Here Are 13 METALLICA Songs That We Believe Deserve More Recognition
It’s hard to believe that it has been over 35 years since METALLICA first started making music. Over the course of the band’s illustrious career, they have released 10 studio albums and sold over 110 million records worldwide. While most fans would agree that METALLICA albums like “Master of Puppets” and “Metallica” are essential classics, there are a group of songs from the band’s catalog that often get overlooked or lost in the shuffle amidst notorious cuts like “For Whom The Bell Tolls“, “Enter Sandman” or “Seek And Destroy“.
Each and every song from METALLICA has it’s own character and resonance. One person may have a more personal connection to a certain METALLICA song than another, which makes lists like this all that much more interesting. It all comes down to a matter of opinion, and we strongly suggest you dive a little deeper, if you haven’t already of course, and give the following METALLICA songs another listen.
In this article, we are going to look at 13 METALLICA songs that deserve more recognition. A collection of tracks which may be buried within hit-filled albums, released as b-sides or simply get consistently lost in the shuffle. Some of these tunes have rarely made an appearance during any METALLICA concert, however it shouldn’t detract from their significance within the band’s massive body of work.
To call the METALLICA song “Disposable Heroes” “underrated” is somewhat controversial, due to the track being highly regarded by metal fans and critics alike. However, when looking back at the band’s “Master of Puppets” album, it’s often songs like “Welcome Home (Sanitarium),” “Battery” and the album’s title track that get all the recognition. The track is a heavy metal opus, with more than eight minutes of killer riffs, an astounding guitar solo courtesy of lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and a bludgeoning anti-war theme. Plain and simple the song rips.
If strait up heavy metal is what you’re looking for, there is tons to appreciate in “Escape” off METALLICA‘s 1984 album “Ride the Lightning”. The song seems to wail the benefits of escaping reality, while METALLICA have “escaped” performing the song live for decades. “Escape” was first performed live on June 23rd, 2012 at the first ever Orion Music + More festival when the band played the entire “Ride The Lightning” album in its entirety.
The song currently holds the record for going the longest without being performed live within METALLICA‘s library, at 27 years, 10 months and 28 days. Or 10,194 days in total.
Frontman James Hetfield even commented before playing “Escape,” “Do you know what song is next? This is groundbreaking right here. This is historical… The song that we never wanted to play live, ever, is now on the set list.”
“Trapped Under Ice”
METALLICA‘s riff-laden second album, “Ride the Lightning” remains a classic heavy metal lover’s dream. Despite arriving so soon after METALLICA‘s debut record, “Kill ‘Em All“, the new songs off the LP were absolutely solid. Amidst killer tracks like “For Whom The Bell Tolls,” “Creeping Death” and “Fade to Black”, the METALLICA cut “Trapped Under Ice” packs a serious punch to the throat, despite being the shortest song on the album. It’s lyrical content is also kind of disturbing as well, which makes the track all that much more beautifully threatening when consumed.
In the mid-nineties, METALLICA recorded the “Load” and “Reload” albums at the same time. The band released “Load” in 1996 and “Reload” the following year, with plenty of radio-friendly hits off both collections.
Among such notable cuts as “The Unforgiven II,” “Fuel” And “King Nothing”, the song “Fixxxer”, from “Reload“, offers a sludgy, massive groove coupled with a brilliant solo from lead guitarist Kirk Hammett.
It’s definitely a track worth investigating at ear-shattering volumes.
“Fight Fire with Fire”
For those who appreciate the heavier things in life, look no further than METALLICA‘s classic ode to thrash metal “Fight Fire with Fire”.
The song, which comes off 1984’s “Ride the Lightning”, features James Hetfield’s resonant vocals amidst an absolute audio assault of sound, bringing down speed and power like a massive hammer.
“Fight Fire with Fire” is absolute thrash metal at its finest.
The eleventh track off of METALLICA‘s 2016 album, “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct“, “Murder One” is a tribute to the late Lemmy Kilmister of MOTORHEAD. The song is one of the slower tracks on the album, but it is still a heavy hitter in every sense of the word.
The lyrics about the late Lemmy Kilmister are some of the most real that James Hetfield has ever written. If you are a fan of MOTORHEAD or METALLICA for that matter, or if you are looking for a gritty ballad delivered in the way that only METALLICA can, “Murder One” is worth a listen.
“Hero Of The Day”
The fourth single off METALLICA‘s 1996 album, “Load“, “Hero Of The Day” is a slower, more melodic song than some of the band’s other known tracks.
James Hetfield says this song is about children who look outside of their homes for heroes, when their heroes should be their parents. Guitarist Kirk Hammett told Kerrang! back in September of 2008 that this song contains one of his favorite METALLICA guitar solos. He explained: “it’s not a particularly shreddy solo, but it’s a really melodic and I feel it definitely lifts the song up to a different level after it comes in.”
The seventh track off METALLICA‘s 1996 album, “Load“, “Bleeding Me” was never commercially released as a single, though a promotional CD containing the song was distributed to radio stations in early 1997. The track would eventually reach #6 on the Mainstream Rock Charts.
“Bleeding Me” is one of the few METALLICA songs to feature a Hammond organ along with a lyrical content about the pain of addiction and the struggles of recovery. James Hetfield‘s vocals are raw and vulnerable, while the lyrics are some of the most personal that he has ever written.
James told Playboy in a 2001 interview of the song: “Around the time of Load, I felt I wanted to stop drinking. “Maybe I’m missing out on something. Everyone else seems so happy all the time. I want to get happy.” I’d plan my life around a hangover: “The Misfits are playing in town Friday night, so Saturday is hangover day.” I lost a lot of days in my life. Going to therapy for a year, I learned a lot about myself. There’s a lot of things that scar you when you’re growing up, you don’t know why. The song Bleeding Me is about that: I was trying to bleed out all bad, get the evil out. While I was going through therapy, I discovered some ugly stuff in there. A dark spot.”
“The Frayed Ends Of Sanity”
The seventh track listed on METALLICA‘s 1988 album, “…And Justice For All“, “The Frayed Ends Of Sanity” is a dark and atmospheric song. The intro includes a sound sample of the Winkie chant from the movie “The Wizard of Oz” giving the tune just the right edge of creepy upon hitting play.
Clocking in at 7:44, the track is the 3rd longest offering from the album and remains a favorite among the band’s followers with numerous past petitions being raised among METALLICA fans to get the song played live.
“The Frayed Ends Of Sanity” made it’s live debut on May the 28th, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland during the ‘Metallica by Request‘ tour. While the subject matter may be heavy, dealing with losing one’s grip on reality, the song itself is absolutely beautiful.
“My Friend Of Misery”
The eleventh cut from METALLICA‘s 1991 self-titled album, also known as “The Black Album“, “My Friend Of Misery” is a slower, more emotional song than some of the band’s other known offerings.
The origins of this track lay in a riff that then-bassist Jason Newsted brought to the rest of the band. Producer Bob Rock explained: “It started out with his intro, so a big part of working on this track was spent developing a great riff into a song that would take flight and really go places. Which it does – it builds and builds quite nicely.”
Newsted would end up receiving a writing credit on the song along with James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, making up one of his three METALLICA co-writing credits along with “Blackened” and “Where the Wild Things Are“.
“The Memory Remains”
The second tune on METALLICA‘s 1997 album, “Reload“, this song acted as the lead-off single for the record.
The track features guest vocals by Marianne Faithfull, as James Hetfield felt her “weathered, smellin’-the-cigarettes-on-the-CD voice” fit what he described as “the whole eeriness of the Sunset Boulevard-feel of the song”, given the subject matter about a faded artist who goes insane after losing her fame.
Despite catching some heat from certain METALLICA fans, and even then-bassist Jason Newsted, the song has a heaviness that still resonates. Albeit more in subject matter than in delivery.
“Rebel Of Babylon”
METALLICA had so much left over material from the writing sessions of 2008’s “Death Magnetic” album that the band would issue an EP, titled “Beyond Magnetic“, in 2011, which featured the tracks that didn’t end up making the record’s final cut.
Despite some of the tunes coming off a little on the weaker side than what actually ended up on the release, “Rebel Of Babylon” sticks out as a strong addition that could very well have stood up to the other tracks on the LP.
“Metal Militia” is a blistering song from METALLICA‘s debut album “Kill ‘Em All” which stands out as one of the more faster tracks on the record. Another shining example of thrash-era METALLICA at it’s finest, the lyrics are about the joy of metal music, and it’s fast and aggressive style.
It should also be noted that this song carries a writing credit to former METALLICA guitarist and current MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine along with Hetfield and Ulrich, as the band were rabidly performing the tune live prior to Mustaine’s ousting from the group in the April of 1983.
Capping this list at just 13 certainly doesn’t even begin to venture into the deeper part of METALLICA‘s catalog.
From the “Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)” bass solo, to the “Ronnie Rising Medley” tribute to legendary heavy metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio, to the B-side cover of QUEEN‘s “Stone Cold Crazy“, to their DIAMOND HEAD covers, to their recordings with the San Francisco symphony, to their cover of the DEEP PURPLE classic “When A Blind Man Cries“, to the deep “St. Anger” album track “Sweet Amber“, METALLICA have one hell of a great deal of incredible, deep cuts.
This is certainly not to diminish the awesomeness of those adored, pounding classics like “Creeping Death“, “The Four Horsemen“, “For Whom The Bell Tolls” (commonly mispronounced as ‘Who The Bell Tolls‘) and “Phantom Lord“, but to simply act as a journey into a band’s lesser known work. The whole band is brilliantly talented in what they do. The band’s evolution from Bay area thrashers to a worldwide metal phenomena is nothing less than astounding.
From the rawness of “Kill ‘Em All“, to the strait up punch of “The Black Album“, to the raging covers heard on “Garage Inc.“, METALLICA remain a staggering force in their own right. Many fans continue to be inspired by METALLICA music on a daily basis. From the first time someone hears a raging cut from “The Black Album” or a random B-side, METALLICA continue to play a huge role in the planet’s consumption of heavy music.