Best Metallica Songs
Here we have a collection of what I consider Metallica’s absolute best songs. Metallica are one of the most prominent metal bands out there. Their first two albums were masterpieces, but sadly they began to decline after that. All of the songs I’ve listed come from one of their first four albums. “Kill ‘Em All” got the most picks with four out of these ten songs belonging to that album. It’s not surprising as “Kill ‘Em All” rivals “Ride the Lightning” as my favorite Metallica album. Enjoy the list!
“Dyers Eve” (…And Justice For All)
“Dyers Eve” is the final song from Metallica’s 1988 album “…And Justice For All”. It’s a fast paced thrash metal tune, that’s one of the best and more underrated songs from the band. The riffing is incredibly precise, and the song features one of the best Metallica drum performances (but that’s not saying much to be honest). I enjoy the main riff a lot, as well as the aggression in the vocals. It suffers from a lack of bass, much like the rest of the album but this does not get in the way of the song that much. The lyrics are not great, either.
"Trapped Under Ice"
“Trapped Under Ice” (Ride the Lightning)
One of the most furious and underrated Metallica tracks, “Trapped Under Ice” is among the best songs on “Ride the Lightning”. I love the guitar work in this song, it’s some of their strongest work in that area. The chorus is also one of the best from the band. The kind of vocals used in “Trapped Under Ice” are the kind I like from James. They’re aggressive, but not flat like on later releases. For a song of its kind, the riffs are really memorable.
“Disposable Heroes” (Master of Puppets)
“Disposable Heroes” is the greatest song from “Master of Puppets”, an album which has begun to annoy me whenever I listen to it. There’s a little less monotony involved, and better songwriting in general. Most of the riffs during the song are pretty good, but the distinct lack of atmosphere and hunger doesn’t allow the song to go any higher than #8. On another note, I really like the chorus.
“Metal Militia” (Kill ‘Em All)
This is one of the thrashiest Metallica songs out there, if not the thrashiest they’ve ever done. I like Metallica as much as the next metalhead, but they don’t do much for me anymore in the thrash metal department (other bands just represent the genre a little more for me). However, this song stands its ground around more “intense” bands like Kreator and Exodus. “Metal Militia” was one of the first Metallica songs I ever loved. Say what you want about the band, but they could thrash at one point.
“Phantom Lord” (Kill ‘Em All)
“Phantom Lord” was a song I overlooked when I first got into the band. It was not a favorite until I’d listened to the band for a lot longer. Like “Metal Militia” this is one of the fastest and thrashiest Metallica songs in existence. Believe it or not, I love the slow part around 2 and a half minutes into the song. It shows that they were already masters of songwriting on their debut album.
"For Whom the Bell Tolls"
“For Whom the Bell Tolls” (Ride the Lightning)
One of the most famous Metallica songs, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is also one of their best. Like every other Cliff Burton fan, I love the bass intro. It’s surprisingly simple to play, and yet it does its work so well. Every riff flows perfectly together in the song, effectively establishing Metallica as brilliant songwriters. I also really love the book of the same name that the song is about.
“Blackened” (…And Justice For All)
The beginning of “Blackened” is pure gold. The intro, verses, and the chorus are all incredible. The song does go downhill afterwards, but it is still one of Metallica’s best. The lyrics are a little generic, but they don’t really get in the way of my enjoyment of the song. It’s probably the best Metallica song to drive to. “Blackened” is easily the best from “…And Justice For All”, and it’s also one of the most well known songs from that album.
“Whiplash” (Kill ‘Em All)
“Whiplash” is Metallica’s very own thrash metal anthem. It’s all about heavy metal and moshing, and such wonderful things. One of my early favorites from the band, it’s hard to get sick of this one. It’s straightforward and aggressive, like any old school thrash song should be. There’s not much to say about the song other than it’s one of the greatest from the band. It’s fairly straightforward, to be honest.
“Creeping Death” (Ride the Lightning)
The second best Metallica song comes from their second album, “Ride the Lightning”. At face value, the best thing about this song is the riffs. The verses and choruses are meticulously well constructed, being catchy but never poppy. Like all early Metallica songs, the bass is great. There’s a somewhat progressive feel to “Creeping Death”, perhaps most noticed in the subtle way that the instruments intertwine with each other as well as the vocal delivery. I’ll always love the “die by my hand…” part.
"The Four Horsemen"
“The Four Horsemen” (Kill ‘Em All)
Yes, this riff was reused for “Mechanix” from Megadeth’s debut. It was probably written by Dave, as well. But none of this is the point, because “The Four Horsemen” is undoubtedly the greatest thing Metallica ever did. This is the definition of mid-tempo thrash metal, not the stuff they ended up doing on “Master of Puppets”. There are fast parts and slow parts and solos, all neatly wrapped in an appropriate 7 minutes. Who can resist that masterful chorus? “The Four Horsemen” will always be my representation of Metallica at their prime. Before they became watered down shadows of themselves, they were certainly a force to be reckoned with.
Which of my picks is the best?
Like any list, I always come up with a few honorable mentions. They are as follows:
“The Call of Ktulu”
“Seek and Destroy”
“Hit the Lights”
“(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth”
“Jump in the Fire”
“Fade to Black”
“Fight Fire with Fire”
All comments are appreciated, and be sure to vote in the two polls! I’m curious to see who agrees with me and who disagrees, as Metallica are an interesting topic amongst metalheads.