This is something I ponder every now and then. I don't listen to Met much anymore but they were one of my favorites back in the day. And I still like to hear it every so often. I've heard some much more than others and probalby wouldn't even recognize some if I heard them today, so the list will of course be biased toward what I'm more familiar with. But it's impossible to rank so many good songs anyway. I'll surely leave plenty of deserving ones off the list and have changed my mind before this is even published. But hey, why not?
1. Creeping Death
This one is obvious. Not just because it was our AD&D theme song once upon a time, but because it's one of the best hard rock songs ever written. This is always the Met song I want to hear more than any other. And the live version...perhaps the
best concert song of all time.
A very close call, but I have to give One the nod over Fade to Black. The machine-gun-style drum work that starts just before the heavier part of the song is great. Nice mix of hard and soft guitar too.
3. Fade to Black
Wow, two of three from Ride the Lightning. Impressive. Very similar to One--slow, almost soothing guitar followed by the heavy stuff we all love Metallica for. So they almost have to be back to back.
4. And Justice For All
Lyrics-wise this is probably the best Met song of them all. The words fit so well in this day and age, and the music is plenty good enough to get it into the top 10.
5. For Whom the Bell Tolls
A bit more mainstream, if you will than most other old Met. Perhaps they should have done more "normal" stuff, or at least closer to normal. Or maybe not. Music without all those old Metallica songs just wouldn't be the same.
Yeah, it's an instrumental and it doesn't pick up until late in the song, but it has to be here. Not on the same level as the three above it though.
7. Four Horsemen
Another one of those more mainstream types. But still plenty heavy enough to be good. And also the best song on Kill 'Em All.
Another good one from And Justice--perhaps their best album. The lyrics in this one aren't very family-friendly but are actually kinda funny. At least I think so.
9. Seek and Destroy
Another nice AD&D song that fits well into any game. And the live version with Hetfield working the crowd is awesome, too. Every time I hear this I think of my gaming days...
10. Hit the Lights
Overall this one isn't really deserving of a spot on the list, but the Hammett solo is so over the top it simply has to be represented. And, shockingly, this is the third Kill 'Em All song on the list. I've never considered the album one of my favorites; it's certainly not on par with Ride the Lightning and And Justice For All.
And there you have it. I'm sure I've overlooked several others but there's my list for now. Subject to change depending on what song I feel like hearing. And I'm far from a music pro anyway. Getting tired...