12 Most Underrated Metallica Songs

2021-02-25

Metallica promo photos, featuring James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich and Robert Trujillo, dressed in black and gray.

Metallica – Story by Anne Erickson, photo by Ross Halfin

Metallica critique: From “Escape” to “Hero of the Day,” here are Audio Ink Radio’s 12 most underrated Metallica songs of all time

When a band has as many successful hits as the metal mavens of Metallica do, it’s no surprise that some quality songs go underappreciated. While commercial chart-toppers from Metallica such as “Master of Puppets,” “Nothing Else Matters” and “Enter Sandman” are legendary, some tracks that are just as solid in the thrash band’s catalog have been overlooked. Now, we’re going to bring those songs out, dust them off and give them the proper recognition they deserve. Read on for Audio Ink Radio’s 12 Most Underrated Metallica Songs of All Time.

12 Most Underrated Metallica Songs of All Time

“Bleeding Me”

“Bleeding Me” is a special song off Metallica’s 1996 album, “Load,” that starts out soft and intimate before swelling to an anthemic, big-sounding musical concoction. This is a beautiful, dramatic, groovy Metallica number that could have helped inspire bands such as Mastodon and Gojira. Around the seven minute mark, the jam builds to a groovy, guitar heavy bridge that breaks away to, once again, a more intimate passage.

“Disposable Heroes”

To say “Disposable Heroes” is underrated is a bit controversial, because the song is highly regarded by metal fans and critics alike. However, looking back on “Master of Puppets,” one of Metallica’s most influential albums of all time, it’s often songs such as “Welcome Home (Sanitarium),” “Orion” and the album’s title track that get all the attention. “Disposable Heroes” is a metal opus, with more than eight minutes of cuttingly heavy riffs, a sky-high guitar solo and an anti-war theme, all certainly deserving of the spotlight.

“Escape”

Those yearning for a straight-ahead, thrash-y, raw heavy metal tune will find lots of appreciate in “Escape” off 1984’s “Ride the Lightning.” The song is about escaping reality, and Metallica has, well, escaped playing it live for a long time. In fact, Metallica has reportedly only played “Escape” live once in their career- at Detroit’s Orion Music and More Festival. Hetfield even joked before playing “Escape,” teasing, “Do you know what song is next? This is groundbreaking right here. This is historical… The song that we never wanted to play live, ever, is now on the set list.”

“Eye of the Beholder”

With all their heaviness and bravado, sometimes it’s easy to forget just how great Metallica is at crafting deep, reflective lyrics. “Eye of the Beholder,” off 1998’s “…And Justice For All,” is the kind of songs that reminds listeners of Metallica’s lyrical might, with themes inspired by the idea of freedom and political correctness. Musically, the song rocks with random tempo changes and blazing vocals.

“Fight Fire with Fire”

Those who like Metallica at their heaviest shouldn’t overlook “Fight Fire with Fire.” The track, off 1984’s “Ride the Lightning,” featuring James Hetfield’s powerful vocals amid absolute mammoths of instrumentals, bringing speed and might to the forefront. “Fight Fire with Fire” is truly trash at its best.

“The Frayed Ends of Sanity”

One of the most innovative Metallica songs of all time is also one that’s often underappreciated: “The Frayed Ends of Sanity.” The song appears on the band’s 1998 studio album, “…And Justice for All,” and features wild tempo shifts, spastic instrumental changes and furious riffing, clocking in at more than five minutes of solid, metal bliss.

“Fixxxer”

Metallica recorded their “Load” and “Reload” albums at the same time. They released “Load” in 1996 and “Reload” the following year, with plenty of hits off both sets, such as “The Unforgiven II,” “Fuel” And “The Memory Remains.” One of the lesser-known songs off “Reload” is “Fixxxer,” offering a sludgy, massive groove and imaginative solo from Kirk Hammett. It’s a track worth pulling out, dusting off and cranking at maximum volume.

“Hero of the Day”

“Hero of the Day” is another ray of light off 1996’s “Load.” The song is one of the Metallica’s greatest power ballads, and even though it reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in the U.S., it’s never had the staying power of some of the group’s other hits. Why? We’re not sure, because it’s fantastic. The song is also one of only a handful of Metallica songs penned in a major key.

“My World”

Metallica’s 2003 album, “St. Anger,” is often criticized, partly because of Lars Ulrich’s hollow snare drum sound and also because, well, it was a difficult era for Metallica. That said, there’s plenty to appreciate about “St. Anger,” including the brisk, high-energy “My World.” The song is as intense as it gets, with fast-paced riffing and beats, with a raw and real sound that makes it one of the band’s strongest songs of the 21st century.

“No Remorse”

Going back to Metallica’s 1983 debut album, “Kill ‘Em All,” is a treat, as the set is filled with highly influential metal classics such as “Seek and Destroy” and “The Four Horsemen.” When fans and critics look back on “Kill ‘Em All,” they often overlook “No Remorse,” which is a mistake, because it’s a solid metal tune with triumphant riffs and catchy hooks.

“The Outlaw Torn”

Ask any true Metallica fan, and they’ll tell you that one of the most underrated songs from the band — perhaps the most underrated — is “The Outlaw Town.” The song appears on the band’s 1996 album, “Load,” and it wasn’t a big single for the guys. It kind of got lost in the bigness of “Load,” which marked Metallica’s high-pressure follow-up to their successful “Black Album,” but years later, Metallica fans look back and agree that “The Outlaw Torn” is a metal gem, with a range of emotions and dynamics.

“Trapped Under Ice”

Metallica unleashed their debut album, “Kill ‘Em All,” in 1983 and followed it up quickly with “Ride the Lightning” in 1984. Even with a short time between albums, the new songs off “Ride the Lightning” were solid and well-written, with “For Whom The Bell Tolls,” “Creeping Death” and “Fade to Black” getting tons of exposure on rock radio. “Trapped Under Ice” is the album’s shortest song, and it packs a punch, with meaty riffing and an anthemic approach, making it one of the album’s most interesting tunes.

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