15 Best Drop D Metal Songs (With Tabs!)

As you explore the world of guitar deeper, sooner or later you’ll encounter alternate tunings.

For example, you might tune the guitar to a chord to make a song easier to play.

It’s the most popular alternate tuning due to its simplicity, just need to down tune your lowest string by 2 semitones and you’re done!

So today, we’ve prepared a list of 35 of the best songs in Drop D to give you an opportunity to try out this very popular alternate tuning.

35 best songs in drop D tuningWatch this video on YouTube

ContentsMoby Dick by Led ZeppelinDear Prudence by The BeatlesEverlong by Foo FightersNever Going Back Again by Fleetwood MacHarvest Moon by Neil YoungBat Country by Avenged SevenfoldHeart Shaped Box by NirvanaKilling in the Name by Rage Against the MachineYou are My Sunshine by Chris StapletonSchism by ToolAll Nightmare Long by MetallicaDecode by ParamoreHome by Dream TheaterI Won’t Give Up by Jason MrazIf Eternity Should Fail by Iron MaidenLast Resort by Papa RoachMonkey Wrench by Foo FightersMeant to Live by SwitchfootPull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr by TriviumOne by Ed SheeranWhat I’ve Done by Linkin ParkRuin by Lamb of GodSugar, We’re Goin Down by Fall Out BoyTen Years Gone by Led ZeppelinNever Too Late by Three Days GraceNew Born by MuseOn A Plain by NirvanaSonne by RammsteinSpoonman by SoundgardenForty Six & 2 by ToolUnholy Confessions by Avenged SevenfoldUnnatural Selection by MuseWake Up by Rage Against The MachineWhatsername by Green DayThe Beautiful People by Marilyn Manson

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Strangely enough, this song started out life on the drums, but after guitarist Jimmy Page overheard John playing it in the studio various parts were cut together to create the final song.

There’s famously a rather lengthy drum solo in this which when the band played live could go on for as long as 30 minutes.

So why include a drum-led song on a list for guitarists?

This song has no shortage of great, classic, groovy rock riffs for you to sink your teeth into.

Because of the drop D tuning, you can play the opening riff much more comfortably and is a great example of how the tuning can make your life easier.

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So while we might associate drop tunings with power chords or rock guitar, they were able to utilize it in different contexts such as this fingerpicked song.

This song is a wonderful example of how drop D can make your life easier in a finger picked scenario.

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This song was written by guitarist and singer Dave Grohl, who stumbled upon the song by accident while in the studio recording Foo Fighters’ second album ‘The Colour and the Shape’.

In between recording sessions for the song Monkey Wrench (which is also in drop D) he wrote the main riff which he described as a ‘Sonic Youth rip-off riff’.

The main chords to the song make great use of the low D, allowing you to play some of the chord voicings such as the sus2 comfortably and without any stretching because of the convenient string arrangement.

Likewise, for the chorus there are some large 4 string chords which sound fantastic, and drop D makes them far easier to hold.

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Released as a promotional single for Fleetwood Mac’s 11th studio album and written by lead singer/songwriter Lindsey Buckingham about his breakup with fellow Fleetwood Mac member Stevie Nicks.

In contrast to the somewhat serious topic the song discusses, it has a great upbeat and hopeful tone.

With a bassline that jumps between the first two strings, this would have been considerably more difficult to play in standard tuning.

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This is the first single released from the 1992 album of the same name and was written by Neil as a tribute to his wife Pegi Young.

It has a wonderful melancholic feel with some unique chord voicings, where the dropped D really adds a lot of weight and thickness to the sound.

The song charted at number 36 on the UK Singles selling over 200,000 copies.

The main motif of the song will have you playing some chords quite high up the fretboard.

This is another way in which D makes your life easier as these can be power chords without you actually needing to hold any frets down.

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Originally starting as a more niche metal band during the rise of the metalcore genre with albums like ‘Waking The Fallen’.

But, as time passed and their popularity was skyrocketing they diversified their sound to embrace more of a classic heavy metal and hard rock style.

Bat Country, from their ‘City of Evil’ album is a perfect song to showcase this.

With groovy rock riffs and catchy melodies, it ended up being one of their most commercially successful songs ever.

The song itself makes heavy use of the flat 5 with a groovy heavy metal riff that uses power chords exclusively.

Particularly on the verse, this would be almost impossible to play were it not for the dropped D making the chords playable with just a single finger.

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One of the highly successful singles from Nirvana’s smash hit third (and final) album ‘In Utero’.

Contrary to some of the other drop d songs on this list, the main draw of this song’s drop D tuning is not for strumming purposes.

The main motif of the song actually has the chords played as arpeggios (that is to say, as single notes) and the drop D tuning makes your life just that little bit easier by lining up some of the notes and making them more convenient to play.

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Rage Against the Machine were a band that achieved great commercial success right from the get-go with their debut album release.

Killing in the Name was hilariously made the Christmas number one single in the UK after a fan led campaign wanted to stop the X-Factor winner from claiming it for yet another year.

An overall simple song to play, you will be relying a lot on that open D power chord which is made incredibly easy to play thanks to the tuning.

The riffs are hard-hitting and powerful so make sure to use a bit of gain and pick hard.

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Its iconic and catchy vocal melody in tandem with some of Chris’s exquisite guitar work is a treat to listen to, and a lot of fun to learn.

The guitar part has a lot of blues and country flair to it which will have you playing a lot of cool minor pentatonic licks.

In addition to that, there’s also a ton of sliding power chords where the drop D tuning will help the two notes stay together as you slide around.

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If you haven’t yet dabbled into the deeper world of progressive music, Schism is a great place to start.

With almost every measure being non 4/4 and the chorus also makes great use of the dropped D with some cool percussive mutes and barred power chords.

How to play All Nightmare Long Riffs w/Tabs!

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Metallica are one of the biggest metal bands of all time, from humble thrash roots they have risen to worldwide fame, releasing some of the most popular metal albums in the world.

They were revolutionary in how they evolved the genre, striking that all important balance between heavy metal riffs and catchy vocals.

With a little clean guitar on the intro before leading into the crushingly heavy power chords.

You’ll also be challenged during the verse as there’s heavy use of the ‘galloping’ technique which is sure to give your right hand and forearm a good workout!

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Paramore are at the top of their game when it comes to all things pop-punk, having achieved massive commercial success and even a Grammy Award during their 17 year career and they show no signs of stopping.

Decode was a song written for the hit movie ‘Twilight’ and sold over 2 million copies in the US alone.

It also had a music video to accompany it which is currently sitting at 385 million views on YouTube.

The majority of this song can be played with a single finger, you just need to bar the first 2 strings and move that shape around the fretboard.

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Dream Theater are one of the most beloved and popular progressive rock/metal bands ever.

Heading over to their 1999 concept album ‘Metropolis Pt.2: Scenes from a Memory’, the song home makes great use of the dropped D tuning and is going to really test you on all facets of your playing.

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This is a straightforward ballad from Jason’s fourth studio album, it was the first promotional single released and achieved a good amount of commercial success, charting in the top 10 in multiple countries.

It’s a song about not giving up, whether it’s about your dreams, loving someone else, or yourself, and is a great all-round finger-picked song that anyone can learn.

The song is, of course, in D and your thumb is going to be riding that low string for a lot of the time.

Your other fingers will be picking the main melody of the song.

Then for the chorus, it breaks out into large chords which make use of the open strings.

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The song is from their sixteenth studio release titled ‘The Book of Souls’ which ranked at the number 1 spot on the UK Rock and Metal Albums chart.

Making good use of power chords and the drop D tuning as well as plenty of great twin guitar melodies and harmonies to sink your teeth into.

A signature of Iron Maiden’s sound is the use of dual guitars, so if you have a friend who is also learning this is the perfect song to learn together!

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With Papa Roach in particular achieving huge commercial success and is still going strong with a new album currently scheduled for release in 2022.

It’s an iconic song with equally iconic riffs.

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We previously mentioned Everlong, which was written mostly by accident as the riff was stumbled upon in between takes as the band was tracking this particular song.

This is the lead single from their second album ‘The Colour and the Shape’, it did incredibly well and played a huge part in Foo Fighters’ early success as a band.

It’s a fast paced, intense, and heavy rock song that is played primarily using down picking.

It uses a lot of power chords but doesn’t overly rely on the low D until the pre-chorus, which is made considerably easier thanks to the alternate tuning.

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Switchfoot are a band that didn’t gain a massive amount of commercial recognition from the get-go, it wouldn’t be until one of their songs was included in the 2002 movie’ A Walk to Remember’ that they’d enjoy their first bit of mainstream exposure.

This trend continued over the next few years with some additional movie licensing agreements and the album ended up selling over 2.6 million copies.

While there’s nothing too unusual going on in this drop d tuning song, it does have some interesting rock techniques such as a double stop bend where you will bend the 4th fret of the 3rd string as your 4th string is left to ring, which will require some careful hand movement so you don’t choke that 4th string.

How To Play “Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr” By Trivium (Full Song Tutorial With TAB!)Watch this video on YouTube

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Beginning life in 1999, it would be with the release of their second album ‘Ascendancy’ that led Trivium to sign with legendary record label Roadrunner Records.

This album has a huge number of fan-loved singles and afforded the band many new opportunities including playing with Killswitch Engage and Fear Factory.

Pull Harder On The String Of Your Martyr is one of their biggest singles with the official music video sitting at a mighty 7.8 million views on YouTube.

This song is sure to test your metal chops, with heavy alternate picked riffs, palm muting, and plenty of guitar harmonies and solos to sink your teeth into.

This is the perfect song to rock out to in drop D.

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After Ed had already started to gain quite a bit of recognition for the release of his first album ‘+’, he immediately went on to writing material for the second album titled ‘x’.

This song was the first material he began to put together for that album and was written in collaboration with Jake Gosling.

The song is primarily finger picked so you’ll be playing most of the bass notes with your thumb while your fingers pick the melody.

It rides a lot on the low D during the verse and the chorus also makes use of the dropped tuning to make some of the open chords easier to play.

What I’ve Done Guitar Lesson – Linkin ParkWatch this video on YouTube

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Linkin Park shook up the world of alternative metal with their debut album ‘Hybrid Theory’ which had a boatload of successful singles.

However, for their third effort ‘Minutes to Midnight’ they began to explore more of their rock side, with the single ‘What I’ve Done’ still achieving a great deal of success selling over 5 million copies in the US.

The song uses the typical Linkin Park drop D tuning, however, it is an overall more laid back effort where you will just be strumming straight chords along with simple, single-note leads.

The rhythm section makes great use of the dropped tuning to play some large 4 string chords that span multiple octaves.

How to play EVERY guitar riff + solo in Ruin by Lamb of God!

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One of the all time great metal bands who have a signature riffing style that plays heavily with blues, chromatics, and even country influence to create a great mash between heavy, chuggy riffs and interesting note choice.

The band has released 10 albums to date and are some of the most well respected musicians on the scene.

Ruin is the first track from their second studio album ‘As The Palaces Burn’.

It serves as a perfect showcase of how effective the dropped tuning can be when it comes to manipulating power chords at speed.

The majority of the song is spent ‘chugging’ on the lowest two strings and the main riffs become a breeze to play thanks to the tuning.

Fall Out Boy Sugar We’re Going Down Guitar Lesson + TutorialWatch this video on YouTube

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Sugar, We’re Going Down is one of the most popular singles from the American rock band Fall Out Boy. It was released as the second single from their second album ‘From Under the Cork Tree’ and (at the time) was the band’s biggest selling single and shifted over 4 million copies.

The song is exceptionally easy to play with just some simple 3 string barred power chords with a couple of octave shapes thrown in.

Ideal for a beginner to learn as you can just rock out and have fun with it, use a medium gain for best results!

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Another classic from Led Zeppelin from the album Physical Graffiti.

This is a song that works great both on electric or acoustic, you will be able to find renditions of both online.

The song doesn’t make heavy use of the dropped D, but there are some key moments where it’s used in transitions and makes your life just a little bit easier as it places the notes you need in a more convenient spot.

Three Days Grace – Never To Late – Guitar Lesson – How To PlayWatch this video on YouTube

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Three Days Grace are a Canadian band that’s skirted all kinds of alternative genres from nu-metal and rock to grunge.

Never Too Late is essentially a heavy ballad and one of their most commercially successful singles, which went 2x platinum in the US.

It’s also a favorite amongst fans with the official YouTube video sitting at 233 million views.

Then we go even simpler for the chorus which is all just strummed power chords, again with that drop D tuning making everything that much more comfortable to play.

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One of the UKs’ biggest and best alternative rock acts, having gone from strength to strength over the years, selling out arenas and winning Grammy Awards.

New Born is a fan favorite from their second (and some argue best) album ‘Origin of Symmetry’.

Although the song does have a lengthy vocal introducing it, once the song really kicks in with its main heavy rock riff you’ll be glad you committed to it.

This one doesn’t rely too much on the drop D, but it is a good example of how it’s not a limiting factor either, you can still write a normal song without needing to revolve around the tuning.

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On A Plain is another promotional single from Nirvana’s legendary album Nevermind.

The song also features some great vocal backing from drummer and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl.

While it’s true, this song definitely has a slightly more upbeat and pop vibe to it.

It’s still a very fun and easy song to learn and is almost entirely played with just some simple power chords.

Rammstein Sonne Guitar Lesson – How To Play Sonne (Easy Tutorial For Drop D Tuning)Watch this video on YouTube

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When it comes to the appeal of Rammstein, it’s really the huge production and massive sounding guitars that make their simple yet well written riffs resonate with so many people.Sonne is another single from the album Mutter and has a fantastic music video to accompany the song which depicts an alternate version of the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs story.

As is typical for Rammstein’s style, the song just uses heavy barred power chords throughout the entirety of the song.

Which, thanks to the dropped tuning, makes it completely playable with just a single finger!

So it’s an ideal song if you are a beginner or just need an easy to play song you can rock out to.

Spoonman Guitar Lesson – SoundgardenWatch this video on YouTube

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Spoonman is said to be the song that first exposed Soundgarden to a wider audience and was the turning point at which they started to gain mass appeal.

Written by the absolutely incredible vocalist Chris Cornell who has unfortunately passed away, the song made it to number 3 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts and is a favorite amongst Soundgarden fans.

The song is primarily played using 3 string barred power chords, but does a good job of mixing things up by including some slides and rhythmic mutes.

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While not quite as commercially successful as songs such as Schism or Vicarious, it is nevertheless a ton of fun to play.

Avenged Sevenfold – Unholy Confessions Guitar Tutorial w/TABSWatch this video on YouTube

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Although we previously mentioned that as Avenged Sevenfold’s career progressed they started to lean towards catchier songs with more commercial viability.

But this song is proof that even before that change, the band still was able to achieve a degree of mainstream exposure with Unholy Confessions, the first single from their second album.

This really is a quintessential metalcore song that will require you to employ all of your most common guitar techniques including down picking, palm muting, and hammer ons/pull offs.

Once you have this song mastered you will already be able to play a huge number of metal songs in drop d, it’s a really great primer on this style of music.

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Lyrically singer Matthew Bellamy has mentioned this song discusses the topic of luck and how much of a factor that plays in our lives, people who are born into privilege stand a far better chance of doing well.

Guitar wise this has some great alternative rock riffs for you to sink your teeth into.

It’s a mid-tempo song that has a good energy but is also manageable if you are a beginner.

Contrary to many of the songs in drop d on this list this is mostly played using single note riffs which you can alternate pick if the down picking is too strenuous.

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Another wonderful song from Rage’s self-titled album.

Although the song was never actually released as a promotional single, it was very famously used as part of ‘The Matrix’ movies original soundtrack which starred Keanu Reeves.

Making it one of their most recognized songs in drop d.

It has some really impactful hard rock riffs, you’ll want a medium gain tone with a good amount of spank to it.

Make sure you pick quite hard as it’s only going to enhance the energy of the song.

In addition, there’s some percussive mutes on the verse and some strummed octaves, so this song is sure to keep you busy!

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Whatsername is the final track from Green Day’s smash hit album ‘American Idiot’ which won the 2005 Grammy Award for best rock album.

This song will have you playing palm-muted 8th notes at a steady and consistent pace for the duration of the song.

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But that has not stopped him from achieving great commercial success and he has been rated as one of the best heavy metal vocalists of all time by Hit Parader.

The Beautiful People is from Manson’s second album titled ‘Antichrist Superstar’.

Guitar wise it has a very catchy main riff that plays entirely off of the drop D tuning by essentially turning a single note riff into chords.

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Drop D tuning is far from new.

Both of those bands were hugely influential and it’s no surprise that drop D (tuning the sixth E string down a whole step to D) is still widely used today.While it has its roots in blues music, it’s in heavy metal where the drop D really shines.

I love it and I’ve found the 22 best songs that showcase this unique way of tuning your guitar.Here is my list of the best drop D metal songs for you to learn on your guitar.List of the best drop D metal songs1.

Papa Roach – Last ResortNot many heavy metal songs cross over to the mainstream but this did, and then some.

It was the lead single to Papa Roach’s second album and by far their biggest hit.

Its catchy chorus belies the horrifically sad lyrics.A part of what made the song so big was the music video, which was incredibly clever.

The song shows that you can use unique tuning but still write a hugely popular song.

It may be over 20 years old but play this in a heavy metal club today and the crowd still goes insane.Click for Tab2.

It’s very well produced with different elements involved from the woman panting at the start of the song to the wild screaming towards the end.The song was originally released back in 1997 for the film Private Parts, a biopic on the life of Howard Stern.

Some of the lines are spoken by Stern and it became the theme tune to his radio show in 1999.Click for Tab3.

Avenged Sevenfold – Bat CountryBat Country is a thunderous song that made it as a single from the band’s third album.

It remains one of their most popular tracks and it’s easy to see why.

The song is notable for its incredible guitar duel with the two epic solos.The song has had many references in popular culture and has featured on several video games.

That’s no surprise with drop D tuning giving it that deeper and huge feel.

Add to that the amazing vocals and you get a fantastic song.Click for Tab4.

It starts with a flowing solo riff then takes you on a musical journey that you don’t want to end.Drop D tuning helps to give it a unique feel and the lack of lyrics allows you to deeply focus on the music.

The song was used on Guitar Hero 3 but it’s also a perfect track to learn on your real guitar, as it’s a technical masterpiece.Click for Tab5.

Avenged Sevenfold – Nightmare“Nightmare” has one of the best intros to any heavy metal song.

It starts with the creepy xylophone sound, made using vocal effects on a keyboard, and then a violin slowly seeps into the song.Then, 34 seconds in, we get hit with a wall of sound with drop D tuning.

It was the lead single from their fifth album of the same name and was a huge hit.

There are many great aspects to the song but the long guitar solo mixed with the intense drumming is simply phenomenal.Click for Tab6.

Pantera – WalkDrop D tuning isn’t the only unique musical aspect about “Walk” as it’s notable for the riff being played in a 12/8 time signature.

Both elements combined to make Pantera’s most played song, which is quite an achievement given their back catalog.It was on an album with probably my favorite ever title of “Vulgar Display of Power” which perfectly encapsulates what the band was all about.

It’s one of the best metal songs of all time and many bands would come to copy that heavy, driving sound.Click for Tab7.

Tool – SchismThere is an ignorance from those who don’t like metal music to think it’s just a wall of incoherent sound.

That’s obviously nonsense but never is it highlighted more than on “Schism” by Tool, which is quite simply incredible musicianship.It starts with that insane bassline and the complex rhythms continue throughout the songs.

Add all these elements to drop D tuning and you get one of the most unique, and best, songs ever.Click for Tab8.

A brilliant campaign in 2009 saw “Killing In The Name” soar to the number one spot and end the reality pop dominance.The song was originally released in 1992 and it was the first single ever from the band, what a way to introduce yourself to the world.

It’s a monumental song for many reasons and the anti-racist lyrics resonate more than ever.Click for Tab9.

Metallica – All Nightmare LongAfter the mixed reviews of their previous album St. Anger, 2008’s Death Magnetic showed that the band still had it.

There are many brilliant songs on the album with “All Nightmare Long” being one of them.

Drop D tuning helps to give it a deep, growling sound.It was nominated for Kerrang!’s best single award but missed out to “Omen” by The Prodigy.

It’s a relentless song and nearly 8 minutes of brilliant.

The song has appeared on many versions of Guitar Hero but it’s quite hard to master.Click for Tab10.

Avenged Sevenfold – Buried AliveAnother great drop D song from Avenged Sevenfold is “Buried Alive”.

It’s also from the Nightmare album, so the band must have been inspired by the tuning at the time.The song isn’t as heavy as many others from the band but the tuning gives it a heavily textured and complex sound.

The lyrics are deep and thought-provoking with the song notable for a blistering solo.Click for Tab11.

The bands wanted to get ahead of it before it became an issue.Fans weren’t happy considering it’s one of their most popular songs.

It was from their debut album and the multiple parts and brilliant instrumentation helped to make it a stand-out track.Click for Tab12.

Black Veil Brides – Knives And PensHere we see another song that has a brilliant driving riff.

It’s the first single they ever released and it remains one of their most listened to songs.

It made it onto their excellent debut album We Stitch These Wounds.The song is about the choices we can make in our lives and has a deep meaning.

Drop D tuning helps to give it that epic sound and it has a brilliant music video to go with it.Click for Tab13.

It has an excellent melody and the combination of Amy Lee’s vocals along with Paul McCoy was brilliant.It crossed over to the mainstream and remains hugely popular, despite being nearly 20 years old.

It’s a flawless song in many ways with it being beautifully sung, perfectly produced, and as catchy as heavy songs come.Click for Tab14.

The intro is magnificent with the marching drum beat accompanied by the strained, muted, and backward guitars, before his whispered vocals come in.The song lyrically plays with the idea of beauty and does so in a very cutting manner.

It’s a masterclass in making a heavy song with many inspired elements with the tuning and diminished notes along with the aforementioned palm muting and driving drums.Click for Tab15.

Avenged Sevenfold – Critical AcclaimHere they are again, the masters of drop D tuning.

It’s notable for its spoken rants throughout the song from M.

The song is a relentless tirade of brilliant music and punctuated with cutting lyrics.Click for Tab16.

It was the lead single from their fourth album, released back in 2006.

The tuning and the 5/4 riff help to give it that unique sound and one that Tool perfected.Vicarious means experiencing the feelings of another person through your imagination and the song lyrically plays on how often people do that, especially celebrities.Click for Tab17.

Avenged Sevenfold – M.I.AThis is our last song on this list from the brilliant A7X and one of their most lyrically political.

It showcases everything great about the band with the lyrics, vocals, and musicianship.Click for Tab18.

Lamb of God – Walk With Me In Hell“Walk With Me In Hell” is the opening track to the band’s fourth studio album and is one of several great songs that helped to make it the top-selling heavy metal album of 2006.The song is as close to a love song as Lamb of God will ever get with the title referring to having company through the hellish things life has to offer.

The song was sadly prophetic as Mark Morton and his wife had to walk through the hell of their newborn daughter passing away.Click for Tab19.

Lamb of God – Laid To RestLamb of God’s most listened to song, and it perfectly sums up what the band is all about.

It’s the opening song from their third studio album and when they really announced themselves to the world.The machine-gun drums and the marching riff with drop D tuning give it a massive sound.

Add that to the perfectly screamed vocals of Randy Blythe and you get an epic song.Click for Tab20.

It’s from their incredible debut album and showed they’d never be afraid to make a statement.The intro, seemingly heavily inspired by “Kashmir” from Led Zeppelin, is brilliant and the bassline throughout it is just ridiculously good.Click for Tab21.

It’s a testament to Rammstein’s incredible sound that they were able to do just that.

Its driving drop D riff and haunting female vocals really help to make the song special.An all-time heavy metal classic.Click for Tab22.

Bring Me the Horizon – SleepwalkingBring Me the Horizon’s fourth album “Sempiternal” was incredible and one of the best tracks from it was “Sleepwalking”.

It somehow managed to be melodic without losing any of its aggressiveness.Drop D tuning, a singalong chorus, and irregular thumping drum riff helped to make the song special.

It sounds brilliant live and is perfectly sung by Oliver Sykes.Click for Tab

He’s been playing music since he was young, and has been the main content writer at Tone Start for the past few years.

Alex loves to play around with different styles of music and enjoys listening to anything from country to classical.

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