100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s #11 Metallica – Enter Sandman

Released : 1991

It was a little hard to get your head around at first. Metallica, one of the four thrash metal horsemen of the apocalypse along with Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax then slowed everything down for their bleak, socially charged and heavy fourth album …And Justice For All, yet despite it’s aggressive veil, after it they were outselling the other three combined.

Yet what turned them with supposed reluctance into a monster in commercial terms was a simple song about one. Enter Sandman trailed …And Justice’s self-titled follow up, a record from which there would be no going back. Such was it’s effect that as Guns N’ Roses began to flounder, the hard living quartet would quickly assume the unofficial status of world’s biggest rock band.

Paring back James Hetfield’s darker lyrical impulses and playing it straighter than ever before, Sandman had a (devilishly) recognisable bass intro along with a grinding, jock-friendly chorus – and owed more to Black Sabbath than black metal. As the later feast-of-awkward rockumentary would show their real demons were waiting in the wings, but for now Metallica could still shut their eyes and make them all go away.

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