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Pop culture is finally catching on to zombies. Werewolves and vampires have embraced abstinence, shun violence, and lack bite. Staple villains like Jason and Freddy seem kitschy. Horror needs new predators and the undead are taking central stage. The film Shaun Of The Dead was a brilliant parody of zombie films, George Romero is able to release his movies in theaters, and one of AMC's top draws is the zombie series The Walking Dead.

Metal fans have long been hip to zombies. Bands have been singing about the mindless, flesh-craving monsters for decades. Here are the best metal hymns to the undead.

– Justin M. Norton

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10. "Revenge Of The Zombie", Six Feet Under
from Warpath:

Back in the late 1990s, Six Feet Under still had it. Former Obituary shredder Allen West (also known as "Big Bar Al" for his distinct whammy bar dives) was on guitar and SFU hadn't started playing cover songs. This is a mid-paced death metal song about a zombie coming back with a butcher knife and wreaking havoc. Listen as Chris Barnes screams "zombie!" near the end.

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9. "Embalmed Yet I Breathe", Necrophagia
from Holocaust De La Morte

Killjoy and Phil Anselmo are longtime horror buffs, and this song is a meditation on zombie terror. The cover of Holocausto De La Morte features a montage of images from Italian gore-master Lucio Fulci's films. The song is told from the perspective of the newly dead and describes his "inhuman craving" for flesh.

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8. "Sacrificial Zombie", Nunslaughter
from Goat

One of the few zombie songs that could fuel karaoke at a Halloween party. It's a short black thrasher that inspires heads banging – or head chewing: "Slaughtered remnants / in the grave / rotting bodies / is what I crave".

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7. "Zombie Apocalypse", Mortician
from Zombie Apocalypse

Opens with the mother of all zombie sound bites: "When there's no room left in hell the dead will walk the Earth". It's a quote from George Romero's Dawn of the Dead, which chronicles a group of refugees hiding in a Pennsylvania shopping mall during a zombie apocalypse. The song plods along slowly like a Romero zombie, and while it's not a musical masterpiece, it's worthy for its inventive inclusion of the best zombie film ever made.

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6. "My Corpse Shall Rise", Autopsy
from The Tomb Within

Surprisingly, Autopsy didn't write much about the undead during their first incarnation. They wrote about butchery, disease, and sickness. When they returned late last year with a fantastic EP, they wrote a song that proved that they could spin a good zombie yarn and hadn't lost any ferocity.

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5. "Pit Of Zombies", Cannibal Corpse
from Gore Obsessed

Cannibal Corpse and zombies go hand in hand. Their debut album Eaten Back To Life could have been called instead Love Songs For Zombies. Some might include "Evisceration Plague" in this list; a song which inspired a graphic novel by Vince Locke that's stacked with gruesome death. But this is a better song and an appropriately grisly scenario: a man is thrown into a zombie pit, dismantled and chewed up like a Shoney's buffet meal.

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4. "Eaten Alive", Repulsion
from Horrified

Arguably the first grindcore album, this has a pointed and powerful zombie song. It's not even two minutes, but hits quick like a shot to the head: "Horror in the graveyard /an evil hellish sight / worm eaten corpses rising in the night / they're seeking human flesh, they live for nothing else".

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3. "Zombie Ritual", Death
from Scream Bloody Gore

This is vintage Chuck Schuldiner long before he incorporated tech or prog. It's a simple, powerful death metal song with a great hook and bare bones lyrics: "Revengeful corpse out to kill / smell the stench, your guts will spill / vomit for a mind, maggots for a cock / with his axe the corpse will chop".

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2. "Slowly We Rot", Obituary
from Slowly We Rot

This song never mentions the word "zombie", and some might argue it's about something else. But "Slowly We Rot", comes as close as a song can to a zombie's slow, menacing gait. The lyrics are abstract but seem to indicate that the protagonist fights a contagion or disease before embracing his new life as an undead killer. It's the best song in Obituary's long catalog:

"Fight them all in a living hell.
Slowly rot and you die.
You fight death as you'll realize.
Kill them all.
Fight them all, join me, slowly we rot.
Slowly we rot. Dead to all".

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1. "Breakfast At The Manchester Morgue", Impetigo
from Horror Of The Zombies:

This lengthy tune is a wonderful homage to filmmaker Jorge Grau's cult zombie movie Let Sleeping Corpses Lie. In it, police think a band of killers is on the loose until they discover that the undead are responsible for a string of murders. This track is slow but unrelenting and makes excellent use of film samples. It even inspired a YouTube zombie montage.