"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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...
"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)
"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.
"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)