Few modern rock songs have portrayed the brutal realities soldiers experience in war as effectively as Metallica's 'For Whom the Bell Tolls,' from the thrash metal bible 'Ride the Lightning.'

The song was inspired by Ernest Hemingway's novel of the same name, which portrayed the human cost underlying the Spanish Civil War and the dark undercurrent of all armed conflict.

Metallica's take on the subject is as brutal lyrically as well as musically, portraying the soldiers as men caught up in something bigger than they can comprehend or control: "On they fight, for they're right / Yes, but who's to say / For a hill men would kill / Why, they do not know."

 

Listen to 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' by Metallica