10 Hidden Details You Never Noticed In Metallica Tracks

Some of the things you didn't notice in the back-catalogue of metal's biggest band.

Metallica Hardwired To Self Destruct

Where do you begin when talking about Metallica?

Easily the biggest metal band in the world, they're an unstoppable juggernaut about which almost everything has been said. To some metalheads they're the apex of what a metal act can and should be, to others they're overrated sell-outs that stopped being good after 1989.

But, whether you love or hate them, one thing remains: you're still talking about them. Such is the genius of Metallica!

But, after more than 35 years of existence, you don't become and remain constantly relevant out of blind, dumb luck. The quartet of James Hetfield, Lard Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo are undoubtedly intelligent and incredibly skilled men, as they display constantly in their music: not just in how pioneering it is, but also in the little references, titbits and call-backs that they continue love to pepper into their songs.

Hence, in celebration of these little details that a great many fans overlook, this list is going to dig deep and discover those tiny moments that, perhaps unknowingly to many, make Metallica's music even better than what you already thought.

These are just 10 small musical cues, facts and otherwise that might have made their way beneath the noses of Metallica's enormous fanbase:

10. Master Of Puppets Tells Stories Through Words And Riffs

metallica master of puppets

What better way is there to begin this list than by lauding what many consider to be Metallica's greatest achievement, Master of Puppets (1986)? A true masterpiece from start to finish, it single-handedly led to thrash metal's domination over both the San Francisco Bay Area and the entire world, containing such powerhouse anthems as "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)", "Battery" and, of course, the immense, progressive title track.

However, one evidence of its sheer musical brilliance that a fair few seem to bring up is the ingenious way the record matches its lyrical themes with its music.

For example, the previously mentioned "Welcome Home..." is a track that tackles the concept of insanity and mental institutions head-on in a manner inspired by the book One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. However, the way its music builds and varies, unpredictably switching from clean to heavy and then to full-on aural madness, match the frantic, incalculable nature of the insane mind.

"Disposable Heroes", with its firmly anti-war lyrics, contains pummelling percussion that, at alternate points, resembles either the pounding of war drums or the relentless, noisy chatter of machine gun fire. "Battery", which tackles "assault and battery", relates the danger and suddenness of the emotion of anger by beginning with a tranquil acoustic passage, before descending into one of its parent album's most intense guitar riffs.

The Cthulhu-orientated "The Thing That Should Not Be", meanwhile, possesses slow, sluggish, heavy riffs that mimic the feel of an immense beat dragging itself through the crushing depths.

It is these cues and mastery of tone and aura that elevates Master of Puppets above even other Metallica albums, and is one of the many reasons as to why the album remains a metal classic.

In this post: 
First Posted On: 

I write for Metal Hammer, Prog and WhatCulture. I don’t have Facebook or Twitter, so you’ll just have to call me a stupid cuck to my face.