I’m sure we’ve all had it, that moment when you’re listening to a song and you think “Geez, I’m sure I’ve heard this somewhere before!”. Well, I get that a lot and sometimes, it turns out I have heard that before, from another band! So I thought it would be a fun little exercise to run through a few examples here and see if others agree with me, particularly in light of what’s happening at the moment with Led Zeppelin and “Stairway to Heaven”. Now before we set out, it’s important to note that I’m not accusing anyone here of plagiarism, as it’s definitely possible for two artists to independently come up with a similar idea. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get to it.

Aghora’s “Dime” (2006) and Trivium’s “Shogun” (2008)
Shogun is Trivium’s best album by a mile, a record which is a veritable heavy metal all-time classic. Weighing in at almost 12 minutes in length, the title track is one of the best songs of their career, full of aggressive riffs, exceptional solos, beautiful transitions between lighter and darker passages and one of the best bridges to a song you will ever hear. Its main riff kicks in at around 25 seconds and, years after being exposed to this record, I would stumble across a very similar riff from Aghora, a progressive metal band which featured Seans Reinert and Malone from Cynic. Compare the “Shogun” riff with the 1:44 mark of “Dime” and you’ll see what I mean.


Metallica’s “Bad Seed” (1997) and Audioslave’s “Your Time Has Come” (2005)
Ok, so my little disclaimer probably goes out on the window on this example, because the riffs from these two tracks aren’t just similar, they’re darn near identical! Metallica’s riff kicks in immediately at the 4 second mark, so contrast it with the central riff Audioslave produced eight years later on “Your Time Has Come, which kicks in at the 7 second mark. Uncanny, right?


Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” (1974) and Metallica’s “The Four Horsemen” (1983)
Now I’m sure nobody here needs an introduction or reminder of what “Sweet Home Alabama” sounds like, but if you do the riff is the first thing to hit your ears in their video below. During the middle part of “The Four Horsemen” you can hear that very same riff at the 3:27 mark, and I say the very same riff because Dave Mustaine has publicly acknowledged that he borrowed the riff! Apparently he was messing around during a writing session and started playing the riff from “Sweet Home Alabama” instead of “The Four Horsemen”, and they all thought it fit so well that they ended up putting it into the song!

Linkin Park’s “A Place for my Head” (2000) and Sum 41’s I’m Not the One (2004)
Linkin Park hit it big with 2000’s Hybrid Theory, and that record had some awesome deep cuts beyond singles such as “One Step Closer”, “Crawling” and “In the End”. One such track is “A Place for my Head”, best known for the intense bridge beginning at 1:48, where the music slows down before Chester unleashes some of the most powerful screams of his career. A few years later Sum 41 released “I’m Not the One” which has a not too dissimilar bridge of its own at 2:41. The underlying music is really different, but the lyrics are similar and the overall vibe of the piece definitely harks back to LP’s earlier effort, and had me feeling deja vu when I first heard it.

Metallica’s “Sad But True” (1991) and Avenged Sevenfold’s “This Means War” (2013)
No need to worry about time stamps here, because these two tracks are pretty similar throughout their entire runtime. In fact, this entry is kind of cheating given that A7X have gone on record as saying that this song, which appeared on 2013’s The Black Album 2.0 Hail to the King,is a homage to Metallica’s very own “Sad But True”.

Get Smart theme song (1965) and Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” (1970)
Ok so I know this is a bit of a weird one, but just hear me out. When first jamming The Zepp’s “Immigrant Song” Robert Plant’s wailing 11 seconds in sounded oh so familiar, but I could never quite place it. Then one fine Spring afternoon it hit me from nowhere, it sounds just like one of the main melodies in the theme song from the old TV show Get Smart! Do you agree, or am I going insane?


So there you have it! Let us know in the comments below if you’ve got any other examples, or if there is a song out there with a part that sounds super familiar, but you’ve never been able to figure out where it’s from – maybe we can solve your mystery once and for all.

7 Responses

  1. urstoff

    The most obvious one I can remember is the main riff to RHCP’s “Dani California” and Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”. Also, another RHCP song, the intro riff to “Around the World” sounds like the intro riff to Budgie/Metallica’s “Breadfan”.

  2. Stephen Wilson

    Not so metal, but you could include Sonic Youth’s “Drunken Butterfly” and the Cooper Temple Clause’s “Promises Promises”.

  3. Gong

    There is a lot of this going o in the Indie/Alternative scene in Australia, but not exactly metal.

  4. eloli

    Not metal, but I always thought The Offspring’s “Why Don’t You Get a Job” and Sublime’s “What I’ve Got” were a hair from getting sued by Michael Jackson for being to close to the Beatle’s “Obladi-Oblada” and “Lady Madonna”.
    Regarding Immigrant song, yup, you’re insane. :P

    • karlo

      yeah wow the offspring one is super obvious, the vocal melody in both the verses and the chorus, plus the main guitar lines are close to replicas of the beatles track.

      and i think it’s pretty clear im not the crazy one, everyone else is :p

  5. Wizard Aura

    The first riff in Eyehategod’s “Anxiety Hangover”, and the second riff in Neurosis’ “The Last You’ll Know”


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