Top 10 Metallica Songs Ever

One of our biggest polls ever has resulted in a killer list of songs by one of the best metal bands in history. See the results as voted for by UG readers right here.

Ultimate Guitar

We knew this would be a big one, and it was.

On Wednesday we asked you to vote for your favorite Metallica songs ever. With over 600 comments and thousands of votes, we've stacked up the results and have compiled one of our best lists ever.

This week Metallica announced plans to work on their next album, so maybe the band will improve on their recent releases and bring you new classic to add to this list in the future.

For now, though, you've done yourself proud with an absolutely killer list.

Bravo! Be sure to pass it on and share your opinion in the comments.

10. "The Mechanix" from "No Life 'Til Leather"

Dave Mustaine wrote this song and took it with him when he formed Megadeth. It's actually been recorded several times, first as part of Metallica's "No Life 'Til Leather" demo in 1982, and later adapted and re-titled "The Four Horsemen" on "Kill 'Em All" the next year - though Mustaine wasn't too happy about it.

YouTube preview picture

9. "For Whom The Bell Tolls" from "Ride The Lightning"

This is based on Ernest Hemmingway's novel of the same title about the dishonor of modern warfare. Cliff Burton's classic overdriven bass intro recently made it to number 5 on our Top 10 Basslines Of All Time too.

YouTube preview picture

8. "Orion" from "Master Of Puppets"

The only instrumental track from "Master Of Puppets" features five different solos over eight minutes. Two of them were by Cliff Burton, though some people mistake his driven bass for a guitar, because they're dummies. Clearly he and the band were proud of the song because it was played at his funeral in 1986.

YouTube preview picture

7. "One" from "...And Justice For All"

Metallica finally hit the US Top 40 with this single from their forth album. "The idea for the opening came from a Venom song called 'Buried Alive'", James Hetfiel told Guitar World in 1991. "The kick drum machine-gun part near the end wasn't written with the war lyrics in mind, it just came out that way".

YouTube preview picture

6. "Blackened" from "...And Justice For All"

Jason Newstead's first co-writing effort with the band about the end of human civilisation is a dark one indeed. The intro is a dual-guitar harmony that plays in reverse, which means the band need to rely on a recording before they can kick in with playing it live - but as this video proves, it can make for a perfect opener to their live sets.

YouTube preview picture

5. "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" from "Master Of Puppets"

The last single with Cliff Burton is about being trapped by insanity. James Hetfield has said he wrote it as a tribute to "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest". If you caught the band live in the early 2000s, you might have heard them merging the song with "Master Of Puppets" which they lovingly titled "Mastertarium".

YouTube preview picture

4. "Creeping Death" from "Ride The Lightning"

Metallica have played this song more than 1,360 times, and it's second only to "Master Of Puppets" at over 1,400 plays. It's based on the great plagues in the bible and apparently told from the perspective of Moses. While watching a film about the ten commandments, Cliff Burton said the plague that killed every Egyptian first-born child was "like creeping death", and in turn conceived the name to this classic track.

YouTube preview picture

3. "Master Of Puppets" from "Master Of Puppets"

Their most played song is about how drugs can take over control of your body. It's often ranked as the most popular heavy metal song of all time (though it looks like UG readers disagree), and also gets a nod for having some of the best riffs ever.

YouTube preview picture

2. "Ride The Lightening" from "Ride The Lightning"

Written from the perspective of someone sitting on death row and awaiting their electrocution, this is one of the final songs that credit Dave Mustaine as a songwriter.

YouTube preview picture

1. "Fade To Black" from "Ride The Lightning"

Looks like you picked a great winner for this Metallica poll! When a song has a solo this good, it's no surprise, but there's a lot to love about "Fade To Black".

Lars Ulrich said that he and James Hetfield were obsessed with death at the time this song was produced, and once talked about how it came to be:

"That song was a big step for us... I wrote the song at a friend's house in New Jersey. I was pretty depressed at the time because our gear had just been stolen, and we had been thrown out of our manager's house for breaking shit and drinking his liquor cabinet dry.

"It's a suicide song, and we got a lot of flak for it, as if kids were killing themselves because of the song. But we also got hundreds of letters from kids telling us how they related to the song and that it made them feel better".

Here's your official UG best Metallica song ever. Enjoy!

YouTube preview picture

That's the end of our top 10 best Metallica songs ever.

Remember to share the article using the Facebook and Twitter buttons in the top right, and if you think that an alternative Metallica song has gone criminally underrated, let us know about it in the comments.

297 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Fade to Black was played more in the LA guitar store I worked than Stairway and Sweet Child combined.
    *Disposable Heroes. Best Metallica IMO. Solid list tho
    It got a lot of votes too... More than Blackend if memory serves. Though I love Blackend too.
    Dr. Knox666
    Good list but I missed Disposable Heroes.
    The list is pretty diverse, ranging from the 80's all the way out to the 80's Seriously people, their 90's had some gems too; Fixxxer, The Outlaw Torn, Bleeding Me, Fuel, The Unforgiven, Sad But True, I could go on and on.
    The God That Failed and The Outlaw Torn I think should have definitely made this list.
    That's because all of their best songs are from the 80's. The first four albums are masterpieces that the other five (soon to be six) cannot ever top. Even if the 90's had some gems (Wherever I May Roam), none of them can top what Metallica put out in the 80's.
    I think it has more so to do with the listener than the album. Some people, such as yourself, seem to right off anything passed 1988 as inferior. Some people, such as yourself, write-off new material as inferior before they've even heard it yet (at least give them a chance to write it first). I guess when it comes down to it though, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, since you can't please everybody it really is just a matter of taste; some people hold the first 4 up on a pedestal, while I actually consider Load their best album (you just gotta love how personal James Hetfield got on that album).
    I agree had it not been for Load I would have never gotten in to Metallica. I would have loved to see King Nothing on this list, but over the years Ride the Lightning has excelled as my favorite album.
    I will second this comment, and even go so far as to throw in Death Magnetic too. There are some killer songs on that album. Problem is that Metallica were so great in the 80's that it's hard to top yourself. I am confused as to how Sandman didn't make the cut. Overplayed or's iconic.
    I think it's the fact that a lot of people that frequent this site are diehard fans instead of just casual fans. I'm in that boat too. Sure Sandman is a cool song, and growing up in the late 80's/early 90's, that's most likely the first song you heard by Metallica (it was probably my first)....but after hearing everything else they have to offer, I just don't think it belongs in the top 10.
    Don't forget The Struggle Within, Through The Never, Ain't My Bitch (am I the only one who likes it?), Hero Of The Day and a lot of stuff from Death Magnetic (I love that album). They should make a list just for the post ...and Justice For All stuff in my opinion.
    Megadeth next? Please?
    UG are you listening? My friend just made a solid point here! Though its gonna be all the more difficult to pick just 10!
    Kinda like this list- hard to pick a top 10. If they do a '10 best Megadeth' list, it'll probably be dominated by songs with the Mustaine/Ellefson/Friedman/Menza lineup. At least, if I did one it would...
    Is that because all the songs sound the same? Shit vocals, guitar solo, repeat.
    Megadeth sound the same? Well what can i say... UG I salute your efforts to give everyone a chance to give their opinions....even the deaf and the stupid. ty
    Considering you have WK in your name it's pretty rich that you're criticizing a musician based on their vocals.
    Not much of a Megadeth fan but I'd like to know where to start. A Megadeth Top 10 List would be a start, I guess.
    For whom the bell tolls is my favourite. Good thing they didn't call the LULU stuff Metallica or all those songs would be on here!
    Exactly, if they had put Lulu or one of the loads on this, I wouldn't have bothered reading the list at all.
    link no1
    Oh yea, if too many peoples opinion was different from yours and a song you didn't like ended up on the list it would make the entire list stupid and worthless because it is not your opinion. Damn people and their differing opinions *shakes fist*
    Dude I was joking, 'course I would have read the list, I just love the old Metallica a helluva lot more. Anyone agree? Just look at the list.
    James said in an interview with Jim Breuer that if he was stranded on a desert island, and had one metallica song on tape to listen to, it would be fade to black...killer list overall
    Ya I saw that one... Lar's was Suicide and Redemption. Kirk's was Enter Sandman. Robert's was My Apocalypse. I'm just dissapointed nothing from Death Magnetic made. At least, Unforgiven III. And No Leaf Clover (S&M Only).
    No disrespect to Dave Mustaine or his song writing but I'm not surprised Het reworked those lyrics into something else after Mustaine was given the heave-ho. The lyrics from the Mechanix are terrible and totally out of place with the other lyrical themes on KEA . They read like something much more akin to what glam metal bands were singing about at the time with cheesily obvious and overly macho car engine-sex analogies.
    Addison Lea
    Agreed. That said, I still dig the hell outta the version of "Mechanix" on Killing is My Business, despite it's cheese.
    Q: Whats the best way to piss off Dave Mustaine? A: Tell him "Mechanix" is a great cover of "four horsemen." ...Thats the joke.
    features five different solos over eight minutes. Two of them were by Cliff Burton, though some people mistake his driven bass for a guitar, because they're dummies. That would be 4 different solos, with 1 by Burton. The beginning of the 2nd half of the song isn't a solo. That's like saying Hetfield is soloing every time he starts a song with a riff. Oh, and we got: "For Whom The Bell Tolls" from "Ride The Lightning " "Creeping Death" from "Ride The Lightning " "Fade To Black" from "Ride The Lightning " And yet, then we have: "Ride The Lightening " from "Ride The Lightning " For god's sake, where is the usual copy/paste when you need it??!
    Well he is playing a lead overtop the rhythm guitar in that section, I guess it's boarder line between the two "(...) some people mistake his driven bass for a guitar, because they're dummies. A bit harsh UG, it's an understandable mistake. At the time, basses didn't sound like that and bass players certainly didn't play like that. No need to belittle when you've probably made the same mistake yourself at one point.
    Yes, that's his 1 lead....
    Then you must not know the solo at 6:35 is bass, there are 2 bass solos in Orion, one at 1:42 and another at 6:35. It's an honest mistake, most people can't tell it's bass, I won't call you a "dummie" like UG since it just validates my point further.
    Ohhhh, I see what you're saying. I consider the one at 6:35 a solo. I don't consider the one at 1:42 a solo. That's just a riff that the bass starts.
    (sorry for the 2nd reply) FYI, if you read the liner notes, it specifically states (from memory): 2nd solo - Hetfield 4th solo/bass - Burton
    What can we as fans say, everyone screams ...And Justice For All. But fan based polls on songs have prooven that Ride the Lightning is the BEST METALLICA album
    My dad has said on numerous occasions that he wants the song "Orion" played at his funeral. He also really, really loved Cliff.
    Four songs from Ride the Lightning, The Mechanix, and no Enter Sandman... for once, this UG list isn't awful doesn't seem like it was made by a 12-year-old. It could use something more from Kill 'em All though.
    It's funny how Master Of Puppets was able to make it to 2nd place on UG's list of best metal songs of all time but could only make it to 3rd on their own list.
    Am I the only one who would've liked to see: Nothing else matters and turn the page? Unforgiven 3?
    So many typos. Who's James Hetfiel? What's a forth album? Why is Blackened posted for the Blackened entry AND the Sanitarium entry? Errors aside, not a bad list. I didn't know One was partially inspired by Venom. That's boss.
    Blast me all you want, but I honestly think No Leaf Clover should have been somewhere on this list. It was fantastically written!
    I understand that "Enter Sandman" is very very overplayed and some people are probably tired of it. But it's still a top-5 song.
    Overplayed? Dude I honestly hate Master of Puppets because it's so overplayed. IMO it is the 80's equivallent to Enter Sandman
    Before I'd seen a high quality picture of the Ride the Lightning cover, I always though the electric chair was a vacuum tube...
    I can't complain about the list. Fade to Black is my favorite Metallica song. Still think My Friend of Misery is an honorable mention.
    el tigre
    I'm so glad I haven't seen any biased thrash fans who think almost all metallica sucks. Metallica was and still is great. That is all.
    I'll never forget buying MoP back in 86 and running home to pop it in the tape deck. By the time i flipped the tape over to side two my life had changed.
    Impossible to make a list of 10 metallica songs that will satisfy everyone, as my favorite Metallica song doesn't appear on the list and the only one in there I can saw I would really enjoy is Orion. Don't get me wrong they are great songs; however certainly not my fan favorites of this band. Anesthesia...Pulling Teeth, Call of Ktulu, Seek and Destroy, Battery, Hit the Lights, No Leaf Clover, Unforgiven I guess I like the crappier Metallica more
    Anesthesia is a great song and battery and the call of kthulu are as well.. I suggested Orion on Wed. Because I love it and thought it highlighted the group as a whole. But ur favs are far from crappy...
    You def. cant argue that any of these songs suck, BUT MY top ten would go something like 1. The Thing that should not be 2. Of wolf and Man 3. Through the never 4. For whom the bell tolls 5. Seek and Destroy 6. Jump in the fire 7. Battery 8. To live is to die 9. Master of Puppets 10. fade to black
    I'm surprised. Actually a good list. RtL is my favourite album, so I agree with most of the entrys.
    Not the shittiest list I've ever seen here, but not a really good one either. Probably because everyone who voted was an 80's Metallica fanboy. Seriously, nothing from the Black Album?! Have you people no emotions whatsoever? Enter Sandman, Nothing Else Matters and Wherever I May Roam, just to name a few, are more than worth being on this list. Just because something isn't thrash, doesn't mean it isn't metal. And it sure as hell doesn't mean it isn't GOOD metal. On another note, The Four Horsemen is much better than The Mechanix (especially lyric-wise) and Battery runs circles around Orion. Also, Creeping Death isn't told from the perspective of Moses, but that of the creeping death itself ("I'm sent here by the chosen one (...) To kill the first born pharaoh's son / I'm creeping death").
    I think the problem is they asked everyone for the single top song, not a list of their own. If I had to put my top 10 Metallica songs I'd definitely have some from the self-titled and further, but my #1, like for most people, was an older song.
    Am I the only one who's surprised that not one Death Magnetic or "Black album" song made it on this list?
    I'd pick songs from Load/Reload over songs from DM, but I'm also surprised that nothing from the black album made it on here. I am glad that Enter Sandman isn't on this list.
    Death Magnetic's songs were infinitely better than load/reload. And enter sandman not being on the list is absurd.
    Yeah but you can't please everyone. If enter sandman were on this list everyone would moan about how it's too predictable a choice. Metalheads are pretty much impossible to please. There's always a handful that complain.
    Such a clich list. As if it's only good if it's old. Music fans always think they have to like old stuff to be a conaisseur. Don't get me wrong, these songs are great, but I think post-1990 Metallica deserves some credit too.
    Where the hell is No Remorse? Probably my favourite off of Kill 'Em All. And Call of Ktulu (S&M version) should be on there over most of the rest of the list.
    I second your inclusion for the S&M version of Call of Ktulu. Personally, its my favourite Metallica song of all time. There were about three years there after its release that I listened to it everyday.
    Didn't expect it on the list, but my favorite is the B-side of Enter Sandman.... "Stone Cold Crazy"
    An excellent cover! My favorite non-Queen performance of a Queen song, ever. Also can be found on Garage Days (and Garage Inc.)
    I think Astronomy and Turn the Page (from Garage Inc.) are great Metallica songs. When I first heard Astronomy I got a "musicgasm"
    quite good list. my personal list wouldnt have included the justice songs, that albums sound just bugs me for some reason. i wouldve taken out a few and included holier than thou, unforgiven, and all nightmare long. but still respectable list. fade to black solo is my personal favorite solo of all time.
    Meh, at least there's no Enter Sandman. But I coulda got down with Unforgiven/God That Failed being on it, #1's a good choice though.
    Danjo's Guitar
    I really wish Unforgiven II had made it. I think its by far the best songwriting they've ever done, and probably ever will do. Yeah, its not as heavy, but its a really full song. But I guess its just me.
    Number 2 is my favourite of the unforgivens, I've always thought it to be one of Metallica's most emotive songs. I also would've lied to see No Leaf Clover on this list, it's a really unique song
    I'm not trying to start a fight here, but honestly I didn't really dig Unforgiven 2. I just didn't like its vibe.... its too cheesy.... the slide guitar, the lyrics..... That's just my opinion though.
    It fits with where Met were at that time, around Load/Reload. I personally like it, as I enjoy the textured, layered and introspective approach the band took around that time
    Absolutely agree with that list, come on it has been created by us - the fans !
    I think Load/Reload deserves at least 1 or 2 songs in that list.