You know, sometimes Hallmark just doesn’t cut it.
Birthdays are very special, and they’re an opportunity for us to show those we care about just how special they are to us. And when you really care, it’s important to send a message about what it means to celebrate how we came into this world. It should be an uplifting, positive, and heartwarming message that says, “You matter, and I’m so glad you’re here.”
But when you’ve been around long enough, you start to tire of the same old birthday cards with stock photos or silly jokes. After enough years have gone by, it can be tough to come up with new ways to say, “It’s been another year, isn’t life just great???”
Well, we at Decibel are here to help!
Because we know that everyone loves birthdays, and everyone loves music! And nothing says “live, laugh, love” like a great song about coming into this world! And so without further ado, we present 10 great songs you can use to tell someone, “Congratulations, you’ve just finished being alive for another year, here’s to many happy returns!”
Go on, send them one of the songs below! And don’t be shy about it, either! Be sure to use these wonderful tunes to celebrate family members and close friends, especially those who aren’t into metal at all! They’ll be sure to appreciate it and give you that special look in their eyes that says:
“Thanks! You shouldn’t have!….No, I mean, you really shouldn’t have.”
Death – “Born Dead”
This is a classic early Death track that showcases the first incarnation of the band at its absolute best. Leprosy was the album that took the raw, promising energy of Scream Bloody Gore and honed it into death metal perfection. The song is still a straightforward banger, but the bass lines and guitar tapping foreshadows where Chuck and co. would take the band next. It’s no wonder Gruesome went through the trouble decades later to craft an album dedicated to the style of this album.
Soundgarden – “Birth Ritual”
Soundgarden made “Birth Ritual” at the height of their powers, around the same time as Badmotorfinger — when the band had perfected the heavy bombast of their early years and hadn’t yet departed for the uncharted waters of Superunknown. It shows Chris Cornell using his high-pitched powers in the catchiest way possible, with the rest of the band playing perhaps the most self-consciously metal song of Soundgarden’s catalog (though “Jesus Christ Pose,” “Nothing to Say,” and “Slaves & Bulldozers” all come close). And, of course, it’s presence on the best soundtrack ever doesn’t hurt.
Suffocation – “Breeding the Spawn”
Let’s just say I’m grateful that Suffocation has remained determined to give the material from Breeding the Spawn the proper treatment in the years since it’s release. And the title track is particularly special due to it’s place on one of the heaviest records in existence: Pierced From Within. The production makes the breakdown from 1:33 to 2:37 that much sweeter, and it gives the faster moments the extra supercharge of brutality. It was on this album that everything truly came together for Suffocation in terms of pure aggression and power (Effigy is on par stylistically, but fits more of a raw, unhinged mood).
Incantation – “Christening the Afterbirth”
Meanwhile on the death metal’s doom flank is one of the many classics on an album filled with them. This is one of those songs with heavy, pinch-harmonic–laden riffs that leads you to make one of those grimacing faces that says, “man, that’s heavy.” As I’ve said many times before, Onward to Golgotha is one of the most commonly emulated albums in death metal history. There are entire record labels that basically push out bands plugging in this album and Dawn of Possession and running the tape over and over again. But it remains unrivaled to this day.
Earth Crisis – “Born From Pain”
My obnoxious sarcasm up top notwithstanding, the lyrics to this hardcore gem are actually pretty inspiring and uplifting:
“Strangled by frustration, no longer will I be my
Victim. My patience is waning, now all it takes is one spark to set me off.
I have to try to find some peace and hold that
Peace inside before it gets to late.
Emancipate my mind. Breathing life into my visions,
Forcing them into reality.
From paradise into the inferno, into paradise, into paradise.”
Cannibal Corpse – “Butchered at Birth”
I mean, you knew this one was coming. By the time the band made this album, Chris Barnes had perfected the style of low, brutal cookie-monster-style vocals (totally unintelligible on this album and the next one, and probably for the best). It was also on this album that the band had progressed beyond the, um, womb of thrash they were still ripping out of on Eaten Back to Life and became the death metal monster we know today.
Deicide – “Satan Spawn, the Caco Daemon”
Although I’ll always be partial to the first Deicide album, there’s no denying the masterstroke of Legion. It retains the unmistakable Morrisound-sound, with all the guitar mids ruthlessly scooped out and tossed into the flames. But it also goes beyond the formulaic approach of the self-titled record and shows the band diversifying the song structures and reach the borderlands of tech-death while remaining straightforwardly blasphemous and hateful all the way. (Obligatory mention of the Doom monster)
Cradle of Filth – “Born in a Burial Gown”
A capstone on the classic years of Cradle of Filth, Bitter Suites to Succubi arriving after the fantastic Midian and just before the band’s flirtation with the mainstream on Damnation and a Day. “Born in a Burial Gown” has all the features of 1997-2001 Cradle: echoes of the band’s black metal early years, touches of death and thrash, catchy riffs, theatrical flights of fancy, lots of SYNTHS, and an atmosphere of gothic romanticism and Byronic decadence. And yes, the music video is totally ridiculous, but come on you scrolled down and hit ‘Play,’ you wanted this!
Gehenna – “A Witch Is Born”
Digging a little deeper on this one. Among the Norwegian black metal bands, Gehenna is usually only mentioned in passing, or with an emphasis on the band’s stellar 1994 EP, First Spell. However, I’d argue the band’s debut full length, Seen Through the Veils of Darkness (The Second Spell) is an under-recognized, top-tier classic of the same caliber as the more well-known black metal canon. Don’t believe me? Check out the song below and listen to the use of synths in conjunction with the riffs. If that doesn’t convince you, go listen to “Mystical Play of Shadows” and “Myth” after that.
Cryptopsy – “Born Headless”
Alice in Chains – “Get Born Again”
Trapped Under Ice – “Born to Die”
Origin – “Conceiving Death”
Paradise Lost – “Breeding Fear”
Altered Images – “Happy Birthday”