Blackened

Album: ...And Justice For All (1988)
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This is about the end of the world as written in The Bible. It also deals with pollution, deforestation and other social problems. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ryan - Ireland
  • The Intro was recorded by reversing the guitars and using several overdubs. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    JT - Tullahoma, TN
  • 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.
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Comments: 42

  • Zero from Nowhere, NjThis song was the reason I got into Metallica (this and ironically "The Shortest Straw"). I think Lars is overratred, though.
  • Chuck from Lisle, IlSigh. Isn't it obvious that this song is about Nuclear Warfare/Winter?
    "Smoldering Decay" From the Explosions?
    There's more... But I'm lazy.
    Just saying, atheists or Christians, you should respect one another.
    Christians might just be speaking out their belief.
    Atheists might be doing the same.
    It's because of the intolerance you give that I am hesitant to speak out my own beliefs.
  • Mandy from Coosbay, Orto katie, chicago, IL you are a da!! how can evolution be fact and theory " EVOLUTION IS A FACT. evolution by natural selection is a theory," only idiots say that
  • Katie from Chicago, Ilin response to eric from georgia:
    actually, EVOLUTION IS A FACT. evolution by natural selection is a theory, and a very well-substantiated one. get your uneducated ass to a library.

    ignorant bible-thumping and metal shouldn't mix.
  • Diverdriver from Petaluma, CaChilcox, Atchison, KS
    I love your comments about head through wall. I totally agree. At 43, it gets my blood pumping.
  • Chilcox from Atchison, KsI don't know why everyone is so obsessed with the lyrics and what they mean. They are subjective. They are secondary. What makes this song great isn't the lyrics, its the music. This song is the epitome of the brilliance and complexity of that was Metal music. Hetfield and Ulrich are absolutely unstoppable as a rhythm section. The riffs in this song made me want to put my head through a wall when I was 19, and it still does at 41. Lyrics can't do that.
  • Whiplash from Glendale, NyI love the solo! The opening guitars to the epic kick ass drums! WOOT LARS UR A BEAST!
  • Mem from Melbourne, AustraliaIts.. to begin Whipping dance of the dead
  • Daniel from Tomball, Txppl that think this is about his mother dying from smoking, it is not. it's about the apocalypse. hence the line "millions of our years in minutes disappears" and the line "see our mother die" is about mother earth. and the line with might be about his mother dying, or it could be about how much humans pollute their bodies with nicotine.
  • Chris from Victoria, TxOK...Joe I must say you probably have the meaning of the second verse correct with it being about Jame's mom dying of cancer caused by her smoking. But the overall meaning to the song is the end of the world. Armageddon!!! In the biblical way of looking at it. The line "color our world blackened" or pretty much the whole chorus in general relates to the world burning...which happens in the end according to the Bible...everything will burn away. And if you need more Joe the line "Millions of our years, in minutes disappear" The world is millions of years old...not Hetfield's mom.
  • Joe from Nyc, NyWhoever had wrote the song meaning to this, they completly messed it up. It is about hetfield's mother's death of smoking. hence the word blackened. listen to the song. "deadly nicotine", "to begin would be dance of the dead" "see your mother put to death". apparently the writer is not really a true metallica fan
  • Jeff from Casa Grande, AzIf you ever listened to the old and thus good Metallica, you'd pick up alot of Christian/Judeo influences. I mean come on, "Bow to Leper Mesiah"? "I'm creeping death"? Yeah, there is always a prevalent, provacitive, and rebellious voice (mainly coming from James, but Lar also) that is in every song of theirs. Of course, I can only speak for their ante-black albums. After their Black album, I lost intrest. But, man, were they great.
  • Alex from Findlay , OhOk I kinda get the whole biblical thing u guys r talkin about but the part "the exit of humanity" means human extinction. "Blackened in the end, winter it will send." the sun melts and we have total darkness and it happens in the fall.
  • Nmedovich from Meriden, CtThe song Blackened is very complicated because as it turns out, statistics that I have collected show that more atheist like it than religious people. But as previously commented, there are references to the end of the world in biblical description, but the phrase "Blackened is the end, winter it will send..." Could refer to an all out nuclear devestation or the end of our race through extinction by Global Warming, and the infliction of another Ice Age.
  • Jacob from Carbondale, IlLike Eric right below me said, this song is about the destruction of the world through nuclear war. As far as I'm aware, there are no direct biblical references, and James Hetfield's parents were members of the Christian Science denomination, not Catholic.
  • Eric from Kingsland, GaShelly from "Place, Washington" said
    "Evolution's End" (quote from the song)- Just a side-note... but, Evolution is NOT a proven fact, but rather A THEORY (That contradicts the bible)I'd like to point out "Evolution's End" would mean the END of our evolving, thus our extinction. This line doesn't mean the bible is being proved correct.

    The meaning of this song is the end of the world via NUCLEAR WINTER. "Blackened is the end, winter it will send". Come on.

  • Luke from Manchester, EnglandRead the lyrics and it'ss obvious this son'g sabout the way people are killing the world with pollution.
  • Chad from Grasse, FranceA 1989 interview with James Hetfield in Guitar Mag mentions that this song is about a chicken recipe.
  • Jeff from Austin, TxI love Satan?? Skin the lord??
    How much of a loser do you have to be to have enough time on your hands to A) think you hear backwards words in a song B) take the time to reverse the song and listen to it backwards, and C) listen to the gobbilty-gook of nonsense sounds and pick out ridiculous Satanic phrases??
    This guy needs to discover girls and get a life.
  • Joe from L.a, Cathis song is mostly about hermit crabs and wow bananas taste like sh*t.
  • Matt from Manistee, Mithe peson who said that there was a subliminal mesage is full of sh*t. i just went on a website that said that it was definently a hoax
  • Danny from Des Moines, IaThis song kicks ass. I just go crazy when I hear it. I started growing my hair out when I first heard Master of Puppets in sixth grade so I could bang my head with gusto. I love the complicated structure also because you can easily tell if a person knows Metallica if they know the freaky pattern of this song.
  • Billy from Cresco, PaGreat song..I'd like to find more info about this whole backwards masking thing that JT made reference to. I know Led Zeppelin did it
  • Shane from Tipperary, Irelandactually James was raised in a christian science house not a catholic home.the belief fundementally is your body is a shell for your soul so you don need medical help when your sick because god shall take care of you.dyers eve is about this as is the god that failed!as for blackened its about the world ending
  • Jt from Tullahoma, TnTo Evan from Ottway, it was the first time they did the song live in years, but Metallica was using Blackened to open up their shows back during the Damaged Justice Tour which was back in 88 through 89.
  • Sina from Memphis, TnThis song is also one of Kirk Hammett's most underrated guitar solos...it's absolutely brilliant
  • Evan from Otway, OhMy 3rd favorite song on ...And Justice For All. I love the live version they did at the 2003 "Madly At Anger With the World" tour....I believe that was the first time they ever did it live.
  • Joseph from Union City, Njdefinetly one of their best songs on the justice album....its amazing how good it is
  • Jt from Tullahoma, TnThis song has backward messages. Listen closely backwards, the line: "Opposition...Contradiction...Premonition...Compromise..Agitation...Violation...Mutilation...Planet Dies. Darkness cover" Backwards it is the darkest anti god message of the likes I've never encountered, but in reverse it says, "I love Satan. Yeah he knows, Skin the lord, the lord, skin the lord...He knows, Skin the lord, the lord"
    Creepy, but I spotted it. I saw it on a backmask website, just I thought, damn, that's some powerful lyrics you know? Damn! Metallica rocks forwards and backwards. They got some odd messages though... My email is Darkit2099@aol.com if anybody want's to talk Backmasking.
  • Shelly from Place, WaIf you read the lyrics, it really WOULD make sense that it's based on the "End of Days." True, Metallica doesn't SEEM Christian, BUT they MAY HAVE grown up in a house of faith (as many people have.)
    "Evolution's End" (quote from the song)- Just a side-note... but, Evolution is NOT a proven fact, but rather A THEORY (which so-happens to contradict the Bible).
  • Aaron from Des Moines, IaFYI: JAMES WAS RASISED IN A STRICT CATHOLIC HOME
  • Sidic from Penticton, CanadaAnd Justice For All was an album made to show the flaws in the political and judical circles, not the end of the world!!!!!! WHAT THE HECK!!! WHO SAID THAT???!!!!!
  • Marc from Niagara Falls, Canadasweet song metallica rules!
  • Brian from Houstonia, Mojust an interesting fact for all of you. the intro to this song is played as a recording live because it is played backwards. when metallica wrote it they recorded it then played it backwards for the intro. check out jason newsteds fanpage for a mp3 download of the intro played the way it was first recorded.
  • Josh from Sandy, UtThe best song on "Justice" no battle
  • Jess from Milford, PaThis song is based on assorted social/political matters. Including different reasons for death. Disease, Famine, Hunger, War, Addictions, etc. And actually, Hetfield came from a very religious family.
  • Kyle from Lake Village, Inok that first guy doesnt no what hes talkin about i doubt Metallica ever read the bible let alone right a song about it(besides creeping death) buts it is the end of the world and the first song of the best alumb ever
  • Aaron from Des Moines, Iano it's not about the end of in nuclear war. it's about the way the end of the world is written in the bible.
  • Aaron from Des Moines, Iano it's not about the end of world war 1. it's about the way the end of the world is written in the bible.
  • Nick from Hartline, Wai think the whipping dance might be fire? possibly? i don't know, just a guess
  • John from Cape Coral, FlThe drums in this song are freakin awesome
  • Tim from Leuven, BelgiumOne of their best songs ever
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