5. Eye Of The Beholder (…And Justice For All, 1988)
Another brilliant Metallica album that features some underrated compositions is the anti-establishment monster …And Justice For All. Tracks such as "Dyers Eve" and "The Frayed Ends Of Sanity" aren't as highly regarded as some of the band's heavy hitters, and "Eye Of The Beholder" in particular, sadly falls into this category too.
"Eye Of The Beholder" is a great example of the inspired lyrical content found in much of the band's early work. They take on a new light in 2016 as well, with lyrics covering political correctness and the idea of freedom. Lines like "You can do it your own way, If it's done just how I say" and "Freedom of speech is words that they will bend, freedom with their exception" further accentuate these themes.
Besides the lyrics, this one simply rocks hard. Emerging from the distance on the intro, the track quickly takes hold with its fiery vocals and ingenious tempo shifts. This, combined with some shredding guitar sections and a pummeling drum workout, help to make this song a true force to be reckoned with.
It's easy to simply lump the band's first four thrash albums together, but next time you do, spare a thought for this titan of a track.
4. No Remorse (Kill 'Em All, 1983)
As widely hailed as Metallica's debut album is, many of its individual tracks tend to get brushed aside. One such song is the speeding bullet "No Remorse".
Blood rains down from the sky on this no-nonsense cut from Kill 'Em All, quickly asserting a frantic pace from the get-go with a face shredding solo that sounds like it's from another planet altogether. The vocals here are some of the rawest ever recorded by the band, while the lead guitar drops from harmonious to dissonant at the drop of a dime.
This explosive shard of thrash refuses to let up for its 6:26 running time, smashing everything in its way, and pulverizing the speakers with laser guided missiles. This is thrash done right – a take no prisoners approach that aims to floor the listener with aggressive force and succeeds at every step of the way.
High-speed, balls to the wall, rock 'n' roll is what the band were going for, and needless to say, they achieved it with supreme aplomb on "No Remorse".
3. No Leaf Clover (S&M, 1999)
When Metallica dropped the live orchestral metal album S&M onto an unsuspecting public, the results could well have been comical. Thankfully, the group avoided these pitfalls and instead delivered a classy reboot of their most famous tracks, thanks to the combination of the four-piece backed by an army of violin wielding virtuosos.
One of the two only original tracks to grace the album was the mystical cloud dweller "No Leaf Clover" – a song that pierces the sky with its overwhelming sound. It has everything you could want from a Metallica epic; thunderous basslines, distorting riffs, pounding stick-work, mysterious atmosphere and a sound so big you wonder how the speakers can even contain it.
The importance of the San Francisco Symphony on the song can't be overstated either. They provide a grandiose backdrop for Metallica to rail against, helping to bring the song to life through its towering power.
Much like the rest of the S&M album, "No Leaf Clover" is nothing short of breathtaking.
2. Escape (Ride The Lightning, 1984)
Few tracks from Metallica's earlier works remain as truly underrated as the upbeat cracker "Escape". Not only is the song overlooked by music audiences, but it's also underrated by the band themselves.
It has rarely been played live, and rumor has it the that the band don't care much for the piece. Regardless, there's an immediacy to it that is hard to fault. It sits out like a sore thumb on Ride The Lightening, but that's also part of its charm.
It's certainly as radio friendly as Metallica gets, but there's a creepy undercurrent that offsets the stadium rock singalongs that permeate it. So even though the brighter melodies point to a happier place, the reverberating sirens and sinister vocal delivery point to a much darker territory.
In this instance, Metallica fought fire with melody. Whether the band truly dislike it or not, "Escape" has still never been given the credit it so rightfully deserves.
1. Bleeding Me (Load, 1996)
1996's Load was unfairly ridiculed upon release, and still is in some circles. But in actuality, there are a lot of great moments to be found on the album, not least the eight-minute epic "Bleeding Me".
The song is much more personal in nature than a lot of the band's other material, focusing on singer James Hetfield's battle with addiction. The track itself is more hard rock orientated than metal, but it's no less impactful because of it. From blisteringly effective solos to deeply emotive grooves, the song zeroes in on the brain's pleasure center in all sorts of wonderful ways. But while there are slivers of hope to be found here, the main theme of the song is pain.
And you can literally hear that pain seeping through on every instrument, from the weeping guitar chords to Hetfield's agonizingly desperate vocal tone – every note is delivered with such passion that it elevates the song tenfold. The smoke drenched, Deep Purple-esque verses give way to a mammoth chorus that sees Hetfield pleading into the ether for help, backed up by some serious instrumental firepower. Musically, thematically and emotionally – "Bleeding Me" nails it in every respect.
This one really is top notch and should be held in higher esteem than it currently is. For now however, "Bleeding Me" remains the most underappreciated gem in the band's musical treasure trove.
What Metallica songs do you think deserve more recognition? Let us know below!