To Live Is to Die (9:48)

Cover of ...and Justice for All

From ...and Justice for All and 14 other releases

“To Live Is to Die” is a mostly instrumental composition by thrash metal band Metallica from their 1988 album …And Justice for All. Keeping up with the tradition of the band’s first three albums, the instrumental track comes late in the album and is lengthy. For over 2 decades, “To Live Is to Die” was the longest original studio recording to be released on an album by the band at 9:49, just a fraction of a second longer than “The Outlaw Torn” from Load clocking in at 9:48 and change (note that the original recording of this song is 10:48, but the last minute was cut in order to fit the album within the length limitations of CDs at the time).

Since the release of Death Magnetic, “Suicide & Redemption”, claims the title for longest Metallica song at 9:57, although this new track is still shorter than “The Outlaw Torn (Unencumbered by Manufacturing Restrictions Version)” (10:48) which was released on “The Memory Remains” single.

“To Live is to Die” contains a few lyrics near the end of the song, coming in at 7:35, that were written by Burton and are spoken by James Hetfield. The song was written as a tribute to the band’s bassist Cliff Burton, who was killed in a bus accident in 1986. The music consists of riffs Burton had written that had not been incorporated into songs prior to his death. The song title is a phrase that Burton was fond of.

Hetfield plays the second guitar solo during the slower mid-section of the song. “To Live Is to Die” is the last song Metallica released in which Burton has songwriting credit, and is the band’s only instrumental track with Jason Newsted playing bass.


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When a man lies, he murders some part of the world
These are the pale deaths which men miscall their lives
All this I cannot bear to witness any longer
Cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics


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  • Alfasix

    4:57 is the best. [2]

    22 Jul 9:29am Reply
  • lfva


    23 Apr 5:55am Reply
  • TovarishPior

    The second riff is perhaps the saddest riff in the history.

    5 Apr 5:23pm Reply
  • samiskywalker

    fucking awesome intro...goosebumps

    4 Mar 9:49pm Reply
  • randy98mtu

    4:57 is the best.

    19 Jan 2:11pm Reply
  • Weaponfire

    The riffing at the beginning of this song is soooooooo thick and heavy. Just awesome. At 4:30 I stop listening.

    15 Oct 2014 Reply
  • spiderferi

    that intro, that interlude in the middle, and that fucking outro. 9 minutes of heavenly music.

    23 Aug 2014 Reply
  • mktucker41

    Metallica will NEVER top this album

    30 Jul 2014 Reply
  • Metality

    Great song, but the transition in the beginning is godawful.

    31 May 2014 Reply
  • ClaytonMZ


    27 Mar 2014 Reply
  • MaurizioMinazzi

    4.30 - 6.50: Metallica's finest moment. [6]

    19 Feb 2014 Reply
  • mcsimek

    best of all Metallica's songs!

    17 Feb 2014 Reply
  • niQboy

    4:58... that interlude is just pure bliss. It's incredible how influential that single bit from the song is. "If it wasn't for that lick, Opeth would not be around" - Mikael Åkerfeldt

    23 Jan 2014 Reply
  • straysteel

    love this track very metallica instrumental is great james has no voice

    26 Dec 2013 Reply
  • mikkelep

    When you are almost zoned out from the dull first half, it completely changes into this symphonic masterpiece. This is the peak of Metallica.

    15 Dec 2013 Reply
  • ichadhr

    When a Man Lies He Murders Some Part of the World These Are the Pale Deaths Which Men Miscall Their Lives All this I Cannot Bear to Witness Any Longer Cannot the Kingdom of Salvation Take Me Home

    24 Nov 2013 Reply
  • Che7779

    2 DarkenMusic It's the best Metallica's song from all album!)))))

    17 Nov 2013 Reply
  • DarkenMusic

    Best song on this album

    17 Nov 2013 Reply
  • Neptuniana

    RIP Cliff... :(

    3 Nov 2013 Reply
  • Phthalo_blue

    Great song

    5 Oct 2013 Reply
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