Metal Music

Metallica – For Whom the Bell Tolls

For Whom The Bell Tolls is the third track off Ride the Lightning, the sophomore album by Metallica.

The chromatic introduction (which is usually mistaken for an electric guitar) is in fact Cliff Burton playing his bass guitar through distortion and wah-wah. The intro was written by Burton before joining Metallica. Burton plays it in a 12-minute jam at a battle of the bands with his first band “Agent of Misfortune.” After the introduction, the bass settles into a steady triplet rhythm.

The song is about a section of the novel For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, in which International Brigades soldiers of the Spanish Civil War attempt to escape the fascists with their stolen horses and are killed by enemy aircraft on a hill on which they are surrounded. “Make his fight on the hill in the early day…”

The original studio version with a length of 5:10. The guitars sound slightly sharper than a standard-tuned guitar should sound. It is rumored, however, that this is because the song was sped up after recording. If the song was sped up too much or was sped up using low quality means, it would raise the pitch of the recording, thus apparently sharpening the guitar’s tuning. However, another rumor says that the guitars were intentionally tuned up to match the pitch of the tolling bells.

The “tolling bell” at the beginning of the song is actually Lars hitting an anvil that was in the studio where they recorded the song. The “bells” of the intro are sampled and played at Chicago’s Soldier Field, whenever the Chicago Bears of the National Football League score a touchdown.


Ok Mexico city, let’s get together man-
Hey, hey hey hey-
(Hey, hey hey hey)-
Hey, hey hey hey-
(Hey, hey hey hey)-
Keep it going strong-
Yeah, yeah, you heard the man-
From the album “Ride the lightning”-
For whom the bell tolls-
Hey hey hey hey, come on!-
Make his fight on the hill in the early day-
Constant chill deep inside-
Shouting gun, on they run through the endless grey-
On they fight, are they right, yes, by who’s to say?-
For a hill men would kill, why? They do not know-
Stiffened wounds test there their pride-
Men of five, still alive through the raging glow-
Gone insane from the pain that they surely know-
For whom the bell tolls-
Time marches on (what is it?)-
(For whom the bell tolls)-
Take a look to the sky just before you die-
It is the last time you will-
Blackened roar massive roar fills the crumbling sky-
Shattered goal fills his soul with a ruthless cry-
Stranger now, are his eyes, to this mystery-
He hears the silence so loud-
Crack of dawn, all is gone except the will to be-
Now they see what will be, blinded eyes to see-
For whom the bell tolls-
Time marches on (give it to me)-
(For whom the bell tolls)-
Fuck yeah!-

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