4) “Blackened” (from …And Justice For All)
…And Justice For All is many Metallica fans’ favorite album. The complexity of the songs, the riffs, and the odd production style make it a unique album, and the way it opens is definitely memorable. Opening with a wall of guitars swirling around each other and gradually increasing in volume, at about 35 seconds in, it turns into a riff-fest, and with the “fire, to begin whipping dance of the dead” chorus, is instantly memorable. It’s also the fastest song on the album until album closer “Dyers Eve.”
3) “Enter Sandman” (from Metallica)
This is one of the most iconic songs in rock and roll. The economy of the riff is enough that it’s kind of surprising it hadn’t been written before. The way “Sandman” builds up from guitar to hi-hat, then bass and guitar until the riff explodes out of the speaker is genius, and let all Metallica fans know that the band that they’d known before then was gone. But for all those purists who declared the band false metal, there were millions, literally, that latched on to them. MTV played the hell out of the video, rock radio, who’d barely paid attention to them before, had a new core band to play, and the song (as well as the rest of the album) became unavoidable. As a result, Metallica went from being a popular metal band to the biggest rock band of a generation.
2) “Battery” (from Master of Puppets)
Even though they’d more or less done a similar acoustic opening on Ride the Lightning, “Battery” is still a surprise when it begins. Featuring an almost flamenco guitar, it leads into one of the most aggressive songs in the band’s catalog. And while there is some filler on Master, this song is pretty much perfect.
1) “Hit the Lights” (from Kill ’em All)
Why is this first? Because for many people, it was the first time they’d ever heard a note of the band. And it’s super uptempo thrash had more in common with the likes of Venom than the Metallica we would go on to know. But as far as an opening statement, this is ballsy, in your face, and is still a crowd and fan favorite.Would you have known upon listening to this for the first time that the band would go on to become the juggernaut they are today? Absolutely not, but you definitely would have wanted to hear more.