once said "it's better to burn out than to fade away", and beside being a tragic footnote to Kurt Cobain's death, that statement is a pertinent message to musicians all over the world. There seems to be two paths to take, go out in a brief albeit brilliant blaze of glory, or spend year after year turning out progressively less-well-received pieces of work until even your mother doesn't want to listen to your band anymore. Metallica
; however, has chosen a different path.
Neither burning out nor fading away, the heavy metal gods have eschewed retirement in favor of pursuing the ever-evolving and difficult task of staying relevant. They've had their hiccups for sure, most notably in the form of St. Anger
, but against all odds they've shown that they're more than capable of maintaining form and giving their name and reputation due justice. Today, they've announced the second iteration of their WorldWired
tour in support of their tenth studio album Hardwired...To Self-Destruct. In preparation of their upcoming tour, and in honor of their ability to succeed where others have failed, we've compiled their top 10 songs from over the years to get you properly stoked for the world tour.
10. "Cyanide" - Death Magnetic
After the mess that was St. Anger
, fans could understandably have been a bit concerned when Metallica released Death Magnetic
in 2008. However, the band obviously took the hint that their change of style in St. Anger
wasn't cutting it, and returned to form on Death Magnetic
. Revisiting their trash roots, the band nailed it on "Cyanide", with its air-raid style guitar riffs and signature solos.
9. "Whiskey In The Jar" - Garage. Inc.
Is it bad to have a cover song on this list? I know Metallica's original catalogue is extensive and full of amazing tracks, but there's something about this heavy metal reworking of the traditional Irish tune from The Dubliner's made famous by Thin Lizzy. If you have a problem with covers than stop reading now, because there's another one on the list.
8. "Creeping Death" - Ride the Lightning
"Creeping Death" embodies everything that early Metallica was, and what captivated audiences and catapulted them to the top. Raw, aggressive, and fast, to this day it stands as an exemplar of what thrash metal should be.
7. "Seek and Destroy" - Kill ‘Em All
It features perhaps one of Metallica's most memorable choruses and lines ever, as well as one of Kirk Hammett's best guitar solos to date. The breakdown at the midpoint of the song is a classic, and responsible for numerous circle pits.
6. "Master of Puppets" - Master of Puppets
There's nothing more quintessentially Metallica than that opening riff. It's launched waves of wannabe hair rockers and probably more than several fights. The interlude in the middle is a brilliant refrain from the ass kicking until the track comes crashing back in on the crushing and chugging riffage.
5. "Nothing Else Matters" - Metallica
It goes against everything that you associate with Metallica, but "Nothing Else Matters" is as cleansing and stirring as the rest of Metallica's action-packed catalogue. Borrowing from more classic rock and folk metal sources, there's no speedy riffs or blast beats to be found, but it kicks just as hard.
4. "One" - ...And Justice For All
Featuring probably Metallica's second-most well recognized intros, "One" is as, if not arguably more, cathartic and emotionally evocative as its predecessor on this list. It's a really interesting blend of styles, lending depth to the band's heavy metal approach while also showing that heavy metal can have touching moments.
3. "Ride The Lightning" - Ride The Lightning
"Ride The Lightning" features a traditional thrash sound, but with something a little extra. With some darker, death metal inspiration the song isn't as complex as some of their other work, but what it lacks in dexterity it more than makes up for in sheer power and flair.
2. "Blitzkrieg" - Ride The Lightning
It's got to be a real bummer when another band covers your song and garners more praise and attention for their version, but Blitzkrieg can at least take solace in the fact that Metallica covered "Blitzkrieg" really, really well. In accordance with its namesake, the track is lightning fast and dynamic, just an unrelenting sonic assault from start to finish.
1. "Enter Sandman" - Metallica
What makes music work so well is a balance of contrasts. Listen to enough thrash and metal and eventually you'll get sick of it. Metallica circumvented this problem on "Enter Sandman" with its swinging, bluesy intro which bellied the force within the song. As the track builds up to its climax you can't help but getting pulled in, and when it all comes crashing down you'll find yourself head-banging your way to a concussion.