Welcome Home (Sanitarium)

Album: Master Of Puppets (1986)


  • A sanitarium is a mental institution that an inmate can leave at his own free will. The song is written from the perspective of one of these inmates - he's afraid to leave because of what's out there.
  • This is somewhat inspired by the 1975 movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, starring Jack Nicholson as a mental patient.
  • Metallica members James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, and Kirk Hammett wrote this.
  • The chorus was supposed to be sung in a higher pitch, but while recording the vocals, Hetfield realized it wasn't going to work that way and sang it lower.
  • Metallica incorporated a lot of different sounds into their Master Of Puppets album, with lots of variation among the songs. In a Songfacts interview with Flemming Rasmussen, who was the engineer and co-producer, he explained: "We used six mics for each guitar, so we had a full stereo setup. For the first rhythm sound, we would record that in stereo - that would be the main thing. And then we would start mixing them to a mono track - that's when we started doubling. Because again, in this day and age, you would just do more tracks, but we were limited to 24 tracks times two, because we had synchronizers. I would change that constantly to suit the song. I would combine any of these in the way that I thought the song should sound."
  • On the HBO special Paradise Lost: The Murder At Robin Hood Hills (West Memphis), this song was played in the opening shots. This marks the first time Metallica ever let their music be used in a movie or soundtrack. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jodie - Jacksonville, AR
  • In the original demo tape of this song, the lyrics were very much different. The demo tape included no chorus; it contained basically the same tune, but halfway in the song cuts off into the bass Interlude of "Orion" which is another song on the album. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    JT - Tullahoma, TN
  • Limp Bizkit performed this on Metallica's MTV Icon special in May 2003. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Nick - Paramus, NJ

Comments: 51

  • Sunil Saldanha from BombayThis song makes me tearful each time. There's so much soul in the lyrics, vocals and musicals. Favorite and most underrated songs of Metallica.
  • Bruce from Hervey BayDid sanatorium have a film clip?
  • Penguin from The Front DeskHas anyone else played Escape directly after this and gotten chills?
  • Covid from Locked In My HouseThis is about how people are feeling about being safer at home
  • Vlad from BulgariaAm I the only person in the world who figured out that the Sanitarium is a metaphor for the stage? "Moon is full, never seems to change" - the spotlight always shining in the lead singer's eyes; "Dream the same thing every night" - the same setlist every night; "I see our freedom in my sight" - yeah it is, on your left and right; "Build my fear of what's out there" - well, that's us, the audience. Despite what he looks like on stage, James too has stage fright like most performers.
    And so on. There's so many layers to their lyrics, I don't think even they were conscious of that when they were writing these songs. Incredible, really!
  • Jacob from Jackson, TnBullet for My Valentine has also covered this song.
  • Jacob from Jackson, TnJames is depicting his home as a sanitarium, and how he was held down with his Christian Science household. Dyers Eve also depicts this aspect.
  • Mandy from Hammond, InTo me this song is about growing up with parents that never let me go outside,I was always grounded.Always locked in the house.Great song!!!
  • Ray from San Jose, CaIf i have the story correct, hetfield's dad was an abusive alcoholic. This song is about hetfield's home life. unlike other forms of music (rap) where the theme of the song is pretty self-evident, in rock, metaphors are used. if you have lived in a dysfunctional alcoholic family, you would completely understand how home is like a sanitarium. a place where the emotionally and mentally sick are kept with no hope for escape.
  • Dylan from Mora, Mni beleive this song is about being trapped in an emotional cage at home, misunderstood of the way you are by the parents or whoever you live with.
  • Adam from Yarmouth, MeMy all time favorite metallica song it is crazy awesome!!!!!!!!!!
  • Hetfield from Port Louis, MauritiusThis song rocks!!! Metallica- my greatest band ever...
  • The Rev Jr from New York ,awesome song, my personal metallica fave with master of puppets #2 and one #3
  • Alex from Wayland, MnI wouldn't say its the greatest song but it rocks
  • Myra from Chicago, IlOMG This song is a masterpiece! Metallica knows what they're talkin about in this song. Scary how accurate it is. METALLICA ROCKS
  • Lars Ulrich from CopenhagenOne of my all time faves. I have been learing how to play it
  • Joel from Columbia, ScFirst off (the guy from AZ): Learn how to spell.
    Second (Mike,Canada): Most patients were sent there against their will
    Third (I promise to get off my high horse): The song was/is inspired by Ken Kesey's novel and no, they can't leave at their own free will. That is just illinformed.
  • Ej from Brownwood, Txthis is the greatest song ever written by any band.
  • Syton from Colorado Springs, CoI've been in a sanitarium as well, so this song means something to me. It actually helped in the long run; I'd likely be dead now if I hadn't gone; but at that time, it was hell. Put simple and true. So I'd agree with a lot of James's lyrics here from that standpoint.
  • Joel from Columbia, ScActually, a sanatarium was a place for sick people to get better ie TB or drug/drink problems.
    A sanatorium was an outdated term for a mental hospital. I agree with the patient pov thing and the lyrics do back that up.
  • Cunt from My Mums Pussy, Azthis song is about a movie about a mental instituet the movie is called "one flew over the kokoos nest"
  • Billy from Cresco, PaGreat song..I love it
  • Evan from Otway, OhThis is my 4th favorite Metallica song. It really gives you the feel that your in a sanitarium. As for Limp Bizkit...SCREW THEM! THERE SHOULD BE A LAW AGAINST LETTING THIS...THIS...HIP-HOP...ROCK BAND...THING TOUCH A MASTERPEICE LIKE THIS!!! *pants heavily* Now that thats over, yea, this is a kick-rectum song.
  • Brooke from Otway, OhMy favorite Metallica song. "Welcome to where time stands still, no one leaves and no one will, moon is full never seems to chance, just labeled mentally deranged, dream the same thing everynight, i see our freedom in my sight..." The lyrics are so genious, and it never gets old.
  • Joel from Columbia, ScHaving spent time in a psychiatric facility, I have a feel for this song. It is very sad and disturbing if you really listen to the lyrics.
  • Alex from Londond, Englandhelena was released in 1999 so there is no chance of it having any influence on this song at all since it was released in 1986. this song was composed by james hetfield lars ulrich. the main riff is very reminisant to that of the underground metal band bleak house on their song rainbow warrior.
  • Michael from Atlanta, GaI love metallica, but I just got into the Misfits recently, checkin out what influenced metallica. I was listinin to a song called Helena by them and well it does sound like Sanitarium includin the words a bit.
  • Tiffany from Conroe, TxI love this song. I love Metallica. But, this song always makes me think of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. If you understand the novel, you understand the song.
  • David from Port Hawkesbury, CanadaThis song contains a tribute to Rushs' "Tom Sawyer" at 4:06 - 4:21 and at 4:43; Rush is also thanked in the albums' credits. The riff during these parts are identical except for distortion
  • Sid from Mumbai, Indiathis is about the times when one couldnt leave a sanitarium of their own free will.
    its about a dude really obsessed with getting out of there
  • Robert from Powder Springs, GaI had a long explanation for this, but its a little late and my brain died, I'll have to look more into the lyrics before I comment again.

    Anyway, GREAT song.
  • Josh from Brisbane, Australia'CHORUS'!!!
  • Jesse from Bowmanville, CanadaThe riffs after the second choris (i cant spell that word) is identical to the riffs is "Helena" by The Misfits...
  • Adam from Manchester, Englandive been a metallica fan for a few years now, but im discovering new and excellent songs by them like this one.
  • Brandon from Jericho, NyYou can hear a guitar squeek about 1:13 into the song.
  • Matt from Gueydan, LaIf you really want an example of corruption of sanitariums of the past watch the movie "house on haunted hill." It is a very freaky movie and coupled by the sounds of this song it makes it worse. So try it out if you would like a scare.
  • Brett from Pittsford, NySanitariums around in the late 1800's used mental patients as labrats with some butched brain surgery which most of the time resulted in making them into potatos
  • Laurie from Philly, PaThis was the first song I ever liked by them. It freakin ROCKS!!!!!. This song got me to listen to more songs from the band and now they are my favorite band!!!!
  • Hildur from Reykjavik, IcelandOne of my favourite songs by Metallica (not as good as Fade to Black though). The solo in the end is so..good.
    This song is so good at concerts, because you can just let yourself loose and scream and sing and do whatever. Crazy.
  • Russ from Elkton, WaI think that this song had somewhat to do with James Hetfield's problems with drinking, but at the same time I think it is an awesome song that they never regreted writing, as some know James Hetfield checked himself into rehab during the making of the some kind of monster cd. I personally think that this is one of their best songs....
  • Anthony from Simi Valley, Cathis is to neil and to any other person who thinks metallica ripped off a song, if metallica really wanted to rip a song off they would just do a cover of it like they did with garage inc. , which makes me think, they made money by playing other peoples songs and putting them on cd, but they must've had permission to put them on cd, i mean honestly you cant stop me from playing Sad but true live at my gigs
  • Bo from Overton, NvI'd like to say that, to me, the song is about corruption in a sanitarium, or any other mental institution, and the lyrics are from the pov of a patient planning escape.
  • Neil from London, EnglandFirst of all i would like to say that i love this song...but what i found on the net today opens a lot of questions about it's origions - http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=10832 -o seriously recommend everyone checks this out, i think it inspired the song, but was never credited with it, and is therefore a rip off
  • Chris from Melbourne, Australiafavourite song ever.
    i cant help feeling good when i hear it
    the start riff is genius - reminiscent of fade to black and one i think
    the last solo is soo good, sometimes you hear a song that is great but the solo ruins it but in sanitarium it just makes it so much better
  • Michael from Melbourne, AustraliaGood song, but not as good as it's Ride The Lightning counterpart Fade To Black
  • Ben from Ottawa, CanadaThis is Metallica's best song by far, whether its the lyrics, the singing or the guitar that gets you, something will.
  • Philip from Colorado Springs, CoFirst off i'd like to say that this is definitly one of the most mentally frightening songs ive ever heard by Metallica. Sometimes, listening to this song, i get a immense anxiety, like feeling trapped. This is definitly a masterpeice as well as a horror story in hiding.
  • Oliver from London, EnglandWhen played live the part with harmonics, on the last round of dee dum, it's played a fith up.
  • Mike from Drayton Valley, CanadaSanitarium is an insane assylum where patients submit theselves, and can leave when ever they please... this song is directed towards people who belong in a menatl institution... hense the name "Welcome Home". An insane assylum is where crazy people belong, it is the only place that can really call home.
  • Fred from Myrtle Beach, SdCliff Burton had a big part in this song he helped write it. now a Sanitaryum is an institue were they can leave at there own free will A Sanitarium is a hlding cell for the mental people who are a danger to socity.
  • Rudi from Melbourne, Australiathe chorus was supposed to be an entire octave higher.
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