37 Best Metallica Songs

Over the past three decades, no other band has had a more significant effect on heavy metal than Metallica. As we await their highly anticipated 11th studio album, 72 Seasons, we’d like to look at some tracks that stood out throughout their illustrious career.

Here are the best Metallica songs!

Seek and Destroy

Song Year: 1983

“Seek And Destroy,” the final song from their debut album “Kill ‘Em All,” must be one of the most popular tracks of Metallica’s entire career. It has been their closing track for most live concerts in the last few years, and it’s understandable why. The song is catchy and has some great energy, characteristic of Metallica’s music style.

The lyrics focus on vengeance and a willingness to kill, which appear to reflect the characters of Metallica members during their teenage years. If you’d like a taste of a Metallica classic, look no further!

Creeping Death

Song Year: 1984

“Creeping Death” is the lead single off their 2nd album, “Ride The Lightning.” The track begins with a melodramatic intro and then transitions into a rapid riff. The vocals start with a pleasant yell that is almost melodic. The chorus features a softer, more epic-sounding riff.

The lyrics are based on a biblical tale known as the “Plague of the Firstborn.” The track is well-loved by metal fans, even being recognized as the best all-time Metallica track by Guitar World.

The Four Horsemen

Song Year: 1983

“The Four Horsemen” was initially titled “The Mechanix” and composed by Dave Mustaine for his old band Panic. Throughout Metallica’s party days, the tune was a favorite, but without a melodic transition and with new lyrics. The initial lyrics were about a sexual encounter at a filling station.

Upon firing Dave, James Hetfield stepped up to change the song’s lyrics into something darker. The outcome is the tune we currently know as “The Four Horsemen.” The lyrics describe the end times, referencing the biblical writings concerning the Apocalypse.


Song Year: 2016

“Hardwired… to Self-Destruct” is easily one of the best Metallic albums of the 21st century. Its lead single, “Hardwired,” seems to be a resurgence of the classic Metallica tracks. True to that, the track was nominated for the 2017 Academy Awards for “Best Rock Song.”

On the surface, the lyrics talk about overdosing and substance addiction and associated self-destructive behaviors. However, Hetfield claims it’s more than an individual’s internal struggle. He states that the rest of humanity appears to be on an unstoppable, self-destructive course.


Song Year: 1988

“Blackened” is the lead single of Metallica’s 4th album “…And Justice for All.” The odd/eerie-sounding introduction consists of a backward riff followed by quick, powerful guitars. It decelerates into a hefty, rhythmic element accompanied by dual guitars and a slow-paced solo by Kirk Hammett. Afterward, the track picks up speed again with Hammett’s quicker solo.

The tune follows Metallica’s tradition of including a Thrash song as the album’s opening track. The track discusses nuclear war, the extinction of humanity, the total annihilation of the earth, and the extinction of natural life.


Song Year: 1988

“One” is one of Metallica’s most memorable compositions. It’s regarded as a masterpiece by guitarists and Metallica enthusiasts alike. From the elaborate guitars in the track’s start to the song’s numerous dynamic shifts and Hammett’s guitar solo, this song has some of the band’s most impactful moments.

For starters, it was the first time Metallic recorded a music video. The raw video and song’s lyrics are inspired by Dalton Trumbo’s book “Johnny Got His Gun.” The artists are simply trying to highlight the effects of war. Also, it was their first time incorporating Jason Newsted, who became their bassist following Cliff Burton’s death.

Fade to Black

Song Year: 1984

Many in 1984 didn’t acknowledge Metallica as a group that’d revolutionize hard rock and heavy metal. However, “Fade To Black” from “Ride the Lightning” became a fan favorite and was among the few Metallica songs to receive radio play in the mid-to-late 1980s.

The song’s simplistic melody and quiet progression contrasted with the band’s usually multilayered sound. The song’s slow introduction and intense, suicidal lyrics are disturbingly genuine, and the track has a sense of suicide. It laid the foundation for heavy metal composition with visual, realistic vision in songwriting, evident in their subsequent albums.

To Live Is To Die

Song Year: 1988

“To Live Is To Die” is the 8th song from the 4th album “…And Justice for All.” It’s an instrumental tune in line with the band’s past three albums. For over 20 years, it’d remain their longest studio recording to be featured on an album.

The track features several spoken lines near the end that Paul Gerhardt, a German poet, penned and made famous by the 1981 movie “Excalibur.” Ideally, this is a tribute to Cliff Burton, the band’s bassist, who died in a bus crash in 1986. They even incorporated riffs written by Burton that hadn’t been used before his passing.

Master of Puppets

Song Year: 1986

“Master of Puppets” is the title tune of Metallica’s 3rd studio album. Although it doesn’t have a remarkable chart history, it’s hailed as a great metal track by prominent music institutions like Guitar World, VH1, and Total Guitar. A single release only in France explains why such a well-known song failed to make the charts. Nevertheless, it became Gold-certified in Italy.

Metallica has released numerous tracks referring to substance addiction. However, “Master of Puppets” is the most notable mention, where the “Master” is the drug and the “Puppet” the addict.

Dryer’s Eve

Song Year: 1988

“Dryer’s Eve” is a thrashy song that takes the shape of a furious, resentful letter written by a youngster. The kid’s fragile psyche was damaged throughout his formative years by those who meant to guide and protect him.

Lyrically, Hetfield rants against his parents. James’ father abandoned him during his young teens, and his mother succumbed to cancer. She declined therapy due to her Christian views. Also, James felt that his parents never permitted him to explore the world alone because their faith advocated “isolation.”

Fight Fire With Fire

Song Year: 1984

“Fight Fire With Fire” is the lead single from the album titled “Ride The Lightning.” It’s one of the quickest and most ferocious tracks on any of Metallica’s nine albums. The track begins with a lyrical verse with acoustic guitar harmonics. However, it swiftly transitions into a thrash metal onslaught driven by a guitar riff played by Hetfield.

This song’s lyrics focus on nuclear warfare and, essentially, the collapse of humanity as it consumes itself. When writing this song, Hetfield claims he’d become preoccupied with death.


Song Year: 1986

Orion marked one of Metallica’s bassist Cliff Burton’s last masterpieces. For us, the pure musical talent that flows in the track is unparalleled by any Metallica instrumentals that came before or after it. During Burton’s memorial, this was one of the tracks played to honor him.

Thanks to the track’s spacey-sounding bridge, it was named after Orion, the star constellation. It features three major sections. There’s a heavy intro, a spacey bass-led intermission, and a conclusion that returns the introductory heaviness we all associate Metallica with.

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