One would hardly think of Metallica as notable writers of love songs, but their hit "Nothing Else Matters" is one of the best heavy metal love songs out there. In fact, Metallica is far from the only metal band with a song so romantic it would make Cyrano de Bergerac blush.
As with any genre, some hardcore love songs are more metal than others. There is a world of difference between the Guns N’ Roses rock ballad "Sweet Child O’ Mine" and the death metal offering of Lamb of God's "Walk With Me in Hell." But once a listener works their way through the metalcore nature of the latter, the song’s sweet romantic lyrics shine through.
The best metal bands are not scared to show their sensitive side, even if that means slightly alienating some of their hardcore fan base. In several instances, these romantic outliers are also the band’s biggest hit.
- Photo: A&M
The early 1990s may have been rich in metal ballads, but few were stripped down in the style of Extreme's 1990 No. 1 Billboard hit "More Than Words." The song off of their album Pornograffitti is about asking someone to show their love, rather than just saying the words, "I love you."
The recording consists of two mellifluous vocal harmonies between lead singer Gary Cherone and guitarist Nuno Bettencourt. The only instrument on the track is Bettencourt's acoustic guitar. The equally austere black and white video of Cherone and Bettencourt just singing helped make the video one of the most played on MTV during that era.
Most people recognize Exreme from this mega-hit single, but the group is actually a hardcore funk metal band. "More Than Words" is the outlier that Extreme loved for launching them into worldwide success, though ultimately it reformed their image to appear as more of a pop ensemble.
What would you do if my heart was torn in two
More than words to show you feel
That your love for me is real
What would you say if I took those words away
Then you couldn't make things new
Just by saying I love you6513Is this romantic?
- Photo: Rhino Records
Metallica's fifth studio effort, The Black Album (also known as Metallica), is the band's best-selling album. It also contains Metallica's first love song, "Nothing Else Matters." The Black Album's somewhat softer style proved to be a crossover success and reached a wider audience.
Metallica lead singer James Hetfield wrote the song in 1990 while he was out on tour and missing his girlfriend. He said of the Billboard hit, "It’s absolutely crazy, that was the song that I thought was least Metallica, least likely to ever [be] played by us, the last song anyone would really want to hear. It was a song for myself in my room on tour when I was bumming out about being away from home."
Never opened myself this way
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words, I don't just say
And nothing else matters9851Is this romantic?
- Photo: Roadrunner Records
"Snuff" hit the Billboard charts in 2009 following the song's release on Slipknot's fourth album, All Hope Is Gone. The song has proved to be a sentimental tune for Slipknot's lead vocalist Corey Taylor, who continues to sing it during solo shows in honor of Slipknot bassist Paul Gray, who suffered an OD in 2010.
Taylor was asked which of his songs had the most personal meaning to him during a 2018 interview with Metal Head Zone. "[Slipknot’s] 'Snuff' probably is one of the ones that means the most to me now just because of the correlation between it and Paul [Gray]," he said. "Really, if Paul hadn't championed that song, I don't think we would have recorded it. But he loved it and saw the potential with it and really wanted us to do it. So now when I play it during my solo shows, that's who that's for. I try to do it as well as I can."
I still press your letters to my lips
And cherish them in parts of me that savor every kiss
I couldn't face a life without your lights
But all of that was ripped apart when you refused to fight7737Is this romantic?
- Photo: Epic Records
The Prince of Darkness shows a softer side on his only solo Top 40 hit, "Mama, I'm Coming Home." The track is off the metal singer's 1991 album No More Tears. Ozzy's wife Sharon has claimed in the past that the song was written about her.
Ozzy wrote in the liner notes in his 1997 compilation album The Ozzman Cometh, "I had been walking around with the melody in my head for a couple of years, but never got a chance to finish it until I was working with Zakk [Wylde] on the album. At that time, Zakk and I were doing a lot of writing on the piano. 'Mama, I'm Coming Home' was always something I'd say on the phone to my wife near the end of a tour."
Motörhead's Lemmy Kilmister co-wrote the lyrics, which also reflect on Ozzy's life-changing choice to stop using alcohol and other substances.
You made me cry, you told me lies
But, I can't stand to say goodbye
Mama, I'm coming home
I could be right, I could be wrong
It hurts so bad, it's been so long
Mama, I'm coming home4924Is this romantic?