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Song
Kill em All (album)

"The Four Horsemen" is the second track off Metallica's debut album, Kill 'Em All. Originally written by Dave Mustaine for a previous band and was called "The Mechanix." For "The Four Horsemen," James Hetfield rewrote the lyrics and Kirk Hammett added a solo in the middle.

About

The Four Horsemen was originally written by Dave Mustaine in his former band "Panic" entitled "The Mechanix". The song was one of Metallica's staples during their clubbing days, albeit with no melodic interlude and different lyrics. The original lyrics were roughly about a sexual encounter at a gas station. James Hetfield has gone on to say the lyrics were "silly".

During March of 1983, Lars and James confronted Mustaine about adding a more melodic section. Mustaine claims the middle interlude was inspired by Lynyrd Skynyrd's Sweet Home Alabama, though it wouldn't be added until after his removal from the band. When the band fired Dave, James took it upon himself to rewrite the lyrics into something more dark. The result is the song we know today as The Four Horsemen. Referring the biblical texts about Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; Time, Famine, Pestilence and Death (though the real four horsemen are Conquest, War, Famine and Death) it details the end of the world.

The original song The Mechanix was later released with its original lyrics on Megadeth's debut album Killing Is My Business... and Business is Good! as "Mechanix", with a new intro and a much, much faster tempo.

Live Performances

  • The Four Horsemen was debuted live on April 23, 1982, in Costa Mesa, California, as the Mechanix. It would be debuted live as the Four Horsemen on April 22, 1983, in New York City.
  • The song has been played live 552 times live as of the beginning of 2015. 523 times as The Four Horsemen and 29 times as The Mechanix.
  • The middle interlude was played live until 1985, when it was dropped from the song until Metallica's 30th Anniversary.

Lyrics

    By the last breath the fourth winds blow
    Better raise your ears
    The sound of hooves knock at your door
    Lock up your wife and children now
    It’s time to wield the blade
    For now you've got some company
    
         The Horsemen are drawing nearer
         On leather steeds they ride
         They've come to take your life
         On through the dead of night
         With the Four Horsemen ride
         Or choose your fate and die
    
    You have been dying since the day you were born
    You know it’s all been planned
    The quartet of deliverance rides
    A sinner once, a sinner twice
    No need for confessions now
    ‘Cause now you've got the fight of your life
    
         The Horsemen are drawing nearer
         On leather steeds they ride
         They've come to take your life
         On through the dead of night
         With the Four Horsemen ride
         Or choose your fate and die
    
    Time, has taken its toll on you
    The lines that crack your face
    Famine, your body it has torn through
    Withered in every place
    Pestilence, for what you've had to endure
    And what you have put others through
    Death, deliverance for you for sure
    Now there’s nothing you can do
    
    So gather ‘round young warriors now
    And saddle up your steeds
    Killing scores with demon swords
    Now is the death of doers of wrong
    Swing the judgement hammer down
    Safely inside armor blood guts and sweat
    
         The Horsemen are drawing nearer
         On leather steeds they ride
         They've come to take your life
         On through the dead of night
         With the Four Horsemen ride
         Or choose your fate and die

    Imagine you were at my station
    And you brought your motor to me
    You're a burner, a real motor car
    You said you want to get your order filled
    It made me shiver when I put it in
    Pumping just won't do and luckily for you
    
         Who ever thought you'd better
         At turning a screw than me
         I do it for my life
         You made my driveshaft crank
         You made my pistons bulge
         You made my ball bearings melt from the heat
    
    We were shifting gears hard when we took off
    Pushin' hard, all four on the floor
    Then we hit top end, but it feels so slow
    You said you want to get your order filled
    It made me shiver when I put it in
    Pumping just won't do and luckily for you
    
         Who ever thought you'd better
         At turning a screw than me
         I do it for my life
         You made my driveshaft crank
         You made my pistons bulge
         You made my ball bearings melt from the heat
    
    I'm givin' you my full service
    And you know its more than enough
    Your engine sparks my plug, ya know that I'm in love
    Imagine you were at my station
    And you brought your motor to me
    Put four on the floor, you know what's in store
    
         Who ever thought you'd better
         At turning a screw than me
         I do it for my life
         You made my driveshaft crank
         You made my pistons bulge
         You made my ball bearings melt from the heat

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