I’ll be honest: As I sit down to write this, I’m still pissed off at Metallica. Tickets for their UK tour went on sale a few weeks ago, yet despite getting up extra early and hanging on for the very second they went on sale, I still lucked out, didn’t get a ticket.
They were gobbled up in seconds, mainly by greedy touts who immediately put the already expensive price tag up by an extortionate amount.
The really stupid thing is that I was almost dumb enough to shell out the £200+ price of a standing ticket for their November 2017 show at the Manchester Arena. That’s how much this band means to me.
As I’ve mentioned many times before on this blog. Metallica were not just my favourite band during my teenage years, but my biggest obsession, my entire world.
Today, they remain a hugely important part of my life, and it all started with the combination of epic riffage and Old Testament terror known as Creeping Death.
So Let It Be Written, So Let It Be Done…
Taken from the 1984 masterpiece, Ride The Lightning, the seven-plus minute take on the Book of Exodus was not the first Metallica song I ever heard. As we learned back on Song 12, that honour would go to The Memory Remains.
As soon as I saw that song on TV, I knew that there was something about Metallica that I just needed more of. I needed those bone crunching guitars, the magnificently violent joy that roared from James Hetfield’s mouth.
I needed more, I just had no idea where to get it from.
I’m Sent Here By The Chosen One…
Then, in my penultimate year of high school, I made friends with a guy called James.
James hung around with the one or two kids in our school who actually listened to heavy metal music, which is how he came to be in possession of two mix tapes chock full of bands like Pantera, System of A Down, and yes, Metallica.
Not just any Metallica, but The Memory Remains. Finally, I had found somebody else who not only knew this track, but liked it as much as I did.
James however, had the finances to back up that Metallica fandom, and went through a phase of buying one new Metallica album every other week or so. When he was done, he loaned them to me, starting with the truly majestic Ride The Lightning album.
I’ll never forget where I was when I first heard that album.
It was in my bedroom at my Nan’s house on a Monday evening after school. It was in that room that I first fell in love with this album in a way that I’ve only fallen in love on a handful of occasions since.
I loved the breakneck pace and whirling sirens of opening track Fight Fire With Fire, I loved the deep sense of foreboding that made For Whom The Bell Tolls the classic it is today, the heartbreak and despair of Fade to Black, and the manic guitars of tracks like Ride The Lightning and Trapped Under Ice.
But there was one song above all others that stuck out to me as something extra special:
I’m Creeping Death
I loved the way that the intro to this song sounded like grand, guitar-laden fanfare, a regal announcement demanding that the listener sit up and pay attention to what was about to follow. What followed was six-plus minutes of gloriously huge guitars and raw vocals and drums which crashed and thundered like the very lightning storm depicted on the album’s cover.
Add that scorching solo and that same foreboding feeling which permeated the entire album, and it was immediately clear to me that this was a masterpiece.
I rushed back to school the next day, raved about Creeping Death to my friend James, and from that moment on pledged my whole hearted allegiance to the religion of heavy metal and the gods of Metallica.
I Rule The Midnight Air, The Destroyer
What The Memory Remains had started for me, Creeping Death cemented. Metallica were now unquestionably my favourite band of all time, and would go on to shape so many aspects of my life.
It was because of Metallica that I first asked for an electric guitar for Christmas (the same year that I first heard Ride The Lightning), and later learned bass guitar.
It was because of Metallica that I played in bands and got involved in my local music scene.
It was because of Metallica that I discovered so many other great heavy metal artists.
It was because of Metallica that I once interviewed Brian Tatler from Diamond Head and asked him about his relationship with the band. That interview went briefly viral in the metal scene and opened up some cool opportunities for me.
Metallica influenced so much of my life that it’s hard to even imagine what path I might have taken if I hadn’t first listened to Creeping Death back at my Nan’s house way back in the late 1990s.
Creeping Death by Metallica is the sixteenth song in my list of 52 songs that changed my life. Other entries in this list are below:
- Michael Jackson – Bad
- Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
- Queen – The Hitman
- R.E.M – Drive
- Pink Floyd – The Wall
- The Eagles – Take it Easy
- Beautiful South – Old Red Eyes is Back
- Coal Chamber – Loco
- Type O Negative – Everything Dies
- Monster Magnet – Space Lord
- Live – The Dolphin’s Cry
- Metallica – The Memory Remains
- The Prodigy – Poison
- Nirvana – Territorial Pissings
- Iron Maiden – The Angel & The Gambler