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Creeping Death (Hetfield/Ulrich/Burton/Hammett)

Because of the part of the live performance when the whole audience joins Metallica in screaming the "Die, Die, Die" chorus part it is probably one of the favorites live songs of any Metallica fan.


Album:
Ride The Lightning


The song live:
Since its release it has often been a fixed part of Metallica's live show.


The single:
The "Creeping Death" single was the first and second single release of the "Ride The Lightning" album.


The inspiration:
Metallica was inspired by the second half of the movie "The Ten Commandments" which is based upon the bible tale of the plagues which bestowed upon the Egyptians.


The song title:
When they saw that movie, Cliff said "whao - it's like creeping death" and everyone liked it so they put it as the song title.


Exodus' Creeping Death:
This song is originally written by Kirk's former band Exodus. Exodus called the song "Die By The Sword", because of the bridge, where Metallica sings "Die by my hand", was Exodus' chorus and they sang "Die by the sword" instead of it. The song was recorded and released by Exodus as a demo, but never appeard on any album.


Who is the Creeping Death ?:

The Creeping Death is the 10th plague which bestowed upon the Egyptians - the Angel of Death. In the movie his presence has been represented by a green cloud, but actual in the jewish tales you can not see his arrival. He was sent by God to kill every first born child. The Jews knew how to save their first born sons, because Moses told them that they just have to put lambs blood on their doors for keeping the angel of death from stopping at those houses to kill the first born man. However the Egyptians didn't knew of that protective measure.


Metallica about "Creeping Death"

Kirk Hammett: When we first began playing that song in the garage, I noticed that the lead guitar part also incorporated the chorus. I thought that was a good opportunity to play something a bit wild and dynamic. The first figure in that song pretty much came off the top of my head. I was still using the black Flying V and the boss distortion pedal through Marshall amps with TC Electronics EQ. For that song Flemming [Rassmussen, sound engineer] suggested that I double-track the solo, which made it sound a bit thicker and fuller. We did that solo, after which we had to do this small fill at the end a four-bar break with four accents afterwards. The plan was to fill the break up and play something over the four accents When I studied with Joe Satriani, I did this chordal exercise, a diminished chord with four notes. I just played that over these four accents, and it worked out real nice.

James Hetfield: We demoed "Ride The Lightning" and one other song in the studio before we recorded the album. So there's actually a demo somewhere of those three songs with different lyrics. When we did the crunchy "Die by my hand" breakdown part in the middle, I sat in the control room after we did the gang vocals, and everyone was just going nuts! That was our first real big, chanting gang vocal thing - there was almost some production value to it. That whole album was a big step for us. (source: GuitarWorld issue of '91)


Creeping Death

The Creeping Death is the Angel of Death or in a certain way the god of the Jews, because he is the one who is responsible for every plague which bestowed upon the Egyptians

"Slaves - Hebrews born to serve, to the pharaoh"
- The jews who were slaves of the pharaoh
"Heed - To this every word, live in fear"
- The pharaoh did not heed Moses' warnings of the plagues that will bestowe upon the Egyptians
"Faith - Of the unknown one, the deliverer"
- The jews believed in the jewish god that moses spoke of - the one who wanted to free them from their slavery
- Otherwise the "unknown one" could refer to Moses, because the Hebrews had faith in the one who will deliver them from slavery, but they didn't know that Moses will be this deliverer
"Wait - Something must be done, four hundred years"
- They have been slaves of the Egyptians for a period of 400 years

"So let it be written"
"So let it be done"
"I'm sent here by the chosen one"
- Moses is the chosen one who has been chosen by the jewish god to get the Jews out of the captivity
"So let it be written"
"So let it be done"
"To kill the first one pharaoh son"
- The Egyptians didn't knew how they could keep the Angel of Death from killing their first born sons - so he killed the pharaoh's son
"I'm creeping death"
- I'm the Angel of Death

"Now - Let my people go, land of goshen"
- Moses said that to the pharaoh
"Go - I will be with thee, bush of fire"
- It is said God spoke to Moses through a burning bush
"Blood - Running red and strong, down the nile"
- It refers to the plague in which the Nile was turned into blood
"Plague - Darkness three days long, hail to fire"
- Another plague which should scare the pharoah into letting the Jews go - it was an icy hail that turned to fire and burned people

"So let it be written"
"(...)"

"Die by my hand"
- Another plague, the Angel of Death announces his arrival ...
"I creep across the land"
- He roam across Egypt's land ...
"Killing first born man"
- To kill every first born man...
"Die by my hand"
"I creep across the land"
"Killing first born man"

"I - Rule the midnite air the destroyer"
The Angel of Death as the final plague and the final darkness came at midnight...
"Born - I shall soon be there, deadly mass"
- The Angel of Death announces his arrival ...
"I - Creep the steps and floor final darkness"
... and killed the pharoah's son after whose death the pharoah released the Jews
"Blood - Lambs blood painted door, I shall pass"
- It was a part of an ancient jewish ritual to keep the Angel of Death away from their houses

"So let it be written"
"(...)"

 

 


 
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