Watch Metallica Reveal the Creative Process Behind ‘Atlas, Rise!’
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Metallica have given some insight into how they came up with “Atlas, Rise!,” which is the third single from their latest album, Hardwired… To Self-Destruct. The band can be seen working out the details of the song in the video above, which was shot at their recording studio HQ in San Rafael, Calif.
One of the most interesting things of note is the working title of the track, which was “N.W.O.B.H.M. A.T.M.,” a nod to the band’s oft-talked about influence from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. The hard-charging riff at the foundation of the songs certainly sounds like it was cherry-picked right from the genre.
The making of video begins with James Hetfield, Robert Trujillo and Lars Ulrich working on the beginnings to the track. At one amusing moment, Hetfield, who has admitted in the past he sometimes struggles with lyrics, is shown ripping up a sheet of paper and joking with producer Greg Fidelman, “I fell asleep with the lyric book. I do that all the time,” says Hetfield, then mimicking himself falling asleep and snoring.
The singer also makes a comment at one point when listening back to the demo of the song that he was, “Looking to get more of a Master of Puppet-sy thing in there, with echo. It didn’t really work because that riff, when I hear that riff before any singing gets in the way of it … it’s cool.”
At about halfway through, Kirk Hammett finally makes an appearance, with Trujillo showing him the parts of the song and Hetfield saying, “We’re rolling – hop on.” Ulrich then instructs the guitarist on how to work out the solo for it.
The most hilarious part of the video is after an enthusiastic Trujillo is preparing to lay down the bass part and Fidelman asks, “Rob, do me a favor…whatever you do, make it great.” After the bassist puts down his riff he laments, “By the end of the session, Trujillo is gonna be on the ground…in his underwear, tracking bass.”
Back on lyrics, Hetfield tells Fidelman how he came up with the line, “Wish ‘em to the undertaker,” after the producer asks if it is a reference to the professional wrestler.
“The song kind of originated around … there were lyrics in there like, ‘brother’ and ‘help’ and tryin’ to help carry the load,” Hetfield says. “Even like the ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.’ So that’s where that came from, ‘hand me your heavy skies,’ so, you know, hand it over to me.”
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