Creeping Death

Last updated
"Creeping Death"
Metallica - Creeping Death cover.jpg
Single by Metallica
from the album Ride the Lightning
B-side
ReleasedNovember 23, 1984 [1]
Format
Recorded
Genre Thrash metal
Length6:36
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Metallica singles chronology
"Jump in the Fire"
(1984)
"Creeping Death"
(1984)
"Master of Puppets"
(1986)
Audio sample
Creeping Death

"Creeping Death" is a song by the American heavy metal band Metallica, released as the lead and only commercial single from their second studio album Ride the Lightning (1984) ("Fade to Black" and "For Whom the Bell Tolls", from the same album, were issued as promotional singles). Written from the perspective of the Angel of Death, it describes the tenth plague of Egypt. One of Metallica's most frequently performed songs, it has been played live 1,458 times (third only to "Seek & Destroy" at 1,484 and "Master of Puppets", at 1,553), [2] and it has occasionally been used on various tours as the opening song of the band's set. [3] It stands as a classic example of the band's thrash style, albeit slower than the material on their first album, Kill 'Em All . The song's middle section, with its ominous chants of "Die!" set to a phrygian mode chord progression, is a fan participation staple during Metallica shows.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Metallica American heavy metal band

Metallica is an American heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, California by drummer Lars Ulrich and vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield, and has been based in San Francisco, California for most of its career. The group's fast tempos, instrumentals and aggressive musicianship made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. Metallica's current lineup comprises founding members Hetfield and Ulrich, longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassists Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted are former members of the band.

A lead single is the first single to be released from a studio album, by a musician or a band, usually before the album itself is released.

Contents

The single was released through Music for Nations in the UK and France. The B-sides were the cover songs "Am I Evil?" (originally by Diamond Head) and "Blitzkrieg" (originally by Blitzkrieg). Together these covers were known as Garage Days Revisited, which set the stage for Metallica's next cover album, The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited EP.

Music for Nations is a British independent record label focusing mainly on rock and metal. It was a subsidiary of the larger label distributor Zomba Records, which was a division of BMG and later Sony Music Entertainment.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom (UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

The artwork was done by Alvin Petty. The logo and the song's title were added with a plastic layover to the existing artwork. Kirk Hammett had seen the picture hanging up at Petty's house and remarked that it would be perfect for the single and picture-disk that were about to be finished.

Kirk Hammett American musician

Kirk Lee Hammett is an American musician who has been lead guitarist and a contributing songwriter for the heavy metal band Metallica since 1983. Before joining Metallica he formed and named the band Exodus. In 2003, Hammett was ranked 11th on Rolling Stone's list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. In 2009, Hammett was ranked number 15 in Joel McIver's book The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists.

Inspiration

Kirk Hammett wrote the guitar riff for the bridge section when he was only 16 years old. [4] The band was inspired for the song by the second half of the film The Ten Commandments , which is based on the Bible tale of the plagues which were bestowed upon the Egyptians. While watching a scene in which one of the plagues kills every Egyptian first-born child, Cliff Burton remarked "Whoa – it's like creeping death." The band liked the sound of "creeping death" and decided to write a song about the plagues, with the phrase as its title. [5]

<i>The Ten Commandments</i> (1956 film) 1956 film directed by Cecil B. DeMille

The Ten Commandments is a 1956 American epic religious drama film produced, directed, and narrated by Cecil B. DeMille, shot in VistaVision, and released by Paramount Pictures. The film is based on Prince of Egypt by Dorothy Clarke Wilson, Pillar of Fire by J.H. Ingraham, On Eagle's Wings by A.E. Southon, and the Book of Exodus. The Ten Commandments dramatizes the biblical story of the life of Moses, an adopted Egyptian prince who becomes the deliverer of his real brethren, the enslaved Hebrews, and therefore leads the Exodus to Mount Sinai, where he receives, from God, the Ten Commandments. The film stars Charlton Heston in the lead role, Yul Brynner as Rameses, Anne Baxter as Nefretiri, Edward G. Robinson as Dathan, Yvonne De Carlo as Sephora, Debra Paget as Lilia, and John Derek as Joshua; and features Sir Cedric Hardwicke as Sethi, Nina Foch as Bithiah, Martha Scott as Yoshebel, Judith Anderson as Memnet, and Vincent Price as Baka, among others.

Bible Collection of religious texts in Judaism and Christianity

The Bible is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures. Varying parts of the Bible are considered to be a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans by Christians, Jews, Samaritans, and Rastafarians.

Plagues of Egypt It is ten epidemics that God sent down on Egypt mentioned in the Exodus Chapter 7 to 10

The Plagues of Egypt are ten calamities inflicted on Egypt by Yahweh, the God of Israel, in order to force Pharaoh to allow the Israelites to depart from slavery; they serve as "signs and marvels" given by God to answer Pharaoh's taunt that he does not know Yahweh: "The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord."

Biblical references

The song is told from the point of view of the "destroyer", as described in Moses' Book of Exodus, chapter 12. Throughout the song, some of the ten plagues are mentioned, all from the story of the "Hagadah", The Passover exodus. Moses repeatedly demanded from Pharaoh to set the Hebrew slaves free from Egypt. Moses, through his older brother Aaron, insisted he was sent by God, and that Pharaoh free his people to the promised land of Caanan (for the last 400 years, the Hebrew people had lived in the Goshen region of Egypt as slaves—"Land of Goshen"). To prove his point and persuade Pharaoh as Pharaoh refused to do, Moses, guided by God, laid ten plagues on the Egyptians. The ten strikes:

Book of Exodus second book of the Bible

The Book of Exodus is the second book of the Torah and the Old Testament. It tells of Israel's delivery from slavery in Egypt through the hand of Yahweh their god, of Israel's encounter with God on the holy mountain (Sinai), and the "divine indwelling" of God with Israel.

The Land of Goshen is named in the Bible as the place in Egypt given to the Hebrews by the pharaoh of Joseph, and the land from which they later left Egypt at the time of the Exodus. It was located in the eastern Delta of the Nile, lower Egypt.

Live versions

There are a great deal of group-assisted vocals in "Creeping Death"; the song often requires more than one vocalist performing at a time. The song is also often played at a much faster tempo than the studio version. On live recordings made before his death, Burton can be heard "roaring" the backing vocals during the third chorus, as well as during the bridge. When Jason Newsted joined Metallica, he often sang the third chorus alone in live performances. When Newsted left the band and Robert Trujillo replaced him, the third chorus was usually sung by the crowd.

Jason Newsted American musician

Jason Curtis Newsted is an American metal musician, known for being the third bass guitarist with the band Metallica from October 1986 until his sudden departure in January 2001.

Robert Trujillo American bassist known for his role as the current bassist of Metallica

Roberto Agustín Miguel Santiago Samuel Perez de la Santa Concepción Trujillo Veracruz Bautista better known as Robert Trujillo, is an American musician and songwriter. He has been the bassist of the American heavy metal band Metallica since 2003. He was also a member of crossover thrash band Suicidal Tendencies, funk metal supergroup Infectious Grooves, heavy metal band Black Label Society, and has worked with Jerry Cantrell and Ozzy Osbourne.

During the song's breakdown, audience members are encouraged to chant "Die!" to the rhythm of the song, and the band normally drops out until only the bass guitar and drums remain; this continues for a few bars, then James Hetfield sings the lyrics.

Previous iterations

The middle section of the "Creeping Death" was originally written by Hammett while he was in Exodus. The song was called "Die by His Hand" and had been part of the Exodus setlist for live shows, but was never used on any Exodus albums. [5]

Track listing

International single
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Creeping Death" James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Cliff Burton 6:36
2."Am I Evil?"Sean Harris, Brian Tatler 7:49
3."Blitzkrieg"Ian Jones, Jim Sirotto, Brian Ross3:35
Total length:18:03
Creeping Death/Jump in the Fire EP
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Creeping Death"James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Cliff Burton6:36
2."Am I Evil?"Sean Harris, Brian Tatler7:49
3."Blitzkrieg"Ian Jones, Jim Sirotto, Brian Ross3:35
4."Jump in the Fire"Hetfield, Ulrich, Dave Mustaine 4:41
5."Seek & Destroy" (Live)Hetfield, Ulrich7:04
6."Phantom Lord" (Live)Hetfield, Ulrich, Dave Mustaine 4:52

The song was featured in an episode of the MTV show Wildboyz .[ citation needed ]

"Creeping Death" is featured as a playable track in Guitar Hero: Metallica .

It ranked at #1 on the Guitar World top 100 greatest Metallica songs.

"Creeping Death" is the name of an ability performed by Mordekaiser in the game League of Legends .

It is also an assignment for the L96 in Battlefield 3 .

The phrase "creeping death" is also used in the H.P. Lovecraft short story, The Lurking Fear, possibly being a partial influence for the title of the song.

The song has also been covered by American hard rock band Stone Sour .

Personnel

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References

  1. "Creeping Death". Metallica. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  2. "Song Statistics". Metallica. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  3. "Metlists, Inc. - Song Counts". metlists.com. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  4. "Metallica's Kirk Hammett At Guitar Center". youtube.com. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  5. 1 2 "METALLICA - Encyclopedia Metallica - Song Info - Creeping Death". encycmet.com. Retrieved 3 April 2015.