We’ve all heard the argument that heavy metal and politics don’t go together, but although we do understand the desire for music to purely be a form of escapism, the idea is fundamentally incorrect. Metal is not inherently conservative or liberal, centrist or radical, but it is very frequently anti-war... and that is where politics and metal intersect.

Like the devil and like horror, anti-war themes in heavy metal began with Black Sabbath and the lyrics, “Generals gathered in their masses / Just like witches at black masses.” But "War Pigs" is about more than just rhyming masses with masses; it criticized the military industrial complex and America’s ulterior motives to fight the Vietnam war.

You know who else told it like it was? Dave Mustaine. "Peace Sells" also addresses the military industrial complex and how the government has a vested interest in endless war to make endless profits. After much research, we also discovered that Megadeth's "Holy Wars" is about wars, namely the conflict between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland.

One of metal’s quintessential anti-war acts is Napalm Death, whose name itself is a brutal message against chemical weaponry. Napalm Death are still one of the planet’s most politically active bands concerning both human and animal rights, and they do practice what they preach, with vocalist Barney Greenway being a vegetarian since he was 14 (he’s now a vegan) and actually facing off with neo-Nazis in Apartheid-era South Africa.

A new age of anti-war acts came in the post-9/11 era, namely with System of a Down’s monumental “BYOB” (Bring Your Own Bombs). It was probably the first time since Rage Against the Machine that a political band was so prominent, while in the underground, Lamb of God made their own statement with As the Palaces Burn. Slayer even won a Grammy for their anti-war cut “Eyes of the Insane,” a song that addressed the epidemic of veteran suicides.

For our full argument on why metal and politics absolutely do go together, check out the video below.

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