Make his fight on the hill in the early day
Constant chill deep inside
Shouting gun, on they run through the endless grey
On they fight, for the right, yes, but who's to say?

For a hill, men would kill, why? They do not know
Stiffened wounds test their pride
Men of five, still alive through the raging glow
Gone insane from the pain that they surely know

For whom the bell tolls
Time marches on
For whom the bell tolls

Take a look to the sky just before you die
It's the last time you will
Blackened roar, massive roar fills the crumbling sky
Shattered goal fills his soul with a ruthless cry

Stranger now, are his eyes to this mystery
He hears the silence so loud
Crack of dawn, all is gone except the will to be
Now they see what will be, blinded eyes to see

For whom the bell tolls
Time marches on
For whom the bell tolls

Lyrics submitted by fennsk, edited by syko_brat, RyanWolfeh, bradythevy

For Whom The Bell Tolls song meanings
Add Your Thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +6
    General CommentTo me this song is just about war in general. Soldiers go off to war, defending their country, and are willing to give their life for a cause that they may not completely agree with or understand. The part, "For a hill men would kill, why? They do not know" could mean men are defending a hill (strategic point on a battle field) and they are willing to kill the enemy but the overall cause of why they are fighting they do not know. The part in the song referring to the men going insane is just a typical side effect of men going off to war. All the blood, death, and screaming sounds on the battle field are enough to rattle any man's sanity. Last of all, "Take a look to the sky just before you die" is the typical thing many people are said to do before they die. As they are looking up at the sky their life flashes before their eyes and they get one last glimpse of this world and try to take it all in.
    getek20on June 03, 2002   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThis song is based on the Ernest Hemmingway novel For Whom the Bell Tolls, and it is about 5 soldiers left to defend a hill and are killed in an airstrike.
    nemesison April 10, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song I've always understood to mean about the insanity of war. Obviously the title came from Hemingway. After reading the book, it would seem clear that the band members have read it too. In the book, you read of the moment that everything goes quiet, just before all hell breaks loose (hears the silence so loud) There is talk of defending a hill, and there is mention of the stiffening wounds suffered in battle. Near the end, the book's protagonist (the American whose name I forget) looks up to the sky while he is alone, dying.

    Yes, war is insane. But sometimes, folks, war is justified. God bless America in her fight against terrorism.

    JRon July 04, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Commentfight against terrorism is an illusion. usa will never win this war, and by the way, there isn't a 'good war'.. i agree with Insanitas.. patriotism in THIS way is crap! how can people be proud of killing others?
    i'm NOT deffending terrorism, but i'm not defending war either.

    by the way, this song and all metallica songs rocks..
    prtrson September 14, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentFirst of all, I think this is one of the best Metallica songs ever. It's absolutly brilliant and a good example for the band's and his lyrics' genius. When I first heard the song I just thought "WOW".
    I like the Ride The Ligtnig-version more than the S&M one (that church bell in the background is absolutly cool!).

    @JR, 4saken4 and Bulkyone:
    could you please stop talking that patriotism shit?! That whole "defending our country", "holy cause" and "god bless america" is CRAP!
    There is no glorious war, no matter what people are fighting for. War was always the same and will always be the same: Senseless destruction and killing. I'me sure no one of you knows what war is like in reality. My mother often told me about my grandfather; about him sitting the whole night in his chair and crying because he couldn't forget what he saw on the front.
    So I hope you pray to god (or whoever you pray to) that you'll never know what war is like in reality. With the words of Benjamin Franklin:
    "There is no good war and no bad peace"
    Insanitason September 08, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"Crack of dawn, all is gone, except the will to be" <=that might be referring to the chaos of battle: all that's left is your will to stay alive.
    Mitsukoon June 01, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentBadass riff and lyrics. So dark too. Vintage Metallica.
    mb2621on May 12, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is such a great song, and once I heard it I knew Metallica was something special. Lyrics like "On they fight, for they are right, yes, by who's to say?
    For a hill men would kill, why? They do not know"
    This shows that Metallica is a very intelligent band who realizes how idiotic war is especially because both sides think they're right, but neither knows what they are really fighting for and why it is worth killing another.
    This band is so deep, I love it. I hope everybody is affected by this song as much as I am.
    MrMojoRisin5552on May 03, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentyes, i agree with you guys ;) metallica fuckin rulez
    pissmonkeyon May 04, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment\m/ METALLICA RULE!!!!!! we want a new album!
    brian molko loveron May 17, 2002   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top