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Best Metallica Songs

Updated on April 1, 2012
The famous Metallica logo.
The famous Metallica logo. | Source

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"

“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"

“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"

“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"

“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"

“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.

Poll #1

Which of my picks is the best?

See results

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.

Poll #2

Which of these Metallica 'hit' songs is the best?

See results


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    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Hey Nagalandmusic! Metallica was the band that got me into metal, and for that I will always have a special place for them (especially their first two albums). Glad you enjoyed the list, and thanks very much for commenting!

    • Nagalandmusic profile image


      5 years ago from India

      Hi Heavy, I read and came to the poll - I'd be fibbing good if I thought only one from the list was the best of the rest. No man, I grew up on Metallica, knows to play every riff and lead break, every line of grunt and dencouncemnt Hetfield ever snarled. If there was anything wrong with anything associated with Metallica, it'd be my music player. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your list-up. Get us more

    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks for commenting, mieke! I definitely agree on "The Four Horsemen" and "Fade to Black". The others are great too!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Master of Puppets, one, fade to black, the 4 horsemen, and battery.

      Those are their best songs IMO.

    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks for the comment FreedomMetal! I too love "Dyers Eve" and "Trapped Under Ice" as well. "Frayed Ends of Sanity" is actually one of my favorites from the ...And Justice For All album, it's also a very good song!

    • FreedomMetal profile image


      6 years ago from Somewhere In Time

      Great hub! Dyers Eve is such a GREAT song - nice to see some love for Trapped Under Ice. I would add Frayed Ends Of Sanity as one of my favorites

    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks for the comment, Marcoujor! I'm glad you're liking my reviews, it means a lot. "For Whom the Bell Tolls" is definitely an amazing song, I love the bass intro. If there was ever a song made for driving, then it's "Blackened". Thanks for voting it up and the others!

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA


      Oh I have much to learn and I am loving your reviews.

      Giving all songs a 'Girl Scout' try, I really liked:

      'For Whom the Bell Tolls' and appreciate the driving tip about my second favorite: 'Blackened'.

      Voted UP & UAI-- Great job, mar.

    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks for the comment, Shinkicker! I definitely think the bass should've been louder on "...And Justice for All".

      I can't say I hugely dislike anything from Metallica other than "St. Anger" or "Lulu", but it depends on what you compare it to.

      I have kind of mixed feelings on "Death Magnetic". It's decent, but it was really overproduced. However, it does make me look forward to their next album. I wish they would go back to their "Kill 'Em All" and "Ride the Lightning" days, because "Death Magnetic" sounds mostly like "Master of Puppets" (which I'm not the biggest fan of) to me.

    • Shinkicker profile image


      6 years ago from Scotland

      Nice list of their earlier stuff. Shame what they did to Jason Newsted on 'And Justice for All'. The bass was nowhere on that album.

      I like Metallica from whatever era, apart from the St Anger album which was a complete turkey.

      What's your opinion on Death Magnetic. I thought that was a return to a more thrashier sound. Really good album.

    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Haha, I know what you mean. They're definitely overplayed, and neither are as good as a lot of what Metallica has done. Both songs are at the top of too many greatest metal/Metallica songs lists!

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 

      6 years ago from The Garden State

      I don't think either "One" or "Enter Sandman" are bad songs, I'm just totally sick of them after 20+ years of overplay. If you listen to rock radio in my area you'd think those are the only two songs Metallica ever recorded. I seriously don't need to hear either song ever again as long as I live. Haha.

    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks for the comment FatFreddysCat! Believe it or not, I think the song "One" is overrated and boring but I don't mind "Enter Sandman" every once in a while. "Disposable Heroes" is my fave from "Master of Puppets".

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 

      6 years ago from The Garden State

      Nice to see some fairly obscure picks here rather than the usual suspects (i.e. "One," "Enter Sandman," etc.) I voted "Disposable Heroes" but they're all good stuff.

    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks, Steve Orion! I figured a lot of people would disagree with the list. "Creeping Death" is definitely amazing, it shows the band in their prime. I've just always had a soft spot for "The Four Horsemen". In all honesty I don't like "Master of Puppets" very much anymore. Perhaps the songs aren't as precise or technical as the ones on "Master of Puppets", but I feel like they are still better than most of the stuff from that album. I suppose the lyrics in "Dyers Eve" do go well with the aggression, but I still feel that they're a bit predictable if you know what I mean. Thanks for voting up! Keep it metal! \m/

    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks for the comment! "One" is definitely their signature song.

    • Steve Orion profile image

      Steve Orion 

      6 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      Nice Hub! Though I do disagree on some points. I voted Creeping Death (better than even The Four Horsemen, in my opinion), and Fade to Black. I also don't think that Metal Militia or Phantom Lord surpass most of the songs on Master of Puppets. The lyrics in Dyers Eve also make most of the aggression evident; imagine if the lyrics were about hot babes, would the song be as awesome?

      Some food for thought, great Hub and rated up!

    • Raevyn14 profile image


      6 years ago from Tecumseh, Oklahoma

      my favorite song from metallica is still ONE


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