Saturday, June 6, 2020

10 Metallica Songs From The Four Best Albums.

May 9, 2020 by  
Filed under Ent., Music, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( This was going to be another five dive on Metallica songs from the debut album but I decided to up the challenge and do several albums. As a refresher, Metallica is a heavy metal band with roots in the early 1980s thrash metal scene in California’s Bay Area. As far as American metal bands go, Metallica is the most successful.

Their early music touched on anger, life, society, and thrashing—basically headbanging, mosh pits, and enjoying thrash metal music.

Classic Early Metallica Songs

At first this was going to be a five dive but Metallica’s 1980s albums all have gold on them. These four—sometimes five if Metallica is included—has a stockpile of hit Metallica songs as well as some appreciated gems. Now, this tends to be more evident in first three albums but we’re targeting all four from the 80s.

As always, jump in the comments and let us know your favorite Metallica songs.

Motorbreath (from Kill ‘Em All, 1983)

The band’s debut has a lot great, fast, raging Metallica songs on it. “Motorbreath” is one of my favorites from the album. It’s definitely a thrash metal song but you hear those speed metal roots in it. Actually, it’s thick throughout Kill ‘Em All along with a New Wave of British Heavy Metal influence—just faster and more aggressive.

This is the speed of metal I love. It’s not blistering fast, mid-tempo, or tortoise slow. There’s a good amount of speed here without going to gonzo with it.

Seek and Destroy (from Kill ‘Em All, 1983)

Along with “The Four Horsemen,” “Seek and Destroy” is probably the best known song off Kill ‘Em All. There’s a good a reason for that: the song has a lot of power to it. This is young, hungry Metallica so it also has an edge to it. If “The Four Horsemen” showed that Metallica had playing chops—and it should, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth pretty much wrote it—then “Seek and Destroy” is a Metallica song that showed the band’s attitude

It’s very similar to “Motorbreath” in that way.

Ride the Lightning (from Ride the Lightning, 1984)

Ride the Lightning is a beast of a Metallica album. “Ride the Lightning” is a beast of Metallica song. It starts off mid-tempo with all of this attitude and menace of singer and guitarist James Hetfield’s vocals. Then the danger gets turned up as the song continues. The speed gets kicked up a bit and you just know Metallica means business here.

What I also love about this song is that it sets the pace for the album and let’s you know what to expect off the bat.

For Whom the Bell Tolls (from Ride the Lightning, 1984)

This is a song that shares a distinction with the next entry for being a song I would often skip. When first going through Metallica’s catalogue, I listened to a bit of this song, felt it was a little too slow-paced for me. At the time, it was an OK song. After revisiting Metallica years later—boy was I wrong.

“For Whom the Bell Tolls” keeps the same vibe of “Ride the Lightning” but it’s just slower-paced. It’s not a plodding track but it doesn’t just ride either. It’s one of those Metallica songs that shows the band’s ability while still being rooted in what brought them to the dance.

You could say that it’s one of the tracks that points to the band’s direction in future albums.

Fade to Black (from Ride the Lightning, 1984)

Now “Fade to Black” was a Metallica song that took some time to grow on me. Once I started to appreciate it, I could say “Yeah, this is one of the album’s strong tracks.” Before, it was a song that I sometimes skipped. Just like “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” I know! These two are major songs for the band but I was all about pure speed in my music at the time.

I’m still big on fast-paced tunes but that can lead to you missing out on good stuff.

Master of Puppets (from Master of Puppets, 1986)

With this one, Metallica is 2-0 with high power, fast, self-titled songs in the 80s. “Master of Puppets” is one of the band’s best known songs and a big hit for them. It’s one of those Metallica songs people who aren’t metal fans know from the band along with “Enter the Sandman” and probably “St. Anger” depending on the decade.

“Master of Puppets” is kind of an eye roll-inducing entry, I know. It’s choice number one of two when asked “Name a Metallica song” but it is one of the best tracks off the album.

Disposable Heroes (from Master of Puppets, 1986)

I really dig “Disposable Heroes.” It’s a song about a soldier who has died and is reflecting on what he’s done in war and how his life was all about him being turned into a killing machine only for the circle to continue with a new recruit. There’s a strong political slant here mixed in with the band’s signature thrash. It’s a perfect mix.

Blackened (from …and Justice for All, 1988)

I love that opening in “Blackened.” This is one of the better known songs from the album but not exactly the best known. I don’t know, you could probably give it to “One.” For me, “Blackened” is similar to “Harvester of Sorrow” in that it is one of the powerful songs on …and Justice For All and is one of the known tracks but “One” really stands out for some.

…and Justice for All is a good album but after Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets—ehh, it probably sounds amazing to better trained ears or those who grew with Metallica’s sound. Never mind all of that. For me, “Blackened” is the song of the album.

The Shortest Straw (from …and Justice for All, 1988)

This song gets love from me off …and Justice for All. “The Shortest Straw” has a dark atmosphere around it and really rocks once it kicks into gear. It took me awhile to actually get into this song as it took a while to get into this Metallica album.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.


One Response to “10 Metallica Songs From The Four Best Albums.”
  1. Garth Lampkin says:

    I’m a huge Metallica fan and they are awesome. The songs listed in the article is spot on but there are other songs that are great as well but Too many to mention.

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