Top 10 Underrated Metallica Tracks

In no particular order, I pick out some of the more underrated tunes in the disgracefully vast 'Tallica catalogue.

Ultimate Guitar

"Devil's Dance" from "ReLoad" (1997)

The "Load" and "ReLoad" era is without a doubt, the most under appreciated period in the bands history. If you can look past the fact it wasn't the teeth pulling thrash of their previous efforts, there is a lot to be enjoyed here. Case in point, track No. 3 of their 1997 album, "ReLoad." "Devil's Dance" is a heavy, brooding track in the same vein as "Sad But True," "The Thing That Should Not Be" and "For Whom the Bell Tolls." A thunderous groove, and the snarling vocal delivery make this track all the more intimidating.

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"My Friend of Misery" from "Metallica" (1991)

Originally thought to become the instrumental track on what would become "The Black Album," this track features an insufferable groove and a country-esque breakdown, in which Hetfield used a Fender Telecaster with a B-bender to create the sound of a steel guitar. A solo drenched in Kirk Hammett's now infamous wah fetish helps lift this track to a higher plateau.

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"Dirty Window" from "St. Anger" (2003)

Snare heads and festive jumper wearing therapists aside, the "St. Anger" album actually had some highlights. This track being one of them. Up until this point, we hadn't heard Metallica playing with this much aggression and energy since the '80s. Jaymz pulls out lyrics that may be deeper than they first appear. All the lyrical work, clearly being based around his then recent stint in rehab.

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"Cyanide" from "Death Magnetic" (2008)

Thanks to the production, I now live in fear of this track coming up on my iPod's shuffle playlist and destroying my ear drums with it's balls to the wall intro. Nonetheless, this track is one of the strongest of a promising, if flawed album. The bass and drums are in tandem with each other, creating a bouncing groove, and the rhythm guitars are of course, tighter than Geddy Lee's trousers.

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"Low Man's Lyric" from "ReLoad" (1997)

One of the softer tracks in the Metallica discography, with the ever present use of the Hurdy Gurdy in the background. The lyrics, however, are anything but soft, dealing with drug addiction and a plead for a second shot in life. The songs length pushes 8 minutes in duration, and with a lack of any guitar solo, you could be forgiven for thinking it drags on a bit, but give this one a shot and you won't regret it.

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"Trapped Under Ice" from "Ride the Lightning" (1984)

On an album containing absolute behemoth's like "For Whom the Bell Tolls," "Creeping Death" and "Fade to Black," it's easy to look over this little thrash gem. "Ride the Lightning" saw Metallica's sound develop and mature. This song helps to bridge the gap from "Kill 'Em All" to what they would eventually become. A fast paced, galloping romp through the eyes of a person woken up to find themselves cryogenically frozen, this song features some of the more exciting moments from Metallica's early career, featuring some of Kirk Hammett's more frenetic soloing.

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"Bleeding Me" from "Load" (1996)

A ballady type track, similar in structure to songs like "One" and "Fade to Black," this monster of a track from the Load album rarely got the appreciation it deserved. My personal favorite from the "Load" era, this songs lyrics deal with Hetfield's thoughts surrounding his drinking at the time, wanting to "bleed out all bad, get the evil out." Looking back at it, particularly after his year and a half in rehab, it comes across as a cry for help, from an addict who wants out. Kirk Hammett also shines on this track, with a great melodic solo, which screams and gurgles it's way to a fantastic climax.

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"The Struggle Within" from "Metallica" (1991)

Arguably, the closest Metallica got to playing out and out thrash metal in the '90s, the closing track to their unnecessarily successful "Black Album," the lyrics reveal how burned out the band was feeling after their intense recording session for the album. The riff that comes in after the solo as well, is classic Metallica, and punches you square in the face. Oh, there's wah on this solo too...

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"Hate Train" from "Beyond Magnetic" (2011)

So underrated even the band didn't fancy putting it on their 2008 release, "Death Magnetic." Released on the EP, "Beyond Magnetic," this track showcases some ferocious riffing and a really catchy and melodic chorus. If this track had been placed on the track list for DM, there's a very good chance it would've been seen as one of the highlights of the album. As such, it's rather been left out in the cold and deserves a second shot if you missed it the first time round. (Also, dat riff at 4:22)

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"The Outlaw Torn" from "Load" (1997)

The longest track Metallica have ever recorded (which is even longer if you listen to the version included on the B side to "The Memory Remains" single), and also one of the most overlooked. A slow, plodding sledge hammer of a song, lyrically it deals with losing someone and never finding someone to replace them. A bluesy grind, due to restrictions on CD technology at the time, around about a minute of the proposed ending was cut. Vocally, Hetfield has rarely sounded better and the solo is an emotional roller coaster, seemingly taking you through the inner workings of Hammett's inner feelings. Say what you will about Bob Rock as well, the production on the "Load" and "ReLoad" albums is clean and huge. Sit back, crack open a beer and let this giant take you away.

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Honorable mentions:
"The Unnamed Feeling" from "St. Anger" (2003)
"The Shortest Straw" from "...And Justice for All (1988)
"Metal Militia" from "Kill 'Em All" (1983)
"Motorbreath" from Kill 'Em All (1983)
"Iced Honey" from Lulu (2011) (Yes, seriously...)"2x4" from "Load" (1996)"Fixxxer" from "ReLoad" (1997)

14 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Bleeding Me is my favorite Metallica song of all time. Still gives me shivers!
    I think the first time I really appreciated it was when I listened to S&M all the way through. That song is fantastic.
    Listening to it with headphones is awesome, all the little sounds in the has so much atmosphere! The more you listen to it, the more things you discover there.
    Awesome article, I'm glad to see someone who likes Metallica for what they are, not hate them for what they are not. All great songs, Hate Train is a fucking riff fest, really fun to play on guitar. And "dat riff at 4:22" !!!! I remember hearing this riff in some Metallica youtube videos, Mission Metallica maybe? There it was, I had no idea what song it was from, but it was fucking awesome!! And then I heard it in Hate Train and I was so happy that I found it and can listen to it over and over Also, try to downpick that riff, you're in for a treat! Go Metallica, I'm with you till the end! No matter how many LuLus you release, I don't care. Do what you want to do, that's why I love you and your music. Metal up your ass!!
    Eye Of The Beholder from ...And Justice For All is an underrated gem... Got great grooves in it!
    Ride the Lightning might be my favorite album overall, but THe Shortest Straw is my favorite song of all time.
    The Outlaw Torn" from "Load" (1997) The longest track Metallica have ever recorded. Not quite true.Mercyful fate whilst being a cover is longer.
    It's funny how Fixxxer follows the same musical structure of "the outlaw thorn", although without the long instrumental at the end of the song but they're both mind-blowing songs