Metallica’s fiery catalog suggests that James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich are practically a real-life version of Beavis and Butthead, euphorically spazzing out at the slightest of flickers. Hell, here are the Metallica tunes whose lyrics burn the brightest.
Jump in the Fire (1983)
From the band’s debut LP, “Jump in the Fire” is just a good ol’ Satan-certified ditty about the fiery depths of hell. As one of the earliest original songs in the Metallica catalog, it helped the set the stage - both musically and thematically - for the rest of the group’s career. Lightning-fast guitar work accompanied with stanzas along the lines of “Down in the depths of my fiery home / The summons bell will chime / Tempting you and all the Earth / To join our sinful kind,” proved to be a combustible chemical compound in the ensuing four decades.
Fight Fire with Fire (1984)
Religious imagery and, uh huh, fire-powered lyrics helped ease the fears of any skeptical metal head upon the release of Metallica’s forward-thinking sophomore effort. Following an acoustic intro (insert gasp here), “Fight Fire with Fire” surges to a chorus where Hetfield shouts with a familiar ferocity that the “ending is near.” If jamming the word into the song title twice didn’t do the trick, the singer emphasizes the finality of fire by warning, “Time is like a fuse, short and burning fast.”
Devil’s Dance (1997)
On top of a chugging, blues-based arrangement that could rev up any Sturgis crowd, Hetfield goes biblical on Reload’s third track. Tucking into the fire-and-brimstone role of a tempting Book of Genesis serpent, he growls, “In your eyes I see a fire that burns.” On an album considered far too long and lacking live favorites, this groovy first-pumper might be the record’s most under-appreciated number.
My Apocalypse (2008)
Concluding Death Magnetic with a propulsive blast, “My Apocalypse” offers a comprehensive listing of all things destructive. Clocking in at just over five minutes, the LP’s shortest tune also serves as its de facto title track. When Hetfield screams, “Fear thy name: Annihilation / Desolate, inhale the fire,” we’re reminded of his all-encompassing respect for flammability.
Moth into Flame (2016)
Hetfield references a “pop queen” in this Hardwired… to Self-Destruct rager about the empty addiction to fame, but there’s no denying he and his mates are all too familiar with the excessive dark side of worldwide success. Moved to write “Moth into Flame” after watching a documentary about fallen star Amy Winehouse, he also recalls his own struggles with the bottle when he screeches, “Light it up, light it up / Another hit erases the pain.”