Top 10 Metallica Songs

Formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, California, Metallica made a name for themselves as one of thrash metal’s “Big Four.” By the next decade, they found mainstream success by changing up their musical direction but still sticking to a heavy metal style. Now, they’re one of the most commercially successful bands ever. For this list, we’ve chosen our entries based on a combination of the artist’s fan favorites with their most commercially successful songs. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 Metallica songs. Special thanks to our users Mattyhull1 and aldqbigsquare for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest.
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They’re off to never-never land. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Metallica songs.

For this list, we’ve chosen our entries based on a combination of the artist’s fan favorites with their most commercially successful songs.

#10: “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”
Master of Puppets (1986)


Metallica’s third effort may have been the first platinum-certified thrash metal album, but it also showcased the band’s softer side. Case in point: “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” is considered a ballad but it still managed to exhibit their technical mastery. Based on “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” the 6-and-a-half-minute track is also a Metallica live staple.

#9: “Battery”
Master of Puppets (1986)


Though this 5-minute number opens Metallica’s highly influential Master of Puppets record, it’s usually played near the end of the band’s sets. The lyrics couldn’t describe the song’s sonic assault any more accurately, as “Battery” is truly a “powerhouse of energy.” Written by James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, it’s a thrash metal classic that is “here to stay.”

#8: “Seek & Destroy”
Kill ‘Em All (1983)


Their debut also features the speed and thrash metal sounds of “The Four Horsemen,” but it’s “Seek & Destroy” off Kill ‘Em All that makes our list. Penned by Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, this popular live track is often extended during concerts and contains several guitar solos. Various athletes have also used it during sporting events.

#7: “Enter Sandman”
Metallica or The Black Album (1991)


Metallica’s self-titled effort gave us “My Friend of Misery,” “Wherever I May Roam,” “Of Wolf and Man,” “The Unforgiven,” but it’s The Black Album’s first single that really made the band a household name. Without “Enter Sandman”’s main riff and its more radio-friendly sound, they may have never sold over 22 million copies of the album and reached the top of the Billboard 200 charts.

#6: “Ride the Lightning”
Ride the Lightning (1984)


The title cut from Metallica’s second album touches upon the suffering endured by a criminal on death row. Credited to Hetfield, Ulrich, Cliff Burton and Dave Mustaine, the six-and-a-half minute song is quick, ferocious and everything you’d expect from a thrash metal band that was slowly making its way up the charts.

#5: “Creeping Death”
Ride the Lightning (1984)


“Creeping Death” was the perfect choice to be Ride the Lightning’s only official single because it exemplified Metallica’s thrash metal sound to a tee. Though it’s not as fast-paced as some of the songs on their debut, it’s become a favorite among concert-goers who’re sure to chant along with the band. Inspired by the Biblical plagues, the song has also been covered by multiple artists.

#4: “For Whom the Bell Tolls”
Ride the Lightning (1984)


This promo single from Ride the Lightning takes its name and subject matter from Ernest Hemingway’s novel about the Spanish Civil War. Burton kicks things off with a highly distorted bass riff and quickly gets us into a head-banging mood. Thanks to its melody and aggressiveness, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” has also made multiple pop culture appearances.

#3: “One”
…And Justice for All (1988)



Metallica’s fourth album may have given us “Harvester of Sorrow” and the title track, but it’s the
7-and-a-half minutes long “One” that’s got us hooked. After captivating us slowly and surely with its intro, the ...And Justice for All single keeps our attention with its hard and fast guitar work. It didn’t only become the band’s first Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it also featured one of Kirk Hammett’s best solos.

#2: “Master of Puppets”
Master of Puppets (1986)


Thanks to the fast-paced and intricate compositions on Master of Puppets, Metallica positioned themselves as one of thrash metal’s “Big Four.” This was due, in large part, to the album’s only single and title track. Enhanced by Hetfield’s and Hammett’s guitar abilities, this song features the quintessential Metallica riff and is often considered one of heavy metal’s finest tunes.

Honorable Mentions


“Orion,” Master of Puppets (1986)
“The Call of Ktulu,” Ride the Lightning (1984)
“To Live is to Die,” …And Justice for All (1988)
“Fuel,” ReLoad (1997)

#1: “Fade to Black”
Ride the Lightning (1984)


That’s right, we’ve put Metallica’s first power ballad at the top of the list. Why? “Fade to Black” is simply one of the best examples of all of Metallica’s styles: dark lyrics, epic solo and some intense transition work with its main riff. But that’s not all: the song’s build-up shows Metallica isn’t only good at shredding but can be emotional as well.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite Metallica song? With new videos published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com for more entertaining top 10s.
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