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Break out your old leather bracelets & unleash that mullet, ‘cause it’s time to revel in the glory of Metallica’s 1991 contribution to the world of Metal music, the headbanging classic “Enter Sandman.” One of the last songs released in the band’s long-haired hesher days, this track is a culmination of everything they had written up to this point, containing heavy instrumentation, imagery of childhood trauma & a serious beatdown attitude that either makes you feel tough as nails or scared for your life. Presenting itself as some sort of warped nursery-rhyme, vocalist James Hetfield’s lyrics detail the nightmarish visions & overwhelming fear that happens when a child slips into dreamland, confronted by scenes of war & bloodshed instead of Snow White, as he so aptly puts it; Little details like the similarity of certain lyrics to old children’s tunes like “hush little baby don’t say a word” & the classic 18th century bedtime prayer “now I lay me down to sleep” serve to support this twisted narrative, fusing the supposed safety of such stories with the dark & gritty undertones of nightmares.
The lyrics are only half the battle, as the supporting instrumentation was some of the heaviest Metallica had ever produced, full of constant chugging & as many cymbal crashes as you can throw a wrench at; Slight deviations in the melody are spotted here & there, but the overall form of the song is based around its principle riff, giving this track a much more concise & directed feel than the frequently shifting time signatures & wild chord progressions of their previous tunes – Everything plays second fiddle though to Kirk Hammett’s massive guitar solo towards the end, an intense display of tonal distortion & chord-bending that feels even more hectic & mind-blowing than the rest of the song. A music video was eventually released that closely follows the narrative of Hetfield’s lyrics, presenting a strobe-like effect of jarring imagery that disorients the viewer as they see dreams of the grim reaper, falling off a skyscraper & the act of being drowned, finally ending with one of the best scenes of all time in which the young boy must run away from a speeding semi-truck, perfectly timed to crash through his bed as Hetfield grunts “Oh!” & the sound comes back in – While the song itself may or may not be something that interests you, the music video for “Enter Sandman” is undeniably one of the most riveting visual experiences around, perfectly complimenting its source material & being an all-around entertaining production.

Written by @camjameson from Extraneous Routes

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Song Info

"Enter Sandman"


  • Aug 12, 1991


"Enter Sandman" is a song by American heavy metal band Metallica. It is the opening track and lead single from their self-titled fifth album, Metallica, released in 1991. The music was written by Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich. Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Hetfield wrote the lyrics, which deal with the concept of a child's nightmares.
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