Country and metal may seem an unlikely pairing, yet they share many musical similarities that connect both genres – themes such as anger, loss, and heartbreak are prevalent across both.
This interactive map shows which countries excel at metal music based on band density per 100,000 residents. Finland and Sweden lead in this regard with Germany being close behind.
1. “Ghost Riders in the Sky”
“Ghost Riders in the Sky” may often conjure images of red-eyed cowboys and fire-snorting horses, but its musical roots go deeper than that. Surf, Swing, Rock & Roll and Country & Western artists have recorded versions with various degrees of success–Burl Ives (best known for his voice in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”) recorded an original version that reached number one; Vaughn Moore earned another top ten hit while Marty Robbins stands out among many artists as one of his finest performances of it all.
Metal musicians have also given this song new life: Children of Bodom covered it with more aggressive sound, adding lightning-fast solos and nods to classical influences; Cradle of Filth recorded a version that left out verse four altogether for an ominous chorus; though perhaps its most well-known use lies within professional wrestling – “Ghost Riders in the Sky” serves not only as the name of an annual WWE pay-per-view event but is used by wrestler Hangman Adam Page as his theme song!
The song’s increasing prevalence demonstrates its wider reach. Although many would still argue against country music’s influence in metal, its convergence with rock’s harder edge cannot be denied; Brantley Gilbert’s live revision for his Five Finger Death Punch tour, HARDY’s forthcoming album and their recent mash-up all suggest banjos and fiddles will become welcome at headbanger parties soon enough.
Although the United States and Germany boast the highest concentrations of heavy metal bands, smaller countries have made notable contributions as well. Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden Norway and Faroe Islands in particular have produced many legendary metal acts in history. Sweden leads in terms of percentage per capita with nearly one quarter of all active metal bands worldwide being located there while Japan boasts the second highest number (behind Israel). Furthermore, Great Britain boasts its fair share of bands like Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden who call the country home.
2. “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”
Last month, country and Southern rock veteran Charlie Daniels passed away at age 83, prompting Canadian rockers Nickelback to release a cover version of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Their rendition is surprising in its success despite not featuring fiddle duel between Johnny and Satan; instead opting for electric guitars tuned down one step versus traditional fiddle dueling.
It speaks volumes about the strength of this song that even without its signature fiddle parts, this cover still manages to sound fantastic – not to mention being an amusing way of remembering Daniels and his band!
Charlie Daniels Band achieved great success with The Devil Went Down to Georgia as their 1979 #1 hit single. This song tells the tale of Satanic presence visiting Georgia where Johnny, an indigenous musician from there is challenged by him in a fiddle duel; should Satan prevail he will take away Johnny’s soul but should Johnny beat him, instead receiving a golden fiddle instead.
Sustained popularity made the song an ever-green country-rock crossover hit that has also been featured in movies, TV shows and video games. It resonated with listeners across multiple countries making it a global success story.
This song is widely beloved among metal fans as an embodiment of its dark, rebellious sound. This track’s music features distorted guitar “power chords,” heavy riffs and wailing vocals; furthermore, metal music has often been associated with drug abuse and suicide.
Reddit user Depo_s has put together an interactive map for anyone interested in exploring more about metal. The map uses data from Encyclopaedia Metallum database and the CIA World Factbook, with Norway, Sweden and Denmark among the most metal countries – although Iceland and Svalbard (an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean) were unfortunately omitted due to only having one or two bands respectively. Click any country on this interactive map to gain more insight into that region’s bands!
3. “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”
The White Stripes took country rock into hard-rock territory with this 2001 single by pushing country music beyond the country-rock realm and into hard-rock territory with its heavy guitar chords and dark imagery, showing that country can be as heavy as any genre. Furthermore, this signaled a coming age in which banjos and fiddles could join electric guitars and crowbars at headbanger’s balls as music accompaniment.
White Blood Cells was their third album and this track appears on it, produced by Jack White and charting both on Hot Modern Rock Tracks and UK Albums Chart. Recorded at Easley-McCain Recording Studios in Memphis Tennessee by Bob Clearmountain for mixing purposes.
Metal music has long been the go-to genre in Scandinavia. Finland, Iceland and Sweden boast some of the highest populations per capita for metal bands worldwide; however, many of today’s leading metal acts hail from England or America.
Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, two British bands that helped pioneer metal, created its foundation with their groundbreaking first albums. Black Sabbath are legendary, known for their scorching grooves and Dio-era glam; at one point considered one of the greatest bands ever. Dimebag Darrell led one of many groove-oriented metal bands such as Fear of God while Teenage Children of Bodom brought melodies back with nods to classical guitar and an aggressive flashiness that combined hardcore metal and glam elements into their music.
Melechesh from Norway and Samoth from Greece are two acclaimed metal acts that straddle thrash and early death metal, with Samoth adding Middle-Eastern melodies into extreme metal music.
To identify the metal nations, I compared data from Encyclopaedia Metallum with population estimates from the CIA World Factbook as of July 2021 and then counted up the number of metal bands listed for each country; countries listing more than 10 metal bands were excluded from further evaluation; this analysis produced the following list.
4. “The Devil Made Me Do It”
The Devil Made Me Do It is a rock song released by Ozzy Osbourne in 1985. The lyrics convey feelings of guilt by depicting an angry individual blaming others for what has occurred, leading them to commit an action they wouldn’t normally. This track remains popular today and can still be found being played at concerts around the country.
Heavy metal music has had a lasting influence on modern music in numerous ways. It has helped create more aggressive sound, as well as increased use of distorted guitars in songs. Furthermore, this genre has inspired other musicians to experiment and discover new sounds within their genre.
There are countless great metal bands around the world, and many hail from various countries. While some bands may be widely known, others might remain less so. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know exactly which country boasts the greatest concentration of these musical acts; some might reside in North America while others could reside across Europe.
While America may be considered the birthplace of heavy metal music, other countries also feature many metal bands. Finland, Sweden and Norway all boast their own style of metal bands with distinctive sounds that provide plenty of entertainment.
Sepultura, another great Brazilian metal band, stands out with their unique sound. Their music blends thrash metal with Middle-Eastern influences for an unforgettable sound.
Ozzy Osbourne rounds out our list of the top ten metal songs with his classic metal tune “The Devil Made Me Do It.” This powerful tune encapsulates hatred towards others while attributing it to Satan himself – creating an impactful yet catchy tune! This track stands as one of the best metal songs available.