The word “cliché” generally doesn’t have positive connotations, but the concept exists for a good reason: Some experiences are universal. For millennia, storytellers of all kinds have articulated certain imagery, phrases and symbols with which the population at large has come to identify.

For instance, we’re all familiar with good and evil, light and dark, angels and demons. But the overuse of clichés can annoy with a lack of creativity, even though it’s a stylistic crime that every music genre has employed. Below, see some of the most common lyrical clichés in rock and metal.

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