Deliverance” provides is two-headed. The first is the track’s throbbing central riff, lined with a thick, exposed bass line. The second is its chorus, wailed by CoC‘s Pepper Keenan and Mike Dean at the top of their smoke-seasoned lungs. Together, these twin weapons will make a metalhead sing like a bird, dance like a moron, and drink like the most unemployed fish in the sea. Atta boys!
32. Darkthrone, “Whiskey Funeral” (The Cult Is Alive, 2006)
‘Enough time to be sober in death’ — amen to that. Darkthrone might be black metal’s truest band, and “Whiskey Funeral” shows us all why. Fenriz and Nocturno Culto do a good job of bathing even drunkeness in the dark grandeur of sin and blasphemy, while at the same time leaving the tedious references to goats and inverted crosses at the door. The result a blackened thrash song that even Lemmy would raise a glass to. How much puke do you think a leather jacket pocket can hold?
31. Unleashed, “This Day Belongs To Me” (Hammer Battalion Unleashed, 2008)
For the most part, Unleashed are known for taking an utterly merciless approach to Viking metal, and that isn’t always the best boozin’ music. But with “This Day Belongs To Me,” the Swedish band penned a life-affirming anthem to living without hesitation or regret. Hearing frontman Johnny Hedlund snarl, “Now is my time!” makes one want to slam their stein against the table along with the song’s epic death march rhythm. Odin? Damn near killed him!
30. Halestorm, “Apocalyptic” (Into The Wild Life, 2015)
On paper, Halestorm’s “Apocalyptic” is about one last smash with someone you really need to dump — but is there any better metaphor for every single time you get drunk? Besides, this track’s swingin’ rhythm and Lzzy’s shout of, “Gimme one last shot” certainly feel like they’re meant to be blasted at a bar. More than anything, though, it’s Halestorm’s unique vibe of brutally-honest sleaze that places “Apocalyptic” on this list; that aspect of the band always makes them fun to blast during a wasted evening, week, or year. That it’s followed by a song called “What Sober Couldn’t Say” is not lost on us.
29. Monster Truck, “The Enforcer” (Sittin’ Heavy, 2016)
What’s drunker than a metal drinking song? A hockey metal drinking song! Canadian party metallers Monster Truck wrote the ultimate rinkside fight song in 2016, packeing it with all the adrenaline-spiking riffs and Jumbotron WOAHs that any boozer could ask for. The downside to this song is that it’s all about getting violent while drunk — but if you can’t take the heat, get out of Canada (just kidding, they turn off the heat between late August and early June). It makes sense that this track would get the listener totally shitfaced, as hockey fans are some of the more serious boozers in sports fandom. Point is, go Devils.
28. Cycle Sluts from Hell, “I Wish You Were A Beer” (Cycle Sluts From Hell, 1991)
New York’s Cycle Sluts from Hell might have been the ‘80s metal equivalent of the Spice Girls, but songs like “I Wish You Were A Beer” backed up their girl-group gimmick. Fast and snarky as any Motörhead track, the single expresses a sentiment every metalhead feels at least once a day: Hey there, poser, I wish you were a beer. Sure, this one’s more of a novelty than anything else, but when you’re thirsty, this track is everything. The video is also a perfect background piece for a room full of shitfaced jackals, so try not to spill anything on the projector.
27. Venom, “Poison” (Welcome to Hell, 1981)
Technically, “Poison” is about aching for a promiscuous woman, but we consider that on par with hopelessly needing a beer (also, fuck yeah, promiscuous women, you do you). It’s Venom’s sense of desperate degeneracy which makes this a solid boozing tune. The band’s lyrics about urgently wanting to be poisoned feels perfectly at home alongside a drinker’s fifth or sixth whiskey in a neon-lit bar. Besides, you’d probably have to be wasted to bang ‘81 Cronos.
26. High On Fire, “Rumors of War” (Death Is This Communion, 2007)
Matt Pike may have given up the sauce (and good for him — we’re glad the dude knows what’s best for himself), but he would never begrudge us a few beers to the battle hymn of “Rumors of War.” Besides, on this one, it’s Des Kensel we’re drinking with — the drummer’s talents are on display here, and are much of what drives this track’s liver-deep thirst. Then again, Pike’s rousing shout of, “CAUSE EVIL NEVER SLEEPS!” provides this track with the group scream which makes putting it on at the bar so much fun. We guess this is proof that every member of High On Fire is vital to our eventual self-destruction.
25. Black Sabbath, “Sabra Cadabra” (Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, 1973)
Drinking to Black Sabbath is one of rock’s time-honored traditions, but the truth is that mixing music this depressive with, well, a depressant isn’t always a great idea. But “Sabra Cadabra” is a light-hearted paean to loving a wild woman (who isn’t a stand-in to weed, anyway), and as such feels more party-appropriate than otherwise. The track’s carefree biker vibe also guarantees that no matter how slowly you’re nursing your beer, you’ll pick up the pace when this one comes on. The result is a Sabbath song that’s perfectly…uh, drinkable…along…to. Whatever, shut up, we’ve had a few.
24. Rob Zombie, “The Scorpion Sleeps” (Educated Horses, 2006)
All of Rob Zombie’s solo material sounds written for crazy nights with too much booze, but something about 2006’s “The Scorpion Sleeps” earns it the Pabst Blue Ribbon. Maybe it’s the Alice Cooper-esque Rockette rhythm that feels essential to drunkenly dancing around either a dive bar or your empty-strewn living room. Or maybe it’s Rob’s rasped lyrics and “Yeah yeah yeah!” chants that make this song harken back to the substance-soaked ‘70s. Whatever it is, the song is a wino’s paradise, and will have you clapping out of rhythm in no time.
23. Red Fang, “Prehistoric Dog” (Red Fang, 2009)
To be fair, Red Fang might have colored our perception of this song from their 2009 debut with its video. In it, the band fight each other LARP-style in armor made entirely of beer trash, turning themselves into a drunken fight personified. That said, this track’s galloping stoner-rock rhythm and shout-along chorus also feels well-pitched for maximum intoxication, so we’ll give it a pass. Watch that video and play along at home!
22. Midnight, “Lust Filth and Sleaze” (Satanic Royalty, 2011)
Even if Midnight’s anthem to the beast with 666 backs didn’t have its mom-scandalizing lyrics, its opening guitar lick would make it excellent for shooting cheap whiskey and falling off your bar stool. That said, lines like, “The sight of seed as it seeps from your slit” and “I’m gonna bust when you’re down on your knees” also promise the listener a fun time of cackling drunkenly with your grossest friends. Even if love at its gooiest isn’t your thing, this speed metal bender is an awesome accompaniment to bad behavior of all sorts. If you’re gonna spew, spew into this.
21. Obituary, “Redneck Stomp” (Frozen In Time, 2005)
The instrumental opener of Obituary’s 2005 comeback record Frozen In Time begs to be listened to by the wasted. It’s basically an Obituary song without horrific descriptions or too much nuance, meaning it gives the listener room to just stomp around the bar and pound shots along with the drum accents. It’s no wonder the Floridians start every show with it — they’re obviously aware that the opening riff is like a starting gun for bad decisions. Stomp it good — stomp it real good.
20. Hellyeah, “Drink Drank Drunk” (Band of Brothers, 2012)
“Half rack a joint and a bottle of booze/I can’t walk a straight line, but that’s the life I choose!” Is anyone surprised that Hellyeah wrote a really, really good drinkin’ metal song? With this track, the band go all-in on a real sophomoric party atmosphere, complete with a chugalug main riff and lyrics about smokin’ weed, getting laid, and soaking up every drop in the house. This track is the sound of that last round of shots you know you shouldn’t take, and makes for solid backing music a stripper conning you outta awl yer money! Let’s get fucked up.
19. W.A.S.P., “Blind In Texas” (The Last Command, 1985)
After the success of their self-titled debut, W.A.S.P. kept the gnarly riffs but shifted their thematic focus from banging while Satan watches to being fucked-up psychopaths in general. “Blind In Texas” celebrates the various bars of the Lone Star state and their tendency to get the boys from W.A.S.P. irresponsibly wasted. Especially entertaining for the ‘spoken word’ interlude in the middle where you can hear Blackie Lawless and Co. getting told off by a bartender who probably shouldn’t have served them in the first place. Watch out, this one’ll kick sand in your eye.
18. Mastodon, “Blood and Thunder” (Leviathan, 2004)
Nothing makes a drinking song like a part you can all shout in unison before falling to pieces. Sure, “Blood and Thunder” has a killer central riff, a solidly rousing chorus, and a powerfully serpentine solo in its midsection. This Mastodon classic has it all, hands down. But more than anything, its bridge is a bellowed command from Captain Ahab himself, which closes with a line that feels like the precursor to a headbutt. A singalong is one thing, but Mastodon wrote a song with a screamalong — the most beautiful addition to any drunk metalhead’s playlist.
17. Tyr, “Hold The Heathen Hammer High” (By The Light of the Northern Star, 2010)
Historically, Tyr are one of the more challenging pagan metal bands, but 2010’s By The Light of the Northern Star is loaded with awesome table-slappers. Opener “Hold The Heathen Hammer High” is perhaps the booziest of them all, with its insistent main riff, flagon-swinging chorus, and lyrics about staying stalwart to your forefathers. Getting hopped up on honey-wine to this banger instantly transports those drinking along to the longest, loudest table in Valhalla. Skål — or whatever they say in the Faroe Islands. Wait, they say Skål too? Skål!
16. Ghoul, “Gutbucket Blues” (Splatterthrash, 2007)
It’s hard to find a more relatable lyric on this list than, “And on top of that, I can’t find my shoes.” For Ghoul, drinking isn’t just a pastime, it’s a way of death. On “Gutbucket Blues,” the Creepsylvanian quartet describe the vicious behavior inspired by — and the unholy pain that stems from — their national beverage, the foul and potent rot gut. The result is a trundling mid-pacer that works for both the most unholy of drunks and the most blinding of hangovers, and reminds you that even cannibal catacomb-dwellers overdo it on occasion.
15. Ozzy Osbourne, “Bark At The Moon” (Bark At The Moon, 1983)
Many of Ozzy’s songs are about the horrors of alcoholism and the weakness of the addict, but “Bark At The Moon” is about the animal inside coming out to play. Jake E. Lee’s crunchy riffs and steely wails make this the kind of classic metal song that even the uninitiated can enjoy, without ever coming off as too light or sappy. The whole thing is tied together with a simple chorus than an entire house party can shout as one before kicking the shit out of the coffee maker. Beast mode: initiated.
14. Ratt, “Round and Round” (Out of the Cellar, 1984)
Hair metal was good for getting polluted, but few songs had the hard-drinkin’ momentum of Ratt’s big single, “Round and Round.” Part of the track’s appeal is its sheer size — this song was so famous that you’ll find it on plenty of jukeboxes, and most people it — but so much of it’s power is the big, air-punching chorus. Then there’s the solo in the middle, which is just melodic and steady enough that it begs for a messy round of air guitar. This one’s for feeling like a rock star, even if you’re just some jagoff racking up a substantial tab.
13. Black Label Society, “Fire It Up” (Mafia, 2005)
You know that feeling when you’re walking into a bar, all the right people are there, and you know, Man, I’m gonna get trashed tonight? The intro to Black Label Society’s “Fire It Up” is that lightning caught in a bottle. Between the song’s indomitable chug and Zakk Wylde’s backwoods yowling, this track has a rummy swagger to it that feels written to accompany professional-level imbibement. We know Zakk’s off the liquor now, and for that we salute him, but listening to a song like this, one assumes he’d be okay with us taking those silver bullets for him.
12. Tankard, “Die With A Beer In Your Hand” (Beast of Bourbon, 2004)
How could the German kings of beer metal not make this list? Though Tankard‘s earlier material is loved by thrash purists, their later albums remain as fast, hilarious, and drunk as any of their earlier stuff. “Die With A Beer In Your Hand” is the band’s official battle cry, calling metalheads to stand up for what they believe — with a liter of lager in-hand, while swaying gently from side to side. It’s comforting to know that somewhere out there, this band exists, and that they kick so much ass.
11. Clutch, “Drink to the Dead” (Pure Rock Fury, 2001)
Not all Clutch songs would be considered ‘metal,’ but this closing track to 2001’s Pure Rock Fury has both the distorted chugs and the rousing, anthemic vibe of a good drinkin’ metal track. In classic fashion, Clutch bring the boogie even to the Irish wake, as this song feels fun and celebratory as it raises a glass to those long-gone. There’s also those invitations to the kind of party we all secretly dream of — “May you go marching in three-measure time/Dressed up as asses, drunk to the nines.” All Clutch songs are invitations to recklessness, but this is the one that feels empty without a glass in hand.
10. Judas Priest, “Living After Midnight” (British Steel, 1980)
When the bar’s packed, everyone’s drunk but not too fucked up, and people start dancing — that’s when “Living After Midnight” shines. Judas Priest’s major-key anthem to coming alive in the neon lights is whiskey-soaked in all the right ways. Some drunks are too quiet and snarky for this one, but those nights of perfect, pure partying can always do with a dose of Rob Halford screaming about gleaming chrome. If the cheese factor gets to you, you aren’t drunk enough; when the liquor hits you as it should, this track will get your fist in the air with the best of them.
9. Korpiklaani, “Beer Beer” (Voice of Wilderness, 2005)
From evening to morning, from morning to evening/I want to drink something stronger than a man.” These poetic words open this folk metal drinking anthem from Finnish backwoodsman Korpiklaani. With its swampy twangalangs, this track would be utterly nerdy if it wasn’t about pounding beers until you pass out; as it is, it’s one of the most deadly-serious songs in metal history. Ignore it at your own peril, or you too might end up beneath a pile of straw at Wacken with ‘Ich liebe dixxx’ written on your face
8. Mötley Crüe, “Kickstart My Heart” (Dr. Feelgood, 1989)
If you’re going to get drunk, you’re going to act stupid, and no song makes behaving like a fucking idiot feel awesome like “Kickstart My Heart.” With lyrics about kicking ass, getting high on speed, and sky-diving naked from an aeroplane, Mötley Crüe’s almost-thrash anthem exists for those moments when you end up covered in beer and laughing your ass off. That the band’s substance abuse caught up with them was inevitable, but for a hot moment, they were the patron saints of cold beer from an old cooler. What else is there to say, except: WOAH. YEAH.
7. Metallica, “Damage, Inc.” (Master of Puppets, 1986)
We want to make it clear that James Hetfield’s recovery is serious business, and we wish him well. That said, as far as songs to kick off a night of serious brain-pickling go, few tracks are as adept at inspiring a text to your ex as “Damage Inc.” off of Metallica’s 1986 epic Master of Puppets. Though it’s totally unrelenting, the track has a reckless abandon that goes well alongside getting totally hammered; a lyric like, “Fuck it all and fucking no regrets” are mantras that thirsty thrashers all over the world can believe in. Honesty is our only excuse.
6. Ensiferum, “One More Magic Potion” (Victory Songs, 2009)
If the gods Dionysus and Thor threw a metal party, this would be its theme song. As with most of their music, Ensiferum’s use of playful folk rhythms and folk instruments on “One More Magic Potion” is offset by their dedication to powerful Viking metal riffage. The tale they tell in the track — of a witch offering a group of battle-worn Northmen a sip of brew that knocks them on their ass — brings the drunken mosher into their own fantasy world, jigging their way through the pain of everyday life. You ever had mead? Go buy some mead. And some Advil.
5. Pantera, “Becoming” (Far Beyond Driven, 1994)
Some of Pantera’s music can feel a little harrowing to be straight-up drinking tunes. But while “Becoming” definitely has that darkness to it, it also has a beautifully buoyant riff thanks to whiskey angel Dimebag Darrell. That, plus Darrell’s timeless legacy as a heavyweight party animal, makes this one the perfect Pantera track to pump at the bar, and will get a room full of beer-goggle tough guys pounding their chests in no time. In the morning, sadly, it’s all “5 Minutes Alone” and “I’m Broken.”
4. Amon Amarth, “Raise Your Horns” (Jomsviking, 2016)
Not all Viking drinking metal can be banjos and mouth harps. Amon Amarth keep it crushing with their tavern anthem “Raise Your Horns,” hailing the Northman’s way of life to a steady death metal grind. But if anything the song’s commitment to extremity inspires even harder drinking than some of the folkishness of its pagan peers; the song commands that beers be poured for both world-battered warriors and those who fell in battle, and summons listeners to “meet where the beer never ends.” If you don’t own a drinking horn, now’s the time to throw down.
3. Municipal Waste, “Born to Party” (The Art of Partying, 2007)
When the bridge of a song includes the sound of the band cracking beers, you know you’re going to wake up on somebody’s lawn. Municipal Waste made their name with 2007’s The Art of Partying, an album so drunk and rowdy that it instantly inspires reckless consumption of adult beverages. Though the closer of this booze-sodden record, the track brings both the breakneck thrash and the stomping mosh parts that every half-there wastoid craves deep down. No matter what kind of metal you’re into, remember: Municipal Waste are gonna fuck you up.
2. Alestorm, “Drink” (Sunset on the Golden Age, 2014)
“We live each day like there’s nothing to lose/But a man has needs, and that need is booze.” Even if you don’t go in for the hurdy-gurdy stuff, that line alone from Alestorm’s ode to shithousedness should rally your liver. With its galloping rhythm and massive, massive earworm chorus, the pirate metallers wrote a power-shanty that will have even the most hardened Nordic kvltist swinging their stein overhead. It’s a shame that the ‘pirate metal’ label will put some barflies off their grog, because this one would have Blackbeard’s ghost lighting the wrong end of a cigarette. Drink. Drink. DRINK. DRINK!
1. Motörhead, “Born to Raise Hell” (Bastards, 1993)
We’re getting thirsty just listening to it. Motörhead have a lot of sneering, snarling tracks about the loser’s life, but “Born to Raise Hell” is a biker anthem sporting the most drunken grin around. As heartwarming as it is headbangable, the track’s mid-paced rhythm was made to be pounded on bars, and its rousing chorus sounds better with each subsequent shot of Jack. In a single sentence, Lemmy sums up the gut-deep knowledge that every drunken partier holds dear: If you don’t know what happened, baby, you weren’t there. Put this track on at full volume, and drinks are on us.
Words by Chris Krovatin