The God That Failed (song)

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"The God That Failed"
Song by Metallica
from the album Metallica
ReleasedAugust 12, 1991
RecordedOctober 1990 – June 1991 at "One On One" studios, Los Angeles, California
Genre Heavy metal
Length5:05
Label Elektra
Songwriter(s) James Hetfield
Lars Ulrich
Producer(s) Bob Rock, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich
Metallica track listing
  1. "Enter Sandman"
  2. "Sad but True"
  3. "Holier Than Thou"
  4. "The Unforgiven"
  5. "Wherever I May Roam"
  6. "Don't Tread on Me"
  7. "Through the Never"
  8. "Nothing Else Matters"
  9. "Of Wolf and Man"
  10. "The God That Failed"
  11. "My Friend of Misery"
  12. "The Struggle Within"

"The God That Failed" is a song by American heavy metal band Metallica, from their 1991 self-titled album. The song was never released as a single, but was the first of the album's songs to be heard by the public. It is one of Metallica's first original releases to be tuned half a step down.

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.

<i>Metallica</i> (album) 1991 studio album by Metallica

Metallica is the self-titled fifth studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica. Released on August 12, 1991 by Elektra Records, it received widespread critical acclaim and became the band's best-selling album. Metallica produced five singles that are considered to be among the band's best-known songs, which include "Enter Sandman", "The Unforgiven", "Nothing Else Matters", "Wherever I May Roam", and "Sad but True". A sixth song, "Don't Tread on Me", was also issued to rock radio shortly after the album's release, but the song did not receive a commercial single release. The album marked a change in the band's sound from the thrash metal style of the previous four albums to a slower and heavier one rooted in heavy metal. Metallica promoted the album with a series of tours. In 2003, the album was ranked number 255 on Rolling Stone's 500 greatest albums of all time.

Contents

Composition and recording

Composer and lyricist James Hetfield described the song as "very nice... Slow, heavy and ugly." [1] Lead guitarist Kirk Hammett recalls the inception of his solo in the song: "I had this whole thing worked out, but it didn't fit because the lead was too bluesy for the song, which is characterized by real heavy riffing and chording." [2] According to Hammett, he and producer Bob Rock worked out his guitar solo on the song. Together they composed a melody to which Hammett wanted to add harmony. The producer suggested that this would make the song sound too "pretty", and instead recommended playing the melody an octave higher. The final guitar solo was put together from over a dozen performances by the guitarist during the recording of the album. Hammett calls the resulting work one of his favorite solos on the album. [2]

James Hetfield American musician, songwriter and record producer

James Alan Hetfield is an American musician, singer, and songwriter known for being the co-founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and main songwriter for the American heavy metal band Metallica. Hetfield is mainly known for his intricate rhythm playing, but occasionally performs lead guitar duties and solos, both live and in the studio. Hetfield co-founded Metallica in October 1981 after answering a classified advertisement by drummer Lars Ulrich in the Los Angeles newspaper The Recycler. Metallica has won nine Grammy Awards and released ten studio albums, three live albums, four extended plays and 24 singles.

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.

In music, an octave or perfect octave is the interval between one musical pitch and another with double its frequency. The octave relationship is a natural phenomenon that has been referred to as the "basic miracle of music", the use of which is "common in most musical systems". The interval between the first and second harmonics of the harmonic series is an octave.

Meaning

The central theme of the song is faith and human reliance on it, and of unrewarded belief in a God that fails to heal. The lyrics and song material were inspired by Hetfield's anguish on the circumstances surrounding his mother's death. [3] She died of cancer after refusing medical attention, solely relying on her belief in God to heal her. [4] Hetfield felt that had she not followed her Christian Science beliefs, she could have survived. [5]

Healing is the process of the restoration of health from an unbalanced, diseased or damaged organism. The result of healing can be a cure to a health challenge, but one can heal without being cured.

Christian Science set of beliefs and practices belonging to the metaphysical family of new religious movements

Christian Science is a set of beliefs and practices belonging to the metaphysical family of new religious movements. It was developed in 19th-century New England by Mary Baker Eddy, who argued in her 1875 book Science and Health that sickness is an illusion that can be corrected by prayer alone. The book became Christian Science's central text, along with the Bible, and by 2001 had sold over nine million copies.

Baylor University Assistant Professor of Religion, Paul Martens points out that the song has been admired by some anti-religious groups, such as the websites "Alabama Atheist" and "The Secular Web". [6] Martens notes, however, that Hetfield does not celebrate God's failure in the song, but instead blames God, through his mother's faith and death, for contributing to the meaninglessness of life. [7]

Baylor University private university in Waco, Texas, United States

Baylor University (BU) is a private Christian university in Waco, Texas. Chartered in 1845 by the last Congress of the Republic of Texas, it is one of the oldest continuously operating university in Texas and one of the first educational institutions west of the Mississippi River in the United States. Located on the banks of the Brazos River next to I-35, between the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and Austin, the university's 1,000-acre campus is the largest Baptist university campus in the world. Baylor University's athletic teams, known as the Bears, participate in 19 intercollegiate sports. The university is a member of the Big 12 Conference in the NCAA Division I. It is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

Internet Infidels, Inc. is a Colorado Springs, Colorado-based nonprofit educational organization founded in 1995 by Jeffery Jay Lowder and Brett Lemoine. Its mission is to use the Internet to promote a view that supernatural forces or entities do not exist. Internet Infidels maintains a website of educational resources about agnosticism, atheism, freethought, humanism, secularism, and other nontheistic viewpoints particularly relevant to nonbelievers and skeptics of the paranormal. Relevant resources include rebuttals to arguments made by religious apologists and theistic philosophers, transcripts of debates between believers and nonbelievers, and responses from opponents of a naturalistic worldview. The site has been referred to by one of its critics, Christian apologist Gary Habermas, as "one of the Internet's main Web sites for skeptics" and by skeptical physicist Taner Edis as "a major Web site serving nonbelievers". Its tagline is "a drop of reason in a pool of confusion".

Covers

Finntroll covered this song and its included on the limited edition of Nifelvind. [8] In 2012, Black Spiders covered this song for the Kerrang! album Black Album Covered. [9]

Finntroll Finnish band

Finntroll is a folk metal band from Helsinki, Finland. They combine elements of black metal and folk metal. Finntroll's lyrics are mostly in Swedish, the only exception being the song "Madon Laulu" on Visor Om Slutet. Finntroll's original singer, Katla, decided to use Swedish over Finnish since he was part of a Swedish-speaking minority in Finland and the sound of the language seemed to better suit the band's "trollish" outfit. Despite several vocalist changes, this tradition has continued.

<i>Nifelvind</i> album

Nifelvind is the fifth full-length album by the Finnish folk metal band Finntroll, released on February 17, 2010 through Century Media.

Black Spiders British hard rock band

Black Spiders were an English rock band based in Sheffield. Their second album entered the UK Album Chart reaching #59.

Live performance

The song was first played on the first date of the "Shit Hits the Sheds" tour (May 30, 1994). It was played in E flat tuning from 1994 to 2006 - since 2010, the song has been played in D standard tuning. It received frequent live performance during the 2012 European Black Album Tour when it was played as a part of the Black Album . [10] [11]

The 2012 European Black Album Tour was a concert tour of American heavy metal band Metallica. The Black Album, which was released in August 1991 was played entirely. The band confirmed that the tour would be a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the album. The tour headlined a few European festivals.

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References

  1. Hetfield, James (1997). Kitts, Jeff; Tolinski, Brad; Steinblatt, Harold, eds. Guitar World Presents Metallica. Wayne, NJ: Music Content Developers. pp. 18–19. ISBN   0-7935-8079-X.
  2. 1 2 Hammett, Kirk (1997). Kitts, Jeff; Tolinski, Brad; Steinblatt, Harold, eds. Guitar World Presents Metallica. Wayne, NJ: Music Content Developers. p. 18. ISBN   0-7935-8079-X.
  3. Smith, Sid. "Metallica Metallica (The Black Album) Review". BBC Music. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  4. "Song info - The God That Failed", Encyclopedia Metallica.
  5. Chris, Ingham (2003). Metallica: Nothing Else Matters: The Stories behind the Biggest Songs. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press. p. 108. ISBN   1-56025-536-6.
  6. Martens, Paul (2005). "Metallica and the God That Failed: An Unfinished Tragedy in Three Acts". In Gilmour, Michael J. Call Me the Seeker: Listening to Religion in Popular Music. New York: Continuum. p. 98. ISBN   0-8264-1713-2.
  7. Martens (2005), p. 103.
  8. O'Phil, Metal. "Finntroll : A unique band". Radio Metal. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  9. Simon. "Download the artwork to this week's exclusive CD!". Kerrang!. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  10. Quellette, Mary. "Metallica Power Through Black Album at Download Festival". Loudwire . Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  11. Merlin. "Download 2012 Review: Metallica, Killswitch Engage, Skindred, Biffy Clyro". Metal Hammer . Retrieved June 12, 2013.

Further reading