ManUNkind

Album: Hardwired... to Self-Destruct (2016)

Songfacts®:

  • The opening instrumental section features Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo fingerpicking a melodic bassline alongside James Hetfield's clean guitar. Trujillo's bassline is reminiscent of the late Cliff Burton's playing style. He told Exclaim! he penned the opening instrumental in memory of the former Metallica bassist, who was killed in 1986 when Metallica's tour bus skidded off an icy road in Sweden.

    "When I had written that, I was definitely thinking about Cliff," Trujillo said. "In a way, that to me is a tip of the hat to Cliff Burton and the spirit of Cliff. If you hear that little thing before 'ManUNkind', for me personally, that was with Cliff in mind."

    Trujillo joined Metallica in 2003, following bassist Jason Newsted's tenure with the band.
  • Lyrically, the song is about man's sinful nature and how evil entered the world after Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden:

    Garden
    Of Eden, so simple and pure
    Greedy
    Needy, must we have more?


    James Hetfield explained the song's meaning to Metallica's fan-club magazine So What:

    "[This song is] biblical, the Garden of Eden. 'Wow, you've got it all, but you want more?' You've got all this greatness and then it's torn… the biblical story… but let's get back to the goodness of man. Man is sinful and has to crawl and try to make up, it's like we're always down below in the higher power's eyes, [and] we have to prove ourselves over and over daily that we're not evil. And having faith in this world [where] everyone's out for themselves. Finding the negative in a bunch of stuff is… at the end of the day, have faith in man. Instead of just blaming it on mankind. Yeah, there are some unkind people out there, but having faith that we get through that, or they learn about it, or somehow they become more part of the solution instead of the problem."
  • The video was directed by Swedish film and video director Jonas Åkerlund, and is described as "the ultimate tribute to the forefathers of black metal." Åkerlund previously worked with Metallica on the band's covers of "Turn The Page" and " Whiskey In The Jar."

    Åkerlund was the original drummer of Bathory, one of the first black metal bands and the video shows scenes from his motion picture Lords of Chaos, which is the story of the Norwegian group Mayhem. They are regarded as one of the pioneers of the Norwegian black metal scene and had ties to some very dark activities such as church-burning, and even murder.
  • Metallica performed the song live for the first time during their September 10, 2017 gig in Paris.

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