You’ve listened to hundreds of hours of Metallica. Everyone has. Even if you’re not a Metallica fan, have never deliberately put a Metallica record on and don’t think you’ve ever actually heard a Metallica song, you’ve heard hundreds of hours of Metallica. They’re just part of the world – you can’t go through life without taking in at least the big tunes by a kind of cultural osmosis.
Reducing Metallica songs to just their lyrics takes a hell of a lot away. For a start, words written in black and white on a page just don’t have the gravitas that they do when belted out by Papa Het – a man who knows exactly how gruff every note should sound, and manages to make pretty extraordinary vocal feats look easy (seriously, watch live footage from the 1990s and think about how clear every syllable is, it’s exhausting). There’s also, at any given point, a hell of a lot more going on than just the vocals.