Extreme Metal Gym Playlist

Gym playlists.  Man, some people out there really seem to not have the balls to delve into nastier shit than they’re accustomed to in order to really raise those adrenaline levels.  I guess they don’t really want to train with fury after all.  Pussies.  This goes back to my first true post on here, titled: “…if I had my own gym”.  I bitched that the so-called metalheads in my gym cried like little girls upon hearing my heavy-as-fuck Spotify playlist, which contained several tracks by Pantera (the super heavy shit from the mid-90’s), Strapping Young Lad, Nevermore and Meshuggah.  The remarks came flying: “What is this crap?”  “Yeah I know I’m a Stripping Young Lad but this sucks!”, “Do you have any Metallica??”

Sure, there are gyms out there that understand that Disturbed is NOT the definition of music that makes you want to fight someone of even deadlift the house.  But they’re few and far between.  Also, I’ve come across plenty of playlists on Bodybuilding.com and, while some have come close, I came across a lot of shit.  When I think of real weightlifting music Bring Me The Horizon and Miss May I are clearly, badass bands to train to.  Right?  Right?  Excuse me while I puke out my flank steak dinner and my creatine powder.

So here are my ten picks, in no particular order, for heavy-as-fuck, balls to the wall, rage fueling, gym music.

  1. Nails – You Will Never Be One Of Us, 2016ywnboou

I’m starting with this one because I need to get something off my chest real quick: I’m so fucking mad at these guys!  Just as this album is getting more critical acclaim and attention than any other album sounding remotely like this the band, without warning, goes on hiatus?!?!  What the fuck is this shit??  And why now???  Did Todd Jones decide he couldn’t handle the sudden popularity??  Did it go against his hardcore ethos??  Good thing I never went to This Is Hardcore in the beginning of the month because I would’ve been really pissed off!

Now that that’s out of the way…this is most likely my album of the year.  In just over twenty-one minutes, this album is literally all killer no filler…at all.  This is just straight up RAGE from start to finish.  The production is rough, the vocals are ridden with the type of slobbering anger that says Todd Jones wants to hurt you so bad.  This is true Meathead music.  It’s totally amped up my workouts since it came out two months ago and will most likely continue to do so.

Key Tracks: You Will Never Be One Of Us, Savage Intolerance, Parasite, They Come Crawling Back

2. Pantera – The Great Southern Trendkill, 1996 tgstk

Yeah…this one…not Cowboys, not Vulgar…this one.  Why?  Listen to the opening seconds of the title track alone.  That’s why.  The Great Southern Trendkill is literally the most violent and intense Pantera release in their entire recording career.  It just wreaks of every negative emotion you DIDN’T expect from Pantera.  I guess it kind of, sort of, also helps that Phil Anselmo was secretly doing heroin during this time.  That shit always brings down the mood!  Featuring the late Seth Putnam of Anal Cunt on backing screams on certain tracks.

Key Tracks: The Great Southern Trendkill, War Nerve, Suicide Note Pt.2, Sandblasted Skin

3. Strapping Young Lad – Alien, 2005


Ever wanted to hear what a bipolar person sounds like when they stop taking their meds just to make their most intense album ever?  Here’s your chance!  But it ain’t pretty.  Which is why I love it!  Devin Townsend knew that Strapping’s 2003 comeback record was clearly stale, minus two tracks.  So what did he do?  He risked his mental health and let the crazies out to play on more time.  I cannot listen to this record when I am driving because there were many times when this record came out that I went into massive road rage, probably came close to INTENTIONALLY running over people and driving into a wall.

Key tracks: Skeksis, Shitstorm, Love?, We Ride

4. Nevermore – This Godless Endeavor, 2005


Without question the heaviest album Nevermore ever did.  I don’t know if it was because of the permanent addition of Steve Smyth as a second guitarist, but whatever it was, it worked.  Usually known for a more diverse musical formula on previous albums, much of that is non-existent here.  Like…compared to the albums before it or after…This Godless Endeavor is musically pitch black.  I can totally see myself bench pressing to Jeff Loomis and Steve Smyth’s dueling leads on “Psalm Of Lydia”.

Key Tracks: Born, My Acid Words, Bittersweet Feast, Psalm Of Lydia

5 and 6.  Crowbar – Crowbar, 1993/Sonic Excess In It’s Purest Form, 2001


I decided I had to put in two albums here.  Crowbar are the ultimate go-to band for intense weight training.  It’s unforgivingly brutal, fast enough, slow enough, sludgy enough and add Kirk Windstein’s increasing raspy vocals on being down and out and all I want to do is eat lots of food and deadlift.

Speaking of food, on their Phil Anselmo-produced, self titled album is a song called “Existence Is Punishment”.  If you ever watched Beavis and Butthead in the 90’s you probably saw them making fun of that song’s video, leaving Beavis to basically say that the band makes you want to eat and get fat.  Oh..and that they’re always taking a dump.  Also featured here the most badass cover of Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter” that you’ll ever here.

Key Tracks: “High Rate Extinction”, “Existence is Punishment”, “All I Had (I Gave)”, “No Quarter” (Led Zeppelin)


Probably the fattest, sludgiest and – believe it or not – most groundbreaking album or their career.  Featuring future Goatwhore guitarist Sammy Duet, Sonic Excess In It’s Purest Form truly lived up to it’s name.  But not just because it’s heavy, or you might as well consider every heavy album to be groundbreaking.  But because the songwriting here is so thought out.  Everything was perfectly arranged.  “The Lasting Dose”, the album’s most popular track – and the one where the moshpits always reach new heights – probably wouldn’t sound as amazing it does if it wasn’t well written.  This one always has me banging my head while training – I could give two shits if anyone’s looking at me.

Key Tracks: The Lasting Does, To Build A Mountain, Failure To Delay Gratification, Empty Room

7. Behemoth – The Satanist, 2014


First off: Nergal is GOD.  I knew I loved Behemoth they day I heard their 2004 album, Demigod, in my college radio station, where I found myself playing it to death for a while.  It was the perfect mix of death metal with black metal themed lyrics, a new style the band were experimenting with.

But here, literally a decade later, the band is beginning to change.  Oh yeah, the brutality of their previous albums is still here, but the music itself feels fresh, much looser, much more off the cuff.  I remember hearing Nergal screaming with passion on the track “Messe Noire:: “I believe in SATAN!!!!”, me yelling to my car stereo with excitement “Oh yes you do!!!”.

Key Tracks: Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel, Messe Noire, Amen, O Father, O Satan, O Sun

8. Meshuggah – obZen, 2008


This was band’s second album using eight string guitars, but after 2005’s weird, and heavily drum sampled Catch 33, the heaviest band to ever come out of Sweden were back with fury.  Back when everyone and their mother was still on Myspace, I heard “Bleed” on the band’s music player…and nearly fell off my chair.  The slow tempo, mixed with Tomas Haake’s double bass rolls, those bowel inducing, low tuned eight strings locked in just perfectly, Jens Kidman’s newly developed screaming…it was as if the band was reborn!  Meshuggah were already one of my top five gym bands but obZen is a modern day Extreme Metal masterpiece.

Key Tracks: Combustion, Electric Red, Bleed, Dancers To A Discordant System

9. Morbid Angel – Domination, 1995


The one album that causes the most drama between fans.  You either love Domination or the thought of it makes your stomach turn, and that even goes for the members of the band.  Between the production style and the change in David Vincent’s lyrical themes and vocal approach, this is either the band’s most brutal album or the biggest pile of shit they ever recorded.  Me?  I fucking love it!  It’s virtually unrelenting, minus “Hatework”, which I could do without.  I personally think the clarity in production makes Trey and Erik’s guitars that much more brutal.

Key Tracks: Dominate, Where The Slime Lives, Eyes To See Ears To Hear, Dawn Of The Angry

10. Black Label Society – Live Alcohol Fueled Brutality + 5, 2001

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Right off the bat, fuck the “plus 5” on the second disc, it doesn’t matter.  I almost didn’t use this album but first off, Zakk Wylde is GOD.  Second, this live album is endlessly loud, violent, and brutal.  This was recorded on that infamous 2ooo tour were Zakk’s famous “grail” Les Paul was stolen, not to be seen again for a good three years.  This is another album I’ll bang my head to and sing out loud in the gym regardless of who’s watching me.  Fuck them, they’re all listening to the shitty dance music playing through the speakers or some watered down “rock” through their earbuds.

Key Tracks: Low Down, Lost My Better Half, Bored To Tears, No More Tears (Ozzy Cover)

Most Intense Show Of My Life…Or How I Almost Died Seeing Crowbar.

…ok so maybe that dying part is a bit exaggerated but if it got you to read this then my job is done!  Suck me.

Sludge GODS Crowbar came to town this past Monday night on their Summer of Doom tour, taking along with them Lord Dying and Battlecross.  It took so long to write about this because I needed a whole day to recuperate from the insanity that I’m going to write all about.  Then I had a very hard time uploading all my pictures and videos.  Why?  I couldn’t tell you, but I finally upload everything last night.  My videos from the show have been up for the last day or two though and I’ll put the link to them here of course.

I arrived there maybe before 7:30 so I could eat something.  I was walking up the block to find food and who’s coming toward me in the opposite direction?  None of than Crowbar founder/vocalist/guitarist Kirk Windstein!  I shit you not!  He and two other guys were headed back to the bar with food and I had a slight fanboy moment so I went up to Kirk.  He shook my hand and said hey in that gruff, raspy voice of his before going back to his conversation with his buds.  No big deal since I wound up with a souvenir from him later in the night anyway.

So I go back to the bar later and upon looking at Crowbar’s merch table I found this shirt.


This is so fucking true!  I myself wound up buying two shirts from the table but no this wasn’t one of them, although I think I should’ve gotten one for my girlfriend as a hint!

Not too long before the first band of the night, Carcosa, went on, I tried to talk to a few people and it felt a bit weird.  There were times where I felt like because these people didn’t know me they wanted nothing to do with me.  Not that I give a shit at all but this is something about metal that pisses me off.  It’s cool that there of groups of metalheads that found each other because that’s so hard to do; but what’s with the cliques?  I did met this one guy in a Down t-shirt who was a HUGE Crowbar fan.  Nice guy when I met him but as it turned out he was one of those pyscho fanboy types…you know the ones…there’s one at every show and that idiot always knows every little thing about the band including it’s day to day personal activities.  Well he turned out to be one of them.

While waiting outside I met Alex Bent, the current drummer in Battlecross.  We had a long conversation about all things music.  He and I and the crowd including the psycho fanboy were reminiscing about how we each discovered Crowbar and I good chunk of us said by watching Beavis and Butthead.  “Huh huh, I’d hate to meet this guy in an alley Beavis.  Huh huh.”  After a while it was time for him to go back in but he was cool enough to take this photo with me before he did.


I walked back in as Carcosa began their set.  They’re a band out of Long Island and this just happened to be their first show.  If I could describe their music I’d say a sludge/hardcore hybrid, not like Crowbar does but they were pretty heavy.  For their first show they were spot on, as if they rehearsed a lot.  I spoke to Tim, their lead singer at their merch table after they finished and he said this wasn’t even supposed to be their first gig but when they got the call how the fuck could they say no????  They’re one of many bands I’ve noticed selling their music on cassettes, primarily because they’re cheaper to make than CDs according to what they guys in Ajax told me last July.  For $5 I got a cassette with a free digital download card along with two stickers.  To hear it for yourself go to http://www.carcosali.bandcamp.com and you’ll find the entire demo.

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I had more pictures and even a video but for some reason my memory card filled up quick and I didn’t even have many pic taken yet at that point.  This would be cause for a lot of frustration throughout the night.

Next of was Lord Dying.  This is was a close as we were gonna get to Crowbar before Crowbar even hit the stage.  It was heavy and sludgy…but with harmonies and solos.  They actually impressed me a lot and I will but their shit.  Erik Olson’s vocals were angry as FUCK and the music just pounded you.

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At the end of their set I spoke to Chris Evans, their co-guitarist, who let me take a picture of him with that beautiful custom made guitar you see both guys with in the video I posted.  He even let me hold it, that thing is light as a feather.  I wanted to try and balance it one finger!


Battlecross were next and the last band before Crowbar.  This was the thrashiest, fastest and most melodic band out of the entire lineup.  They were still intense but in a different way and it’s safe to say the definitely have a following because this was the time when the room were in in truly began to full up.  From “go” the band were non-stop.  Their music was fast and while i had heard some of their songs before this night just so I could be familiar with them, they really impressed me live.  Also, it’s good to know there are bands out there with a sense of humor because Kyle Gunther was absolutely hysterical at times.  When I met him afterwards I should’ve suggested he try standup comedy.

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Here’s where problems began.  My phone’s battery was dying so my video for Battlecross was cut off after a minute and a half and my camera’s memory card was mysteriously full.  I’d fix the camera issue later but I couldn’t charge my phone obviously.  But here’s the video I made because it did come out good, at least.

Some people were crazy enough to clear the room after Battlecross got off the stage.  I guess they wanted to get one last smoke break, I don’t know.  I just know that there was a great open spot right at the front of the stage and I took it quickly.  While Alex was taking down his massive drum set – the biggest one of all the bands! – I befriended the guy standing next to me, also named Mike.  Turns out he’s huge Crowbar fan – no not like the psycho fanboy.  Kirk Windstein got on stage to set up and he drops the setlist on the floor and reading it Mike and I got real giddy, like teenagers, just knowing that shit was going down tonight.  I mean…just…just look at this fucking setlist!


After just ten minutes Crowbar finally hit the stage.  I think you can just look at the picture above to figure out just how fucking crazy shit got based on the song being played but trust me, seeing is believing.  I was only able to take a few pictures because I got banged around a bit being that I was at the front.  I mean I was right in front of Kirk Fucking Windstein and practically getting an upfront guitar lesson!  If I can’t play any of Crowbar’s shit after this show I need new glasses now.  So here are the few pictures I was able to take, just to get it out of the way.

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So when the band began playing the place turned into a heavy metal lion’s den of dudes jumping off the stage – especially that psycho fanboy!  He kept on trying to push his way in and knocking me away from the front but I wasn’t letting that happen.  But I did pay for it because his breath smelled like fucking shit!  Mike smelt it too as did the woman standing to my right!  I have a video of the the second and third songs they did: “Planets Collide” and “All I Had (I Gave)” and before the “All I Had…” ended the fucking camera stopped on me again!  But I’ll tell you what…as crazy as we all were – I mean Mike and I were laughing so hard at how crazy everybody was and how heavy as FUCK the band were – shit really went down at the breakdown to “All I Had…”  It’s as if nothing else matters after that song.  This was where the whole fucking place just caved in.  For real.  Here’s the video of it.  The sound’s fuzzy because I’m right in front of Kirk but just fast forward to the 8:16 to see it all.

It was an extremely intense show.  And if shit couldn’t be more out of control the band broke into the intro to “The Lasting Dose” and played it even slower than it already is.  That just made everyone’s blood boil because they just wanted the band to kick in so they could beat each other up some more.  I fucking loved it!  I’m pretty sure it was that song were some jackass jumped of the stage and landed right on my shoulder.  And not even five minutes after that I felt someone kick me in the back of the head.  The woman next to me asked me if I was ok and I saw that psycho fanboy crowd surfing, so I immediately figured out that it was his foot that hit me.  She and I both wanted to fuck him up because he kept on jumping our direction AND his breath smelt so fucking rancid.  Rushing to the stage to show he knows every single word before jumping on us again and again.  I was ready to hurt him.

The show was SICK.  Crowbar were so fucking heavy.  This really is the music you listen to to get fat!  If I wasn’t sick I would’ve totally been motivated to lift weights the next day because they gave me such an adrenaline rush.  This is the music you shit dead babies to.  Fuck it – this is the music you EAT babies to!  They ended the night with “Existence is Punishment” and just when you thought the crowd were tired from beating the shit out of each other they got right back into it just like that.  I’ve never seen anything like it in all the years I’ve been to shows.  I’ve seen things close to this happen but the difference was that at all those other shows the crowds calmed down at least a little after a few songs.  Here?  No.  Just…no.  At the end of the show I jokingly thanked Kirk for the free guitar lesson.  “Free guitar lesson, huh?”, he asked on the mic in the raspy ass fucking voice of his.  He then let out a smile and gave me this sick looking guitar pic out of his pocket.

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This again was such a fucking sick show…the single most intense show I’ve ever gone to so far.  I plan on going back to Saint Vitus this Monday to see Goatwhore, which ironically enough was formed by former Acid Bath and Crowbar guitarist Sammy Pierre Duet.  That’s a band that puts on a sick show but I know that it won’t be the same as this.