As longtime fans of Metallica, we’ve listened to and appreciated the band’s impressive discography over the years. We also recognize that some of their best songs have been the first ones on their albums, setting the tone for what’s to come and showcasing the band’s musical range and creativity.
We ranked best Metallica opening songs
In this article, we’re going to rank Metallica’s best album openers, based on a variety of factors including songwriting, instrumentation, vocal delivery, and overall impact.
Metallica will release its new album ‘72 Seasons‘ in April 2023 via Blackened Recordings. Also, James Hetfield talked about the upcoming album:
“’72 seasons.’ The first 18 years of our lives that form our true or false selves. The concept that we were told ‘who we are’ by our parents. A possible pigeonholing around what kind of personality we are. I think the most interesting part of this is the continued study of those core beliefs and how it affects our perception of the world today. Much of our adult experience is a reenactment or reaction to these childhood experiences. Prisoners of childhood or breaking free of those bondages we carry.”
10. “The Ecstasy of Gold” (from ‘S&M’)
While not a traditional Metallica song, “The Ecstasy of Gold” is a stunning instrumental piece that serves as the perfect opener for their ‘S&M’ live album. Originally composed by Ennio Morricone for the 1966 film ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’, this orchestral arrangement features lush strings, soaring horns, and a memorable melody that builds to a grand climax. As the lights go down and the crowd roars, Metallica enters the stage to the strains of “The Ecstasy of Gold”, signaling the start of an unforgettable concert experience.
9. “Hit the Lights” (from ‘Kill ‘Em All’)
“Hit the Lights” is the first song on Metallica’s debut album ‘Kill ‘Em All’, and it wastes no time in announcing the band’s arrival with its lightning-fast riffing and aggressive vocals. Written by drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield, this song captures the youthful energy and rebellious spirit of the early thrash metal scene, with lyrics that exhort the listener to “Hit the lights and let the metal flow / Hammer down your iron soul.”
8. “Hardwired” (from ‘Hardwired… to Self-Destruct’)
“Hardwired” is the lead single and opening track from Metallica’s 2016 album ‘Hardwired… to Self-Destruct’, and it’s a blistering return to form for the band after a long hiatus. Clocking in at just over three minutes, the song features chugging riffs, pummeling drums, and Hetfield’s trademark snarl, as he sings about the state of the world and the need to stay strong in the face of adversity. The video for “Hardwired” also showcases the band’s live energy and camaraderie, as they tear through the song in a small club setting.
7. “Fight Fire with Fire” (from ‘Ride the Lightning’)
“Fight Fire with Fire” is the opening track on Metallica’s second album ‘Ride the Lightning’, and it’s a jaw-dropping display of speed, precision, and intensity. Beginning with a soft acoustic guitar intro, the song soon explodes into a thrash metal frenzy, with Hetfield’s vocals conveying a sense of urgency and desperation. The lyrics deal with the topic of nuclear war, and the music matches the apocalyptic tone with its dizzying tempo changes and complex arrangements.
6. “Battery” (from ‘Master of Puppets’)
“Master of Puppets” is widely regarded as Metallica’s masterpiece, and “Battery” is the first song on the album, setting the stage for an epic journey through the dark recesses of the human psyche. The song begins with a slow, ominous intro before erupting into a flurry of riffs and beats, with Hetfield growling out the lyrics about “the endless war we’ve been fighting for centuries”. The song’s middle section features a haunting guitar melody that builds to a cathartic climax, before returning to the relentless riffing of the opening.
5. “Blackened” (from ‘…And Justice for All’)
“…And Justice for All” was a controversial album in Metallica’s career due to its controversial production and mixing, but there’s no denying the power of its opening track, “Blackened”. The song features a memorable guitar riff that’s instantly recognizable, as well as Hetfield’s intense vocal delivery and drummer Lars Ulrich’s propulsive beats. The lyrics deal with themes of destruction and corruption, and the music matches the bleakness of the subject matter with its pounding rhythms and searing solos.
4. “That Was Just Your Life” (from ‘Death Magnetic’)
After a period of creative uncertainty in the early 2000s, Metallica returned with a vengeance in 2008 with their album ‘Death Magnetic’. The opening track, “That Was Just Your Life”, is a tour de force of heavy metal fury, with Hetfield’s snarling vocals and Kirk Hammett’s shredding guitar solos leading the charge. The song’s structure is complex and dynamic, with multiple sections that showcase the band’s musicianship and songwriting skills.
3. “Enter Sandman” (from ‘The Black Album’)
“Enter Sandman” is one of Metallica’s most iconic songs, and it’s also the first track on their 1991 self-titled album, commonly known as the “Black Album”. The song features a distinctive guitar riff that’s become a cultural touchstone, as well as Hetfield’s menacing vocals and the band’s tight, hard-hitting rhythm section. The lyrics deal with nightmares and fears, making it a perfect introduction to the dark and brooding sound of the album as a whole.
2. “The Call of Ktulu” (from ‘Ride the Lightning’)
For our runner-up, we’ve chosen “The Call of Ktulu”, an instrumental masterpiece that showcases Metallica’s musicianship and creativity. The song features a haunting melody played on a distorted guitar, as well as atmospheric keyboards and dynamic drumming. The band’s decision to close their second album with this epic track shows their willingness to experiment and push boundaries, and it’s become a fan favorite for its cinematic scope and emotional impact.
1. “Blackened” (from ‘Master of Puppets’)
In our top spot, we’ve chosen the “Battery” song on ‘Master of Puppets’, “Blackened”. While both songs share a similar intensity and complexity, “Blackened” stands out for its searing guitar harmonies, intricate time signatures, and Hetfield’s passionate vocals. The lyrics deal with environmental degradation and the apocalypse, making it a powerful statement on the state of the world. It’s a fitting opener for Metallica’s magnum opus, and it remains one of their most beloved songs to this day.
In conclusion, Metallica has a rich and varied history of album openers, and each one of the songs on this list showcases the band’s musical prowess and artistic vision. From thrash metal anthems to instrumental epics to haunting ballads, Metallica’s album openers have set the tone for some of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time. If you like our list we will do more and waiting for your support with sharing and liking those.