Although it’s sometimes difficult to determine what constitutes a “breakdown,” the term typically refers to a slower instrumental passage meant to shake things up or build anticipation between the core parts of a composition. While they've been a part of metal for decades, yet they’ve definitely become more abundant in recent years

Obviously, they can vary a lot in terms of their intensities and complexities, too.

At times, they’re beautiful breathers in otherwise vicious journeys, giving listeners the chance to chill out a bit before returning to the turmoil. Just as frequently, though, they move through songs like utterly malevolent molasses, trapping audiences in their grippingly evil and sluggish trajectories.

Case in point: the nearly two dozen picks that follow, each of whom earns its spot for offering either an undeniably ugly compositional collapse or an irresistibly pretty and leisurely respite from the surrounding chaos.

READ MORE: 10 Sickest Breakdowns of All Time

From iconic bands such as Slayer, Opeth, Pantera, Mastodon and Meshuggah to newer favorites such as Sleep Token, Spiritbox, Architects, and Rivers of Nihil, they do a fantastic job showcasing how nauseatingly inhuman or awe-inspiringly pleasant metal breakdowns can be!

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