If you are a proud metalhead or have just once put on a denim jacket, there is a chance you have rocked out to Metallica in your life. Metallica either gives you that energetic blast of metal aggression, or you are one of the many negative critics who find their recent history to be nothing more than sellout garbage. No matter where you stand on the Metallica spectrum, you can not deny that they are one of the most successful metal bands of all-time. You can also not deny that they get played on the radio... A LOT. With the slim exceptions of AC/DC, Aerosmith(maybe), and Led Zeppelin, no other band gets as much of their material played on rock radio stations than Metallica. Many of Metallica's songs are played across radio stations. Metallica's hardcore fans know that some of the Metallica songs that receive large amounts of airplay are far from their best work. There are many songs in the Bay-Area Thrashers' library that deserve more attention. That's where this list comes in!
I can obviously not monitor the hundreds of rock radio stations across the country, but I can make my own guesses at what material is probably skipped over by local DJs. There is a chance that all 10 of the songs on the list have been played live before, but who is actually going to prove me wrong? At the end of the post I will list the songs that would have made the list but I was unsure if I had heard them played or not.
If you want to listen to a radio station that plays all the Metallica deep cuts(and other bands too!), check out my show Heavy Metal Mania on UTRGV Radio when I'm back on in August! When school starts again in August I'll be back live and will keep everyone posted on the dates and times.
So, here are the Top 10 Metallica songs that you will not hear on the radio today:
10. Dirty Window - St. Anger
The list starts off with a song off Metallica's most heavily criticiezed album, 2003's St. Anger. The trashcan-sounding snare from Lars Ulrich is super prominent on this track. The lyrics are a giant mash of nonsense, much like they are throughout the album, and the song features a chorus that barely even sounds like one. Despite the lack of proper musicianship, 'Dirty Window' is one of the heaviest songs on the album and is one of my favorites on the release. My favorite part is where "Projector/Protector/Rejector/Infector" are repeated over and over. It almost sounds like one of those rap songs where the rapper makes up words just to rhyme.
9. Escape - Ride the Lightning
Ride the Lightning is one of metal's most sacred albums. It brought Thrash Metal to the forefront and propelled the subgenre to new heights. Every song is revered as a metal masterpiece. Every song gets mentioned as a classic metal composition. Every song... except 'Escape'. Why yes 'Escape' is the bastard child of Ride the Lightning and the band treat it so. Before it was played for the first time ever at 2012's Orion Festival, James Hetfield went through a lengthy discussion with the audience how they deeply desired to never play this song. The band has stated that they were forced to write the song when recording the album to try and get a radio friendly hit, but the record company's attempts failed as this song never really saw any airplay. I do not understand why this song is hated so much, it's great! If Metallica were so against writing a "commercial" sounding song, then why did they even make The Black Album in 1991?
8. Jump in the Fire - Kill 'Em All
Metallica's legendary debut album from 1983, Kill 'Em All, features many great songs. However, the only songs that are remembered as classics are 'Seek And Destroy' and 'The Four Horsemen'. 'Hit the Lights' might be seen in this light, but I'm not really sure. On track four you will find one of the first songs composed by Metallica, 'Jump in the Fire'. This song surprisingly gets rare attention from the masses. It definitely sounds more commercial than 'Seek And Destroy', in fact Lars Ulrich has stated that the song was meant to sound like Iron Maiden's 'Run to the Hills'. That is not a knock on the song as it is a great little tune that makes for a great live performance.
7. The Unforgiven III - Death Magnetic
The 'Unforgiven' saga continued on Metallica's ninth album, Death Magnetic. The third part of the trilogy is probably the most complex of the three songs. The song begins with a long piano intro, becoming the only Metallica song to feature a piano. You could argue that this is one of the most progressive sounding songs that Metallica have done. And along with all other progressive metal and progressive rock, with the exception of Rush's 'Tom Sawyer', it will be ignored by the mainstream masses. That, coupled with the fact that it stands at seven minutes and forty six seconds really prevent this song from getting any airplay.
6. Whiplash - Kill 'Em All
Thrash Metal at its finest comes hard on this 1983 song. This is another Metallica song that gets played a lot by the band, yet is not remembered very often by many fans. My only guess why this song is ignored by radio stations is because of its use of the infamous 'F' word. 'Whiplash' is one of Metallica's finest moments, and one of my favorites from the band.
5. The Thing That Should Not Be - Master of Puppets
Much like Ride the Lightning, Metallica's third album Master of Puppets features many songs that are fondly remembered and have been played to death. If I had a dollar for how many times I have heard 'Sanitarium' or 'Master of Puppets' on the radio, I'd be able to pay the band to rerecord St. Anger with normal sounding drums. With any album that contains a plethora of classics, there are those that are bound to be forgotten. 'The Thing That Should Not Be' is one of the finest songs on Master of Puppets. It is a classic that should be remembered as so.
4. St. Anger - St. Anger
There is a chance that most Metallica fans, and maybe even the band themselves, want to forget about St. Anger. It is revered as the low point in the band's career for several reasons. Although there are a few problems with the album, I still enjoy it. Metallica at their worst is still better than a lot of artists at their best! I still jam out to a few songs from the album, including the title track. 'St. Anger' contains some very complex lyrics and a great vocal performance by James Hetfield. It has been 14 years since the album's release, so I think all the initial shock from the album is over and people can start appreciating it a bit more. I mean come on it can not be worse than Lulu!
3. The Unforgiven II - Reload
I have a feeling that when Reload was released in 1997 that this song was played on the air, but that was probably the only time. If you hear the opening horn in the intro, there's a 99% chance that the song you are about to hear is "The Unforgiven" instead of this song. That's a shame because this is my favorite of the trilogy. The song was only played twice live, three times if you count the dismal performance from 1997's Billboard Music Awards. This song is awesome and should get more attention from the fans!
2. Creeping Death - Ride the Lightning
As mentioned before, any landmark album will have songs that are forgotten more than others.
'Creeping Death' is a beloved Metallica song for most people, but gets lost in the shuffle of all the great songs from this album. Metallica definitely hit their peak on Ride the Lightning and this song contributes to that. I'll never understand why this song is not more cherished than it is.
1. Fixxxer - Reload
Every metalhead has that one deep cut from a band that they hold super close to their heart. For Iron Maiden I have 'Lightning Strikes Twice', 'The Alchemist', and a bunch of other songs because I love them all. And for Metallica I have 'Fixxxer'. Hidden at the bottom of Reload, this song is the definition of a hidden gem. After most of Reload droned on and made many Metallica fans question where the band's legacy went, this song comes on and slowly gives this album life while closing it out. This song has never been played live by the band, but within the last decade Metallica have played most of their "untouchable" songs if you will, so maybe we'll hear this one ripped out one day. I certainly hope so as this is one of my favorite Metallica songs!
So, there are the Top 10 Metallica songs I can almost assure you will not hear on the radio today. There are many different songs that would have made this list, but I was unsure if I had heard them played recently.
These songs are:
Hit the Lights
The Four Horsemen
Trapped Under Ice
The Shortest Straw
Harvester of Sorrow
The Frayed Ends of Sanity
Until It Sleeps
Hero of the Day
The Memory Remains
The Day That Never Comes
If there are ten Metallica songs that you have never heard on the air that you think deserve more limelight, leave a comment of what they are and stay pinned to your computer screen for the next post on Heavy Metal Mania!