Harvester Of Sorrow

Album: ...And Justice for All (1988)
Charted: 20
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  • Lyrics
  • Common consensus indicates that the song tells the story of a drunken and drugged man who torments his family before cracking and murdering them. Other interpretations include abortion and slavery, although the latter is a bit of a stretch. By all accounts, the "harvester" is a metaphor for something - be it a figure or an object - that serves as a source of pain, misery, and anguish. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    burntoast - New York, NY
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Comments: 16

  • Magnus from NjI think that this song could be linked with the Holocaust, prisoners in the concentration/death camps, and the prison guards.

    "Let the beatings begin
    Distributor of pain
    Your loss becomes my gain," is about the way the guards treated the prisoners, and how the deaths of the prisoners was appealing to prison guards. That one lyric, "Infanticide" is talking about all the children/babies that were murdered in those camps, and plenty of other places.
    "My life suffocates
    Planting seeds of hate
    I’ve loved, turned to hate
    Trapped far beyond my fate

    I give, you take
    This life that I forsake
    Been cheated of my youth
    You turned this lie to truth," is from the viewpoint of a prisoner.

    "All have said their prayers
    Invade their nightmares
    To see into my eyes
    You’ll find where murder lies," Is the prisoners about to be gassed.
  • Rick from Las Vegas, NvThis song is a classic Metallica tune! They first introduced it LIVE in concert before the album "And Justice For All" was released. They played it on the 1988 "Monsters of Rock" tour, when they played on the same bill as Dokken, Van Halen, and The Scorpions. It's always been a powerful song, and one of their slowest and heaviest tunes. It's definitely a dark tune.
  • Generic from Kingston, OnTwo years before this song's live debut, a book was written called The Harvester of Sorrow. It is almost definitely the inspiration for this song. Although the Grim Reaper is often called the Harvester of Sadness, the lyrics of the song seem to refer directly to the events of the book.

    The book was about the Holodomor - the Ukrainian Holocaust which nobody ever hears about. Holodomor means "death by hunger" because most people starved or became sick due to lack of food. It happened during the Soviet "Collectivization" in which farms were shut down and centralized, and crops were confiscated in order to eliminate Ukrainian independence. The symbolism in the song, of sowing the seeds of death, are similar to references in the book to the mass killing disguised as improved farming.

    At least five million people died, possibly as many as 10 million making it potentially a bigger massacre than the Holocaust.
  • Joe from St Paul, Mn Read "Misery" by Stephen King. I'm pretty sure the song is based on that book. Not the first time James has written a song about a story. "The Call of Kathulu" and "The Thing That Should Not Be" were written about stories by H.P. Lovecraft. Def check him out if you like authors.
  • Jacob from Jefferson, OhTo me this song sort of seems to be about how the devil feeds on sorrow when he ruins someone's life. It could also be seen as being about drugs because the dealers rely on your sorrow to buy them and they harvest your money.
  • Ashley from Panama City, Fli love this song!
    james hetfield is the sexiest man ever.
    & sings like no f--king other.
  • Grant from Bedford, TxThe title, Harvester of Sorrow, is a metaphor for a comb. Kirk Hammett came up with the title shortly after coming to grips with he fact that he is going bald. Read the lyrics with this in mind and you will see, anger, misery, been cheated of my youth, you'll suffer unto me, your loss becomes my gain, pure black (hair) looking clear (bald), my (the comb's) work is done soon here.
  • Matt from Struthers, Ohits just an amazing song. my 2nd fav song by them.
  • Aarron from Toledo, OhI personally believe this song refers to the draft in war. America sends out young soldiers as they fight for their country without choice and then return with no reward. Your life back at home begins in square one again after death and murder and disturbing images haunt u for the rest of your life. Its pretty much what war does to your life that you once knew. Read the lyrics for yourself.

    My Life Suffocates
    Planting Seeds of Hate
    I've Loved, Turned to Hate
    Trapped Far Beyond My Fate
    I Give
    You Take
    This Life That I Forsake
    Been Cheated of My Youth
    You Turned this Lie to Truth

    You'll Suffer unto Me

    Harvester of Sorrow
    Language of the Mad
    Harvester of Sorrow

    Pure Black Looking Clear
    My Work Is Done Soon Here
    Try Getting Back to Me
    Get Back Which Used to Be
    Drink up
    Shoot in
    Let the Beatings Begin
    Distributor of Pain
    Your Loss Becomes My Gain

    You'll Suffer unto Me

    Harvester of Sorrow
    Language of the Mad
    Harvester of Sorrow

    All Have Said Their Prayers
    Invade Their Nightmares
    See into My Eyes
    You'll Find Where Murder Lies


    Harvester of Sorrow
    Language of the Mad
    Harvester of Sorrow
    Language of the Mad
    Harvester of Sorrow

  • Diego from Los Angeles, CaThis is an great song. I think it has to do with the a Grim Reaper. I think so because the Grim Reaper is the Harvester of Sorrow. Although it also may have reference to the Four Horsemen because they also bring about sorrow. Metallica does call themselves the Four Horsemen. It's one of the greatest songs ever!!!
  • Deco from Sligo, IrelandI know that "One" and "Justice are masterpieces but this is fastly becoming my favourite track on the album. Unfortunately in Russia a fan was beaten to death by guards in the crowd while Metallica played this live on stage. A little bit of histiry with the song that just wasnt needed. Metallica were irate when they discovered what had happened
  • Dee from Northfield, IlThe intro for this song is used as the walk-up music for Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko.
  • Justin from Monroeville, PaI don't know why more people haven't commented. This song is powerful At the beginning the build up slowly works you into it. Then you can just feel the evil and the hopelessness in the riff, and the guitar solo conveys the despair and sorrow so well its scary. This is my favorite song of all time.
  • Evan from Otway, OhPersonally my second favorite song on this album. Its one of their underrated songs, which is a shame...if only people would listen to the whole album!
  • Michael from Greenwood, Ini love when the palm muting come in on the main riff it rocks
  • Steven from Viking, CanadaI like this song i think it one of the best on the album
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