When a man lies he murders some part of the world
These are the pale deaths which men miscall their lives
All this I cannot bear to witness any longer
Cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home

Lyrics submitted by fennsk, edited by RyanWolfeh, Ashram

To Live Is to Die song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentWords cannot express the depth of this instrumental. So much raw emotion was put into this, and the song just shines. If there was an award for best intrumental of all time, this would definately be one of the top contenders. Definately a work of musical genious!
    BigKurtCon April 27, 2003   Link
  • +4
    General Comment"To Live Is To Die" is the unofficial tribute to Cliff Burton. The band has never publicly said it, but it is pretty much understood. The entire song is based off of the bassist, quite possibly one of the greatest of all time, who died in 1986 after being run over by a bus. The song displays the anger that the band felt with Cliff's death, as well as the peace and tranquility that was Cliff Burton.

    The song begins with the soft, slow tones of Spanish guitars, idly repeating their tranquil tones. This symbolizes the peace of Cliff while he was still alive. The guitars fade out, to be replaced by the pounding of drums, which explode into an earthquake of power cords. This sudden replacement of mood shows the abruptness of Cliff’s death, and the anger that the band feels towards its injustice. After four or so minutes of rage, it stops, to yield to the soft tones of Jason Newstead, backed by violins. The solo that Newstead performs is a masterpiece, genuinely from the heart, and eye watering. The love, peace, and all around goodness of Cliff Burton are expressed through this. The only lyrics of the song are said shortly afterwards. Written originally by Burton, it expresses his hatred towards this world, but shows that there is hope beyond, in a higher realm of understanding. The power cords begin again, and slowly fade out to admit the Spanish guitars again, beginning the cycle once more. This shows that Cliff shall never really die, and that his legacy shall continue for as long as heavy metal exists.

    God bless Cliff Burton, and may he find the Kingdom of Salvation that he tried so hard to find.
    TheExileon October 25, 2004   Link
  • +3
    Song Meaning"When a man lies he murders some part of the world. These are the pale deaths men miscall their lives". This is actually a quote from a 17th century poet/hymn writer by the name of Paul Gerhardt..... It's a great song, cool lyrics, but proper credit should be given to the true writer...
    nowforthetruthon October 19, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentVery deep TheExile. This is the only song that has ever made me cry and its an instrumental, I guess that just shows how much Metallica cared about Cliff and how talented of musicians they really are. Fuck all non-Metallica fans, this song proves their genius.
    Sucroseon November 09, 2004   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningI watched a custom video of this song on youtube and when Lars cracked his snare and the music cuts off and the slow solo began...I teared up like a little bitch haha. I mean shit they showed Cliff's coffin and I was blitz!..I couldn't help it lol. I love how James expresses himself through his lyrics. It's not every other song, it's EVERY FRICKIN SONG and he must've been speeding off coke to create something like this

    starts out slow, everything between the 4 of them is fine, then comes in the distortion; Cliff has died..Metallica is pissed, confused, what now...all they know is music, they move on, grow as a band, build their knowledge on what Cliff has shown them the climax of their success is the faster solo (1988...'91 arguebly) it slows back down to the distortion and fuck, now I'm crying haha. That slow solo to me is the time James Lars and them are flying...always on tour, gettin laid, getting trashed, making music and living their lives to the fullest...then the solo shows how they feel when things get quiet and they have time to think about the brother they lost, how things could've been and how much they miss him...

    It's awesome the amount of emotion this song puts out. If you know the band well, know their history, what they've been through and have lost someone yourself...only then you'll understand why this song is so touching...especially that damn solo! SHIT I LOVE METALLICA
    MattMarshon August 25, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentCliff Burton did not actually write the poem, it was just one that he really like. That being said, this is still an amazing song.
    akhayaton April 26, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is the best song i've ever heard.R.I.P. Cliff...
    fiendforeveron September 11, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment "To Live Is To Die" is a colossal masterpiece of epic songwriting. Metallica create a wall of sound on this song that can only be described as "orchestral"; Beethoven would be proud.

    Metallica could have scribbled a bunch of lyrics that touched on their sadness at Cliff's passing. This would have showed us the sadness they feel, but Metallica understood that lyric's can be interpreted in many different ways. Thus, Metallica composed what is perhaps their most beautiful music ever, the music is fully capable of bringing tears to your eyes in a way that lyrics (with their ambiguities) cannot always accomplish.

    From interviews with Kirk, James, and Lars, Cliff Burton appears to be a "no nonesense", "no bullshit pretensions" kind of person. That being said, what better way to say "farewell" to Cliff than to compose a piece of music so evocative of sadness and mourning that no lyrics are even necessary.

    As a testament to Cliff's "brutal honesty", Metallica chooses as the only lyrics in the song a poem by Cliff, spoken against the backdrop of Metallica's earth shattering music. A poem that speaks of Cliff's frustrations with the world, yet at the same time shows that he is hopeful that something greater than this World exists, the "Kingdom of Salvation". This is a constant them that runs through all of Metallica's music, that shred of hope that exists even when all around is darkness. This quality, coupled with their amazing instrumental talents, assures Metallica's place in history with the "Immortals" of music.
    spiralofdivinityon September 14, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCliff Burton inspires me to play my bass and this song inspires me yet even more I love to play my bass I'm going to learn this song and if i ever get famous im telling the world that Cliff Burton has and will forever inspire me
    Hagar_the_Horribleon March 15, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTHIS IS THE GREATEST SONG OF ALL TIME. Cliff Burton was the god of the bass guitar. When I hear and play this song it feels like it is a part of me or something. It's to hard to put into words. So, Metallica will live forever, and bellbottoms rule. CLIFF R.I.P.
    Forgotten Oneon March 25, 2003   Link

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