Heavy music has given us some truly epic songs — sprawling works that take listeners on winding emotional and musical journeys, like Metallica's "Master of Puppets," Maiden's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and Sleep's "Dopesmoker," to name a few.
But sometimes brevity is in order (just ask most any hardcore kid) and artists are inspired to keep things short and sweet for maximum impact. In that spirit, we asked you, our trusty readers, to weigh in with your pick for the greatest song under two minutes. As usual, you came through with some choice cuts — including some killer tracks that didn't quite make the cut like Converge's "Concubine," Slayer's "Necrophobic" and Nails' "You Will Never Be One of Us." See what tracks you thought were better in the ranked list below.
Superjoint Ritual's first record Use Once and Destroy was a masterstroke in how to combine sludge metal and hardcore punk, "Fuck Your Enemy" showing what happens when you apply the genre into a pipe-bomb of a package. The guitar work is vicious and Phil Anselmo's vocals reach Pantera-level intensity with nothing but screaming. It's a nasty-as-fuck song that doesn't overstay its welcome.
A song in two seconds? It can be done. NYC crossover band Stormtroopers of Death (S.O.D.) were responsible for a lot of sick tracks (and maybe the first band to actually pull together thrash and hardcore) and also were pretty fucking funny. The final track on their debut, "Diamonds and Rust (Extended Version)" is a literal two-second guitar part and drum hit, the title of the song yelled.
Napalm Death's "You Suffer" is an explosive one-note example of how the group pushed boundaries in terms of speed, song length and even musical composition itself. Listen now for the two-second reminder of why these progenitors of grindcore remain the true gods of sarcastic metal rebellion.
One of vocalist Jonathan Davis' earliest and most aggressive displays of vicious scatting, "Twist" is an anthem to the angst of Korn's music. At only 50 seconds long, it's more interlude than full-on track, but to their credit, it takes a lot of strenuous throat work to make something so brief sound so iconically evil.
Punk rock as a genre is well-known for its bands' ability to churn out short but impactful songs, chock full of energetic spirit that blows up and flames out in two or three glorious minutes. "Last Caress" is one eminent example of how just a couple of verses and an unforgettable chorus can nestle into the hearts of fans despite — or perhaps because of — its abbreviated brilliance.