"What's the offence?": James Hetfield's unloved songs from The Black Album

"I just knew it was a bunch of good songs. That's all this album has ever been to me. It's the best music we could write at the time, and we put it out. That's it!"

Songs from the Black Album that James Hetfield doesn't like

Every artist has hits in their catalogue that the public loves, but they don't like at all. As strange as it may sound, it is true, and this trend in the music industry is not new at all. For example. James Hatfieldthe vocalist and leader of the iconic metal band. Metallica, there are not one, but three hateful tracks from the album, which is rightly considered the culmination of the band's creativity.

The record has been called legendary and one of the most influential records in metal history, and after its release it sold out in the first week alone. 500,000 copies! It's about, as many may have already guessed, the iconic "The Black Album".


"The Black Album" elevated the band to Olympus overnight! It became the top-selling album and to this day remains one of the best-selling and most relevant albums in history. At the same time, it is often referred to as an ambiguous experimentThe record is still popular among music lovers to this day, and that's saying a lot. Nevertheless, the record is popular among music lovers to this day, which is saying a lot.

A number of songs from it have become huge hits of their era and genre, but three songs are completely disliked by Hatfield... What are these songs, and what are they so "offended" in front of a cult metal artist? We propose to find out together.

Instant success

There aren't many metal records that match that level of success of Metallica's "Black Album". After spending years as favourites of the underground thrash scene, these guys have taken the world audience by storm with some of the most ambitious hard rock masterpieces anyone has ever heard! Filled with songs that would become the anthems of a new generation (and the next one, too), this album brought the band rapid and unprecedented successbreaking the charts and the minds of music lovers...


Such classic masterpieces as "Enter Sandman," "The Unforgiven," "Nothing Else Matters." and a number of other tracks became thundering hits that have not lost their relevance to this day. But there were also a few songs here that James Hetfield could, in his own words, do without. According to the vocalist, the record could have existed without these tracks, because they were for him. "don't really like it.".

In one of his interviews, Hatfield admitted that from day one of working on the "The Black Album" he never planned for the album to be fireworks from start to finish. Unlike the grandiose vision of drummer Lars Ulrich, Hatfield simply saw it as the next record, saying:

"I just knew it was a bunch of good songs. That's all this album has ever been to me. It's the best music we could write at the time, and we put it out. That's it!"

However, as time went on, Hatfield began dislike certain trackswhich, in his opinion, play no role for the group.

Hatfield's top 3 "anti-hit" hits

In one of his interviews, when it came to the subject of "The Black Album", Hatfield said:

"There are some songs in there that I don't like..."


Developing the theme, James listed these "anti-hits". In total, there were three:

"In my opinion, the songs "Through the Never", "Don't Tread on Me" and "Holier Than Thou" are superfluous on this album. "Through the Never" is a bit odd, as is "Don't Tread on Me", which I definitely wouldn't call my favourite musically. As for 'Holier Than Thou', it was one of the silliest songs written in the old style!"

While there are some fans who defend the album from start to finish, it's hard to deny that, albeit partially, Hatfield's criticism of it appropriate.

For example despite some strong leads, "Through the Never." tends to be a blatant repetition of songs Metallica did in their heyday in the 1980s - especially Kirk Hammett's clever cascading riff. The same can be said of "Holier Than Thou".

Curiously, the band originally planned to make it the first song and first single from the record, before Ulrich convinced his mates that the key to success was the "Enter Sandman." (and he turned out to be right about that).

"Don't Tread on Me"may have found success with the listener. National Review magazine even put this song at number 9 in their top 50 Greatest Conservative Rock Songs! But this track is nothing hardcore, and it's certainly a different take on the staunch metal stalwarts. So here Hatfield's "dislike" of it is quite clear.

What about favourites?

Regarding of Hatfield's favourite songs from this album, then, according to the musician himself, his heart has always been more inclined towards more introspective tracks - such as those full of crazy stories "Sad but True" or biographical chips "The Unforgiven" and "Nothing Else Matters.".

Discussing these tracks, the musician remarked:

"You know, they were songs that were more about me and not about anything else. They have a lot more questions about life in them, and that's why they're closer to my heart..."

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