This is one of three Metallica songs (along with "My Friend Of Misery
" and "Where the Wild Things Are") that was co-written by Jason Newsted, who was their bass player from 1986-2001. ...And Justice for All
was the first studio album he played on with the band, and "Blackened" was the first track he helped write.
Composing the song with James Hetfield was a special moment for Newsted, as he was still a bit starstruck and thrilled to find himself kicking around ideas with the Metallica frontman. In our interview with Jason Newsted
, he told the story:
We were in my one-bedroom apartment. I had my little four-track Tascam set up in the corner of the bedroom, and we were jamming on our guitars, just playing through some riffs. I played that "Blackened" riff, and he goes, "Dude, what is that?" Because it was really pretty crazy. The original thing is a very fast alternating thing. Man, it's pretty tricky, actually. I mean, the one that ended up on the record is pretty tricky, too, but the original one is really tricky.
He picked up on that and we recorded that bit. And he goes, "Let's build it to this, and build it to this." It was a moment. I was actually composing a song with James from Metallica and he was approving my riffs and saying, "This is going to be a Metallica song." That was a big, big moment for me. We had already been on tour together, and so I had a giant Damage Inc. tour poster on my bedroom wall right above my little station where I had my speakers and my little four-track and the two or three guitars in my collection.
And there we were, I could paint that picture for you very plainly. It was a very, very big moment for me, because I was getting approved from The Man to have my first chance on having one of my compositions on a Metallica record. So that was a very special time.