7. ‘Refuse/Resist’ by Sepultura
Sepultura’s 1993 release ‘Chaos A.D.’ was a record full of songs against censorship and conflicts. It talked about Israel and Palestine, about the Brazilian political landscape, and about the massacres committed in recent times. Refuse/Resist, the opening track from the album, is one of the most popular track by the Brazilian thrash metal band. The song was written as a protest march slogan and has been remembered as such ever after two decades of its release.
Notable Lyric: Chaos A.D. / Disorder unleashed / Starting to burn / Starting to lynch / Silence means death / Stand on your feet / Inner fear / Your worst enemy /Refuse, Resist! / Refuse, Resist!
8 & 9. ‘Killing in the Name of’ and ‘Bulls on Parade’ by Rage Against the Machine
If there’s any band synonymous with anti-establishment and anti-government sentiments it’s Rage Against the Machine. The multi-platinum selling artists have done everything you wouldn’t expect a mainstream artist to do. With their track ‘Killing in the Name of’, they have achieved a status that remains intact to this day. The song deals with the falseness and brutality of war. The song reached number one on the U.K. Charts in 2009, 20 years after its release, showing how powerful the anthem is.
Notable Lyric: Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me / Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me / Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me / Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me / Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me / Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me / Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me / Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me / Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me! / Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me! / Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me! / Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me! / Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me! / Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me! / Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me! / Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me! / Motherfucker!
From RATM’s 1996 release ‘Evil Empire’, Bulls on Parade is one of the most popular song by the band. The song is about war as a profit making business. It is known for its guitar solo containing a vinyl scratch effect used by Tom Morello.
Notable Lyric: Weapons not food, not homes, not shoes, not need / Just feed the war cannibal animal / I walk tha corner to tha rubble that used to be a library / Line up to tha mind cemetery now / What we don’t know keeps tha contracts alive an movin’ / They don’t gotta burn tha books they just remove ’em / While arms warehouses fill as quick as tha cells / Rally round tha family, pockets full of shells
10 & 11. ‘B.Y.O.B’ and ‘Boom!’ by System of a Down
Very few bands and artists put the message across as crudely and bluntly as System of a Down does. Their studio album, ‘Mezmerize’, was an answer to the political landscape under President Bush. SOAD called the Iraq war fake. They released songs echoing the same messages and attacking authority figures. It referred to the War in Iraq as a party and B.Y.O.B. stood for ‘Bring Your Own Bombs’ as opposed to the common ‘Bring Your Own Booze’. It became their most successful single till date.
Notable lyric: Everybody’s going to the party have a real good time / Dancing in the desert, blowing up the sun / Where the fuck are you? / Where the fuck are you? / Why don’t presidents fight the war? / Why do they always send the poor?
Boom! is a single recorded by SOAD as a part of their album Steal This Album! The music video was shot at protest marches against the Iraq War. The band members joined the marches to make this powerful song which is played at protest marches around the world.
Notable Lyric: Modern globalization coupled with condemnations/ Unnecessary death /Matador corporations puppeting your frustrations with a blinded flag / Manufacturing consent is the name of the game / The bottom line is money nobody gives a fuck / 4000 hungry children leave us per hour from starvation while billions are spent on bombs creating death showers / Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! / Every time you drop a bomb you kill the god your child has born
12. ‘Clenching the Fists of Dissent’ by Machine Head
Machine Head has established themselves as one of the most prominent bands of the Heavy Metal genre, and it was ‘The Blackening’ that put them there. Clenching the Fists of Dissent is a song about standing up unequivocally to injustice and untameable greed in the world by raising your voice, and your fists, if necessary. The track is notable for being over 10 minutes long, for its long-winded and complicated composition structure and for being strongly anti-war and government.
Notable Lyric: Our generation can be the fucking one / That overcomes the greed of corrupt nations/ Have no shame / You’re not alone in thinking, this is fucking insane / Rise up and take your stand / You curl the fingers of your hand
13. ‘Down From the Sky’ by Trivium
Matt Heafy, the band’s lead singer, used the song and the music video to highlight the plight of the people after the destruction by the nuclear bombs in Japan. Down From the Sky starts with mages of a mushroom cloud erupting; the song warns us of an impending nuclear holocaust if we continue on the same path of confrontation. The profiteering from war and religion is the main themes in this song. The message is to raise fingers in the direction of the guilty.
Notable Lyric: I’ve opened up my eyes / Seen the world for what it’s worth / Tears rain down from the sky / They’ll blow it all to bits / To prove whose god wields all the power / Fire rains down from the sky
14. ‘The Hand that Feeds’ by Nine Inch Nails
In 2005, Nine Inch Nails dropped out from performing at the MTV Movie Awards. It was after Trent Reznor, the frontman of NIN, refused to remove an image of George W. Bush from the background. MTV did not want any performance built around partisan political issues. Reznor did not agree to remove the image, and his band was replaced by Foo Fighters. The Hand That Feeds is about blind patriotism and believing everything being told to you without any questioning. In a time of political uncertainty and confusion, this song made huge waves and gained significance that remains intact till this day.
Notable Lyric: What if this whole crusade’s a charade? / And behind it all there’s a price to be paid for the blood / On which we dine / Justified in the name of the holy and the divine / Just how deep do you believe? / Will you bite the hand that feeds? / Will you chew until it bleeds? / Can you get up off your knees? / Are you bravYes e enough to see? / Do you want to change it?