10 Brilliant Metal Songs That Last Under 1 Minute
Brace for impact.
Heavy metal’s musical foundations have always lent itself well to lengthier compositions, but there’s plenty of examples of the opposite too. With little time to spare, bands like Napalm Death and Municipal Waste thrive on caving in heads with their quick, yet explosive concoctions.
We’ve already covered slightly less restrictive song durations with our ’10 Brilliant Metal Songs That Last Under 2 Minutes’ piece, but what about those tracks that are half that time in length? Well, they haven’t been forgotten.
Thought two minutes was short? Think again. These songs are over before you know it, but somehow, they make a mighty impression with such a small time span. These are 10 brilliant metal songs that last under a minute.
10. Carcass – Frenzied Detruncation
Recorded with some very low production values, Carcass’ 1988 debut album Reek of Putrefaction was never going to sound pristine. However, on the gut-wrenching 54-second cut “Frenzied Detruncation,” the lo-fi element works a treat.
When it comes to extreme metal, Carcass provide the goods on this pummeling track. Largely heralded for their influence on the goregrind sub-genre, songs like “Frenzied Detruncation” utilize horrific and bloody lyricism, mixed with an impenetrable musical backbone. Everything sounds muddy, but it only adds to the gnarly nature of the song – something which is expertly pulled off here.
It’s harsh, it’s noisy and it’s abrasive, but it’s also a fine example of how to knock out a killer track with very little time to spare. Warning: it’s not for the faint-hearted either.
9. Nails – No Surrender
Few current day metal acts can muster up the same intensity as the uncompromising trio Nails. And on their chaotic second LP Abandon All Life, they took the extremity of grindcore to its logical conclusion – one that shell shock’s the listener with its seething core.
The word ‘devastation’ normally comes to mind when listening to Nails, and that devastation permeates the 54-second crusher “No Surrender.” They pack two huge body blows into this reckless song, with a first half that speeds along, and a second part that cuts into a stunning groove – creating a noise shard that’s utterly terrifying and devastating in equal measure.
They really don’t come much more assaulting than this cranium-cracker, and to do it in such a short time frame takes immense skill. However, for Nails, it’s just business as usual.
8. Pig Destroyer – Scatology Homework
Seriously, how good is Prowler in the Yard by Pig Destroyer? Very good is the answer. Although much of the record speeds along at a fast pace, one scintillating cut clocks in at just 49 seconds and refuses to let up: “Scatology Homework.”
A cavalcade of drums and guitars, mixed with the unholy screams of frontman J.R. Hayes is enough to make the hair stand on the back of your neck. They never rest on their laurels either, mixing the arrangements up throughout, creating a frightening component of unpredictability. If the blazing thrash elements don’t hook you in, then the eargasmic outro groove will.
It’s another piece of evidence to prove Pig Destroyer’s ‘less is more’ beliefs, because despite “Scatology Homework” being just 49 seconds in length, it manages to say a hell of a lot in that time.
7. Brutal Truth – Vision
Serving as the only track on the album to come in under one minute, “Vision” from Brutal Truth’s fourth album Sounds of the Animal Kingdom contains the same maniacal brilliance found on the rest of the influential 1997 LP.
“Vision” is as angry and confrontational as they come, with lyrics like: “fact is, you’re fucked in the end, bastard, we laugh and watch you fall” plastering it. Musically, it’s kept in place by some vicious blast beats, crazed vocals, booming bassline, and a shredding guitar workout, coming together to form one tight, crisp, and brutal sound.
This one rips through the speakers with its razor sharp claws, thanks to a vocalist who knows no singing boundaries, and an instrumental section that sounds like it’s jacked up on amphetamines.
6. Judas Priest – The Hellion
Judas Priest’s eighth studio album Screaming for Vengeance was a real gem of a record, and it opened with an attention-grabbing intro too in the form of “The Hellion.” Although it often gets dismissed as simply being a lead-in to “Electric Eye,” this fist-pounding 44-second song has plenty going for it in its own right.
It consists of an anthemic guitar lead (that becomes a stellar dual guitar harmony), crashing cymbals, and a steady bassline, going completely instrumental in an inspired move by the band. It builds the tension up for what’s about to kick off on the ensuing songs.
Album intros don’t have to be boring filler tracks that you want to skip, and Judas Priest proved that (and then some) with this soaring statement of intent.
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