Songs about hell and Satan? The Bells of Hell! Ever since the threat of eternal damnation crossed the minds of humans, it’s been a subject of song. After all, what could be more convincing than the anticipation of misery? There have, of course, been many great songs written about Heaven over the years, such as Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” and Guns N’ Roses’ “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”. But we tend to think that songs about hell and the devil are more numerous…and more exciting. So, are your Styx River tickets ready? Here are our picks for the best songs about hell ever written.
The Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil
The story of “Sympathy For The Devil” by The rolling stones is told through the direct perspective of the devil. Interestingly, Mick Jagger was inspired by the French poet Baudelaire, as well as a novel by Mikhail Bulgakov.
AC/DC – Highway to Hell
The opening track on AC/DC’s classic album of the same name, “Highway To Hell,” was written about the band’s experience of excessive touring. “There were hundreds of riffs every day,” band member Malcolm Young said. “But this one, we thought, ‘This is good.’ It stuck out like a dog’s balls.
Black Sabbath – Heaven and Hell
Ronnie James Dio wrote the lyrics for black sabbaththe title song of heaven and hell. During a VH1 interview, he described the song’s inspiration as being a person’s choice between good and evil, with many having the ability to contain both within themselves.
Killer – Hell Awaits
Recorded as part of their second studio album in 1985, Killer“Hell Awaits” details Satan and other demonic imagery. The song’s intro also features the phrase “join us” repeated backwards.
Beck – Devil Haircut
beck released “Devils Haircut” in 1996, as the second single from their fifth album, Odelay. The song is about the singer’s relationship with touring, as well as the folk song “Stagger Lee.” It samples both Pretty Purdie’s “Soul Drums” and two songs by Them. Additionally, the song has several remixes, including one by Noel Gallagher of Oasis.
Nick Cave with the cavemen – Mutiny In Heaven
This song was recorded during London sessions that Nick Cave would later describe as tense. So much so that the guitarist Blixa Bargeld completed the instrumental for Rowland Howard. “It was obviously obvious that Rowland and Nick weren’t getting along anymore. Nick just wanted me to play guitar on Rowland’s guitar and amp setup. That’s what I remember. I didn’t delve into the psychological situation,” Bargeld explained in a biography.
Iron Maiden – Number of the Beast
Iron MaidenThe 1982 song “Number Of The Beast” was deemed controversial at the time of its release, due to its depiction of religious subjects. However, the song still managed to peak at No. 3 in the UK. He was inspired by a nightmare band member Steve Harris had after watching the horror movie, Damien: Omen II.
Gravediggaz – Diary of a Madman
Gravediggaz’s “Diary of a Madman” was the 1994 lead single from the band’s debut album, 6 feet deep. It was produced by members RZA and Prince Paul, and tells a courtroom story of a possessed man confessing to murder. The song was Gravediggaz’s only one to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 and also reached #8 on the Hot Rap Singles chart.
Pat Benatar – Hell is for children
“Hell Is for Children” is a rock song that Pat Benatar recorded in 1980 for his second studio album, Crime of passion. Written by guitarist Neil Giraldo, Roger Capps and Benatar, the song deals with themes of child abuse, after Benatar read about it in the New York Times.
Pink Floyd – Run Like Hell
pink floyd“Run Like Hell” is a song from their critically acclaimed album, The wall. Written by David Gilmour and Roger Waters, it depicts the story from the perspective of a rock star who hallucinates about turning her concert audience into a crowd.
Venom – Welcome to Hell
From the heavy metal band Venom’s debut studio album, the song “Welcome to Hell” was composed by the band’s bassist, Conrad Lant. Lant, along with the rest of the band, adopted demonic alter ego names that better suited the music they played.
Billie Eilish – all good girls go to hell
Billie Eilish released “All the Good Girls Go to Hell” as the single from their 2019 debut album. Co-written with brother Finneas, the duo wanted the song to tell a story from the perspective of the devil and god. Eilish’s voice also focuses on the effects of climate change, as it’s about punishing humans for ruining the Earth.
Judas Priest – Hell Bent for Leather
Released in 1978 from their album, Killing machine, “Hell Bent For Leather” by Judas Priest is supposed to be about riding a motorcycle. At this time, the band also had a strong fondness for leather fashion, particularly lead singer Rob Halford.
Spinal Tap – Christmas with the Devil
Spinal Tap’s “Christmas With The Devil” is a bonus track from the 2000 reissue of their album, It’s Spinal Tap. The song serves as a parody of heavy metal holiday songs, with lines such as “There’s someone in the chimney hole / And Satan is his name”.
ZZ Top – Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers
ZZ Top’s “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers” is a song about the band’s redneck nature, which was written after visiting a honky tonk. As singer Billy Gibbons said song facts“During a concert in Phoenix, we were going through a windstorm in West Texas. We the group were waiting to discover a spot with safe ground cover when the nighttime lights of a roadside joint appeared. It was just across the line outside of El Paso to New Mexico.
James Brown – Hell
“Hell” by James Brown shares the same name as his 38th studio album, released in 1974. The funk song is less about actual hell and more about detailing the struggles of monotonous daily life. “It’s hell that pays taxes / When there’s no more money,” Brown sings on the track.
Stripper – To Hell With The Devil
The title track from Stryper’s third studio album, “To Hell with the Devil”, is about casting off sin, as the band thinks the devil is “not my friend”. Released in 1986, the album marked the first Christian metal album to go platinum. The original cover also featured angels sending the devil back to hell, but was eventually replaced with the band’s logo.
Rob Zombie – Lucifer Rising
“Lucifer Rising” appears as track ten on Rob Zombiethe 2013 album, Poison Rat Regeneration Vendor. The album peaked at number 7 on Billboard’s 200 albums chart. As for the song itself, it apparently alludes to people (particularly women) loving the devil.
Pantera – Cowboys from Hell
Pantera’s “Cowboys from Hell” was the band’s debut single, originally appearing on their 1989 demo album. Eventually, the song doubled as the title track of their major label debut album. Based on an appearance by singer Phil Anselmo on This metal showthe song came to fruition after guitarist Dimebag Darrell showed up at a party in Texas with a new guitar riff to play: “It was actually the first song we wrote for the record. Basically, it it was about us coming out of Texas and being out of place people don’t think Texas is a heavy metal hotspot they think New York or LA or something so that seemed like an obvious concept to us,” said drummer Vinnie Paul.
Cheap Trick – Go raise hell
Cheap Trick’s “Gonna Raise Hell” was written by the band’s lead guitarist, Rick Nielsen, for their 1979 album, dream police. The song is believed to contain a hidden message, reading “You know Satan holds the key to the lock” when played backwards.
Ozzy Osbourne – Hellraiser
Ozzy Osbourne teamed up with lead guitarist Zakk Wylde and Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister to write “Hellraiser”. Osbourne recorded and released his version in 1991, for his album, stop crying. The following year, Kilmister released Motörhead’s version of the song as a single. Osbourne’s version later appeared in the 2004 video game trailer, Pain killer.
Megadeth – Go to Hell
Megadeth“Go to Hell” was first written in 1991 for the movie Bill and Ted’s fake trip. However, he also appeared on the group Hidden treasures album. Lyrically, the song details a sinner who experiences his own funeral before going to hell. “We did this for Interscope and they said the first version of the lyrics was too soft, so I went very pagan for this one,” singer Dave Mustaine said.
Mephiskapheles – Judgment Day
A New York-based ska band that leaned into satanic imagery, Mephiskapheles released “Doomsday” in 1994. “It’s not to be taken seriously. All that satanic stuff is just rock and roll. roll,” singer Andre Worrell said in Skaboum! An American Oral History of Ska and Reggae. “Nobody kills anybody. People were really superstitious, and some people definitely had a negative reaction, and probably will continue to do so. But I really don’t care. It was a really smart and original idea.
Kanye West – Heaven and Hell
Kanye West“Heaven and Hell” by appears on his 2021 album, DONDA. The song samples 20th Century Steel Band’s “Heaven and Hell Is on Earth” and West invokes biblical imagery throughout the song as he celebrates the blessings of life. A video of the track premiered in January 2022, during the College Football Playoff National Championship.
Do you have any honorable mentions for this list of the best songs about hell? Let us know in the comments below.