Metal songs have historically been played in a variety of different tunings, often tuned lower than standard E tuning. However, there is a subset of metal songs that are played in standard E tuning, providing a unique sound and level of accessibility.

These songs showcase that metal doesn’t always have to rely on low tunings and can still be heavy, dynamic and powerful with standard tuning.

So, in this article, we’ll be exploring some of the best metal songs played in standard tuning that are sure to get your head banging.



“Master of Puppets” – Metallica

“Master of Puppets” by Metallica stands as an iconic metal anthem that is widely revered and recognized among the metal community. The riffs are intricate and catchy, demonstrating the full range of Metallica’s creativity while displaying their musical virtuosity.

The song’s raw and powerful sound exemplifies Metallica’s musicianship, making it a quintessential pick for any metal playlist. Despite its complexity, “Master of Puppets” is played in standard tuning, which makes it even more impressive and accessible to guitar players at all levels.


“Paranoid” – Black Sabbath

With its thundering opening riff, “Paranoid” from Black Sabbath is one of the most iconic metal tracks to come out of the 70s. Thanks to its signature riff and easy-to-follow structure, “Paranoid” has become a staple of the genre and a must-learn song for aspiring metal musicians everywhere.

While it may seem simple on the surface, the song’s pounding rhythm and driving energy set a high bar for all other metal songs in standard tuning to follow.


“Breathe” – Pink Floyd

The third song on the list brings a gritty, rebellious energy to any heavy metal playlist. This track showcases raw, biting guitar riffs backed by thunderous drums and vocals that are both fierce and melodic. Despite its aggressive persona, the song is accessible for guitarists of all levels as it adheres to the standard tuning.

Its driving rhythm and explosive energy make it a must-listen for any metalhead looking for a visceral, unrelenting sonic experience.


“Ace of Spades” – Motörhead

Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades” is a high-octane metal anthem, known for its driving rhythms and catchy guitar riffs. The song showcases the band’s signature sound, with Lemmy Kilmister’s gravelly vocals leading the charge. What makes this track particularly notable for metal songs in standard tuning, however, is that it achieves its heavy sound without using a lower tuning.

Instead, the band relies on distortion and sheer power to create a visceral and hard-hitting sonic experience. It’s a true classic of the genre, and a testament to the timeless appeal of metal music.


“Iron Man” – Black Sabbath

This legendary track from Black Sabbath boasts one of the most recognizable riffs in metal, with its plodding tempo and heavy sound. It offers a great example of how metal can pack a massive punch without resorting to non-standard tunings or flashy technique.

The song showcases a simple yet powerful approach to metal, relying on solid songwriting and the power of the band’s performance to create a memorable and effective track. With its iconic riff and timeless sound, it stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of classic metal.


“Enter Sandman” – Metallica

“Enter Sandman” is an iconic metal anthem by heavyweights, Metallica. The song features catchy riffs, pounding drums, and haunting vocals, making it a favorite among metalheads worldwide.

Interestingly, what sets “Enter Sandman” apart from other metal classics is that it is played in standard tuning, making it accessible to beginners or those who prefer not to tune down their guitars to play a song. The track’s popularity and catchiness make it a staple in Metallica’s live sets and a perfect addition to any metal playlist.


“Hallowed Be Thy Name” – Iron Maiden

One of the awe-inspiring opuses of Iron Maiden, this composition seamlessly blends pounding riffs and soaring solos with complex rhythms. With an intro that sets the mood, this song doesn’t let up until the last note. An absolute masterclass in metal, delivered by a band renowned for their unique style and virtuosity.

The melody alone is enough to set anyone’s blood pumping, but coupled with its sheer technicality, this track is a standout in the world of standard-tuned metal songs.


“Crazy Train” – Ozzy Osbourne

This particular tune embodies a certain level of raw intensity that seems to ignite every listener’s inner fire. It features a high-fidelity barrage of heavily-distorted guitar riffs with a punchy yet frenzied tempo that makes it impossible to listen to without involuntarily headbanging.

Despite being in standard tuning, the song seamlessly weaves in mesmerizing guitar solos that effortlessly add flavor to its unapologetically aggressive sound. Overall, this track is a veritable tour de force in metal music and a testament to the creative mastery of its creators.


“Painkiller” – Judas Priest

This track from one of metal’s greatest bands is a sonic assault on the ears with its blistering guitar riffs and frenetic drumming. “Painkiller” defies convention by being in standard tuning, proving that you don’t need to tune down to get heavy. The song’s themes of pain, suffering, and ultimate reckoning are intensified by the band’s lightning-fast instrumental performances.

It’s a quintessential metal song that showcases the genre’s power and intensity, delivered with technical proficiency and a burning passion for the music.


“The Trooper” – Iron Maiden

This icon of classic metal showcases the impressive technical skills of its band while offering an approachable composition in standard tuning. Pulsating with energy and electric guitar riffs, the track opens with frenzied drumbeats before Jonathon’s potent vocals steal the show.

It’s a potent blend of memorable lyrics, shredding solos, and raw passion that is sure to leave listeners exhilarated. With its timeless appeal and impressive musicianship, this song proves that metal in standard tuning can pack a serious punch.


“Symphony of Destruction” – Megadeth

“Symphony of Destruction” is a landmark piece of thrash metal genius by Megadeth. The guitar riffs in this classic track offer a true showcase of a master shredder’s technical ability. The song has an unyielding audaciousness, which mirrors Dave Mustaine’s undeniable songwriting prowess.

Despite being in standard tuning, the raw energy and sheer power of this legendary track make it a prominent statement for heavy metal music. The thundering drums beats, the heart-thumping bass and the awe-inspiring guitar solos all come together in unmitigated force, resulting in pure sonic bliss.


“Battery” – Metallica

This blazing track is a hallmark of metal that resonates at breakneck speeds which could leave your head spinning like a tornado. It’s a thrilling ride from start to finish, with its pulse-pounding rhythm and intricate structure that keeps your senses engaged.

The song is an example of the beauty of what can be done with the standard tuning, proving that you don’t need complex tuning and chords to create masterpieces. It’s a must-listen for anyone who loves metal and the power of the guitar.


“Run to the Hills” – Iron Maiden

“Run to the Hills” is a quintessential metal classic, written and performed by the iconic British band Iron Maiden. Featuring a fast-paced and galloping riff, the song is known for its soaring vocals and anthemic chorus. The lyrics tell the story of the conflict between Native Americans and white settlers in North America, making it a potent political statement as well as a rocking tune.

What sets “Run to the Hills” apart from other metal hits is its relatively standard tuning, making it accessible to musicians and fans alike.


“Raining Blood” – Slayer

“Raining Blood” by Slayer is an iconic metal masterpiece that remains popular today in the metal community. Arguably Slayer’s most famous song, it is known for its intense, fast-paced riffs and brutal lyrics.

Despite its complex and technical guitar work, it is played in standard tuning, making it a perfect example of how metal music doesn’t always require complex tunings to reach its crushing potential. The song’s intense energy and iconic thrash sound has solidified it as a classic in the genre of metal.


“Holy Diver” – Dio

“Dio’s captivating track ‘Holy Diver’ neatly blends in with the metal genre while offering a unique taste of diverse elements. The song in standard tuning is musically bewitching, creating a sense of enchantment and intensity. Dio’s vocal prowess stands out in the track, impressively complementing the rawness of the guitar riffs and the steady rhythm section.

It’s an exemplary track that channels Dio’s incredible musicianship and his ability to incorporate a wide array of influences, creating layers of complexity and heat that are expressed beautifully in standard tuning.”


“Peace Sells” – Megadeth

The sixteenth song in the list is a relentless and explosive hit that blends complex riffs with hard-hitting lyrics that will leave your head spinning. It is a true powerhouse that showcases the band’s virtuosity, featuring intricate guitar lines, thundering drums, and raging vocals.

This song is a prime example of how metal can be both technically impressive and emotionally intense, and its ability to captivate and thrill listeners make it a must-listen for any fans of the genre.

“The Number of the Beast” – Iron Maiden

“The Number of the Beast” by Iron Maiden is a perplexing masterpiece that has been hailed by fans and critics alike. It’s notable for being one of the few classic metal songs to be played entirely in standard tuning, a rarity in a genre that has become synonymous with down tuned guitars and thunderous basslines.

Bursting with frantic energy and frenzied solos that would make any metalhead’s heart race, this track serves as a testament to Iron Maiden’s songwriting skills and their ability to craft unforgettable pieces of heavy metal history.


“War Pigs” – Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” is a quintessential heavy metal classic, and what makes it truly unique is that it is played in standard tuning. This song perfectly encapsulates the essence of classic metal- soaring vocals, driving drums, heavy bass, and intricate guitar riffs. Its lyrics criticize the Vietnam War, which adds to the already politically charged atmosphere of the song.

Despite being played in standard tuning, this song is still heavy enough to make you want to bang your head. “War Pigs” has cemented its place in the metal canon and remains a must-listen for any metalhead.