“The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States, has been performed by numerous singers and musicians throughout history.
While it is traditionally sung in a more solemn and patriotic style, some artists have taken it to a whole new level of intensity and heaviness. In this article, we will explore the 10 most metal performances of the American national anthem, where artists infused the song with their unique rock and metal interpretations, creating electrifying renditions that captivated audiences.
From shredding guitars to thunderous drums, these performances pushed the boundaries of tradition and proved that the national anthem can be a vessel for showcasing the power and energy of metal music.
Jimmy Hendrix (Woodstock 1993)
You can’t have a conversation about metal National Anthem performances without talking about Jimmy Hendrix’s take on the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock in 1969. Hendrix wowed and pissed a crowd off, who were shocked to hear the anthem for the first time in their lives in this context. It remains an insane performance, and a testament to Hendrix’s infalliability as a guitarist.
KISS (Alive III, 1993)
KISS delivered an epic, instrumental rendition of the national anthem during their 1992 Revenge Tour. Lead guitarist Bruce Kulick showcased his guitar skills, and the performance was accompanied by KISS’s signature pyrotechnics.
Slash (NHL Playoffs, 2014)
In 2014, legendary Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash performed a memorable version of the national anthem during the NHL playoffs. His guitar prowess added a distinct metal flavor to the anthem.
Metallica (AT&T Park, 2013)
Metallica performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” in their hometown of San Francisco at AT&T Park in 2013. The band’s unique interpretation infused the anthem with their signature energy and intensity.
Zakk Wylde (Denver Nuggets vs. L.A Lakers game on 5-29-09)
Zakk Wylde, the renowned guitarist for Black Label Society and former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, delivered a metal-infused performance of the national anthem during a Lakers/Nuggets game in 2018. His guitar skills added a heavy edge to the song.
Dave Mustaine (MTV Rock N’ Jock Softball Challenge, 1993)
Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine showcased his guitar skills during a live performance of the national anthem at the 1993 MTV Rock N’ Jock Softball Challenge. His rendition featured intricate guitar solos and a metal-inspired arrangement.
Lzzy Hale (AHL Game 2014)
Halestorm’s lead vocalist, Lzzy Hale, delivered a powerful and rock-infused performance of the national anthem at an AHL game.
Dave Navarro (Ink Master, 2017)
For the season finale of Ink Master, Dave Navarro decided to take a break from hosting the show and actually pulled out his guitar to riff out the National Anthem before the night’s festivities took place. It’s possibly the most he’s done on the show!
Buckethead (Anaheim Supercross, 2023)
Buckethead, an eccentric guitarist and former member of Guns N’ Roses, performed a virtuosic and metal-infused version of the national anthem at the Anaheim Supercross in 2023. His unique style and technical skills made for an impressive rendition.
Joe Satriani and Sammy Hagar (San Francisco Giants Game, 2011)
Another hell of a performance at a Giants game, Joe Satriani and Sammy Hagar performed the Star Spangled Banner in front of a massive crowd in San Francisco.