Metal music comes straight from the gut, with its high volume, dramatic guitar solos and relentless rhythms. The metal genre encompasses a long list of different sounds and subgenres, but they are have one commonality: an affinity for all things heavy. Read on for 10 quotes from some of our favorite headbangers. It’s The World According to Heavy Metal, baby!

Slayer guitarist Kerry King on how the guys keep a song like “Chemical Warfare” that they’ve been playing for 30 years fresh, as told to Las Vegas Weekly:

“Luckily we keep it fresh because it’s still fun to play. This being the first headline tour in the United States in quite a while, I got three or four songs we haven’t played in four to 10 years. We’ve got a history, we’ve got a catalog, so there’s always tons of stuff we can play.”

Ozzy Osbourne on the idea of doing a concept album, as told to

“There’s no doubt that ‘Let Me Hear You Scream’ has an anthemic feel to it, but I’ve never done a concept record. That’s too much planning for me. Whenever I start a record I never know what the end result is going to be until I get there. I suppose it’s part of the journey. Each song is like an individual with its own personality.”

Black Label Society’s Zakk Wylde on his writing process, as told to

“If we’re on the road, I’m usually the first one down and first one up, because I don’t drink. So, I’ll get up in the morning, and I’ll start running scales. Then, I’ll start playing mellow tunes, like Creedence Clearwater or Bob Seger—acoustic stuff. So, I’ll get song ideas on the road. Then, when I get home, every day I’ll go into the studio and get inspired to write riffs.”

Megadeth's Dave Mustaine on rock not being dead, as told to Music Radar:

“Rock isn't dead – it's just out of ideas. You've got a lot of people manufacturing music who aren't producers, and there's A&R guys who aren't A&R guys. When I started out in music, an A&R guy was like the fifth Beatle – he'd be there for you, and he'd help make the songs better. We don't have that now. If record companies were about breaking bands and selling records instead of just recouping costs, the music business would flourish again. It all comes down to our government and the taxations, what you can say and what you can't say. And then there's the outlets tightening up – MTV doesn't even play music anymore. I remember when I was a kid, you could put MTV on for days and it would be nothing but music. "So, no, rock 'n' roll isn't dead, but the recording industry is like a bunch of bleached bones out in the desert – not a lot of life to it…”

Richie Faulkner of Judas Priest on not feeling any pressure when recording the band’s new album, Redeemer of Souls, as told to

“Well I never use the word ‘pressure,’ really. It’s kinda like energy. You can thrive on pressure but the word ‘pressure’ kind of has that negative connotation and I’ve never really felt that. I knew as a Priest fan what was expected just going in, before the live stuff. I knew the duty that was bestowed upon me from the Metal God, so I knew what I had to represent and uphold. And it was part of my musical character from my early teens anyway. And growing up with bands like Thin Lizzy and their dual guitar attack, Priest, Maiden, it was that metal thing going on but also the twin guitar stuff. So when you’re writing songs when you’re 13, 14 you look to these guys for a masterclass on how to write it. How they convey emotions with certain textures or how they put that riff to that riff or change keys there. It was inherent in my musical make-up, so when we got into the studio setting after this Epitaph tour, first of all we’d already built up relationships and gained trust and became brothers over this short amount of time because of the condensed atmosphere of the tour; you live on the road, on the bus, on the plane, so trust is earned very quickly, or it isn’t and you don’t last very long. So when we got into the studio, all of those things came into play. If you’ve got an opinion, put it forward and it’s going to be listened to.”

Trivium guitarist Matt Heafy on playing his Epiphone Ltd. Ed. Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom and Ltd. Ed. Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom-7 seven-string at Mayhem Festival 2014, as told to

“One of the things I always wanted to push with having a signature model is that the exact same one that I would play on stage and in the studio would be the exact same one kids get. So, before this tour, and before multiple other tours, I had the factory ship me the guitars as they would have been to a music store or an online store, and I played that exact guitar. My guitar would tech set it up, put my strings on it and I would play that one. It’s all I use. If anyone were to come to our show and come watch the show, all I’m using is my signature – the six and seven-string models – and mine is no different than what anyone else would get in the stores.”

Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister on learning bass guitar, as told to Spin:

“When I went to the job with Hawkwind, I went as a guitar player, but they decided in the meantime they didn't need a guitar player. Then the bass player didn't show up for the gig, and the dickhead left his bass in the gear van. It's like, ‘Please steal my gear,’ so I stole his gig. I'd never picked a bass up in my life before. It's probably much easier than it is to sit around torturing yourself to death trying to learn it note-by-note in front of a little booklet. It's much better if you can make a few mistakes. And the volume's loud so nobody really notices that much.”

Metallica’s Kirk Hammett on what kind of EQs fit his heavy metal sound, as told to

“I like to EQ out a lot of the midrange, but you have to leave some midrange in there, or else you kind of get lost in the mix. You need some midrange EQ in there just to stand out and give the sound its own stage, so it can stand out in the mix. If you have too many mids EQed out and you’re super scooped, you can have trouble standing out in the mix, especially if you have two guitar players. So, midrange is essential.”

Slipknot and Stone Sour’s Corey Taylor on why he prefers Gibsons, as told to

“When I think of rock ‘n’ roll or heavy metal, I think of Gibson. I think of people standing on stage with those Les Pauls. Something about a Les Paul has always made it my favorite. Maybe it’s because when you plug it into a Marshall and crank it up, you get a naturally awesome and gravely rock sound.”

Guitarist Mick Mars on the fact Mötley Crüe have been rocking for more than 30 years, as told to

“I’m surprised none of us has choked each other! [Laughs] The family thing of ‘I’m not going over to Rodger’s house for a week!’ [Laughs] I really didn’t have a clue if we were going to last 20, 30, 10 or five years. Again, I’m from old-school, and I’m a couple years older than the guys, and I’m used to seeing bands last maybe seven to 10 years. The Stones were the very first band that I ever saw really last, and then Aerosmith. We just kept chugging along, and people seemed to love the band. But, I didn’t foresee that 30 years at all.”

Zakk Wylde and Matt Heafy photos by Anne Erickson

Kirk Hammett photo by Anton Corbijn