…and Justice for All (album).jpg

Blackened is the first track of Metallica's 1988 studio album ...And Justice for All. The eerie/strange-sounding intro is a reversed riff, followed by fast, heavy guitars. During the middle section of the song, it slows down into a heavy, rhythmic part with dual guitars, and a slow solo by Kirk Hammett, then it kicks back into a fast-paced song with Kirk Hammett's faster solo. The song follows Metallica's pattern of having a Thrash song as the first track on the album.


The song talks about nuclear war, eradication of humanity, and complete destruction of the earth, as well as the loss of natural life. It deals with topics such as the world being plunged into frozen darkness.

Song Style

"Blackened" has the key signature E Phrygian. Phrygian is a mode, neither of the more common major (Ionian mode) or minor (Aeolian mode).

The BPM of the intro is about 72, the fast-paced parts are 192, and the slow bridge/solo is 128.

"Blackened" has perhaps the most changing time signatures of any Metallica song. The intro is in 4/4, then 3/4, 4/4 again, and then followed by a 5/4 measure, leading into the 7/4 riff. Then, the verse is in 6/4, going into the 7/4 riff again, then a 2/4 measure leading into the chorus, which is in 4/4. The 7/4 riff kicks in again, then the 6/4 verse, another 7/4 riff, and another 2/4 measure leading into the 2nd 4/4 chorus. Then the slow bridge starts with a 7/4 measure, then 4/4 for the rest until the dual-guitar build-up section, in which every other measure is 4/4, and the other measures alternate 2/4 and 3/4, in that order, but starting with a 4/4 measure. Some find it easier to alternate counting 6/4 and 7/4 measures, or even counting one pattern as a whole: a 13/4 measure repeating over and over until the slow solo, which is entirely in 4/4. Then there is a short 4/4 break, ending with a 2/4 measure that leads into the fast solo, which is entirely 4/4 except one measure before the last part of the solo that's in 5/8. Then the riff starts again, in 7/4. Then one final verse in 6/4, then a 2/4 measure leading into the final chorus, which is in 4/4. The last chorus repeats itself, with different words. This repeat is tied to the previous chorus by a 5/4 measure. Finally, the outro is in 7/4. It is somewhat difficult for inexperienced musicians to count the beat properly during the riff, because of the odd time signature and the accented notes for the melody, as well as the snare, are played on the upbeat.

The demo for "Blackened" is the same, but for the original song, the intro was supposed to go backwards, then go into the fast guitars.


  • "Blackened" was first performed live on September 11, 1988, in Budapest, Hungary.
  • The song has been played as an opener on the Damaged Justice Tour, and as the main set closer in 1990. After that period, the song was put apart until December 28th, 1999 when it returned for just 2 weeks on the setlist. "Blackened" was played frequently during Madly in Anger With the World Tour and World Magnetic Tour.
  • As of October 2019, "Blackened" has been performed live 495 times.
  • Jason Newsted showed James Hetfield the opening riff on bass, and James liked it.



   Blackened is the end
   Winter it will send
   Throwing all you see
   Into Obscurity
   Death of Mother Earth
   Never a Rebirth
   Evolution's End
   Never will it Mend
       To begin whipping dance of the dead
       Blackened is the end
       To begin whipping dance of the dead
       Color our world blackened
   Blistering of earth
   Terminate is worth
   Deadly nicotine
   Kills what might have been
   Callous frigid chill
   Nothing left to kill
   Never seen before
   Breathing nevermore
       To begin whipping dance of the dead
       Blackened is the end
       To begin whipping dance of the dead
       Color our world Blackened
   Opposition, opposition...contradiction, contradiction...premonition, premonition...compromise
   Agitation, agitation... violation, violation... mutilation, mutilation...planet dies
   Darkest color
   Blistered earth
   True death of life
   Termination, termination, termination...expiration, expiration...cancellation, cancellation...human race
   Expectation, expectation...liberation, liberation...population, population...lay to waste
   See our mother
   Put to death
   See our mother die
   Smoldering decay
   Take her breath away
   Millions of our years
   In minutes disappears,
   Darkening in vain
   Decadence remains
   All is said and done
   Never is the sun
       To begin whipping dance of the dead
       Blackened is the end
       To begin whipping dance of the dead
       Is the outcome of hypocrisy
       Darkest potency
       In the exit of humanity
       Color our world blackened


…and Justice for All (album).jpg
...And Justice for All
Songs Blackened...And Justice for AllEye of the BeholderOneThe Shortest StrawHarvester of SorrowThe Frayed Ends of SanityTo Live Is to DieDyers Eve
Members James HetfieldLars UlrichKirk HammettJason Newsted
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