For metal fans, a party isn’t just an event, it’s a state of mind. There’s a sense of total revelry which occupies the true party animal, and fans of heavy metal can appreciate this more than fans of other genres because their music already involves giving oneself completely over to the moment. In that respect, most metal bands can be considered ‘party metal’ bands if the listeners are drunk enough (except My Dying Bride, that shit’s always a bummer, which is what it’s there for). However, one must acknowledge that some bands are better at distilling the essence of the party than others, and will always be synonymous with long, rough mornings after hilarious nights.
Since tonight is Mardi Gras, we figured it would be a good time to honor those bands who make metal that’s perfect for partying. The list was hard to whittle down — we wanted to go true metal, so while Van Halen, Bon Jovi and Andrew W.K. rule, they didn’t make this piece — but we finally found our perfect playlist. Here are 10 bands guaranteed to blow the roof off this bitch…
Was it even a good time if you didn’t swing a flagon? Pirate metal champions Alestorm will always be a band whose music coincides with people throwing caution and underwear to the wind. While jaunty songs about wenches and mead isn’t exactly the most hardcore material metal fans have ever heard, their anthems to drinking and high-seas tomfoolery will always awaken a third in the listener. We are here to drink your beer.
It’s mathematically proven that a party gets more fun the more unbalanced dirtbags are sprinkled throughout, and no band champions the unbalanced dirtbag way of life like Mötley Crüe. The LA quartet will always take a bash to the next level, in part because of their big, nasty riffery and in part because their music is synonymous with doing drugs off of a toilet. Plus, in the post-Dirt era, their songs automatically inspire reckless insanity among drunk chicks. Some nights, you just gotta sky-dive naked from an aero-pla-heen.
If putting on Midnight doesn’t throw the party into a frenzy, your drinking buddies don’t wear enough spikes. The Cleveland speed metal three-piece carry on the Venom tradition of making music in the name of attitude, with tracks like “Fucking Speed and Darkness” and “Evil Like A Knife” inviting a Dionysian frenzy with claws held high. There’s definitely a nasty edge to their music, though, so those of your friends whose metallic interests stop at flames on a collared shirt might want to go grab a smoke during this band. That, or they’ll leave the shindig in a bulletbelt and hood.
You could argue that Clutch aren’t exactly metal, and we get that. But when you imagine partying to metal, Clutch is the band you hear in your mind. In fact, one listens to a song like “Pure Rock Fury” or “The Mob Goes Wild” and you can’t help but wonder if Clutch played the first great parties centuries ago, when people were getting buried with their pets and had rooms in their houses for their guests to puke in. It’s hard to argue against the metalness of a band who sound like getting hit in the face with a full beer.
Folk metal about liquor — amen. Korpiklaani’s MO of making the fastest, loudest, Finnishest reggae imaginable has made them one of metal’s most vital jukebox bands. But even when they’re not singing about drinking specifically (they got a beer song, a tequila song, a song about being a boozer…take your pick), the band inject a Hobbitish glee into everything they do. You can pretend you don’t want to dance on top of a long Viking table, but we all know you’re lying.
I’m sorry if I’m bursting anyone’s bubble here, but it’s well known that Lemmy liked to party. While plenty of Motörhead songs are about snarling at the world and not belonging, most of them are just about the simple act of rocking. In this way, Motörhead don’t just play songs you can party to, they are the party, translated sonically. If that weren’t enough, they’re a band everyone in the bar can agree on — that is, if they deserve to be there.
If sexually-charged undertakers making proto-metal about buttholes doesn’t get your hands in the air, we’ve got nothing for you. Norway’s Turbonegro make music for anyone in a leather jacket, and the result is that their howling guitars and sneered vocals make for the perfect soundtrack to your metal party. Even better is watching brolic bros drunkenly belt out lines about ass cobras and selling themselves at the local bathhouse. Not for the late-night intellectual.
Ain’t no party like a Rob Zombie party, ‘cause a Rob Zombie party says, “YEAH!” The king of monster rock seemingly writes all of his albums to blast in the background of the massive rager they’re holding right now in Hell. Zombie’s tunes feel especially relevant for Mardi Gras, when New Orleans’ cemetery-filled voodoo vibe mixes with its free-for-all indulgence. If you don’t want to hear about the Wolf Man grinding on your mama, go listen to something else, at home.
On the one hand, Richmond’s Municipal Waste don’t necessarily make music that’s traditionally party-friendly, as their thrash is acid-edged and thoroughly kinetic. Then again, their long-standing tradition of writing about beer, weed, late nights and bad behavior make them an excellent party metal crew. Maybe what this is telling us is that we need to be going to more violent parties, where no kitchen appliance is safe. Together, we destroy.
Black Label Society
Few fiestas get out of control quite like a biker party, and Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society are here to play its soundtrack. The band’s thick, overweight grooves don’t make you think too hard, and sound as though they could shake rafters from anywhere between Baltimore and Belfast. Not only that, but it’s music which can inspire some total madness in any location, from a massive concert hall to a circle of vans in the desert. Get crushed.
Words by Chris Krovatin