No band in the world of heavy metal has had the impact that Metallica has had in the last 30 years. From their 1983 debut record Kill 'Em All through to the present day, they have been in style, out of style, hated, loved, lauded and criticized but one thing has held true for their entire career: They have done things their way. Narrowing down Metallica's amazing catalog of music to only 10 songs has been no small feat. Nonetheless, we present to you, our list of Top 10 Metallica Songs for your enjoyment.
"Fuel"From: 'Reload' (1997)
While Metallica might have lost a few fans with their back-to-back releases of 1996's Load and its follow-up Reload, this song proved the band was still more than capable of delivering the goods. Played with a ferocity that was arguably lacking through some of the tracks on both Load and Reload, Metallica sound as though they are playing for their lives on "Fuel," securing the No. 10 position in our countdown of the Top 10 Metallica Songs.
"One"From: '...And Justice for All' (1988)
"One" marked a major milestone for Metallica. After three prior full-length studio records, it marked the group's first foray into the medium of the music video. And frankly, the dark video they delivered for this haunting track could not have been better suited to the song's lyrics. "One" was the group's first Top 40 hit, the first in a long line that would come from the band.
"For Whom the Bell Tolls"From: 'Ride the Lightning' (1984)
Few would argue the crucial role that late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton played in the band. Burton's intricate, expertly played bass lines dominate the first portion of the song so much so that the listener isn't likely to notice that it is well past the two-minute mark before the vocals even start. Long a favorite of Metallica fans worldwide, the mid-tempo "For Whom the Bell Tolls" showed that heaviness need not be exemplified only via speed.
"Sad but True"From: 'Metallica' (1991)
This slow, trudging song from Metallica's 1991 self-titled record is absolutely relentless in its heaviness. It is no mere coincidence that this track was placed directly after "Enter Sandman" when the group's infamous Black Album was released. The reverb placed on James Hetfield's voice each time when he commands the word "Hey" only helps to add to the song's menacing feeling.
"Master of Puppets"From: 'Master of Puppets' (1986)
The music that Metallica made was always deservedly front and center. It is tracks like "Master of Puppets" that showed the band's lyrics could be as sinister as the music they were making. Metallica's ability to pull the listener into their subject's dark world, singing about the inevitable downward spiral of drug addiction is especially notable. Rather than singing from the view point of "Don't do it", Metallica chose to give a voice to the substance instead.
"The Four Horsemen"From: 'Kill 'Em All' (1983)
Is it any coincidence that song called "The Four Horsemen" prominently features a galloping guitar riff? We would say no. Singing of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Metallica's fascination with the mythical side of life was on full display with this song. An Interesting side-note to the song, "The Four Horsemen" is one of four tracks on Metallica's debut record that the then-recently ousted Dave Mustaine is given writing credit upon.
"Creeping Death"From: 'Ride the Lightning' (1984)
While it may not be the most popular Metallica song (although loyal fans may say different) "Creeping Death" might very well be the epitome of what Metallica musically stood for early in their career. From its thunderous opening through to the repetitive chant of "Die" in the middle of the song, there is perhaps no finer example of thrash metal in existence today.
"Nothing Else Matters"From: 'Metallica' (1991)
The lyrics of the No. 3 song in our countdown of the Top 10 Metallica Songs say it all: "I never opened myself this way / Life is ours we live it our way." Prior to this hit, Metallica weren't exactly known for being overly tender with their songs. With this song however, Metallica showed that moving into new sonic territory didn't have to be a scary prospect for fans who might have been worried about the group losing their edge. The ballad showed a vulnerable side to the band which they had not previously shown in public.
"Seek and Destroy"From: 'Kill 'Em All' (1983)
If Metallica were an army (and some might argue their fans could very well comprise the largest army in the world), "Seek and Destroy" would be their battle call. So help anyone who stands in their way: This is perhaps best heard in the lyrics of the song's bridge leading into each chorus: "Running, on our way hiding / You will pay dying / One thousand deaths." The guitar riff that opens the track is perhaps one of the most iconic in the Metallica catalog, while the solo played by Kirk Hammett mid-song provided merely a glimpse of what the guitarist was capable of.
"Enter Sandman"From: 'Metallica' (1991)
Love or hate the song and what it represented for the band, "Enter Sandman" is taking the No. 1 position in the Top 10 List of Metallica Songs and with good reason. The song was largely responsible for helping make Metallica a household name around the world. While there is little doubt that the group was popular prior to the Black Album, this song, along with the accompanying record, solidified the group as heavy metal's biggest name.
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