Sadness — it’s one of the strongest human emotions and something everyone feels, whether they’re bottling it up, bawling their eyes out, putting on a brave face or just plain refusing to admit it. In heavy music, sadness is often resigned (to the tune of poor jokes) for emo and ’80s hair ballads. We’re here to tell you that’s just not true. Our proof? These 13 Heavy Songs We’ve Definitely Cried To.
Listen, if life is the rollercoaster we all claim it to be, then red-lined and adrenalized rock and metal that makes us feel good just isn’t going to be our 24/7 soundtrack. It’s all about relating to various aspects of life, both difficult and enjoyable.
Grieving over the death of a pet? So was hulking Type O Negative frontman Peter Steele, which is why he wrote “Bloody Kisses (A Death in the Family)” using his sardonic wit to trick you into thinking it’s about anything but his late cat.
Life hurts from all angles and there’s a song for whatever you may need. Now, grab some tissues as we get in touch with our sensitive side.
“Fade to Black”
Admit it: You’re already crying. You are, and you don’t need me to explain why this song is here!
Who knew the Cowboys From Hell had such a soft side? Well, I guess the millions of people who have heard “Cemetery Gates” did. Like many of the entries on this list, this is a song about loss.
It tells the story of a loved one who has died, and the narrator would like to join her in the afterlife. It’s really quite touching, and the track also shows off Philip Anselmo’s vocal range.
I can barely even think about this song without tearing up. “Hereafter” was the second single the band released from 2018’s Holy Hell, their first album after losing guitarist and lyricist Tom Searle after a three-year battle with cancer.
Architects have been such an inspiration by openly discussing their loss and showing that you can find the strength to carry on when faced with adversity, even if you feel broken. This song really takes you through that journey.
“Bloody Kisses (A Death in the Family)”
by Type O Negative
How do you choose just one Type O song to cry to? As a human totally ruled by my cat, it has to be “Bloody Kisses.” What does this song have to do with cats you ask? Peter Steele wrote this mournful track from the album of the same name about the loss of his pet cat, Venus, which somehow makes it even sadder.
“No one wants to hear a guy who’s six-foot-eight with long black hair and fangs crying about his fuckin’ cat, so I had to make it extremely metaphorical,” the singer said of the song.
For the record, I (and plenty of others) definitely want to hear this raven-haired giant cry about his fuckin’ cat.
by Every Time I Die
I must be allergic to this song, because every time it comes on my damn eyes start watering.
Written while vocalist / lyricist Keith Buckley watched his wife and newborn daughter fight for their lives in the hospital following complications during childbirth, the lyrics are pretty dark across all of Every Time I Die’s 2017 album Low Teens, but this one hits me a little harder for some reason.
Anyway, this song is like a really bleak poem being screamed over chaos. Terrible and beautiful at the same time.
“In the End”
by Linkin Park
If you were born sometime in the ‘90s and like to scream your feelings, there’s a pretty good chance this is the band that introduced you to the concept.
Emotional, heavy music just wouldn’t be the same without Linkin Park, so of course they must be here.
by Bring Me the Horizon
Remember when Bring Me The Horizon were a deathcore band? This tearjerker from back in those days is the final track from their sophomore album Suicide Season, and it’s about watching someone you love suffer from a terrible loss.
The lyrics reflect just wanting to be able to make that person feel whole again: “If sorrow could build a staircase or tears could show the way / I would climb my way to heaven and bring him back home again.”
“Sick and Disgusting”
Caleb Shomo’s vocal delivery on this track from Beartooth’s 2014 album Disgusting is so raw and pained that it’s actually uncomfortable to listen to. This is a truly heartbreaking piece of music.
If the lyrics, “I tried to burrow a hole into the ground/Breaking all the fingers and the nails from my hands,” don’t make you feel something on their own go check out their annotation on Genius.
“In My Darkest Hour”
Has anyone ever done you so dirty that just the sound of their name makes you sick? Yeah, that’s what this song is about.
It can seem a little dramatic at times (Now, as I die for you / My flesh still crawls as I breathe your name / All these years, thought I was wrong / Now I know it was you), but, you know what, you never needed them anyway.
For being such a lighthearted and funny band on Twitter, Counterparts write some truly soul crushing songs. This one is both really pretty and also makes me want to die.
“All My Friends”
by Knocked Loose
Oldham, Kentucky’s Knocked Loose released this track on their 2019 album Mistakes Like Fractures, and it really captures the feeling of crippling isolation that can overcome you even when you have “friends.”
The line that really gets me: “How do I tell my kids that growing up doesn’t suck? / How do I tell them that your friends are always there / When nobody gives a fuck?”
by System of a Down
I’ll be totally honest with you: I’m not 100 percent sure what this song is even about. Members of System have said it doesn’t really have a specific meaning.
But, I can guarantee a decent handful of you were sad preteens listening to this as you swam through the void.
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