Our Second Definitive Metallica Playlist – because we just can’t get enough!
After all these years, Metallica do have enough tunes to make a fairly lengthy ‘Best Of‘ compilation. It doesn’t mean that they were at the top of their game on all these songs; just that some of them might’ve had had an ulterior influence on our view of the band, or the band’s own sense of direction.
So, here is Part II – a natural follow up to Part I – of Metallica’s best!
FADE TO BLACK
Ballads don’t necessarily involve emasculating yourself, and Metallica prove that with this song. As far as is known, this was their first, similarly themed as many others. Hetfield and Lars Ulrich admitted to being obsessed with ‘death’ at the time of the production of this song, making sense of the suicidal undertones on it. But it’s not a violent infatuation, and there is surrealism in the lyrics and the song. It manages to touch base with so many facets of fatality that it’s not even a metal junkie’s song anymore; it’s for anyone who wants an answer.
THE UNFORGIVEN I & II. NOT III
Probably the most famous ‘series’ of metal songs, The Unforgiven is widely regarded as Metallica’s piece de resistance. It also brought Kirk Hammet some peace, as he scored his first original hit for Metallica and finally put down the barrage of accusations from his predecessor, Dave Mustaine, who berated Hammet for gaining popularity playing lead guitar hooks he claims to have composed. Nevertheless, the existentialism of this song pushes it beyond just being a copyright. It truly is an anthem.
SEEK & DESTROY
No matter how Metallica, and James Hetfield in particular, despise him, Dave Mustaine contributed much to this band’s musical legacy. Seek And Destroy is an example of that; a perfect demonstration of how a simple riff can characterize a song. In fact, James Hetfield’s singing on this one isn’t the best, but it barely matters because everything else works with relentless consistency, like a locomotive engine.
WHEREVER I ROAM
This one’s a personal favourite, and also a concert staple of the band. With one of the most recognizable intros in their catalogue, Metallica know it will always get a huge reception, wherever they may roam. Beyond that intro, it’s a classy number that’s well structured and well though-out, by James Hetfield, who had become the band’s primary songwriter after Mustaine’s sacking. It could’ve been more imaginative, but this song leaves you happy and contented enough.
MASTER OF THE PUPPETS
I tried to hold off, and then gave in to the cliche. Master Of The Puppets is Metallica at the rawest, ergo their best. It’s symphonic like thrash metal rarely is, mostly because of Mustaine and Hetfield sync together extremely well. And it’s a one man, powerhouse rhythm section with Cliff Burton at the helm, relentlessly keeping pace. Just tune in.