Present us with our intro section, which kicks off with the build on the E5 power chord. The next section includes a harmony arpeggio figure that is based around E minor, D major and C major, with the arpeggios switching between the major and minor and diatonic sus4 or sus#4 arpeggios, depending on what chord is being played underneath. The sus#4 arpeggio is performed over the C5 chord, which is chord IV of the parent key of G major. A 4th above C when using the notes of G major is the note of F# which is a raised 4th. The intro concludes with a B/D# implying E Harmonic minor, although we conclude with the chords of G5 and F5; the F5 a semi tone away from our “key chord” of E minor, which is a typical metal interval.
Introduces a variation on the main riff, which is based around a drive open 6th string accented with two note inverted power chords. The tempo of the track is 175 bpm, which is very fast, so make sure you build up your speed gradually. You also want to make sure your picking hand is precise and accurate. Pay attention to the occasional sixteenth note rhythmic variations on the 6th string. This riff is concluded with the chord of F5.
Illustrates the first part of our verse riff, and kicks off with the same progression seen in the previous section, following the intro. Bar 21 includes a new riff based around the E Blues scale, and is reminiscent of the type of line heard in “Enter Sandman”, although played much faster! Bar 22 introduces the original riff but the end of this four-bar cycle has another riff with the inverted power chords of Bb5/F, A5/E, F5/C and Eb5/Bb, performing on the drum accents.
Include another eight-bar cycle of the verse progression which is the same as the previous section, although we have a final bar that concludes the verse. This bar features the sliding power chords of A5 and Bb5, but here we have a different time signature of ¾. This bar is reminiscent to a figure heard in “Master of Puppets”.
Sees our verse section repeat in its entirety; make sure your picking hand stays very relaxed as you’ll need a lot of stamina to keep those constant eighth note down strokes. As well as the occasional galloping sixteenth note flurry. Bar 50 is an additional riff that follows our drum fill leading to the chorus, and is made up of two beats of muted sixteenth notes followed by the E5 power chord performed as eighth notes on beats 3 and 4.
Illustrate our chorus section with a shift to a half-time feel, although the tempo is constant. We also modulate to a new key, D major, although our tonal centre is around the III chord of F#5 resulting in the Phrygian mode. The riff is based around the F#5 power chord with a single note figure that uses notes from both F# Phrygian and the F# blues scale. Bar 54 includes a descending F# Phrygian line which is performed in a 4th harmony to the second guitar. At bar 57 we introduce the Ev5 chord with the verse cycle concluding with the chords of E minor and B/D#, implying E Harmonic minor.
Sees our chorus section repeat, with bar 67 concluding with the same figure we saw at the end of our verse. At bar 69 we leave the open 6th string sustaining for two bars, as a link to the middle 8 solo sections. During these two bars, a slightly slower tempo of 170 bpm is introduced, with a hi-hat count on beat 4 preceding the solo section.
Illustrates our first solo section, and is performed over clean chorus soaked chords reminiscent of both “Nothing Else Matters’ and “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”. This section includes a twin guitar harmony section based on ideas heard in “My Friend Misery”, performed over the chords of Emadd9, C major, B7, Aadd1, Bmadd9 and G5. The main guitar part shown features a melodic line based around E Aeolian followed by the arpeggios of E minor, D major, C major (#4), B7, with the B7 chord embellished with the A diminished 7th arpeggio climbing in minor 3rd intervals.
Conclude the eight-bar figure with a sliding 5th interval figure that outlines the accompanying chords.
Repeats the arpeggio section but is concluded with the E notes over the final E minor chords. This note is held for two bars, reintroducing the tempo of 175 bpm and returning to the original feel of the first verse; in other words very fast!
Include another riff that precedes our verse and includes fast sixteenth-note picking on the open 6th string accented with the chords of E minor and B/D#, once again following a drum fill, so keep it tight!
And its solo time, with the focus on Kirk’s lead style. We kick off with some wah fuelled double stops based around E Dorian and E minor pentatonic, concluding with a signature Santana inspired unison bend.
Include a two-string arpeggio based around Amadd9 and C major 7th. This figure is performed with alternate picking, but you could also include a pull off on the 1st string to make things a little easier.
Is classic Kirk, with a rapid-fire E minor pentatonic repetition figure performed on the 2nd and 3rd strings. This lick concludes with a whole tone bend.
Includes a descending E Aeolian pattern performed with alternate picking with a slightly more sedate eighth note rhythm.
Include a single string fast ascending alternate picking figure that uses a sixteenth note rhythm. This line is based around the E Harmonic minor scale for a stylistic edge to the solo.
Features a climbing legato figure on the top two strings based around the E minor pentatonic scale and an E minor triad arpeggio. This lick is fast and includes some position shifts and left hand stretches so take your time building this lick up to speed.
Is the final bar of our solo, and is a pretty tricky bar to get your fingers around. This bar includes a pretty basic pull off figure, two fretted notes with the open 1st string, similar to a lick heard in “Enter Sandman”, but this lick uses a cross rhythm. The rhythm is based on a quarter note triplet idea, but each of the quarter not triplets is divided into an eighth note triplet, giving the effect over playing “across” the beat. This figure concludes with a high string bend up at the 22nd fret of the 1st string.
Includes our tight drum fill unison figure that concludes our track.
Getting the sound
The Metallica tone has set the overall tone for metal for the past 30 years, and comprises of a thick distorted tone and shimmering chorus soaked cleans. Both James and Kirk are long time endorsers of ESP guitars, loaded with EMG pickups. James favours Mesa Boogie amps, typically the legendary Mark II C+, although he also uses Deizel and Marshall. He has also been bending in a Fractal that goes directly to the front of house. For cleans, he uses Roland JC120’s. Kirk favours his own signature model Randall as well as his own brand of pedals. He also uses Fractal effects. For this session,
I used my Music Man tribute Axis running into my Boogie JP2-C, in the classic Mark II C+ mode. I have some mid’s scooped, but not fully, as you want there to be something in the middle of the mix. I ran this into a Two Notes Torpedo studio using an IR of a classic Mesa Recto 4x12 cab with a Royer Ribbon mic and a dynamic 57 for some upper frequencies. For cleans on the backing track, I used the clean channel of a Mesa TC50 with an IR of a JC 120 cab. I added a vintage boss chorus plugin from my UAD 2 satellite. I also added some guitar harmonies using an ebow during the harmony lead section.