Due to a publisher block, we are not authorized to display these lyrics.

Lyrics submitted by fennsk, edited by Ashram

Until It Sleeps song meanings
Add Your Thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +11
    My Opinion
    Personally I don't like to use the phrase 'This song is about.....' as whatever inspired the lyrics be it cancer, heroine or personal demons it means different things to different people. For me this is one of the most powerful songs ever written, not just by Metallica, but anyone, obviously James Hetfield has drawn on personal anguishes but kept the source of the pain hidden making it easy for each and every one of us to relate it to the lowest point of our lives. When I first heard the lyrics I was amazed at how it explained exactly the pain I was currently feeling as if he'd got inside my head and put into words the absolute agony I was suffering, esp 'Hold me until it sleeps' suggesting that I'd get through but never exorcise the underlying causes. I hope i've made sense!! You can see why I need lyrics to express myself, I just cant project the same depth of emotion! Either way this is my favourite Metallica song and possibly fave song ever.
    DizziDogon April 02, 2010   Link
  • +4
    General Comment
    I think this song represents a struggle with a darker side of a person, that was cause by a lot of pain, such as Jame's Dad's cancer. The lines seem to be talking about a horrible thing inside that,.."hates you" it could mean the person is lashing out at people, because of all the pain they hold inside.
    bananaheadon June 12, 2003   Link
  • +3
    General Comment
    though the song may have been written about his mother's heroine addiction or cancer or his father's cancer, or his battle with abusing alcohol, or what ever, this song is truly for the listener, in a sense that it is for your interpertation, like for however it speaks to you personally. here are some of the lyrics and what they mean to me: I RUN BUT IT STAYS RIGHT BY MY SIDE he tries to escape the addiction but he cannot DONT WANT IT, WANT IT, WANT IT, NO....SO TEAR ME OPEN BUT BEWARE... the point in addiction where you know you shouldnt do it and you know its bad, but the horrible temptation is there and you give in THERES THINGS INSIDE THAT SCREAM AND SHOUT inside him he knows he is torn because of the addiction;this embodies his two sides, the sane and addicted sides, providing almost a bi-polarity so much for analyzing it...i love metallica anyway they come!
    HijoDelMetallicaon April 20, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    When i hear the song it kinda sybolizes darkness and depression that lives in us. It never leaves and always has grip on you. (where do i take this pain of mine, i run but it stays by my side) Thats exactly how i feel.
    metalhead1980on September 26, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    It's about cancer.
    Necrothon April 25, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    i definitely think that the fact that jaymz was raised as a christian-scientist has a lot to do with the pain and religious anxiety in this song. this song has gotten me through so much. last summer i sat down with a razor blade up to my wrist. as if from nowhere my stereo turned on skipped to disk 4 and to the track until it sleeps. i dropped the blade, began to cry, and sang my pain out. this song can carry your burdens. it's like bleeding your heart with a leech.
    ladyjustice23on May 22, 2002   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation
    I was thinking what HijoDelMetallica wrote. Clearly it's about the struggle to overcome an addiction (more generally, it could also refer to compulsive, destructive behavior). There's nothing in this song to suggest anything regarding cancer, so I'm not quite sure where others are getting that from (other than some mysterious quote from James than no one seems to have a link to).
    MasterOfLyricson June 22, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    To me this song is about dealing with depression. How a person struggles to break free from it but is consuming him.
    Soulviveron October 11, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation
    This sounds like somebody coming down off of whatever...amphetamines, alcohol ect. They desperately want comfort but it's a false sort of comfort...they'll go right back to doing what they do once they feel alright, until then they sincerely want/need somebody to help them deal 'until it sleeps' I don't believe the person sincerely wants to be helped, even though they promise to reform (I'll tear me open make you gone, no longer can you hurt anyone) they're just seeking any form of comfort they can (hold me until it sleeps).
    TravelingCornedBeefon January 03, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    Ive heard that this song is about the death of James's dad, i think from cancer. But i think it also goes deeper than that. It has to do with general interal pain and loss and the inablily to make sense or cope with it. But if youve ever seen the video, which was based on a painting, you've seen the recuring scenes of Jesus's death and Adam and Eve's fall from grace. To me it represents the redemption given by Chirst's sacrifice on the cross and the remorse of having sinned. Its one of their best songs i think and has comforted me in tough times. I cant get enough of it.
    TheGame56on May 01, 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!

More Featured Meanings

Album art
Another Love
Tom Odell
I think the meaning is pretty clear. This person got really burned in a previous relationship, and because of this is unable to love and show care in his present one, even though he so badly wants to. It's lovely song, and very sad. You can really feel how defeated and frustrated he is with himself.
Album art
Cranberries, The
"Zombie" is about the ethno-political conflict in Ireland. This is obvious if you know anything of the singer (Dolores O'Riordan)'s Irish heritage and understood the "1916" Easter Rising reference. "Another head hangs lowly Child is slowly taken And the violence caused such silence Who are we mistaken - Another mother's breaking Heart is taking over" Laments the Warrington bomb attacks in which two children were fatally injured on March 23rd, 1993. Twelve year old Tim Parry was taken off life support with permission from his mother after five days in the hospital, virtually braindead. "But you see it's not me It's not my family" References how people who are not directly involved with the violence feel about it. They are "zombies" without sympathy who refuse to take action while others suffer.
Album art
The Last Dance
Within Temptation
@Kahiara Actually I think the husband passed away, "She sang for you last night She heard you were calling" Many people say they have felt, heard, or seen their loved ones after they have passed. "Don't be scared now Close your eyes She holds guard tonight Go on forward no remorse Life will take it's course" This is said to the late husband by a third part (never named), who encourages him to pass on. Because life will eventually continue. The phrase "holds guard" refers to the ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… ) which is a Christian ceremony held after someone dies. Now it is usually held right after the funeral, but in most celtiic countries the wake is held before the funeral. "She danced with you last night so you will remember All you have shared, a lifetime." This sentence feels as if the only thing it wants to convey is their history together, namely, husband and wife. For the rest it just refers back to the first verse.
Album art
Taylor Swift
I believe this is another amazingly on point and nuanced commentary on the insanity that follows emotionally abusive relationships. The abuser has no anxieties, no emotional pain, or salience/memory for that matter, so the survivor appears to be the crazy one, obsessed with the abuse and that buzzword that seems to ignite arguments about diagnosing people without a degree, etc. funny how you say the words domestic violence, abuse, abuse survivor and boom the subject changes. Anyways, I especially relate to her midnights becoming afternoons, complex PTSD often leads to this phenomenon, whether due to purposeful sleep deprivation by the abuser, or just hyper vigilance associated with the PTSD, along with the fear of facing people, especially your loved ones, who Never actually understand, even if they try, because all they see is you, on fire, screaming about the arsonist that no one ever sees, and who has been spreading lies about your alleged mental instability, deceptive personality, etc. the whole time. While the last thing survivors need is more blame, our society supports a narrative that blames the objectively innocent party because the blatantly guilty party has spent their entire lives fabricating a persona and we’re just being human, and human psychology is quite counterintuitive especially in the context of trauma. Look at Amber Heard. Vilified and not believed, regardless of what any abuse survivor could recognize as a fellow survivor instantly. But Johnny depp is a malignant narcissist, a man, and wealthy as all get out. It’s sick.
Album art
Better Than Feeling Lonely
Olivia O'Brien
This standalone single is the latest in the artiste's album run out. It was produced by Rogét Chahayed, Taylor Dexter & Wesley Singerman, and released via major streaming platforms on January 1, 2021.