Album: Death Magnetic (2008)
Charted: 48 50


  • Metallica premiered this song on August 9, 2008 at the Ozzfest in Dallas, Texas. It was the first track from Death Magnetic to be performed live in its entirety.
  • This topped the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. It was Metallica's seventh song to reach #1 on that listing.

Comments: 11

  • Eric from IndianaThe guitar riffs at the start of the song and at the end of the song, 3 fast 3 slow and 3 fast, is Morse Code for SOS. So the song begins and ends with an SOS call, plus a couple thrown in the song, as well. Metallica is so creative and deep like that.
  • Matt from NjI believe most of you who said the songs about suicide are 100% right it's definitely not about abortion but I have a little more to add. This song was written at a time in their careers where they made it already they were going strong for at least 20 years by that point. So that seemed fishy to me because why would any of the band write a song about suicide when they were on top of the world at that points. So what I think is that the song is about suicide but most importantly it's about the reason certain members could have felt suicidal and that reason is their struggle with drug addiction. From personal experience I never considered myself suicidal but once I started my struggle with drug addiction I thought of suicide more than I'd like to admit. It's the way your brain is when your on that stuff the thoughts that go through your head everyday u would seem crazy to Charles Manson. Like I was shocked just how gone my mind got. Now to get to the point sorry it took so long. They had suicide on their minds because every junkie does. And the little proof I have is the song lyrics " Death, won't you let me stay?" which seems like he's just saying he tried to kill him self and failed but I think it means he's overdosed and lived so now the only way out is suicide. And the other line "Death, won't you call your name?" Relates to what I said about the other line. Idk if I'm just talking out my ass but I thought this was interesting possibly.
  • Yavuz from Ankara, TurkeyDuring WWII, high ranking German soldiers used to carry cyanide pills with themselves so that in case they had nowhere to escape from the enemy, they would just take the pill and kill themselves rather than getting caught and tortured to death or something. Hence, this song is clearly about suicide.
  • Joe from Clemmons, NcThis song is about abortion, written from the point of view of the unborn baby. Note the picture of the ultrasound that adorns the Cyanide lyrics in the booklet that comes with the Death Magnetic CD. (You can find this same ultrasound picture if you research Cyanide on Wikipedia). Anyway, here are just some of the most obvious lyrics that point to abortion. "Sleep, and dream of this, death angel's kiss, brings final bliss--completely! (The "Death Angel: is the abortionist. His "kiss" is anytime he comes in contact with you. His kiss brings death) "Break this empty shell forevermore" (The amniotic sac that surrounds an unborn baby is the baby's "shell". The abortionist breaks that shell while he/she is exterminating the unborn baby). Now here comes the part where the unborn baby is talking to his would-be mother..."Say, is that rain or are they tears? (The baby sarcastically asks if the mother could possibly be crying--given the fact that she is a hardened woman) "That stained your concrete face for years" (Her "concrete face" is a way of saying that she has no emotion or feeling) "The crying, weeping, shedding strife" (She attempts to "shed strife" by having abortions, as she sheds the developing baby inside her) "Year after year, life after life" (Means that she has had many abortions, over the course of many years). So--is the unborn baby welcoming death? At first, it would appear so. But if you consider the song as a whole you will see that the baby is speaking in dramatic terms. The baby is resigned to the fact that he is going to be killed--but clearly is angry at the would-be mother--taking the opportunity to tell her just how heartless she is before she has a chance to snuff him out. Finally, he decides that he would rather live and cries out. "Death, won't you let me stay?"
  • Tessa from Washingtonville, PaThis is really heavy metal.... I like it, strangely. Catchy...
  • Kirk Hammet from San Fransico, CaThis one was mainly about committing suicide. It's like how most suicide victims feel there's nothing to live for, they might as well have "already died". Suicide just makes it an official "funeral" they've "been waiting for". And as for, "Death, hear me call your name...won't you let me stay", it's referring to when people say "Why won't I die?" or "Just kill me now!". Although lyrically, it's a pretty morbid song, I must say it's pretty fun to play. Bill, Nick, Kody, and N, thanks for supporting one of my favorite songs and for supporting Death Magnetic. The longer the fans support us, the longer we'll play kick ass shows and write kick ass albums!
  • Adel from Jonesborough, Tnabortion sounds plausable... idk...
  • N from Heusduh, Netherlandsi thought it was about abortion or something, suicide ive already died, like it cant be born so it has already died, death, wont you let me stay, that it doesnt have the choice to live on this world, so it wont let the child stay,

    just a thought
  • Kody from North Bonneville, Waisnt this song about commiting suicide?
  • Nick from Cairns, AustraliaEmpty they say, death, won't you let me STAY!!!!
  • Bill from Waco, TxSweet song, go Metallica
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Charlie Daniels

Charlie DanielsSongwriter Interviews

Charlie discusses the songs that made him a Southern Rock icon, and settles the Devil vs. Johnny argument once and for all.

Bass Player Scott Edwards

Bass Player Scott EdwardsSong Writing

Scott was Stevie Wonder's bass player before becoming a top session player. Hits he played on include "I Will Survive," "Being With You" and "Sara Smile."

Song Titles That Inspired Movies

Song Titles That Inspired MoviesSong Writing

Famous songs that lent their titles - and in some cases storylines - to movies.

Motley Crue

Motley CrueFact or Fiction

Was Dr. Feelgood a dentist? Did the "Crüecifixion" really happen?

John Parr

John ParrSongwriter Interviews

John tells the "St. Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)" story and explains why he disappeared for so long.

Don Brewer of Grand Funk

Don Brewer of Grand FunkSongwriter Interviews

The drummer and one of the primary songwriters in Grand Funk talks rock stardom and Todd Rundgren.