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10 Metal Power Ballads That Genuinely Rule

Cry a metal cry.

Nobody's Fool

In the 1980s, a power ballad was a hair band's ticket to the Top 40. Ballads became such a commodity that glam metal became incredibly watered-down and cheesy, resulting in the self-destruction of the Sunset Strip spandex scene.

When done right however, a power ballad can bring unprecedented emotional depth to an already-classic album. And that's incredibly important, because even tough metal bros gotta cry sometimes.

Pantera – "Cemetery Gates"

Relax, relax, we included it. If Pantera's glam era has just one silver lining, it's that it taught the Cowboys From Hell how to write a killer power ballad. With a phenomenal lead riff and one of Philip Anselmo's best vocal performances, "Cemetery Gates" is an expertly written ballad with more movements than Beethoven's Sixth. It's heavy, it's sentimental, it delivers without a hint of weakness. This power ballad will put hair on your chest.

Warrant – "Heaven"

Warrant's iconic power ballad "Heaven" may be a little cliché, but it's just so damn catchy. Is there a bigger hook in power ballad history than "heaven isn't too far away"? The vocal harmonies are phenomenally crafted, while the blend of acoustic and electric guitar works beautifully throughout the whole track, especially right before the song's key-change finale. 

Vixen – "Love Is a Killer"

One of the most underrated glam ballads, Vixen's "Love Is a Killer" features a vocal performance that leaves all those Sunset Strip bands in the dust. Janet Gardner is so damn fierce on this song, especially when that beast of a chorus hits. Her tone is absolutely perfect as she digs into the "r" in "killer". Gardner was a force, and she had one of those voices that somehow got more powerful the higher she sang.

Scorpions – "Still Loving You"

Love at First Sting was the height of Scorpions' glam era, and the album ended with a ballad that hit near-Queen levels of dramatic composition. "Still Loving You" as about as epic as an ‘80s power ballad gets, thanks to the inhuman voice of Klaus Meine and the six-string brilliance of Rudolf Schenker. While most power ballads build up to a giant chorus, "Still Loving You" is gigantic from beginning to end. There's no touching the Scorps.

Judas Priest – "Beyond the Realms of Death"

The inarguable high water mark of Judas Priest's Stained Class, "Beyond the Realms of Death" may be the first power ballad that utilized the full force of heavy metal. Written from the perspective of a hopeless man, "Beyond the Realms of Death" is an extremely deep look into depression and suicidal ideation. Getting past Rob Halford's immortal voice, the guitar work on this ballad is no less than phenomenal. The solos alone are some of the greatest and most emotive in heavy metal history.

L.A. Guns – "The Ballad of Jayne"

There's something about this song, isn't there? It's so unpolished, so raw. Phil Lewis' voice sounds like it's hanging on by a thread as he hits those high notes, but it undeniably works, as does the somewhat folky quality of his delivery. Tracii Guns really shows his guitar chops in this cut too. Simply put, "The Ballad of Jayne" just feels so much more genuine than those other late ‘80s power ballads.

Cinderella – "Nobody's Fool"

Here's how you make a hyper-polished hair metal ballad! Cinderella was every hair metal band's favorite hair metal band… the boys who did it best despite never reaching Mötley Crüe levels of infamy. Tom Keifer's voice could power a small city — the guy just had immaculate control over both his clean and gruff parts. I just wanna blast this song from my ladybug car while eating a Pat's Chili Dog. 

Twisted Sister – "The Price"

Written while overseas with Twisted Sister, Dee Snider penned this killer homesick ballad while recording You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll, and it subsequently ended up on the classic Stay Hungry. Snider sounds like he's trying to short-circuit the mic on "The Price," getting his booming, gravelly voice to inhuman levels of pure volume. "The Price" is a simple song, but a great one, and one that only Twisted Sister pull off.

Night Ranger – "Sister Christian"

This power ballad is so lush. Night Ranger decided to begin "Sister Christian" by lathering synths on top of regular piano with no other instruments playing. How decadent is that? When that massive drum buildup finally kicks the chorus into gear, it's all over… the song's an instant classic. This is the type of ballad that songwriting nerds gush over. There's no fat here, just perfectly cut strips of harmonically brilliant rock. 10 out of 10 dads agree.

Metallica – "Fade to Black"

Can't forget about arguably the greatest metal ballad ever constructed. Nothing's ever sounded this cool while being so damn tasteful. Metallica at 100-percent power on "Fade to Black," summing up every reason why they'd eventually become the biggest heavy band in history. Those acoustic guitars sound so fucking great, don't they? 

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