Meaning of Fade to Black by Metallica & The Story Behind

Recording the song Fade to Black (“I dissolve in the darkness”), the members of the metal band Metallica took some risks. This was their first rock ballad, and no one knew exactly how the fans would react to it.

In addition, it is devoted to a difficult topic, which certainly should have provoked a mixed reaction from critics.

The story of creation and the meaning of the song Fade to Black – Metallica

James Hetfield talked about how the composition was written. He also explained what the song Fade to Black is about:

That song was a big step for us. It was, you could say, our first ballad and we knew it would drive people crazy… While recording, I realized how frustrating acoustic guitar can be. You can hear every sound so I had to be careful.

I wrote this song at a friend’s house in New Jersey. I was pretty depressed at the time because our equipment was stolen and we got kicked out of the producer’s house because we screwed everything up and drank all the liquor in the bar.

It’s a song about suicide, and we got pretty bad for it, like kids killed themselves because of it. But we’ve also received hundreds of letters from young people telling them how the song hooked them and how it made them feel better.

Guitar World (1991)

The song is performed on behalf of a man who is on the verge of suicide. Having already crossed the line, he realizes that he made a mistake, but it’s too late.

The composition begins with an acoustic introduction, but gradually gets heavier. Later, Metallica will have several more songs with a similar structure (One, Welcome Home and others).

Release and achievements

Fade to Black was included on the Ride the Lightning album released by Metallica in 1984.

Readers of Guitar World magazine ranked the guitar solo from Fade to Black at number 24 on their list of the best.

Video of Fade to Black by Metallica

Watch the music video for Fade to Black – Metallica.

Interesting Facts

  • The lyrics do not contain the phrase “fade to black”, but it is in The Memory Remains.
  • Flotsam and Jetsam, which had bassist Jason Newsted before Metallica, have a song called Fade to Black recorded in 1986.
  • In August 1992, while on tour with Guns N’ Roses, James Hetfield was hit by pyrotechnics while playing Fade to Black. He suffered severe burns and was out of action for several weeks, during which he was replaced by John Marshall, guitarist for Metal Church.

Fade to Black Lyrics by Metallica

Life, it seems, will fade away
Drifting further everyday
Getting lost within myself
Nothing matters, no one else
I have lost the will to live
Simply nothing more to give
There is nothing more for me
Need the end to set me free

Things not what they used to be
Missing one inside of me
Deathly lost this can’t be real
Can’t stand this hell I feel
Emptiness is filling me
To the point of agony
Growing darkness taking dawn
I was me, but now he’s gone

No one but me can save myself, but it’s too late
Now I can’t think, think why I should even try

Yesterday seems as though it never existed
Death greets me warm, now I will just say goodbye


Fade to Black Lyrics Alternate

Seems like life is fading away
Every day drifting further away
I’m lost in myself
Don’t care about everything and everyone
I have lost my lust for life
There’s just nothing left to give
There’s nothing left for me
Only the end can set me free

Everything is not the way it used to be
There’s something missing in me
So deluded it can’t be
I can’t take this hellish feeling
I’m filled with emptiness
Leading to agony
Darkness descends on me
I was myself, but he is no more

Only I can save myself, but it’s too late
I can’t think anymore, there’s no need to even try

Seems like yesterday never happened
Death welcomes me warmly, and I can only say goodbye


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