Metallica – Fade To Black

metallica_ridelightningcoverThis monolith of heavy metal balladry is the first decided evidence that Metallica were a band to be reckoned with. Breakneck speed and really silly lyrics characterized their previous album, Kill ‘Em All. This song corrects that, not just because it’s about suicide, (any hack can write an “I’m-so-sad-I’ll-kill-myself”), but because the subject is so sensitively dealt with, both in the lyrics and the music. More than even the vaunted loudness or melody, “Fade To Black” demonstrates that structure is the key to Metallica’s power. The initial metronymic acoustic passage leads to the openly emotional guitar-work of the verses like the passage of time, and instead of the final solo being a cliched, million-notes-a-minute thrash, it builds a measured maelstrom of surprising tenderness.

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