When the average person on the street thinks about broken heart songs, Jimmy Ruffin's 'What Becomes of the Broken Hearted' may come to mind, or perhaps something like light like Toni Braxton's 'Unbreak My Heart.' One thing's for sure -- a Deicide song probably isn't at the top of the list. But even the toughest metalhead isn't immune to the trials and tribulations of love. The bigger they are, the harder they fall -- and in this list we'll highlight 10 broken heart songs for metal lovers out there.
'In My Darkest Hour,' Megadeth
From 'So Far, So Good ... So What' (1988)
Even hardened thrashers like Megadeth can sing the love blues. In this blackened torch song, Dave Mustaine lashes out at a lover in what reads like a suicide note: "Now as I die for you/My flesh still crawls as I breathe your name," he seethes in one section, while lamenting later, "Loneliness is not only felt be fools." The song closes out with a speeding crescendo that showcases one of Mustaine's most emotionally charged guitar solos.
'Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone),' Cinderella
From 'Long Cold Winter' (1988)
The title of the song might be one of the most overused clichés around, but there's something in the way that Cinderella's Tom Keifer delivers "Don't know what you've got till it's gone" in its chorus that just strikes a chord with anyone who has screwed up something great. It's not the kind of thing a lot of metalhead dudes would admit relating to, but the theme is universal and definitely timeless.
Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor uses his deeply rich baritone on 2008's 'Dead Memories,' and the results are breathtaking. In it, the narrator of this broken heart song is so disillusioned by the failure of his relationship that in part of the song he's talking about himself in the past tense. The funereal guitar lines mirror its lyrical despair. It's not the type of stuff that gets on mainstream radio, but it deserves its position here.
In the '90s, European audiences lapped up Sentenced and their downtrodden take on gothic metal, not necessarily their broken heart songs. In most of the songs we chose for this list, the person singing is reflecting about a love gone wrong. In 'Killing Me Killing You,' the narrator is speaking in the present tense. He is painfully aware that his relationship is going down in flames, and the dejection in singer Ville Laihiala's voice doesn't hide it.
Nikki Sixx penned this one in 1987 after suspecting his then girlfriend of cheating on him with actor Jack Wagner. Crüe vocalist Vince Neil sings about a man who stabs his lover to death in a ghastly act of passion. The protagonist's twisted crime lands him in a mental hospital, but not before he sings the brilliant line "I got so much to learn about love in this world/But we finally made the news."
This 1976 single is a tearful confession to a long-suffering lover. The song never discloses if the relationship ends or not, but you're left believing that even Cooper knows the damage his alcoholism has done is beyond repair. This is some gut-wrenching stuff. About a year after 'I Never Cry' was released, the singer's real-life addictions would lead to a self-imposed stint in a New York sanitarium.
Who said death metal bands can't write broken heart songs about love and loss? The title track to Deicide's 2008 'Till Death Do Us Part' album was reportedly inspired by vocalist-bassist Glen Benton's divorce. He venomously warns his ex-wife, "All is not forgotten and for all eternity/You will bear the burden of the things you've done to me." But his rage isn't too surprising. After all, this is the same guy who wrote a song called 'Kill the Christian.'
Mick Hutson, Redferns
'Before the Dawn,' Judas Priest
From 'Hell Bent for Leather' (1978)
Here Rob Halford lushly delivers a set of lyrics that is among Priest's most morose. "Outside the birds begin to call/As if to summon up my leaving," he sings in the opening verse. During its chorus, he pleads, "I've waited too long and now you're leaving/Oh, please don't take it all away." There's finality in 'Before the Dawn,' and you're left feeling that not all ends well for its characters.
Pantera's Phil Anselmo reportedly wrote 'This Love' about an ex-girlfriend -- and the only thing more chilling than his lyrics is Dimebag Darrell's slow-motion riff assault at the song's conclusion. Anselmo takes the listener to a place of complete despondency and desperation. "I'd kill myself for you/I'd kill you for myself" is the most dramatic line, but the entire song reflects that morbid sentiment.
Taylor Hill, FilmMagic
'Deathmask Divine,' The Black Dahlia Murder
From 'Nocturnal' (2007)
In this flesh ripper, a man deals with the death of a woman he was in love with by keeping her decomposing corpse and severed body parts in his house. Clive Barker would wince at lines like "I sew the gaping chest wound, each thread made with love/The bosom where I would rest my face is covered in your blood." This storyline would make for the ultimate chick flick for girls who listen to Autopsy.