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This song is about how people seem to rely too much on religion to help with their problems. When James Hetfield's mother had cancer, she didn't take medication because she believed faith would heal her. Some time later, she died. (thanks, Joseph - LA, CA)
Producer Bob Rock told Musicradar.com
: "The God That Failed is deep. It's not just a cheap shot at religion; it's him tackling the subject in a very complex manner. Emotionally, it's as real as 'Nothing Else Matters
The Black Album was the first Metallica record produced by Rock, which meant he had to change some of the band's working practices, including that of guitarist Kirk Hammett on this song. He recalled to Musicradar.com: "Working with Kirk on this song was interesting – and this goes for the whole record, too: I was told that he'd come in the last few weeks of making a record to do his guitar solos. I told everybody right off, 'Well, that's not how we're going to do things. He's going to play live, like everybody else.'
At first, Kirk was very uncomfortable with this approach, but he was game and played what he thought were guide solos. In many cases, including this one, his first ideas were the ones that we'd go back to and use when doing overdubs. He learned how to be spontaneous."