Outbreak of Metal, Part 2: 10 More Hard Rock Songs About Viruses and Disease

Updated on March 23, 2020
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I've been an obsessed hard rock/heavy metal fan and collector since the early 1980s. If it's got a good guitar riff and attitude, I'm in.

Album covers and single artwork for some iconic hard rock songs about viruses and disease.
Album covers and single artwork for some iconic hard rock songs about viruses and disease. | Source

Still Down With the Sickness?

Greetings from New Jersey, folks, and welcome to part two of my coronavirus inspired Outbreak of Metal playlist. Sadly, things have not improved much since I posted my last ten-pack of disease and virus related heavy metal songs. In fact, things seem to be getting even crazier out there. Schools and offices are closed, businesses are being told to shut down, and people have been advised to stay home... or else.

Like everyone else, I'm not sure where this all will lead, so the least I can do in the mean time is try to provide some kick-ass tunes to while away the time till the men from the CDC show up at our front doors toting disinfectant spray guns. Let's be careful out there, everybody!


New Jersey thrash kingpins Overkill made my previous list with the classic "Elimination," from 1989's Years of Decay disc, and the tradition continues with this track from the follow up, Horrorscope, which asks bluntly, "Infection... where do we go from here?" A question that all of us are likely asking ourselves right now.

GWAR—"The New Plague"

The members of GWAR never take anything seriously, from their Antarctic space-mutant personas or their subject matter. "The New Plague" (from 1997's Ragnarok) is a sarcastic song about the AIDS epidemic but lead vocalist Oderus Urungus' confused "I got what?" seems like a fitting mantra in this Coronaviral day and age.

Queensrÿche—"Spreading the Disease"

This epic from Queensryche's classic 1988 rock opera Operation: Mindcrime uses the term "Disease" as a metaphor for drug addiction (the album's main character is a heroin-addled street kid turned government assassin), but c'mon,how could I pass up a title like that? If I left this one off of the list, I wouldn't be doing my job.

Crimson Glory—"Masque of the Red Death"

Floridian progressive-metal masters Crimson Glory get literary on our ass with this track, inspired by the classic Edgar Allan Poe story about a medieval nobleman who inadvertently brings Death to his rich and powerful friends during a swanky costume ball. The lyric "no one is safe from the poisonous plague that you bring" seems eerily current even though the song was released in 1988.

Ramones—"You Sound Like You're Sick"

This track from New York's favorite punk rockers comes off of 1981's Pleasant Dreams album and the song's chorus "You sound like you're sick... you look like you're sick too" is definitely not something you want to hear anyone say when you're out in public right now, especially if you're on a supermarket check out line or in an elevator.

Aerosmith—"Sick as a Dog"

Whenever I get sick (which thankfully isn't often, knock on wood) I usually describe the experience afterwards by saying that I was"Sick as a Dog." I've been using that phrase for years, so no list of songs dealing with illness would be complete without a mention of this classic from my favorite Aerosmith album, 1976's Rocks.

JetBoy—"Bad Disease"

In this track by long-running L.A. sleaze rockers JetBoy, the "Disease" in the title is a bad relationship that the narrator desperately wants to get rid of ("you're like a bad disease, can't get you off of my back now, honey...), which sounds a lot like a certain virus that we would all be more than happy to see go away right about now....

Gene Simmons—"Burning Up With Fever"

This raunchy rocker from the KISS bassist/vocalist's 1978 solo album is a typical (for Gene) song about a woman getting him so hot n' bothered that he is "burnin' up with fever." In the interest of public service, if you experience a fever similar to the one Gene describes in this song, you should probably see a health professional as quickly as possible.
Fun fact: disco queen Donna Summer provided background vocals on this song, which seems appropriate, because she had a knack for making listeners' temperatures rise back in the day.

Judas Priest—"Fever"

Like the Gene SImmons song, this Judas Priest classic is about a sexual "Fever" -- one that "sets my soul on fire" and "fills me with desire." Be careful, fellas, if your fever is so high that it lasts "all day and all night," it may be more than a simple attraction that's causing it.

Motorhead—"Please Don't Touch"

The title of this 1981 single from Lemmy and crew, with help from the all-girl hard rock band Girlschool, drives home a very important lesson for the COVID-19 era: please don't touch your face, please don't touch anybody else's face, in fact, please don't touch much of anything unless you have protective gloves on. The life you save could be your own!

That'll Do for Now

It would be nice if there were no need for a Part 3 to this play list, but things aren't showing much evidence of improving anytime soon as of this writing, so I may be back soon with another ten-pack of diseased and viral tunes. Till then, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after pushing that "play" button, damn it!

© 2020 Keith Abt


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      Rocco Anthony 

      3 months ago

      how bout this classic



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