Top 20 Unholy Songs

Since it's the holiday season, Ultimate-Guitar decided we wanted in on all the celebratory action. What better way for a music portal to express our December joy than with a top 10 list? But wait a second. Since it's the end of a decade, we felt it would only be right to give you double the action!

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Since it's the holiday season, Ultimate-Guitar decided we wanted in on all the celebratory action. What better way for a music portal to express our December joy than with a top 10 list? But wait a second. Since it's the end of a decade, we felt it would only be right to give you double the action!

This time out we're picking the Top 20 Unholy Songs list. We've included the metal stuff on here but our aim was diversity and we think we did a decent job. Please keep in mind that the list is not in any particular order. So with that said, here we go!

Slayer: "The Antichrist" (1983)

We probably could have exclusively filled this list with Slayer songs but that would have been too easy. The Los Angeles thrash legends have built their career on a discography packed with anti-religious rants, so it would have been a crime to exclude them here.

With sacrilegious gems like, "Searching for the answer / Christ hasn't come / awaiting the final moment / the birth of Satan's son," featured in this early track, we would have felt wrong leaving off this list.

John Lennon: "Imagine" (1971)

Though "Imagine" has ultimately become an anthem of hope for millions of listeners, its lyrics ask us to imagine a world without a Heaven or religion. Lennon also wants the listener to picture a world with "no hell below us" - so it's not exactly a Possessed song or anything - but his point is clear. He thinks we're all better off without the division religion causes between us all.

Watch the video at this location.

XTC: "Dear God" (1986)

This British trio are known for their uncanny blend of psychedelic guitar pop, '60s flavored melodies, and sophisticated lyrics. "Dear God" finds guitarist-vocalist Andy Partridge reading a letter he wrote to the man upstairs, and it's not pretty. Among the many jabs Partridge takes at God, the line where he simply sings, "I can't believe in you," haunts us the most.

Morbid Angel: "Chapel Of Ghouls" (1989)

In which an army of ghouls infest a chapel, turn a crucifix upside down, and ultimately murder a priest. "Chapel Of Ghouls" is like a Clive Barker novel squeezed into a 5 minute death metal song. David Vincent's monstrous vocal performance and Trey Azagthoth's guitar work still dazzles, two decades later. Hating religion has rarely sounded this great.

Dead Prez: "Propaganda" (2000)

Though much of the rap music that gets played on the radio these days is lacking lyrical substance, there was a time when a forward-thinking group like Dead Prez could still get signed to a major record label. On "Propaganda," the Brooklyn based rappers raise all kinds of uncomfortable questions. The one that rings the loudest is, "If God made man / Why the hell would he put us here?" This might as well be a Gorgoroth song with a hip hop backbeat.

Nine Inch Nails: "Heresy" (1994)

In "Closer," the hit single off NIN's epic "The Downward Spiral," Trent Reznor explored the sexually depraved side of his psyche, but he saved the real guns for the album's third track. "Heresy" is, in both lyrics and pulsating melody, a raw, unbridled assault against all that is holy. The chorus is a catchy anthem for every disillusioned misfit who suffered through Sunday School: "God is dead / and no one cares / If there is a hell / I'll see you there" Amen!

Type O Negative: "Christian Woman"

What would it be like to sleep with Jesus Christ? That is the burning question facing "Christian Woman"'s heroine, whose sacrilegious fantasies and primal urge for Corpus Christi are causing her some serious spiritual strife. Of course, it wouldn't be Type O without some campy lines to keep us all in check. "For her lust / she'll burn in hell / her soul done medium well." Okay, guys. Ironically enough, Mr. Peter Steele himself has recently come out as a born again Christian. Guess he has some explaining to do.

Marduk: "Beyond The Grace Of God" (1996)

In this blood-soaked ditty from the mid-'90s, Erik "Legion" Hagstedt steals the show. Marduk's former frontman goes for the jugular. Not only does he claim, "I have drunk the blood of Jesus," in the closing line he goes, "...and far beyond the grace of God I am." Those are some fighting words!

Christian Death: "Spiritual Cramp" (1982)

With a name like Christian Death, you'd better bring it. And with "Spiritual Cramp," the forefathers of American deathrock come at us hard. Although not the most coherent anti-religious statement, the song evokes enough disturbing, creepily clever images to make your grandmother start signing the cross, straight from its opening lines: "Incurable disease on the day of rest / I'm walking on water in a sea of incest / I've got an image of Jesus imbedded on my chest / I can't leave home without my bullet proof vest."

Pet Shop Boys: "It's A Sin" (1987)

Few groups have felt the fury of religious fanatics more than the LGBT community, and openly gay duo Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe know all about it. Released over twenty years ago, dance club classic "It's A Sin" describes singer Tennant's oppressive Catholic upbringing at St Cuthbert's High School in Newcastle upon Tyne, even sampling Latin masses and part of the Confiteor. On the surface the song reads like an apology for the singer's transgressions, but the music tells a different story. Make no mistake - this is a celebration of "sin."

Goatwhore: "Carving Out The Eyes Of God" (2009)

Ben Falgoust has one of the harshest voices in death metal, and on the title track for Goatwhore's "Carving Out The Eyes Of God," he takes it to new levels of brutality. The song features an endless parade of lyrical daggers aimed squarely at the heart of Christianity. Over the rumble of Sammy Duet's discordant guitars, Falgoust delivers his unholy wrath with the fury of a thousand blizzards.

Depeche Mode: "Blasphemous Rumours" (1984)

Religious skepticism never sounded so catchy. On their twelfth UK single, the dark angels of synth pop tell the story of a 16-year-old girl's suicide attempt. Miraculously, the girl survives and renews her belief in Christ, only to be struck by a car at the age of 18 and die shortly after. Gahan seems to suggest that faith is not only meaningless, but a twisted tease: "I think that God's got a sick sense of humour / and when I die / I expect to find him laughing."

Anti-Flag: "A Song For Jesus Christ" (1994)

Look it up folks.

Tori Amos: "God" (1994)

It's a well-known fact that Tori Amos' father is a Methodist preacher, which makes "God" an especially personal affront. "God sometimes you just don't come through / Do you need a woman to take care of you?" To Amos, organized religion is a fairweather friend and a brute - quick to dole out punishments, but unable to nurture or provide true compassion to its followers.

Deicide: "Deicide" (1990)

There are so many cuts we could have picked from Glen Benton's twisted combo, but the song that carries their band name gets the nod here. Fueled by his deep hatred for organized religion, Benton screams and growls his way through a blitzkrieg of guitars and manic drumming. In "Deicide," the guy even takes credit for killing Jesus himself. I guess this is why Stryper have never asked the Florida band to tour with them.

A Perfect Circle: "Judith" (2000)

It's one thing to question faith - it's quite another to question your mother. But in "Judith," Maynard James Keenan does both. Maynard's mother, Judith Marie, was a devout Christian. When a cerebral aneurism left her paralyzed when the singer was just 11, she did not waver but instead reaffirmed her belief in God - a decision that filled Maynard with rage. "Judith" is an open letter to his mom, who is in his eyes a saintly figure betrayed by a false ideology. "Fuck your God, your Lord, your Christ / He did this, took all you had and / Left you this way, still you pray, never stray, never / Taste of the fruit, never thought to question "Why?"

Rush: "Roll The Bones" (1991)

In the second verse to this 1991 song, Neil Peart's lyrics show off a narrator whose spiritual faith is "cold as ice." He goes on to ask, "Who would hold a price over the head of innocent children if there's some immortal power?" Peart has covered a wide range of subjects through his lyrical work in Rush but none of it carries the weight of that one line in "Roll The Bones."

Ministry: "Psalm 69"

Industrial gods Ministry open "Psalm 69" with a glorious orchestral intro fit for the coming of the antichrist. And then all hell really breaks loose. In between samples of evangelical "Hallelujah" chanters, Jourgensen spits out such soul-crushing lines as: "The invisible piss of the Holy Ghost / comes down like acid rain."

Roger Waters: "What God Wants, Pt 1" (1992)

Over a bed of campy instrumentation and requisite cheesy back-up singers, the former Pink Floyd bassist examines the commercialization of religion. "God wants peace / God wants war / God wants famine / God wants chain stories." God has been appropriated by so many different political, religious, and corporate entities to sell their agenda du jour that Waters can no longer keep up.

Bad Religion: "God's Love" (2004)

"God's Love" is about as warm and fuzzy a song as you'd expect from a punk rock anarchist / college professor who wrote his dissertation on evolutionary biology. Always a political lighting rod, Greg Graffin puts it all out there, asking how the pain and suffering caused by religion could possibly be explained as "God's love." If that's not enough for you, try reading his 2006 book, "Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant? A Professor and Punk Rocker Discuss Science, Religion, Naturalism & Christianity."

Listen to the song at this location.

Text by Carlos Ramirez Ultimate-Guitar.Com 2009

314 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Pat_s1t
    What about "God Gives Head In Heaven" by Aeon? I thought that would be a great choice for this list.
    shaymack37
    Lot's of christian crybabies here today...Don't you have a birthday party to go to? Turn the other cheek and shut up like good little pussies.
    FancyHandLuke
    I'm agnostic. I came to this conclusion months ago. I've been going through a crisis in my life for a while about the whole religion vs science thing. I'm still freaking out about it. But i'm not really debating it as much anymore. All I know is I do believe in some sort of "higher power". It could be a god, maybe not, who knows? I don't believe in the big bang. I can't believe that something can come from nothing. While I do have some little faith left in me I try to live my life for myself and try to enjoy it. But the real bitch is you don't really find out until you die. If you were a good person and there is a heaven, well then, cheers! It's good to have a good life and not to worry about the afterlife if there is no afterlife. I dunno, I'm just a confused bastard. Science is messed and the bible is messed, that's all I know. I was shocked to see Roll The Bones because it's a song I enjoy very much. I didn't realize it had anti-religous undertones. Well, a little bit of that album has anti-religous undertones, and so does Vapor Trails and Snakes & Arrows. Quotes from Snakes & Arrows: "No one gets their Heaven without a fight" -Armor & Sword "A guiding star beats a spirit in the sky / I don't have faith in faith / I don't believe in belief / You can call me faithless" -Faithless "In the whole wide world there's no magic place / So you might as well rise, put on your bravest face" - Bravest Face Kinda upsetting for a fan who still has faith.
    am529
    If you had included newer songs, "Xenochrist" by The Faceless is one of the most blasphemous songs I've heard recently.
    Picklelerner
    hahahaha im just scrollin through the comments, man some of u guys are just so retarded
    TechnoJesus™
    Although older metal bands have HUGE influence on modern bands... This site should consider newer bands
    shaymack37
    xcrunner1 wrote: Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There is no salvation except through Him.
    You forgot to mention he's a bitch who likes it in the ass.
    BTBAM_7
    and i don't really know behemoth lyrics, but at their show they were ripping apart bibles, so they should probably be here...
    BTBAM_7
    wasn't UG gonna remove the horns from their logo because it offended people not too long ago? lol
    syke5
    TheHammer wrote: What about Looking Down the Cross by Megadeth?
    dude i think sweating bullets is unholier than looking down the cross just cuz its ****ing demented
    Maidenisbest
    Glad that cradle of filth didnt make it Slayer would have to be number one though. were is Death And The BLACK METAL!!!????
    asilaydying\m/
    Um. I'm a good Christian, and noticed, you guys don't have whitechapel, or suicide silence on there. To have a complete list why not. Read whitechapels lyricss... come on!!!
    KevinGuitarGod
    OK EVERYBODY. Yeah religeons freakin retarded, its the reason we have so many problems in this world. But God, hes freakin amazing, I have way more than enough proof God is real, but it seems like no matter how much proof you give people, they just find another retarded "question" about God. And hhs_viking2013, Completely agree dude "I feel bad for you people... If God doesn't exist, how the hell do we? God isn't the reason that there is so much wrong with the world today, but it is the lack of believers. God gave us all a conscience and the ability to make our own decisions. You can't choose to do something wrong, and then blame it on God. I'm not mad at you guys, just dissappointed. God bless you all. Oh, and I would rather believe in God and have him not exist than take the chance of going to Hell for all eternity. Just sayin..."
    gvfcfred
    I guess 'Religious Vomit' and 'Moral Majority' by the Dead Kennedys could've found their way on here. 'Best God In Show' by NoFX too! Or even 'Hell Yes' by Alkaline Trio: You gave up on me along time ago, I can't say I blame you, I rejected the faith in your holy rays, Is what it comes down to. They said everything would work out just fine, I just went crazy. But I'm better now, having a good time, Being selfish, and drunken, and vulgar, and lazy... Bless me dark father I have sinned, I've done it before and I'll do it again, Cause it keeps me warm, and makes you smile, Been beneath me all the while... Hell Yes!
    GeekInThePink
    zAg1619 wrote: The concept of religion is just fine and well, in theory. However, every religion has its extremists, as well as the mass of people who do not have religious tolerance. People who do not accept others choice for religion, are the true problem in the concept of religion, and why it will ultimately destroy the world.
    Yes.
    jrandmb
    thunderbritches wrote: So nice aim toward organized religion as a whole and Christianity...but where's the anti-Muslim music? Or perhaps anti-Buddhist or Judaism? Just a thought for next year guys
    christmas is generally perceived as a christian holiday
    Veddder
    khakiapple wrote: i expected this list to be solely black metal or death metal. i like how it's not. could someone post a link to the anti-flag song? i cannot find it anywhere online, and i suspect that's why the author didn't post a link to it
    http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/antiflag/a... rjesuschrist.html Haha, pretty fked up
    zAg1619
    The concept of religion is just fine and well, in theory. However, every religion has its extremists, as well as the mass of people who do not have religious tolerance. People who do not accept others choice for religion, are the true problem in the concept of religion, and why it will ultimately destroy the world.
    gvfcfred
    I never knew U.G. had such balls! Good on you for putting Ministry on the list too!! And you know what, no fence sitting 'agnostic' bullshit from me. I'm proud to be an atheist! Religion limits your life, and more often than not it can turn you into a queer-hating, jew-bashing, anti-science moron like my very own mom. I mean, she actually believes WITCHES are real, that 'evil' exists like some kind of gas, and that Rob Halford is a devil worshipper (of all things!). Where was 'god' when the Tsunami happened? Whereas people that aren't tied down to religion can say it was a very, very unfortunate natural disaster, religious people get in a flutter about it... 'This is punishment for your sins!!!' Oh yeah? Funny, because most of those children hadn't even lived long enough to even know what sinning meant. Oh wait, you mean ETERNAL sin. Oh well in that case, they were SOO guilty! Or they'll play the 'It's part of God's plan!' card which is just the ultimate cop-out for them not being able to explain something, and not wanting to consider the truth. Don't be afraid to admit you're an atheist. It's nothing to be ashamed of.
    GeekInThePink
    CranberryJuice wrote: On that note, Christians shouldn't be offended. The list is simply pointing out the songs, not saying "Listen to these songs and flip god off."
    I'm not mad at the songs themselves. I'm mad that a GUITAR website put this completely irrelevant list up. This list belongs on an anti-religious website, not a guitar website.
    GeekInThePink
    gvfcfred wrote: Religion limits your life, and more often than not it can turn you into a queer-hating, jew-bashing, anti-science moron
    Wrong. People turn themselves into those.
    CranberryJuice
    ABOUT TIME UG MAKES A LIST PEOPLE AGREE ON! On that note, Christians shouldn't be offended. The list is simply pointing out the songs, not saying "Listen to these songs and flip god off." Get over yourselves. BTW im agnostic, and it seems like a lot more people are these days.
    Vypor
    wonderful list, though i agree some other songs couldve made it like "Where is your god now" by NOFX, but its a pretty sweet list. I was very happy to see john lennon on here though, and espically Judith. That earns UG a buncha points with me.
    cheech003
    Wow....alot of people on here crying. First off I'm a Christian. Second just take it as music people. If you don't like it don't listen to it. Would it make you happier if this site posted a top 20 holy songs? Let's just go back to playing music and being happy with that. Thanks all. God bless.
    Sickhick
    Nah, I'm a black metal fan, and there's too many anti-christian black metal songs to list here, so I think it was cool to make the list diverse.
    voodoomachine wrote: And I'm suprised there aren't any satanists on here LOL.
    I'm right here. But awesome list and happy belated winter solstice, everyone!
    Brave Moonlight
    could have also filled this list with black metal. but heck, could have at least choose better/more well known black metal songs.
    ZeGuitarist
    Checked. Tone down on the religious arguments here; they're getting pretty heated. No need for them to turn offensive.
    crispykids
    why are people arguing? u either believe in religion or u dont i personally believe in God and christianity and i dont give a **** what anyone thinks
    xcrunner1
    Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There is no salvation except through Him.
    Jøhnny
    Top 20 Unholy Songs list does not have Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas? Ok...
    GeekInThePink
    Oh, I wanted an article about guitars because I thought this was a guitar website. Guess it's not. My bad.