Holier Than Thou

Album: Metallica (1991)


  • Bob Rock, who produced the Metallica album, thought that this track was about him. In fact it concerns singer James Hetfield's irritation with those in the music industry who are quick to point the finger at other people's mistakes.
  • In a 2001 interview for Playboy magazine, Hetfield rated this as "one of the sillier songs."
  • Rock recalled to in a 2011 interview with Musicradar.com how he originally saw this as a single release. Said the producer: "The band still teases me about this song because it was the first track that jumped out at me as a potential single. I should point out that at this stage in cutting the record there were no lyrics, so initially, something about the song spoke to me. It rocked in a very aggressive way that said 'Metallica' to me.

    As we got deeper into the record, the tide turned and other songs blossomed and became bigger and turned into things like 'Enter Sandman.', whereas Holier Than Though… great song, not a single. I still like its energy and tempo. It's got such a lethal bite to it. Every time I see the band, they always say the same thing: 'Holier Than Thou, huh?' They'll never let me live it down. What can I say?"

Comments: 5

  • Zander from Los Angeles"Judge not lest ye be judged yourself" comes from a Bible verse- Matthew 7:1-3: "Judge not, that ye be not judged."
  • Zero from Nowhere, NjScott, also listen to Sanitarium, the riff right after Kirk's third solo. Da na da da da! Da na da da da! Doesn't that sound a lot like that Tom Sawyer riff? They even thank Rush in the liner notes to the Master of Puppets album.
  • Scott from Vafb, CaThere is a nod to RUSH's Witch Hunt with the lyrics: Point the finger, slow to understand arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand. The Witch Hunt lyrics are : Quick to judge, Quick to anger, Slow to understand/Ignorance and prejudice And fear Walk hand in hand. According to RUSH they and Metallica were good friends and shared a mutual respect for the other's work.-Scott, Ca.
  • Steve from Lala Vile, Ini thought it was about lies and how people litterly strangle themselves by covering more lies with more lies
  • Nick from Cairns, AustraliaWell here comes the first comment on this songfact.....That talkbox is so funny to hear in the begining of the song. Great sound, the solo, the rhythm guitars, drums, and bass (particularly after the solo, even though its just the chorus riff on bass). Finally, as every comment on a songfacts page should have, the song is overall full of awesomeness!!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

AdeleFact or Fiction

Despite her reticent personality, Adele's life and music are filled with intrigue. See if you can spot the true tales.

Gilby ClarkeSongwriter Interviews

The Guns N' Roses rhythm guitarist in the early '90s, Gilby talks about the band's implosion and the side projects it spawned.

AC/DCFact or Fiction

Does Angus really drink himself silly? Did their name come from a sewing machine? See if you can spot the real stories about AC/DC.

Weird Al YankovicFact or Fiction

Did Al play on a Beach Boys record? Did he have beef with George Lucas and Coolio? See if you can spot weird but true stories.

Ed Roland of Collective SoulSongwriter Interviews

The stories behind "Shine," "December," "The World I Know" and other Collective Soul hits.

LecraeSongwriter Interviews

The Christian rapper talks about where his trip to Haiti and his history of addiction fit into his songs.