If you're listening to some bro-country anthem about small towns and boot cut jeans, you may not find much common ground with thrash or death metal. It's certainly not always obvious, but many country musicians are heavily influenced by metal, including these 10 artists below.
From entire albums dedicated to the memory of lost metal legends, to crossover tracks celebrating the love of "country metal," these artists prove there's always room for country fans and metalheads to come together over a killer song.
Ryan Adams is an extremely prolific alt country artist with five Billboard Top 10 albums to his name, but he has a unique affinity for Canadian prog thrashers Voïvod. In 2010, Adams released Orion, a sci-fi metal concept album created as a tribute to late Voïvod guitarist Denis D'Amour. "Anyone who loved [Orion], seriously, please seek out Angel Rat and Nothingface by Voïvod. The entire record was my way of saying 'thank you' to Denis D'Amour for many years of inspiring me," Adams later wrote.
Stump Tail Dolly
Ever imagine what country music would sound like if it was blended with black metal and prog? Stump Tail Dolly looked to answer that question with their duo of albums, Soundtrack to the Second Civil War and Black Country. This is some truly bizarre shit, but the musicianship is excellent, both on the country side and the metal side.
One of modern country's biggest names, Eric Church grew up in the '80s being inspired by the likes of AC/DC and Metallica. Church ended up being the only country artist to perform at Metallica's Orion Festival, and he's continued to give love to rock and metal throughout his award-winning career.
Cody Parks and the Dirty South
Cody Parks and the Dirty South is another country-meets-metal act who put together a killer mashup of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" and White Zombie's "Thunder Kiss '65" entitled "Thunder Cash '69." It wasn't just a one-off though — Parks just put out the new EP Smothered & Covered, which features Dimebag Darrell, Layne Staley, Rob Zombie on the album art.
Popular country artist Cody Jinks actually cut his teeth in metal, starting his music career as the frontman for a thrash band called Unchecked Aggression. The band, influenced by Metallica and Pantera, was around for about five years before calling it quits in 2003. Jinks began playing country music roughly one year after the breakup, and it's been his home ever since.
David Allan Coe
Who could forget Rebel Meets Rebel? At the turn of the millennium, outlaw country legend David Allan Coe joined forces with Pantera's Dimebag Darrell, Rex Brown and Vinnie Paul to create a crossover album for the ages. Rebel Meets Rebel was a wild and mind-bending country metal project that no act will ever be able to duplicate.
Though Brantley Gilbert is about as bro-country as you can get, he's often dipped into rock and metal territory with his imagery and choice of guitar tone. He also played Metallica's "Sad But True" and Pantera's "Domination" breakdown live while touring with Five Finger Death Punch in 2022.
The Cadillac Three
The Cadillac Three described their 2016 album, Bury Me in My Boots, as "Black Sabbath on cornbread." "It's a lot of old country and a lot of metal stuff," the band told The Boot. "We're really into Pantera, Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, but we're also equally influenced by Garth Brooks and Keith Whitley, Don Williams, the songwriting side of those kind of things — the way they told stories … You toss that with Metallica, you get The Cadillac Three."
Hank Williams III
Hank III has long blended his country roots with punk and metal. The grandson of Hank Williams played bass in Superjoint Ritual, formed Arson Anthem with Philip Anselmo and Eyehategod's Mike IX Williams, crossed over into thrash territory with his band Assjack, and collaborated with countless rock and metal legends. He was even signed to Megaforce Records for a number of years.
"Hellraisin' Redneck Metalheads" pretty much sums it up. South Texas' Barnyard Stompers shout out Metallica, Slayer, Judas Priest, black metal, thrash and more, even getting "Metal up your ass!" into the lyrics for this cross-genre tribute. If you've got country metal in your blood, we've got your anthem right here.