Metallica Intros Are Really, REALLY Long

Two minutes into For Whom the Bell Tolls, you might wonder why you haven’t heard the first verse yet. That’s cause it’s a Metallica song- you’re always in for a long intro with those… How long exactly though? How long are they compared to other releases?

After doing some math, the answer is “ridiculously long“.

I charted each of Metallica’s studio release albums, including each song included in their original release. Then, I listed the run time in seconds of each song. The final column measures the amount of time before the first verse (or otherwise notable vocalization) occurs.

Songs in bold are instrumentals- they don’t contribute any time, because they have no verses to build to. I did this nine more times, from Kill ‘Em All to Hardwired… to Self-Destruct. I tallied my data, and put together this graph:

Songs in bold are instrumentals- they don’t contribute any time, because they have no verses to build to. I did this ten more times, from Kill ‘Em All to Hardwired… to Self-Destruct. I tallied my data, and put together this graph:

What are we looking at here? The blue bars are the length of each album in minutes, converted to decimal form. The red bars are the total intro length of each album.

This was a great visualization, but there isn’t much to compare it to. How do I know that all albums don’t have long intros, and I’m just overestimating?

I charted ten more albums, from a variety of artists, that’s how. From 1967 to 2019, here’s a graph comparing other albums against Metallica.

The difference is clear. Metallica’s album with the shortest intro lengths, Reload, is still about two minutes higher than Back in Black. In fact, Reload only has the lowest average because it has two songs that start with their verses immediately (Fuel and The Memory Remains).

All of Metallica’s intros together add up to 99 minutes and 55 seconds. 99.92 in decimal form- a number higher than literally any album I pulled data from. Even Load, Metallica’s longest album, is about 21 minutes short. The intros themselves are over three times the length of Viceroyalty, by Staycation.

If you turn on a Metallica song, you’ll wait about 56 seconds on average until the singing begins. Seems like a good time to make some Minute Rice, or go get a glass of water. As for me, after spending hours listening to just the intros to these songs, I need to go look at the sky. It may be the last time I will, if I keep this up.

Metallica Intros Are Really, REALLY Long.

Want the full charts used in this article? Want to support independent creators (like Metallica used to be)? Check out the official Misfit Mementos Patreon!