Metallica is known as a band that makes long songs, and sometimes too much. More riffs, more variations of the riffs, more sections and composition twists. Of course, there’re some exceptions (like Motorbreath). But the tendency to overdo songs (in terms of duration, sound, overall saturation) is a thing for which we might either love of hate Metallica. So, here’s my top 4 Metallica songs (imho) overdone one way or another.
‘We just don’t know how to make songs shorter than 5 minutes!’ (Lars Ulrich, 1986)
My Friend of Misery
A lot of us could agree: ‘My Friend of Misery’ is one of the most underrated Metallica songs. It’s based on a Jason Newsted’s bass solo which he played on Justice tour.
They planned ‘My Friend of Misery’ as an instrumental. But it didn’t happen. Why? Bob Rock, ladies and gentlemen. The Black Album was going to be the band’s breakthrough into rock mainstream. And the mainstream demands singing.
So, they followed the Bob’s advice (or pressure), and added vocals to ‘My Friend of Misery’. As a result, we got a tune which was played live for the first time only two decades later.
What would be if they said ‘F*ck it!’ and kept the tradition that’s rooted to Cliff’s era? Guys could keep on working on the song, making it a worthy follow-up of ‘The Call of Ktulu’, ‘Orion’, and ‘To Live Is to Die’. And Jason would get more credits then too.
The End of the Line
‘Death Magnetic’ album is overdone on the whole, especially soundwise. And the average duration of the songs from Magnetic is almost 8 minutes.
Some songs have a sort of riff balance. But ‘The End of the Line’ is way over-saturated one, in my humble opinion. For instance, the section before interlude should’ve been twice as short, not containing all the variations they came up with.
Maybe they attempted to make a second ‘Master of Puppets’ (it also goes under number two in the album). And instead of that we have a Frankenstein which was re-sewn several times. Again, in my humble opinion.
Some Kind of Monster
Yeah, this song really IS some kind of monster. Slow heavy riff which we may consider whether incredibly groovy or dumb. And which caused troubles to Kirk ‘the Ripper’ Hammett.
And it’s lasting for more than 8 goddamn minutes! They shortened it in a half for the promotional version. Ok if it’s technical 30 second, or 1 minutes… But 4 minutes – it’s a whole song like Hardwired or Fight Fire with Fire!
In fact, St Anger album is over-dragged in general. And to make the point clearer, check out ‘What if Hardwired was on St. Anger’. You’ll get it.
…And Justice for All
I count ‘…And Justice for All’ as a perfect example of how a long composition can sound awesome and seem much shorter than it actually is. It’s just classic. But why do I mention it here?
‘Where are not going to play this ‘f*cking’ song again!’ (James Hetfield, 1989)
Metallica itself admitted, they overdid it.
That’s why there’s a little chance, we will ever hear the album played live completely. By the way, I collected all the live versions of the songs from Justice in one video, partly making it full live real (check it out below).
Talking about long Metallica songs. Do you know which is the longest one? Among released in official albums, it’s ‘Suicide & Redemption‘ from Death Magnetic – it’s exactly 10:00.
But the biggest original tune of Metallica is the uncut version of ‘The Outlaw Torn‘ which appears on the B-side of ‘The Memory Remains’ single – 10:48 (album version is 1 minute shorter because of the manufacturing restrictions of CD). We can hear there an extended version of the James’ awesome solo.
Nevertheless, there’s even a bigger recording – ‘Mercyful Fate‘ cover medley from ‘Garage Inc.’ – 11:11. And we have also a bunch of live performances dragged over 15 minutes.
Do you like that Metallica writes that long songs? Write that in comments. And next time we’ll discuss ‘Spit Out the Bone’ – why I might be the best Metallica song since 1988.
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