Metallica is one of the known thrash metal bands that who also inspired by books too. Also, Metallica’s members are also known for their hobbies like collecting horror movies, collecting of classic cars, reading a selection of books, playing tennis, and more.
Metallica has sold over 110 million records worldwide since the publication of its first album “Kill ‘Em All” in 1983. With younger generations discovering this Metallica‘s discography, their popularity is only growing.
Metallica‘s incredible songwriting styles are one reason for its enduring appeal. They not only compose innovative and appealing music. But their song lyrics are frequently based on literary masterpieces such as books like “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and more.
You could also check Metallica songs-inspired movies and series here.
7 Metallica Songs Inspired by Books
- For Whom the Bell Tolls
- The Call of Cthulhu
- Johnny Got His Gun
- The Whisperer in Darkness
- The Shadow over Innsmouth
- Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
For Whom the Bell Tolls
This track is one of the most famous Metallica songs ever.
Ernest Hemingway‘s novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls” was released in 1940. During the Spanish Civil War, it follows the narrative of Robert Jordan, a young American volunteer sent to a Republican guerilla force. As a dynamiter, he is tasked with blowing up a bridge during an attack on Segovia.
That also assumes that the reader knows they fought the war between the government of the Second Spanish Republic, which was supported by the Communist Soviet Union, and the Nationalist party, which was supported by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
Metallica‘s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” song inspired by this book. This song also released in the “Ride the Lightning” album in 1984.
The Call of Cthulhu
H. P. Lovecraft wrote the short story “The Call of Cthulhu.” This short story is also written in the summer of 1926, it was originally published in February 1928 in the pulp magazine Weird Tales.
Metallica’s 1984 album “Ride the Lightning” also has an instrumental song called “The Call of Ktulu.” They dedicated “The Thing That Should Not Be” on their 1986 album Master of Puppets, “All Nightmare Long” on 2008’s Death Magnetic, and “Dream No More” on 2016’s Hardwired… to Self-Destruct to Lovecraft’s Cthulhu. And, Metallica’s ex-bassist, Cliff Burton, who died in a bus accident in 1986 while touring to support their album Master of Puppets.
Johnny Got His Gun
Metallica‘s fourth album, “…And Justice for All” (1988) that the band made a music video. They also selected the song “One” for their debut video. They inspired the song from this book.
“Johnny Got His Gun” is an anti-war novel written by American author Dalton Trumbo in 1938 and published by J. B. Lippincott in September 1939.
The novel received one of the first National Book Awards, for Most Original Book in 1939. Trumbo himself directed and wrote the screenplay for the 1971 picture adaption.
“Joe Bonham, a young American soldier serving in World War I, awakens in a hospital bed after being caught in the blast of an exploding artillery shell. He gradually realizes that he has lost his arms, legs, and all of his face (including his eyes, ears, nose, teeth, and tongue), but that his mind functions perfectly, leaving him a prisoner in his own body.
Joe attempts suicide by suffocation but finds that he has had a tracheotomy that he can neither remove nor control. At first, Joe wishes to die, but he later decides that he desires to be placed in a glass box and toured around the country in order to show others the true horrors of war. Joe successfully communicates these desires with military officials after months and months of banging his head on his pillow in Morse code. However, he realizes that the military will not grant his wishes, as it is “against regulations”. It is implied that he will live the rest of his natural life in his condition.
As Joe drifts between reality and fantasy, he remembers his old life with his family and girlfriend, and reflects upon the myths and realities of war.”
“Creeping Death” is a Metallica song that draws direct inspiration from the bible’s book of Exodus and is also mentioned in the Torah. The tenth and final plague imposed on Egypt was Creeping Death. The plagues were sent by God to persuade the Pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery, according to the Bible.
This disease is also known as the Angel of Death, and it was sent to Egypt to murder every firstborn son. God directed Moses to place lambs’ blood on the Israelites’ doors so that the Angel of Death would know to pass over them before administering the plague. The song by Metallica is written from the viewpoint of the Angel of Death.
First off, Kirk Hammett composed the riff for the middle section (the part with the chanting of “death”) for a song in his previous band, Exodus. Another interesting detail is that Angel is the name of Hammett’s own firstborn son.
The Whisperer in Darkness
American author H. P. Lovecraft wrote a 26,000-word short novel titled “The Whisperer in Darkness“. It combines science fiction and horror, also similar to “The Colour Out of Space” (1927).
The narrative is not a major aspect of the Cthulhu Mythos, although it contains frequent allusions to it. However, it illustrates a turn toward science fiction in H. P. Lovecraft‘s writing during this period. The Mi-Go, an alien species of fungoid animals, is also introduced in the novel.
Metallica’s “All Nightmare Long” song from the album “Death Magnetic” (2008) is based on the 1929 short tale “The Hounds of Tindalos” by Frank Belknap Long. H.P. Lovecraft subsequently referred to these monsters in this short story.
The Shadow Over Innsmouth
On their following album, “Master of Puppets” (1986), Metallica back to their favorite Lovecraft and Cthulhu. H. P. Lovecraft’s 1936 novel “The Thing That Should Not Be” inspired by this novel.
H. P. Lovecraft written the horror novella “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” between November and December 1931.
The book portion of the Cthulhu Mythos refers to a number of common components of the Mythos, including as place names, mythological creatures, and invocations, and uses the concept of a pernicious underwater society. The only Lovecraft tale that appeared in a book during his lifetime was The Shadow over Innsmouth.
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
The song was written on a real-life incident, but James Hetfield‘s mother’s ideas are stated in Christian science dogma, which is most notably based on two works – The Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, written by the religion’s founder Mary Baker Eddy in 1875.