Messenger of fear in sight
Dark deception kills the light

Hybrid children watch the sea
Pray for father, roaming free

Fearless wretch, insanity
He watches, lurking beneath the sea
Great old one, forbidden sight
He searches, hunter of the shadows is rising

Immortal
In madness, you dwell

Crawling chaos, underground
Cult has summoned, twisted sound

Out from ruins once possessed
Fallen city, living death

Fearless wretch, insanity
He watches, lurking beneath the sea
Great old one, forbidden sight
He searches, hunter of the shadows is rising

Immortal
In madness, you dwell

Not dead which eternal lie
Stranger eons, death may die
Drain you of your sanity
Face the thing that should not be

Fearless wretch, insanity
He watches, lurking beneath the sea
Great old one, forbidden sight
He searches, hunter of the shadows is rising

Immortal
In madness, you dwell!


Lyrics submitted by fennsk, edited by RyanWolfeh

The Thing That Should Not Be song meanings
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79 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentAlthough some say it's the worst song on the CD, I like this song, even the fucked up solo, it's like all hell is breaking loose.
    King Nothingon May 06, 2002   Link
  • +3
    Song MeaningLovecraft used the term “Great Old Ones” in only two stories: in “The Call of Cthulhu” it referred to Cthulhu’s spawn, and in “At the Mountains of Madness” it was the title of the starfish-like beings who lived in Antarctica and warred with the Cthulhu-spawn!

    Cthulhu is a “Great Old One” and he is of a race called the “Spawn of Cthulhu”.

    Cthulhu lies "dead but dreaming" in the city of R'lyeh, a place of non-Euclidean madness presently sunken below the depths of the Pacific Ocean.
    timeless sleep
    has been upset
    He awakens

    It is said that the "Great Old Ones" will return, causing worldwide insanity and mindless violence before finally displacing humanity forever.
    in madness You dwell

    Cthulhu himself is served by humans, the amphibious deep ones or "hybrid children", and his own spawn.
    Hybrid children watch the sea
    Pray for Father, roaming free
    Rothguardon August 15, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentReaders of H.P. Lovecraft will recognize the referrences to the Cthonian mythos. The thing which should not be is Cthulu, and Apocolyptic elder God lying in a dream state within his sunken kingdom of R'lyeh.
    Mastiff66on April 24, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentKick ass song, Killer solo, one of my fav Metallica songs. Love the S&M version.
    Hardcore_Iconon July 03, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song might as well be the theme song to H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. Every line of this song is related.

    "Messenger of Fear in sight"
    A reference to Nyarlathotep, the messenger of the Old Ones.

    "Hybrid children watch the sea
    Pray for Father, roaming free"

    "Hybrids" are a reference to the offspring of Deep One / Human interbreeding. The Deep Ones are servitors of Cthulhu and Dagon, either of whom could be the "father" mentioned in the song.

    "Crawling Chaos, underground
    cult has summoned, twisted sound"

    Another reference to Nyarlathotep, who is also known as "The Crawling Chaos" or "The King in Yellow".

    "Not dead which eternal lie
    stranger eons Death may die"

    This is a version of the couplet made famous in "The Call of Cthulhu". The original version is "That is not dead which can eternal lie, for with strange aeons, even death may die".

    "drain you of your sanity
    face The Thing That Should Not Be"

    This is a refernce to what happens when humans are exposed to the old ones in Lovecraft's stories. His thesis really is that humans are insignificant in the cosmos, and that the universe does not really make sense. For example, in Lovecraft's universe, the Source of All Things is the blind idiot god, Azathoth. Humans who come too close to understanding these truths risk going insane, in that the human mind is no more caplable of withstanding these truths than our bodies are meant to withstand high speed impacts.

    In many of Lovecraft's stories, insanity is the ultimate fate of his protagonists.
    Nodenson May 16, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's been said a million times already (Nodens pretty much hit the nail on the head), but this song is HEAVILY influenced by H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos.

    I just finished reading his short story, "The Crawling Chaos".

    It's not terrifying as much as it is amazing how they could incorporate H.P. Lovecraft's tales into a song.

    I mean, it blends in almost every story I've read so far.

    If any of you haven't read Lovecraft's work, get to it.
    lacetonon March 06, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti love this song. i first thought hybrid children referenced nephilim.
    SerpentSeedon May 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is Metallica's second song based on H.P. Lovercraft's works. Also check out "The Call of Ktulu".
    Necrothon April 25, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of my all time favorite songs by Metallica. Especially the solo. And the power of the James's vocals during the verse are so damn awesome.
    Guyon May 07, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song isn't as inspiring, or as technically impressive as the other songs on Master of Puppets, but the atmosphere more than makes up for it. This song will be 10X better if you read "The Call of Cthulu" by H.P. Lovecraft. The song itself sounds like it's going insane, and the repetitive nature of the song is meant to be oppressive and maddening. This song is just way too heavy for some people, and those are the people that don't like it. Definitely one of the heaviest(in the truest sense of the word) metal songs ever recorded.
    SSJVegetoon May 30, 2002   Link

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