To be honest, although he isn’t a bad singer by any means, I’ve never been a particularly big fan of metal singing, and Metallica frontman James Hetfield can sometimes have that, in my opinion, over-dramatic metal style.
“Orion” places the focus on the bands legendary guitar skills, and also Cliff Burton’s bass playing. He wrote large parts of the song, including the bridge and bass solo. It’s a fitting tribute to his skill, as he was tragically killed in a bus crash while touring promoting Master Of Puppets, the album this song is from.
What truly blows my mind is that I didn’t even realise that the solos at about 1 minute 40 and about 6 30 are actually bass solos. Fantastic!
It’s truly epic, with a slow, majestic intro dropping into furious guitar shredding overlaid with a healthy dose of more laidback riffs. The bass driven interlude in the middle is much slower, and splits the song into a blisteringly fast thrash metal first half, and a powerful ballad which descends into hard rock.
In truth, descriptions don’t really do justice to the scale and impressiveness of this song. Every single second of the 8 minutes that this song has is used to great effect. It’s seriously good. The guitar riffs are insane, and they’d have to be considering as the song is instrumental…
The Master Of Puppets album, released in 1986, is widely considered one of the best heavy metal albums ever made.
RIP Cliff Burton