So Much SNES Music Is Heavy Metal

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

Looking at the history of SNES music, it’s no surprise that a lot of it is heavy metal. From the early days of the console with games like Contra and Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts to more recent titles like Doom, there’s always been a place for metal on the SNES.

SNES Games with the Best Metal Soundtracks

The Super Nintendo had some of the best video game soundtracks of all time, and a good chunk of them were heavy metal. From the thrash metal of Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts to the doom and gloom of Castlevania IV, there were plenty of SNES games with metal soundtracks. Here are some of the best.


ActRaiser is a 1990 sidescrolling platformer/city-building simulation game for the SNES, developed by Quintet and published by Enix (now Square Enix). The game is set in a fantasy world where an omnipotent being known as the Master creates humans and helps them to fight back against the forces of evil.

The game’s soundtrack was composed by Yuzo Koshiro, and is heavily influenced by metal music. The game’s title screen theme, “Sky High”, is particularly notable for its use of heavy metal guitar riffs. Other tracks on the soundtrack also make use of metal elements, including “Battle of the Holy”, “Phantom Fight”, and “Boss Battle”.

The soundtrack to ActRaiser is widely considered to be one of the best video game soundtracks ever made, and its heavy metal influence has made it a cult classic among metal fans.

“Contra III: The Alien Wars”

There are a lot of great heavy metal soundtracks on the SNES, but one that really stands out is “Contra III: The Alien Wars.” This game has an amazing mix of fast-paced action and head-banging metal that makes it one of the most Metal games ever made.

“Demon’s Crest”

Demon’s Crest is a side-scrolling platformer released for the SNES in 1994. The game is set in a horror-fantasy world and follows the story of Firebrand, a demon who must collect six magical crests in order to defeat his arch-nemesis, Phalanx.

The game’s soundtrack was composed by Yasuhiro Kobayashi and features a mix of heavy metal and classical music. The game’s title screen theme, “Demon’s Crest”, is particularly memorable, with its fast-paced guitar riffs and orchestral backing. Other standout tracks include “Inferno”, “Phalanx Battle”, and “Crestfall”.

If you’re a fan of metal music, or just looking for an excellent SNES platformer, Demon’s Crest is well worth checking out.

“Donkey Kong Country”

“Donkey Kong Country,” developed by Rare and published by Nintendo, was one of the most popular games for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The game featured excellent graphics for its time, as well as a great soundtrack. The game’s composer, David Wise, is known for his work on other Rare titles such as “Banjo-Kazooie” and ” Battletoads.” The soundtrack for “Donkey Kong Country” is heavily influenced by metal music, and it features some of the best metal tracks of any SNES game.

“Earthworm Jim”

If you dig video game music with a metal edge, you need to check out Earthworm Jim. It might be one of the funkiest, most unique platformers ever made, but the SNES game’s soundtrack is 100% pure unadulterated metal. The game’s composer and audio director, Tommy Tallarico, is a veteran of the metal world, having played in bands like Anthrax and Nightmare Pictures. He brought that same heavy metal attitude to Earthworm Jim, creating one of the most unforgettable gaming soundtracks of the 16-bit era.

The Evolution of Metal in SNES Games

The early days of metal in SNES games

Prior to the early 1990s, video game music was mostly electronic and arcade-inspired, with very little influence from heavy metal. However, this began to change with the introduction of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The SNES was capable of producing richer and more complex sounds than its predecessor, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and as a result, SNES games began to feature more metal-influenced music.

One of the earliest examples of metal in an SNES game is “Devil Gun” from Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts (1991). This track is a duet between a guitar and a synth, with the guitar playing a distinctly metal riff. The use of distorted guitars would become more common in subsequent years, as would other metal elements such as double bass drumming.

Other early examples of metal in SNES games include “Heavy Metal Kiss” from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (1992), which features heavily distorted guitars; “Infiltrate” from Contra III: The Alien Wars (1992), which features a fast-paced guitar riff; and “Farewell Hyrule King” from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992), which features an epic, slowly-building guitar solo.

As the 1990s progressed, developers began to experiment with different ways of incorporating metal into their games. For example, in Super Metroid (1994), composer Kenji Yamamoto combined traditional rock instrumentation with classical strings and synths to create an otherworldly atmosphere. In Mega Man X (1995), composer Setsuo Yamamoto blended metal with 8-bit electronic music to create a unique sound that perfectly matched the game’s high-octane action.

By the late 1990s, metal had become one of the most commonly used genres in video game music. Many popular games released during this time period featured at least some tracks with metal influences, such as Final Fantasy VII (1997), Chrono Trigger (1995), Resident Evil 2 (1998), and Xenogears (1998). In some cases, such as with Square Enix’s Front Mission series or Nippon Ichi’s Disgaea series, games were even marketed specifically for their use of metal music.

The 2000s saw further development of the relationship between video games and metal music. Some games featured soundtracks entirely composed of metal tracks, such as BrĂ¼tal Legend (2009) and DmC: Devil May Cry (2013). In others, such as Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (2007) and Rock Band 3 (2010), players could interact directly with the music by playing along with notes on a plastic guitar or drum set. And in still others, such as Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011) and Mass Effect 3 (2012), developers used licensed tracks by well-known metal bands to add an extra layer of immersion to their already critically acclaimed titles.

The rise of death metal and black metal in SNES games

The SNES is well-known for its amazing musical output, with some of the most iconic video game soundtracks of all time coming from its 16-bit library. But what is less well-known is the surprisingly large amount of heavy metal music that can be found in SNES games.

From the early days of the console with games like Contra III: The Alien Wars and Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, to classics like Secret of Mana and Chrono Trigger, to more obscure titles like Demon’s Crest and Illusion of Gaia, metal has had a surprisingly strong presence on the SNES.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in metal-infused video game music, with several fan remix albums and even an official symphonic metal album based on the music of Secret of Mana.

So why did so many SNES games have such heavy metal soundtracks? There are a few possible explanations.

For one, the early-’90s was a golden age for metal music, with bands like Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth at the height of their powers. This was also around the same time that death metal and black metal were starting to become more popular, so it’s possible that some game developers were simply trying to appeal to the zeitgeist.

Another possibility is that the SNES’ sound chip, known as the SPC700, was particularly well-suited to heavier styles of music. The chip’s ability to produce distortions and other effects gave composers a lot of freedom to experiment with heavier sounds than had been possible before.

Whatever the reason, there’s no doubt that the SNES has left a lasting legacy not just in video game music, but in heavy metal music as a whole.

The influence of metal on SNES game soundtracks today

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) is a home video game console that was released by Nintendo in 1990. Its 16-bit design made it more powerful than its predecessor, the NES, and its library of games includes some of the most beloved titles of all time. The SNES also has a legendary soundtrack, with many of its games featuring songs with a heavy metal influence.

Today, the influence of metal can still be heard in SNES game soundtracks. In fact, some modern games have been created specifically to emulate the SNES’s metal sound. This trend can be traced back to the early days of the console, when developers were looking for ways to stand out from the competition. By incorporating heavy metal into their soundtracks, they were able to create an unique and unforgettable gaming experience.

There are many reasons why metal and SNES game soundtracks go hand-in-hand. Metal is an aggressive and powerful genre of music, which perfectly complements the action-packed gameplay of many SNES games. It also has a wide range of subgenres, allowing developers to find the perfect type of metal for their game. Whether it’s thrash metal, death metal, or black metal, there’s ametal song out there that will fit any SNES game’s tone and atmosphere.

So if you’re a fan of SNES games or heavy metal music, be sure to keep an ear out for the influence of metal in today’s game soundtracks!

The Best Metal Songs in SNES Games

From the driving guitars of Chrono Trigger’s “Time’s Scar” to the anthemic refrain of Super Metroid’s “Brinstar”, metal has always had a place in video games, especially in 16-bit era SNES classics. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best metal songs in SNES games.

“Boss Battle” from “Contra III: The Alien Wars”

There are few things more metal than a good boss battle, and Contra III: The Alien Wars definitely has one of the best. The music perfectly captures the intensity and urgency of the fight, with the guitars and drums coming together to create an absolutely epic sound.

“The Battle” from “Demon’s Crest”

“The Battle” from “Demon’s Crest” is one of the best metal songs in any SNES game. It’s fast-paced and intense, with a great heavy metal guitar riff that will get your head banging. The lyrics are also quite metal, with lines like “You will pay for your sins!” and “The time has come to die!” This is a great song to listen to when you’re in the mood for some heavy metal.

“DK Island Swing” from “Donkey Kong Country”

“DK Island Swing” is one of the best metal songs in any SNES game. The song is fast-paced and energetic, with a great guitar riff that will get your head banging. The lyrics are also very metal, with lines like “Now there’s trouble brewing/On DK Island/The Kongs are in danger/It’s up to us to save the day.” If you’re a fan of metal music, or just want to headbang to some great tunes, then “DK Island Swing” is the song for you.

“Spider-Pig” from “The Simpsons: Hit & Run”

“Spider-Pig” from “The Simpsons: Hit & Run” is one of the best metal songs in SNES games. The song is catchy and heavy, with great guitar work and a killer bassline. It’s also one of the few metal songs in a Simpson’s game that isn’t played for laughs.

The Future of Metal in SNES Games

The continued influence of metal on SNES game soundtracks

While the SNES may be best known for its JRPGs, platformers, and action games, it also had a surprisingly large and diverse metal scene. From the early days of speed metal to the rise of death metal and black metal, SNES games were often at the forefront of extreme metal. And while the console’s metal scene has largely been overshadowed by its more pop-friendly output, there are still a few diehard fans keeping the flame alive.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in SNES music, particularly from metal fans. This has led to a number of fan-made remixes and tributes to classic SNES heavy hitters like Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, and Super Metroid. It’s clear that the influence of metal on SNES game soundtracks is still strong, even 25 years later.

So what does the future hold for metal and SNES game music? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: the extreme sounds of the SNES are here to stay.

The rise of new metal genres in SNES games

In the early 1990s, a new genre of music was born: heavy metal. This style of music was characterized by its aggressive sound and themes, and it quickly became popular with young people all over the world.

While heavy metal had long been a part of video games, it wasn’t until the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) that this genre truly began to take off in the gaming world. Thanks to the SNES’s powerful sound chip, game developers were able to create metal tracks that sounded closer to the real thing than ever before.

This new era of SNES gaming saw the rise of several popular metal subgenres, including power metal, thrash metal, and death metal. These styles of music became synonymous with some of the most popular games of the time, such as Megadeth’s “Symphony of Destruction” in “Super Castlevania IV,” Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” in “Contra III: The Alien Wars,” and Slayer’s “Raining Blood” in “Castlevania: Dracula X.”

As the years went on, heavy metal continued to be a staple in video games, with popular titles like “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” giving players the chance to rock out to some of their favorite songs. Today, there are even entire symphonies dedicated to playing heavy metal game soundtracks.

It’s clear that heavy metal is here to stay in video games. With its aggressive sound and exciting themes, it’s no wonder that this genre continues to be one of the most popular genres in gaming today.

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