Creeping Death

"Creeping Death"
Metallica - Creeping Death cover.jpg
Single by Metallica
from the album Ride the Lightning
B-side
ReleasedNovember 23, 1984[1]
Format
Recorded
GenreThrash 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.

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.

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.

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]

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