Over the years, heavy metal has evolved, giving birth to various unique techniques and styles that have captivated audiences around the world.
One such technique, the breakdown, has undoubtedly stood out and established itself as an integral part of the genre’s identity. When we delve into the realm of heavy metal, it’s almost impossible to overlook the power and significance of breakdowns. They are not just confined to one subgenre; from the pulsating rhythms of metalcore and the intensity of deathcore to the fast-paced beats of thrash and the rhythmic tempos of groove metal, breakdowns find their rightful place.
Today, we’re diving deep into the heart of this phenomenon, exploring the ten most remarkable and spine-chilling breakdowns ever produced. These aren’t just your average interludes. They’re not just characterized by their immense heaviness; their genius also lies in their ability to amplify the essence of the songs they’re embedded in. Every chord and pause in these breakdowns works in harmony to lift the entire composition to new heights, enhancing its overall presentation and leaving an indelible mark on the listener.
“To the Hellfire” – Lorna Shore
When it comes to their brand of deathcore, Lorna Shore brings an extra layer of symphonic theatricality to their music. As the band works together to create a menacing and exhilarating air of aggression, the breakdown in “To the Hellfire” is nothing short of epic.
“Domination” – Pantera
Speedy, groovy, and ferocious-sounding, Pantera’s “Domination” isn’t just one of the band’s most exciting songs, it also features one of the heaviest breakdowns of their career. Making for an awesome fusion of brutal and catchy, “Domination” is a rush from start to finish.
“Davidian” – Machine Head
Thrashy and ridiculously heavy is what you will get from Machine Head’s “Davidian.” On the first song of the band’s debut album, they were absolutely not messing around one bit, for “Davidian” is a wicked ride of groove metal chaos.
“Apostle” – Reign Supreme
Hardcore act Reign Supreme has been unfairly lost to time, but their work still carries some of the most vicious breakdowns the genre has ever seen. Their song “Apostle” is a banger that features utterly savage-sounding instrumental performances, including a breakdown that will have you headbanging hard.
“7 Stitches” – Disembodied
Playing frenetic rhythms and melodies, Disembodied will throw your eardrums for a loop as you’re tossing your body into the pit. Among their tracks, we highly recommend “7 Stitches” – it’s an aggressively wicked good time, and of course, it has a hell of a breakdown.
“The Saddest Day” – Converge
Speaking of amazing metalcore, Converge has crafted a great number of thrilling breakdowns throughout their career. Among those, what the band provides in their song “The Saddest Day” is incredible, for the track is a nonstop rush of crushing and shredding instrumentation.
“Tactical Nuke” – The Acacia Strain
Bringing grit and sonic savagery to all their songs, The Acacia Strain is known for making some ugly-sounding breakdowns (we mean that in a positive way). Among their catalog, “Tactical Nuke” is a downright brutal experience that plays out like one massive breakdown.
“Entombment of a Machine” – Job For A Cowboy
There’s no denying that “Entombment of a Machine” is an absolutely remarkable work of deathcore. Throughout the track’s runtime, Job For A Cowboy constantly delivers an exhilarating performance, unleashing an abundance of shredding and clashing instrumentation that works to create a truly menacing atmosphere.
“Tower of Snakes” – Eighteen Visions
Eighteen Visions’ “Tower of Snakes” is already pretty catchy from the start, but when the breakdown hits, that catchy appeal shoots through the roof. “Tower of Snakes” is a great example of how Eighteen Visions beautifully blends melody with intense metallic instrumentation.
“Raining Blood” – Slayer
One of the most iconic breakdowns in metal can be found in Slayer’s “Raining Blood.” Throughout the song’s runtime, Slayer provides a performance that’s electrifying and sounds downright menacing. In the decades that have passed since the song’s release, the captivating power of “Raining Blood” remains ever present, continuing to leave those who listen to it in awe.