Photo credit: Adam Elmakias
As most of the athletically disinclined already know, finding the motivation to get to the gym can be a challenge in and of itself. The fact that most of what you hear at fitness clubs favor genres for another market certainly doesn’t add much incentive, but since an effective workout is almost always contingent upon the right music, we compiled an alternative gym playlist to make you feel less like an alien and more like a brawny outlaw casually walking away from exploding dumbbells.
Poison The Well“Ghostchant”
Off of their 2003 album You Come Before You, Jeffrey Moreira transitions from melodically conscious vocals to primal heavy metal screams that resonate well beyond a single listen. As we patiently await a Poison The Well reunion, this addition to your gym playlist sets a stop watch free standard for a high intensity interval circuit.
Rage Against The Machine “Guerilla Radio”
It goes without saying that almost every Rage Against The Machine song ever released is likely to ignite a roaring adrenaline fire, but if pull-ups are the lit match, then “Guerilla Radio” is the gasoline.
Limp Bizkit “Faith”
You may not miss Fred Durst or Limp Bizkit, but there is simply no denying that their unlikely cover of the George Michael hit “Faith” is great beyond comparison. With the same simple guitar chords played against Durst's unmistakable vocals, the band took a mediocre pop song from the 80s and tailored it perfectly to an antithetical genre. With more than agreeable symmetry to this playlist, Durst also insists that you promptly “Get the fuck up” and go to Soul Cycle.
This classic track is practically a workout anthem demanding that you go far away, as fast as possible. Although it's difficult not to find a heart-pumping track off of the wildly popular Deftones album White Pony, “Passenger” is an undeniable standout on the album, especially in the context of a challenging workout.
Thursday “Division St.”
With its urgent drumroll and cutting vocals, this track off of 2003’s “War All The Time” is undoubtedly a classic for Thursday fans, both inside and outside of the gym. Runners take note.
Finch “What It Is To Burn”
In the context of exercise, the title alone speaks volumes. Lead vocalist Nate Barcalow belts, “She’s the only one who knows what it is to burn” which is especially applicable if she can manage to stay in a squat hold for the entire duration of the song.
The Mars Volta “Inertiatic ESP”
Back in 2003, former members of At The Drive-In created The Mars Volta and blessed the alternative rock world with a haunting experimental debut album, De-Loused in the Comatorium. With it, came the elaborate, groggy composition of “Inertiatic ESP,” offering enough fervent intensity to keep your focus and endurance way up.
When you feel like throwing in the towel, blast this track and consider it a eulogy for the five pounds you’re about to obliterate in the weight room.
Green Day “Brain Stew”
This song should need no introduction, but if you have not loved and treasured this early Green Day track for the last 20 years, then it is high time you get acquainted with it. Lead vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong proves to be especially comforting in his lyrics, singing, “My eyes feel like they’re gonna bleed/dried up and bulging in my skull/my mouth is dry/My face is numb.” This will seem eerily relatable when you find yourself putting a little more muscle into that last rep.
Korn “Freak on A Leash”
The second this track touches down, nostalgia alone should result in an animalistic cardio effect, and since there actually is such a thing as overtraining, you could probably get away with playing the song and skipping the gym altogether.
Twenty One Pilots “Fairly Local”
Twenty One Pilots consistently manages to achieve a damn near perfect balance between alternative, electro-pop and hip-hop soundscapes. If you happen to be a runner, this trifecta of rhythmic wonder is perfect for high speed, on-foot navigation.
FIDLAR takes genre blending to a new level on this track and the songs classic rock inspired guitar riffs sound right at home next to Zac Carpers powerful vocals.
Refused “Servants of Death”
After a 17-year hiatus, Refused finally released the album Freedom. “Servants of Death” is imbued with subtle elements of funk, as well as a copious amount of stylistically hardcore arrangements, further validating their earned slot on every alternative playlist.
State Champs “Hard to Please”
With relentlessly catchy hooks and pension for melody, “Hard To Please” gives other pop punk bands an ideal to aspire to.
Brand New “Mene”
After a five year hiatus, the band promises a new album by the end of 2015 and in feverish anticipation of their fifth studio LP, it seemed only appropriate to include the bands latest, extremely promising teaser, “Mene.”
All Time Low “Cinderblock Garden”
If you suddenly find yourself in the midst of a daunting courtship, then All Time Low will provide you with added motivation to look good naked.
Four Year Strong “Wipe Yourself off, Man. You Dead.”
The title of this track may or may not be a quote from Alan Day’s personal trainer, but in the interest of this playlist, we will imagine that it most certainly is.
PVRIS “White Noise”
Post-hardcore band PVRIS have a lot to offer, especially in terms of their vast, artistic scope. Lead vocalist Lyndsey Gunnulfsen’s effeminate, pop-conscious vocals sound almost massive over the tracks synthesized production.
Coheed and Cambria “Here To Mars”
Until their new album drops on Oct. 9, “Here To Mars” will palliate until The Color Before The Sun arrives. However, the latest Coheed track reflects a different creative focus for the band, one that in this case, is an especially heartfelt and impassioned ballad. Our best recommendation is to channel Claudio Sanchez’s romantic sentiments and apply them to the pizza you’re going home with immediately after you exit the gym.
The Sword “Unicorn Farm”
The first track off of the bands latest album, High Country, is a brief 50 seconds instrumental, lending itself to a very necessary warm-up to and cool down.
The Distillers “The Hunger”
The Hunger may be one of those songs you forgot, but now that you’ve been reminded, prepare to let Brody Dalle tear through your soul. The nearly five minute track flaunts 90s, Mazzy Starr like instrumentals that erupt into a sweaty, timeless, pop-punk treasure.