Metallica has stood the test of time. Undoubtedly the biggest metal band in existence, they’ve continued to outsell every other heavy music act and pack stadiums in every corner of the planet. It feels like they’ve been headliners since they began. The last time they opened for an act was in 2005, second only to a little band called the Rolling Stones.
Given all of that, it’s hard to find a Metallica deep cut. When you are one of the biggest bands on the planet it’s a given that your catalog would be well picked over. But, we’ve managed to put together a small playlist’s worth of tracks that have been looked over by fans and the band alike. Below are five deep cuts from Metallica that you should be listening to.
1. “Carpe Diem Baby” (from Reload, 1997)
“Carpe Diem Baby” is steeped in the bluesy hard-rock Metallica was pumping out in the mid-’90s. With an anthemic chorus, an even more rousing bridge, and some stadium-sized riffs, this track sees the band in their pomp. James Hetfield also delivers a rare guitar solo on this track. It took Metallica until 2011 to play “Carpe Diem Baby” live and they have only performed it 3 times since. Though metal die-hards might frown on Reload at times, this track is worth a revisit.
2. “Escape” (from Ride The Lightning, 1984)
There is virtually no stone left unturned on Ride The Lightning. All of the album’s original 8 tracks have long been feted as some of the band’s best work. However, if there had to be a more obscure track it would be “Escape.” Though Hetfield has long expressed that he dislikes “Escape” and put it on the record to “appease their label,” we think he’s being a little harsh on this up-tempo rocker. The grinding riff that is featured throughout the track is powerful and the passage in the bridge is superb.
3. “Hell and Back” (from Beyond Magnetic, 2011)
After the release of Death Magnetic in 2008, the band revealed that they had some left-over songs that didn’t make the final cut. Three years later, the outfit dropped an EP titled Beyond Magnetic with the expanded material. The seven-minute epic “Hell and Back” was undoubtedly the standout on the record. Much like the rest of Death Magnetic, “Hell and Back” delves heavily into Metallica’s thrash metal past and delivers a chorus that is easily the high point of the EP.
4. “-Human” (from S&M, 1999)
Even the casual Metallica fan knows “No Leaf Clover” from their legendary S&M concerts but what about the other new composition from those sessions, “-Human?” The band hasn’t brought this track back out since 1999, but we think its heavy riff and orchestral flourishes deserve another chance at one of their seemingly never-ending string of stadium shows.
5. “Lords of Summer” (from Hardwired…To Self-Destruct, 2016)
“Lords of Summer” was originally recorded as a one-off Record Store Day single in 2014. It was later re-recorded and put on the deluxe edition of Hardwired… To Self Destruct. It harkens back to a Metallica of old with nods to classic tracks like “The Four Horseman” and “No Remorse.” It’s a highlight from the deluxe album and features some of Lars Ulrich’s best drumming in decades.
Metallica (Photo: Ross Halfin)