Music, My Stories

A Justice Conversation

Here is a normal work day conversation over Skype For Business.

If you see any sentences in Italics, it’s basically me trying to fill gaps for the reader.



Go listen to the deluxe reissue of “…And Justice For All”.

It has the album remastered, then there is a live performance and the best parts are the demos from James Riffs tapes.


Did they finally put Newstead’s bass track up?

From Day 1, Tom has been pissed about the missing bass, more so than the actual bassist.


Nope, still missing.


Not interested then…


Apparently they couldn’t remix it, because of Lars.

There are so many tape cuts and re-joins to punch Lars in, the tapes are more or less useless.

If you don’t want to hear the album, check out the demos.

There is an interview with Steve Thompson who mixed the album explaining why they couldn’t remix it due to so many cuts to the tape.


They had an opportunity to really change the dynamic of this reissue which everyone would have wanted to check out and then they threw it away.

You can see how heavily (with sarcasm) the missing bass affects Tom.


Just listen to the demo tapes.


I will check out the demo’s.


Get over the missing bass. It’s been missing since 1988. 30 years ago.


Wow. 30 years from the first time I heard “One”.


I know, where does time ago. I remember picking it up from Brashs at Westfield…


Brashs lol.


Do you remember it?


Yeah I remember it.

I’ve still got a tape deck that I bought from there at my parents place but I don’t think that record store was called Brashs.


It was Brashs. “Justice” and “Dr Feelgood” came from that store, plus a lot of blank BASF cassettes that ended up in my trousers as I walked out. Money was in short supply.


Was it called something else before Brashs?


Nope just Brashs… They had a very small collection of music to sell as they mainly focused on Hi Fi products.


Its where I picked up my five vinyl singles after I won them on a radio contest.

Remember when I picked that Sinead O’Conner’s “Nothing Compares” would be number one in the contest.

I still think the shop was called something else. Yep, I’m a stubborn prick

Tom is one of those people who is always right. If you don’t know him, it will rub you up the wrong way, but hey, we’ve been mates for 36 years, so I’m used to him.


You can call it whatever you want. In the end history will show it was called Brashs.

And then around the corner on the other side was Rings Music World.


Rings Music World. That was it.

I have two remastered ones on Spotify. One has 9 songs and the other 147?

I knew he was talking about Rings Music World when I was talking to Brashs. I just thought I’d play the game a little bit longer.


147 songs


I’m listening to “Frayed Ends of Sanity” demo and James vocal melody.

Nah nah nah


Bah nah nah, whoa nah na

James Hetfield has a magical ability to hum out a perfect syllable melody, with whoas and nahs which he would then use to write lyrics to. I always enjoy listening to those demos.


Brilliant lyrics, so inspiring

Of course, I’m being sarcastic here.


Then from out of nowhere “Frayed Ends of Sanity, hear them calling me”.


It looks like he had the title and the hook and too many vodkas.

Maybe it was tea or Buds.


I like the demo’s better. Guitar’s sound tough. Man he could write some riffs back then.

There is a general view that when you have nothing, you have nothing to lose, so you are free to do what you want.

This is what I believe Tom is referring to when it comes to James and his technical riffs because after you break through into the mainstream, then you have something to lose and you are not as free as you want to be.


Damn right. I think we both have agreed that James could sack everyone and it will still be Metallica. In the end, he’s the songwriter and the voice.

This is so true. Lars knows it, hence the reason why he trademarked the Metallica name in his name as the owner.


Guitar Solo – Live At Long Beach Arena.

What happened to Kirk?

Kirks guitar playing on Metallica albums from Load onwards is covered up with too much wah. Maybe that was the reason they told him, no guitar solos on “St Anger”, as they got sick of hearing the wah.


He got lazy.

How is the guitar solo – I haven’t heard it…


Nothing impressive, but you can hear how tight he used to be and the range of ideas he had as opposed to the standard sloppy mess he does now with bends and the Wah to cover it all up.

Then he plays “Little Wing”. Its no Stevie Ray Vaughan version though.


I watched a few pro shot videos of Metallica on their recent tour.

“Fade To Black”, “Now That You’re Dead”, “Spit Out The Bone” and man Kirk is a mess with his leads, even in the “Fade To Black” intro lead he ad libs some hammer ons and pull offs and he misses the beat. It’s pretty poor.


I think their live concerts today are not worth it. More dissapointing. Lars is all over the place with tempo’s and ad libbing whatever the hell he wants.

I went on YouTube looking for some drum lesson things and came across a whole set of video’s of drummers “Lars’ing” songs. It was hilarious.

Lars’ing is basically a drummer playing pop songs to the way Lars might play them. Sometimes a bit too busy than needed.

The big difference as mentioned in the comments is that this drummer is on tempo and his fills are spot on and don’t carry over. So I call Lars’ing songs with the correct tempo.


I saw em on “St Anger” and when Lars refused to play some of the double kick stuff, I was like what a waste.

James as usual was on song, Trujillo was the new guy, and James kept saying how hes a brother and been part of Metallica forever.

As much as the fans bang on Lars, there is no denying he is perpetual. For everything that gets thrown his way, he has built a 38 year career in music.


I think James suffers live from trying to keep up with Lars’ shennaigans and ridiculous tempo changes.


I don’t think James cares anymore it.


There’s a clip of where they let Joey from Slipknot play a few tracks live probably 10 years back when they were on tour together. Its sounds spectacular.

Tempo is on point and the double kick is like a machine.

It was a festival and Lars called in sick so the show went on with a few drummers from the other bands on the bill.


I was the one that told you about it.

Did you forget?

Right, I forgot, you are stubborn prick.

Tom always takes credit for things, remember he’s always right.


Well my thoughts are as follows:

Lars is still stuck on the idea that they are the fastest band in the world and thats why people come to see them.

It was one of their calling cards in the 80’s, so I think on purpose, he tries to play faster to live up to that ridiculous title he has in his head.

Maybe Tom is right after all.


Lars reckons he will be playing Metallica songs, well into his 70’s. Umm, yeah…

There is an interview doing the rounds that mentions this.


Kirk is also over thrash and has no interest in playing the same solo again, and thinks by ad-libbing licks however he wants, it somehow adds to the individual performance concert goers can experience.

He thinks thats what makes each concert special and this is what fans prefer rather than hearing the song as they know it.

While James is only trying to salvage the carnage of these two buffoon’s ideas whilst saving his voice.

Kirk believes he’s a blues guitarist but he’s not. And he lied about why he didn’t have songwriting credits, blaming his lost phone. It was up to James to set the record straight and he said his riffs just weren’t good enough to warrant inclusion.


No argument from me over that one. Its easy to be critical, but for the prices they are charging for tickets, I think the fans deserve to get what they paid for.

For the live part of the “Justice” release, I like how “Blackened” segued into “For Whom The Bells Tolls” – that worked brilliantly.. Crush em with speed and then kick it back a little bit with heaviness.


I’m at a point where I would comfortably say that “For Whom the Bells Toll” is Metallica’s best song.

Seriously what is a heavier song than that in Metallica’s catalogue?


“For Whom The Bells Toll” – well you know I have a special place in my heart for that song. The fact that we have 2 minutes of skull crushing music before the vocals even start is enough to get my ramped..

To me that’s progressive music because all formula of what a song should have goes out the window.

Plus I always say that “Ride The Lightning” is THE Metallica album… Everything that came after is because of RIDE.. It was that good they re-wrote it twice in song styles with “Master” and “Justice”.


Now you’re re-writing history again. You said “Master” was the best.


I’ve never said “Master” is the best. It’s a great album but “Ride” is THE album.


Yes you have.


Hell, I get into debates with people about which one is THE album.

Your memory is crap..


I know you get into arguments about which one is better, and I argued “Ride” is better and you “Master”.

Its good that you’ve finally come to your senses and admitted “Ride” is better.

Remember, Tom is always right.


Speaking of the heaviest song, “Harvester” has to be up there… I’m listening to that live version, from Seattle and it’s thundering…


They have a number of heavy songs.

I always liked “The God that Failed” from the Black album. I prefer that over “Sad but True”.

Sorry “Sad Patrol”. I never liked it.

I hate “Wherever I May Roam” as well.

We had a drummer in a band who believed James sang “Sad Patrol” in the Chorus instead of “Sad But True”. The syllables are the same was his answer.


But I don’t mind jamming that Em groove.

To “Sad But True”.

When I first heard the album, “Holier Than Thou” grabbed me straight away.


Yeah that is crushing.

“Unforgiven” is the best song on the album. Wasn’t a big fan of “Enter Sandman” either.

Actually I hated it. But I liked jamming it.


Whats the go with all these Metallica songs, great to jam but you don’t like it…


It’s a weird relationship

“St Anger” is full of those kind of songs.


True, okay songs, but cool grooves. It’s sort of my relationship with melodic death metal or metal core bands.


Other stand outs for the Black album would be “Don’t Tread On Me” for the lyrics and “Through The Never” (the main riff and that heavy bridge riff – I absolutely love)

And probably “Struggle Within”, again because of one riff after the solo which I absolutely love.

That’s Tom in a nutshell. A riff or a solo in an okay song will elevate the status of the song to a higher plane.


I tell ya, 1989 Metallica live, are, on fire… James vocally as well is killing it. It sounds like James is having a riot with “Seek And Destroy”.

Check it out. His dialogue with the crowd and the way he gets them to sing along is pure gold and you can hear he is having a lot of fun with it.

And that is the end of our conversation. When you talk about music, you go on such different tangents and it’s so much fun.

Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Record Label Innovation V3.0 – The Ultimate in Vanity, Exploiting Their Supremacy

Wow, another busy week is over and record label innovation is in full swing again.

Over at TorrentFreak there is a story from Ireland about the Record Labels asking the Court to force an Internet Service provider to disconnect music pirates. Alleged music pirates that are identified by the Record Labels via the IP address. Alleged music pirates who have no rights to due process.

James Hetfield barked “Halls of justice painted green, money talking”, and how true is that. The Record Labels are cashed up and they will go back to the Courts over and over again just to get a judgement in their favour. Justice is based on who can pay the most and the ones that pay the most, twist the argument to suit themselves.

There is also a story of Comcast in the US sending out over 600,000 notices to its customers. The actual customer that owns the IP address linked to Copyright Infringement may not be the actual file sharer, however this small obstacle does not matter to the RIAA who spends a lot of time gathering solid evidence (yeah, right) on copyright infringers. Again, alledged copyright infringers who have no rights to due process.

Power Wolves Beset Your Door
Hear Them Stalking

The Copyright Alert system is just that, power-hungry and cashed up wolves, stalking for a way to get the internet under their control.

Soon You’ll Please Their Appetite
They Devour

The Copyright Alert system is a shakedown. Within 2 years, it will be dubbed a failure by the RIAA and then they will push for another SOPA style law. And that is when the “hammer of justice crushes you, overpower.”

Principle Management (U2’s Management Company) has lost money for the fourth year in a row, so when Chairman Paul McGuiness gets a chance, he is quick to blame Google for his losses. Talk about sense of entitlement. Google has no reason to care if Principle Management is not making money. Did Principle Management care when Google was not making money in it’s early days, while Principle raked it in?

The Ultimate in Vanity
Exploiting Their Supremacy

The large players in the Record Label’s are exactly that. Vain people, exploiting their supremacy.

A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

New Music Releases vs Maintenance Music Releases

Looking at the recent spate of releases from bands that I like, I am asking the question;

When did new music change from being about new and original music to a maintenance model of new music?

Five Finger Death Punch’s new album “The Wrong Side Of Heaven Vol. 1” is “American Capitalist” Part 2. So I am assuming that volume 2 of “The Wrong Side Of Heaven”, will be “American Capitalist” Part 3.

In order to define what I mean by new, I will use Metallica as an example.

Metallica released “Kill Em All” in 1983, which paid homage to the “New Wave Of British Metal” movement with the tempo’s increased to 200 beats per minute. It was new, and there was a technical element to it. It spawned a thousand imitators.

In 1984, they released “Ride The Lightning”. It wasn’t the same as “Kill Em All”. It was vastly different musically and lyrically and it was new. The people responded and Metallica went into refining the “Ride The Lightning” model with great success.

“Master Of Puppets” is a very similar sounding album and the track listing mirrors “Ride The Lightning”. The difference between the albums was the songs. Metallica improved as songwriters. The people responded even more. Then came the technical masterpiece of “..And Justice For All”. Again, the structure of the album was built around the “Ride The Lightning” model. However, even though it was a new album, it was still released under the maintenance model built around “Ride The Lightning”.

Then in 1991, they pressed the reset switch and released “Metallica”. It was back to the new and the people responded in the twenty millions. The “Load” and “ReLoad” albums that followed fell into the Maintenance model of releases that followed the format of the mega successful “Metallica Black” album.

Then in 2003, they pressed the reset switch again and released “St Anger”. It was back to something different. Regardless of what others thought of it, it was a gutsy move to release an album that sounded like that, along with chaotic song structures.

Then in 2008, they pressed the reset switch one more time and delivered a new album rooted in the old. They had taken the best things from the “Ride The Lightning” model and the “Metallica Black” model to deliver “Death Magnetic”.

All bands encompass these transitions.

Let’s look at Dream Theater.

In 1988, they released “When Dream and Day Unite”. It was new, taking influence from the metal bands at the time and merging those influences with progressive elements.

In 1992, they released “Images and Words”. It was new again. They didn’t go and re-write “When Dream And Day Unite”. The people responded and the album was a success.

In 1994, they released “Awake”. This album formed part of their maintenance. A good album, however you can tell they tried to rewrite “Images and Words.” The people didn’t respond to this album as they did to “Images and Words.”

Then in 1997, they released “Falling Into Infinity”. This was a new album as it moved the band into a more mainstream progressive sound. Although it had progressive elements from all previous releases, the band was pushed to enter this direction. Again, it didn’t meet the expectations of the record label and it also caused division amongst band members.

In 1999, they pressed the reset switch and released a career defining album in “Scenes From A Memory”. People responded again to the band. It was a new album in every sense.

So in 2001, they went into part new and part maintenance mode. “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence” kept with the concept theme on CD 2. CD 1 was all new tracks that showcased a very metallic element of the band as well as a very Tool style progressive element. Of course by 2001, Tool were huge all over the world.

Then in 2003, they pressed the reset button again and came out with the best progressive metal album in “Train Of Thought”. Any die hard metaller that wasn’t sure about the band, committed to them with this release. People responded as well, as metalcore was also on the rise and those young kids were looking for other forms of heavy music.

So in 2005, instead of re-doing “Train Of Thought”, they went into a part new / part maintenance model again with “Octavarium.” A notable influence this time around was Muse, who by 2004, were huge all over the world.

With the change of record labels, “Systematic Chaos” saw the band return to the metallic elements of “Train Of Thought” in 2007 with great success.

2009 saw “Black Clouds and Silver Linings” which encompassed everything that Dream Theater is in six tracks. It was New and it set a standard.

2011 saw “A Dramatic Turn Of Events”, the first album to not feature Mike Portnoy, who wanted the band to take a 5 year break and when the band said no, he departed. This album following the maintenance model of “Black Clouds and Silver Linings” and “Images And Words.”

2013 saw the release of “Dream Theater.” It has three songs that really stand out in “Illumination Theory”, “The Bigger Picture” and “The Looking Glass”. In the end, this is Dream Theater trying to create something new, however it is another maintenance album.

When you put these bands against the hundreds of millions of other musicians all making music, how does it all stack up.

There is a lot of great music out there that hasn’t been heard. There is a lot of good, a lot of okay and a lot of crap music as well.

With so much music being made every day and released every day, it is impossible for everyone to listen to it all. So when the label bands do end up releasing music, they need to make sure they captivate us to stick around, otherwise we just move on, trying to find something else in the meantime. Some other new niche. That is the new music business.

When an artist has an audience they need to be thankful for that audience. They need to show some respect towards that audience. The label bands have a head start, however if they turnover too many maintenance style of releases compared to something new and refreshing, the audience will move on.

Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Uprising – This Revolution Is Calling For War. The spying on people controversy done in a Rock N Roll way.

As fans of music, we always looked to our heroes and the artists we liked for inspiration. So what would Queensryche say on the current state of the world and the spying on U.S citizens by its own government? The song Speak is from the Operation Mindcrime album, released in 1988.

The rich control the government, the media the law

1988 was a time when hard rock ruled the day, and the bands at the forefront had the whole rock n roll cliché surrounding them. You know the one, party hard, sleep with groupies, trash hotels and eventually get together to perform live and record.

Queensryche on the other hand simmered under the surface, focusing on issues that affected everyone, however at that time in 1988, we were all blind to it.

Revolution Calling led the way with the words;

Got no love for politicians
Or that crazy scene in D.C
It’s just a power mad town

Let’s look at some recent events making the news. Copyright czar, Victoria Espinel, is best known for playing a large role in the SECRET negotiations between Hollywood and the recording industries to punish internet users under a six strikes initiative. She has know taken up a job with one of the groups that used to lobby her office.

Let’s reword the Revolution Calling verse;

Got no love for corruption
As everyone sells their soul in D.C
It’s just a knife in the back town

Later on, Geoff Tate summed up American corruption in Spreading the Disease. In 2013, people actually care, however they should have cared back in 1988.

Religion and sex are power plays,
Manipulate the people for the money they pay.
Selling skin, selling God
The numbers look the same on their credit cards
Politicians say no to drugs
While we pay for wars in South America
Fighting fire with empty words
While the banks get fat and the poor stay poor
And the rich get rich and the cops get paid to look away
As the one percent rules America.

Let’s reword the above lyrics in the following way;

Copyright Infringement is a power play
To shakedown the people and to get them to pay
Lobbying hard, bribing all
As the numbers need to look good on their balance sheets
Politicians say no to piracy
While judges allow copyright trolls to extort
Fighting fire with empty words
While the banks get bailed and the poor stay poor
And the rich get rich and the cops get paid to act for them
As the one percent still rules America

Does anyone remember the shutdown of MegaUpload in January 2012? Yep, the FBI was in charge of the shutdown, based on evidence provided to it by the Hollywood Movie Studios and the MPAA. Talk about cops doing the bidding for the wealthy. Isn’t it funny how Victoria Espinel, now has a job with a lobby group that used to lobby her department!

Another recent event is how a cyber-locker like Hotfile was found to be personally liable for facilitating copyright infringement. In a nutshell a judge in the U.S. Courts, found a business entity that provides a cloud service liable for how users choose to use it. Of course, Hotfile was no saint in this matter, however, what Hotfile did show is that Hollywood still doesn’t get it, when it comes to servicing the people or fans of content.

Finally, Grooveshark has achieved licensing agreements with Sony and EMI. So for years, the record labels pursued them in the courts, while also sending Google millions of takedown requests. A court in Denmark even ordered that the ISP’s block access to Grooveshark. WHY? The site was providing a service to customers by allowing the users to stream and upload music that they can play immediately or add to a playlist. However the record labels wants the music to be licensed, which means that Grooveshark needs to pay a fee. So if you are a user and you have uploaded music that you have purchased legally, why should you need to pay a monthly fee for it to license it.

Makes me think of the excellent Metallica song, Eye of The Beholder from the ..And Justice For All album also released in 1988. It looks like something was afoot around this period, as both Metallica and Queensryche touched on the same subject matter. They even toured together.

Independence limited
Freedom of choice is made for you my friend
Freedom of speech is words that they will bend
Freedom with their exception

The “they” in the song can be the Corporations, the lobby groups, the judges, the government. As Warren Buffett said, the class war is already over and the rich have won. The 1 percent own all the important land and they either own or control the corporations. In the process, they have also purchased the Politicians and the Judges. They also own the big media companies, so they control what news we get. THAT IS WHY they fear the INTERNET. They spend millions on lobbying, so that they get what they want, which is more wealth for them and less for everybody else.

Where is the voice of the people, like the song Vox Populi from 30 Seconds To Mars, that was released on their excellent, This Is War album in 2009.

This is a call to arms
Gather soldiers
Time to go to war
This is a battle song
Brothers and sisters
Time to go to war

And the story ends with the lyrics of Uprising from Muse, that was released on Resistance in 2009. In the same way that Queensryche and Metallica touched on similar themes in 1988, Muse and Thirty Seconds To Mars did the same in 2009.

Rise up and take the power back
It’s time that the fat cats had a heart attack
You know that their time is coming to an end
We have to unify and watch our flag ascend

They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious


Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, Piracy, Stupidity

James Hetfield – Semi Obscure Metallica Songs – What Do You Mean I Don’t Write Good Lyrics

Metallica have done a lot of work to try and restore their battered image since the Metallica vs. Napster debacle circa 1999/2000. While people see this court case as Metallica taking up arms against their fans and innovation, I saw it as a case where Metallica tried unsuccessfully to get back control as to how their music is distributed and consumed. In the end, the whole debacle was handled poorly by Lars Ulrich.

So in 2003, they started, an online site, controlled by the band. It could be accessed by purchasing the terrible St Anger CD. Each CD came with a unique code. The band had live mp3’s and videos available for fans to download. It was nothing spectacular and the promise that more content would be uploaded weekly never came to be.

In 2006, Metallica joined iTunes and finally made their music available digitally in a legal sense. Prior to that, to get Metallica mp3’s you had to either rip your own CD or download illegally. This was done on their own terms and on a separate payment arrangement than other artists. At first it was just in the US and Canada as their overseas label wanted a bigger slice of the pie than they deserved. They basically controlled the negotiations as iTunes wanted them.

Then in 2008 they launched Mission : Metallica. The band advertised that any users that signed up to the Platinum package, will be allowed to download live shows, the new album (plus a physical copy of it), along with the normal membership of watching (heavily edited) footage of the band in the studio. Again this was all controlled by the band.

In 2012, they finally joined Spotify and the streaming revolution, again under their own terms and rules.

Anyway, the reason for this post is to highlight some Metallica tracks that could be classed as obscure.

Leper Messiah

It’s written by James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich. It’s worth noting that Dave Mustaine claimed he wrote the song’s main riff and was not given credit by Metallica.

For all of those haters that said Metallica had sold out with the black album obviously didn’t know that Metallica had similar style songs on their earlier albums. Leper Messiah from the Master of Puppets album is one of those songs.

The best part comes in around the 30 second mark. Cliff’s trademark bass lines just rumble along while James lays down staccato power chords.

The messiah refers the ministers or evangelists and the lepers refers to the lowly people who give their money believing whatever they are told.

Send me money, send me green
Heaven you will meet
Make a contribution
And you’ll get a better seat
Bow to leper messiah

Phantom Lord

It’s written by Dave Mustaine, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich and it was released on Kill Em All. Mustaine even used the Phantom Lord progression from about 2.30 to 3.10 in the Megadeth song, This Is My Life from the Countdown To Extinction album.

Overall the song is very influenced by Ace of Spades from Motörhead.

Hear the cry of war
Louder than before
With his sword in hand
To control the land

When metal music came out screaming in the Eighties, every band had a song about the movement. Twisted Sister called it Rock N Roll whereas Metallica called it Metal. The sword in hand is the instrument of choice.


Kirk Hammet gets a credit on this song on top of the usual Hetfield / Ulrich combination.

That intro. It’s brilliant. The song is more rock than metal. Like Leper Messiah, this song would not be out of place on the Black Album and it was released on Ride The Lightning. Lars wanted a more commercial sounding song.

The song is about escaping from the prison that is someone else’s reality for you. You can call it another anthem for living the way you want to. It’s the first of a string of songs that references James childhood. The prison mentioned is his home.

Rape my mind and destroy my feelings
Don’t tell me what to do

Take note of a theme in this song that will appear again on later Metallica albums.

Feed my brain with your so called standards
Who says that I ain’t right

This theme of control and manipulation will come up again in Dyers Eve and The Unforgiven.

Dyers Eve

It’s written by Hetfield, Ulrich and Hammett and it closes the ..And Justice For All album.

The song lyrics are one of struggle. In this case, James is struggling against the efforts of the ones who want to control him. The theme was used again for The Unforgiven.

“Pushed onto Me What’s Wrong or Right” can be replaced by “They dedicate their lives to running all of his.”
“Hidden from this Thing That They Call Life” can be replaced by “With time the child draws in, this whipping boy done wrong.”
“Always Censoring My Every Move” can be replaced by “Deprived of all his thoughts.”
“Cannot Face the Fact I Think for Me” can be replaced by “What I’ve felt, what I’ve known, never shined through in what I’ve shown.”
“Clipped My Wings Before I Learnt to Fly” can be replaced by “New blood joins this earth and quickly he’s subdued.”

The Unforgiven III

The Unforgiven from the Black album set a new standard for the modern power ballad. It has been imitated by a thousand bands. Even Metallica referenced themselves with The Unforgiven II, however The Unforgiven III was unique and powerful enough to grab my attention. From all the other songs on Death Magnetic, you can say that The Unforgiven III has slipped into obscurity.

The piano intro that references Ennio Morricone sets the sadness and it is a different take to the acoustic intro of The Unforgiven (which borrowed from Ennio Morricone as well).

These days drift on inside a fog
Its thick and suffocating
This seeking life outside is hell
Inside intoxicating

James is documenting his battles with alcohol.

How can I blame you when it’s me I can’t forgive?

Reflection and hindsight. How can a person learn forgiveness if they cannot forgive themselves?

Holier Than Thou

It’s a Hetfield, Ulrich composition. It was supposed to be the leadoff single to the Black album, however Lars had different ideas.

It’s not who you are it’s who you know
Others lives are the basis of your own
Burn your bridges build them back with wealth
Judge not lest ye be judged yourself

The theme continues on from the corrupted justice themes of money buys immunity from persecution. Just like Leper Messiah and Escape would not be out of place on the Black album, Holier Than Thou would not be out of place on any of the earlier Metallica albums.

The God That Failed

The most saddest song on the Black Album is also the most grooviest. The God That Failed deals with Hetfield’s mother’s death from cancer and her Christian Science beliefs which kept her from seeking medical treatment. It’s another Hetfield/Ulrich composition, however I am sure this one is all Hetfield.

I see faith in your eyes
Never you hear the discouraging lies
I hear faith in your cries
Broken is the promise betrayal
The healing hand held back by the deepened nail
Follow the god that failed

Prince Charming

Prince Charming is written by Heltfield and Ulrich and it appeared on the Reload album. It is on this list for a few reasons. The most important one for me, is that James Hetfield breaks out his Ride The Lightning era voice in the verses. That melodic Ride The Lightning bark comes in at 1.13 to 1.23 (lyrics below). It continues during the Chorus and then appears again at 2.13 to 2.23 (lyrics below).

I’m the suit and tie that bleeds the street and still wants more
I’m the 45 that’s in your mouth in a dirty Texan whore

I’m a nothing face that plants the bomb and strolls away
I’m the one who doesn’t look quite right as children play

The song structure of Prince Charming is no different to the Kill Em All song structures. It’s based on the NWOBM style. The only difference is that the tempo is slower and the drumming is more rock driven then metal driven. Otherwise, you add those two elements to Prince Charming and you have a song that would not be out of place on Kill Em All.

The Outlaw Torn

Its written by Hetfield and Ulrich.

This song is heavy as hell. The F to E intro groove is super heavy (pay special attention to when Newsted does it during the solo breaks – it’s the swampy delta blues clashing with a heavy groove) and when the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath riff kicks in at the 30 second mark, it makes me feel like I want to break stuff.

Hear me
And if I close my mind in fear
Please pry it open
See me
And if my face becomes sincere
Hold me
And when I start to come undone
Stitch me together
Save me
And when you see me strut
Remind me of what left this outlaw torn

Don’t Tread On Me

With all the other classic songs on the Black album, this is just another song that was easily overlooked. This is classic Metallica, in the vein of For Whom The Bells Toll and The Thing That Should Not Be.

Liberty or death, what we so proudly hail
Once you provoke her, rattling of her tail
Never begins it, never, but once engaged..
Never surrenders, showing the fangs of rage

I like the lyrics, democracy never begins war, but once you engage it, prepare for its wrath. James said that after putting down the U.S for so long, he wanted to write a positive song for America, sort of a “no place like home.”

To secure peace is to prepare for war

It’s doublethink like the classic 1984 novel.