What’s up guys? This is Joe Randazza from Eye of the Destroyer with my 10 Sickest Breakdowns in Metal + Hardcore!
I am not sure that there is a list I would have wanted to be a part of more than this one. The following bands and breakdowns really helped to shape the sound of Eye of the Destroyer and our new EP, The Wolf You Feed. Sit back and hold the fuck on 'cause its about to get heavy!
Coming in at No. 10 is Pantera’s “Domination." Much like it did back in the early '90s, this breakdown sets the tone for this entire list. This earth-shatteringly heavy piece of perfection drops on you like a ton of fucking bricks.
I really love the insane amount of reverb that Terry Date put on Vinnie Paul’s kick drum. It just made this section of the song so much heavier than anything that had ever been done before it. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better Dime hits that solo section and makes your entire face melt.
Super heavy fucking breakdown that set the tone for what a breakdown should be!
"Signs of Discontent"By Candiria
At No. 9 we have Candiria with “Signs of Discontent."
The spot I am referencing starts with a bass line build up at the 33 second mark. I heard this for the first time on MTV2. Candiria were running a promo commercial for this record, and this was the exact spot that was featured.
The absolute raw aggression that this band possessed was out of this world. The vocals and the oddly timed groove really drew me in, and it all bridged a gap between metal, hardcore and hip-hop. I remember thinking to myself, “I need this album now.” Great marketing on their behalf. I currently own that record and have been a fan of the band ever since.
"The Color of Money"By Bury Your Dead
This is a band that is probably best known for the Santa Claus mosh video that surfaced in the mid 2000s, but to me they are the fucking kings of what was described to me as the "guitar only breakdown."
Bury Your Dead leave nothing to your imagination on "The Color of Money." The guitar prepares you for the onslaught that is oncoming and by the time the vocal hits you are ready to pick up whatever is within reach and throw it through the wall. Your IQ slowly drops with each open strum as the unique double bass pattern and super heavy guitar tone punches your face in.
Here, we have another New Jersey band that really shaped so much of my songwriting. I have been fortunate enough to become friends with their drummer, Corey, who was a huge influence on my playing. He has now become a bit of an advisor to Eye of the Destroyer, which is super fucking cool.
The song I chose was “Force-Fed” from God Forbid's album Gone Forever. This is by far and away my favorite record they put out. Most will argue that the earlier albums were heavier and more brutal and they would be right in saying that.
However, this album showcased some very detailed songwriting with a more melodic flavor. This song in particular possessed a breakdown that makes you want to punch everything in your immediate surroundings. The double bass matching the riff and the melody that accompanies it makes it incredibly memorable and stupidly heavy!
"43% Burnt"By The Dillinger Escape Plan
No. 6 comes from a group that just blew every other band out of the fucking water. They proved that not only were they the fastest band in the fucking world, but they could back up their technical prowess with an insanely energetic live show. That band is The Dillinger Escape Plan and the song is "43% Burnt."
I saw them for the first time at Birch Hill Night Club in Old Bridge, New Jersey. They opened their set with this song and their singer jumped directly off the stage and into the crowd. It was by far the most chaotic display of incredible I had ever feasted my eyes on. The breakdown smashes you in the face as soon as the track starts. Just to fuck you up a bit further they come back to it at the end, just beating you over the head with it until you can no longer withstand any further punishment.
Fantastic band. Even better breakdown.
"From Womb to Waste"By Dying Fetus
Here we have Dying Fetus with "From Womb to Waste." This band was really the first extreme band besides Cannibal Corpse that I got into. They had that almost bullfrog vocal that represented the death metal aspect of their music, but you knew they were from Baltimore because they had an obvious hardcore influence.
I chose this song in particular because the sound clip that they put in front of the breakdown is fucking ridiculous. I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t heard it, but I strongly suggest giving it a listen.
The riff that follows is perfect. It just is. No one's gonna listen to it and say it's not heavy. It undeniably slaps, and the drummer's use of the ride during the tail of the riff is phenomenal. This band is known for heavy breakdowns and has a ton of them that I could have referenced but this one is my fucking favorite!
"Black Label"By Lamb of God
As we come closer to bringing this thing home, we have Lamb of God with "Black Label" at No. 4.
This entire song rips! It's so fucking raw, so aggressive, so powerful that it pulls you in and converts you into a fan without a choice in the matter.
Back during my nu-metal days I went to see Spineshank. I saw on my ticket that the opener was a band called Lamb of God. I thought nothing of it. I had no clue who they were and didn’t know if my mom would drop me off early enough to see their set.
Well, she did and they ripped my entire face off. The blistering double bass and the attack of the riffs in this song (which was their first song that night) made my teenage head explode! The song ends and fades into what can only be described as a truly iconic riff. The entire floor opened up and I remember thinking to myself, "I need to write riffs like this."
There is no way I could have done this list without including this band. They bridged a gap for me and really gave me an outlet as a young, angry kid who was misunderstood. I spent countless hours listening to this song and the lyrics always gave me the release I so desired — Slipknot's "Only One."
The hip-hop vocals, the incredible drum fill and the perfect sample is what caught my ear first. I loved the way they blended so many styles effortlessly. The song was just so fast paced and aggressive. Like a freight train moving forward, it's just an unstoppable force.
The drums on this song are outrageous but when Corey screams out, "Only one of us walks away," it releases something inside me that I can’t put into words. At the end of the song they start to pick up the pace, and it's truly a thing of beauty. It just keeps getting better and better.
"The World Is Mine"By Shattered Realm
This is a band that I hold close to my heart. If you are from Jersey and you came up when I did, you know what the fuck I’m talking about. No. 2 is Shattered Realm and the song "This World is Mine."
It was a very difficult decision to not put this as my No. 1. This is one of those songs where if you were there, you know that you were legitimately afraid for your life. This wasn’t a pit. This was a fight to the death. You had two choices — get the fuck out of there or stand and fight!
The most violent and brutal assaults I have ever witnessed took place during this song, and it really paved the way for what I wanted every band I was ever in to sound like.
The song starts off with an iconic riff and the back and forth vocals that occur during the chorus make this song not only hard as fuck but also incredibly catchy. Imagine being able to do both. Like, imagine that. There are many breakdowns in this song but the ending is by far the best one. After their drummer smashes his floor tom hell opens its gates and vocalist Chris Rafalowich lets out a viscous guttural that crushes the weak and destroys any opposition.
We have hit No. 1, and it's bittersweet for me. Going through this list has really made me recall some incredible memories. It reminded me of a time when my musical tastes were being shaped and after looking back on this list, I can see so clearly where our new EP came from.
I heard Hatebreed for the first time in my sister's car. I remember her telling me, "This is the hardest fucking band you are ever gonna hear." She had no clue how right she was and how they would go on to continue to be the hardest fucking band out there still to this day!
At the top, we have the sickest breakdown ever written with Hatebreed's "Proven." I have seen this breakdown destroy 2,000 people, and I have also seen it destroy 10,000 people. This song set the tone for their entire legacy and really came out swinging on their second full length, Perseverance.
This album, along with an unbelievable touring schedule, blew this band up. This breakdown at the end of “Proven” made me feel like I could lift trees out of the ground and knock over entire buildings. It's the hardest breakdown ever written.
The overall message was exactly what I needed at a time when I didn’t know if I wanted to continue living. The chorus riff is ignorantly heavy. When they hit the bridge into that double bass roll you know the song is about to take a turn in a 'money riff' direction. That slight hesitation and pause that happens right before that ending riff creates an ominous feeling. When that riff starts it's a call to arms. You know you are about to go to war. It is time to release any negative energy you possess and "Smash your enemies."