Breakin' the Law: 5 Classic Heavy Metal and Hardcore Punk Songs About Justice


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The fine folks over at Decibel Magazine—America's premiere publication covering all things heavy metal, thrash metal, black metal, death metal, hardcore, grindcore, and more—kindly solicited my thoughts on the noisy intersection where music and law frequently meet. In other words, they requested and I delivered a short list of my personal favorite heavy metal and hardcore punk songs devoted to the topic of justice. Here's the introduction by Decibel's great writer Shawn Macomber and a sneak peek at one of my picks:

Today the Metalnomicon welcomes Reason senior editor Damon Root, one of the most thought-provoking, singular voices writing on the intricacies of American law today. He's also a metal/hardcore devotee and the original articulator of the Suicidal Tendencies litmus test for federal candidates, which, as we all know, has had a profound effect on our nation in several alternate dimensions.

So, anyway, yeah, Root's new book Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court is a straight up tour de force of eye-opening, epiphany-inducing history parsing. It's great and everyone interested in the inner workings of the Supreme Court and its profound effect on our lives should read it. But we suspected some metal/hardcore science got excised by the squares at Palgrave Macmillan and, thus, hit Root up for a list of five classic hardcore and metal songs about justice.

The man did not disappoint…

3. "Legalize Drugs" by Fear

Writing in 1972, future Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman argued that "street crime would drop dramatically" if the U.S. government legalized drugs. Not only did drug prohibition create a lucrative black market run by violent gangsters, Friedman observed, it led to the incarceration of millions of nonviolent offenders whose only crime involved getting high.

Wait, did I say Milton Friedman? I meant to say Lee Ving, the beef bologna-loving frontman for the infamous punk band Fear.

"We've got the largest prison population in the world," sings Ving, and there's only one way to correct that injustice: "When you take away the profit, then you destroy the black market… Legalize drugs!"

Read the whole thing here.