Metallica is an extraordinary metal band. The original purveyors of thrash, they refined the medium so much that no one else could touch them and they left all their imitators in the dust. In the early 80s, they practically invented the style we have come to know as thrash or speed metal, reinventing it with each successive album. Metallica have been called the Beatles of heavy metal, and Ride the Lightning their Rubber Soul or Revolver. Their 1984 release is one of the most important seminal metal albums of the modern age. It marked a turning point for the group with a richness of compositional/arrangemental technique and a greater command of their already considerable resources, pointing unerringly to the ambitious Master of Puppets, the masterpiece … And Justice for All, and finally, the Black Album, Metallica. A landmark track from the record is the all-time favorite, For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Tune alt strings up a quarter step.
James Hetfield’s rhythm grooves are predictably powerful, heavy and full of crunch. His ability to find new and improved ways to use the almighty power chord is noteworthy. Take the intro figure in bars 7-10. This riff features a chromatically descending progression of power chords that are appropriately palm-muted for extra thud. Try using the Hetfield efficiency fingering [Fig. 1] of the open E5 chord to make this rhythm figure smoother in the transition between F5 and E5. Another definitive Hetfield chord riff is found in the chorus, labeled Rhy. Fig. 3. Here, the sounds are unmistakable. James poses G5, A5, Bb5 and F#5 power chords over a charging low E pedal tone (in triplet rhythm) for a particularly menacing effect.
For Whom the Bell Tolls features Metallica’s multi-guitar orchestration approach. Throughout the song, you’ll hear fat doubled rhythm parts as well as Kirk Hammett’s melodic guitar harmony passages and interesting counterpoint lines. Here are a couple of noteworthy examples. The intro phrase, originally played on bass by Cliff Burton, is arranged here for a wah-wah filtered guitar [Fig. 2]. Riff A in the interlude is fascinating [Fig. 3]. Here, a sequential, descending ladder-like subject is harmonized with a contrapuntal harmony part played by Gtrs. 3 and 4. Check out the interesting change of motion and interval relationship as the top line (Gtr. 3) starts in unison with Gtr. 2 and then veers off on the third beat to become an independent ascending melody. Gtr. 4 then picks up where that one left off – it begins as a sixth-below harmony and then joins Gtr. 2 in unison just where Gtr. 3 changed its melody. Pretty intriguing stuff for what some people dismiss as “just a heavy metal band.”
It’s a part of Metallica For Whom The Bell Tolls guitar tab and music sheet.
Through the link below you can download a full transcription of
For Whom The Bell Tolls with backing track