Seek & Destroy

"Seek & Destroy" is a 1983 song by the American heavy metal band Metallica and ninth track from their debut studio album, Kill 'Em All. It was also featured on the demo No Life 'Til Leather.[1] It was the first song the band recorded in a studio. "Seek & Destroy" has been frequently performed at the group's concerts since its live debut in 1982 and had been Metallica's closing song from the Madly in Anger with the World Tour to the Metallica By Request Tour. It is the third-most performed song in the band's history, having been played 1,525 times as of October 2019, behind only "Creeping Death" (1,533) and "Master of Puppets" (1,670).[2][3][4][5]

"Seek & Destroy"
Song by Metallica
from the album Kill 'Em All
ReleasedJuly 25, 1983
RecordedMay 10–27, 1983
StudioMusic America (Rochester, New York)
GenreThrash metal

During the 2004 documentary film about Metallica, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, the song is used when footage of the band down the years is shown highlighting the progression in the group's appearance and sound over time. In AOL Radio's list of the 10 Best Metallica Songs, "Seek & Destroy" was ranked at number 4,[6] and Allmusic's Steve Huey chose the song as an AMG Track Pick from Kill 'Em All.[7]

Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the song was placed on the list of post-9/11 inappropriate titles distributed by Clear Channel.

Writing and inspirationEdit

The song is about feeling the urge to kill, but not literally doing it. During the Kill 'Em All for One Tour, Hetfield would jokingly say that it was about hunting. It is said to be heavily influenced by the Diamond Head song "Dead Reckoning". The first three mini-solos are derived from the song "Princess of the Night" by Saxon. Metallica added the final solo. Since the song's debut on Kill 'Em All, Hammett has apologized for the unusual pitch of the string bend which occurs at 3:47 to 3:48, during the solo. It is, in fact, a mistake or "bum note".[8][9]

If 'Seek And Destroy' is borrowed from any Diamond Head song, it's 'Dead Reckoning'. It greatly inspired 'Seek And Destroy', shall we say.

— Lars Ulrich, June 1993[10]

Live performanceEdit

The song has become a fan favorite and has been played at virtually every Metallica concert since the band's inception. It is usually played as a closing number for its live performances since the Madly in Anger with the World tour, with Hetfield often asking the audience to sing along with him; he shouts "Searching," and they shout "Seek and destroy!" During the Wherever We May Roam Tour, "Seek & Destroy" was played with Jason Newsted singing vocals; however, at the end of the song, the band would commence in a jam for nearly seven minutes until Hetfield took the microphone and continually had the audience sing the lines "Seek and destroy!".[11] He also went to the edge of the barriers holding off the crowd and got them to sing the lines individually. The song length went from an average of seven minutes to an average of 16 to 20 minutes for the elongated concert version of the Black Album tour.

During the Shit Hits the Sheds Tour in 1994, the song would be introduced as a new song that Newsted wrote and would include an extended jam, that would include one of the main riffs of "The Outlaw Torn". From 2004 to 2015, it became a regular closing song at the end of the band's set. From 1983 to 1994, the song was played in E standard tuning. From 1995–2000 and for two shows in 2002 and 2013, respectively, it was played in E flat tuning. It was played in D standard tuning from 2000 to 2015. Starting again in 2015, it was played in E flat tuning. When played live, Hetfield (in the past also Newsted) often changes the beginning lyrics "in the city tonight" by replacing "the city" with the name of the town in which they are performing.[12]

Since 2004, bassist Robert Trujillo has done a spinning technique with his bass guitar after the guitar solo of the song before the last verse.

Notably, Seek & Destroy was the last song ever played at Nürburgring before the location of the Rock am Ring festival was moved elsewhere.

A performance of the song with Burton on bass in 1985, is available on the DVD Cliff 'Em All.[13] Newer live versions can also be found in the Live Shit: Binge & Purge box set[14] (with Newsted singing the lead vocals on the Mexico City CDs and the San Diego DVD) and the Cunning Stunts DVD[15] when played in the Kill/Ride Medley.

Use in sportsEdit

The song was also the theme song of former WCW, TNA and WWE wrestler Sting and former AAA wrestler Cibernético. In Sting's case, the song was a live recording from Woodstock '99 which would be included on the 1999 compilation WCW Mayhem: The Music.

Since 1991, the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League have used Seek & Destroy as their entrance theme, as many of the band members are Sharks fans.[16]

The Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers and the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League also use the song as their entrance theme during home games.[citation needed]

As of 2010, it is being used as the home theme song for the Australian rugby league team, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. In attempt to end his batting slump, White Sox baseman Gordon Beckham began using "Seek & Destroy" as his introduction theme in May 2010, replacing The Outfield's "Your Love".[17] Zoic Studios created a television commercial for NASCAR that features "Seek & Destroy." It aired in May 2010.[18]


Live coversEdit


  • Malcolm Dome; Mick Wall (1996). The complete guide to the music of Metallica. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-7119-4902-7.


  1. ^ "Metallica – No Life 'til Leather". Encyclopaedia Metallum.
  2. ^ "Song Statistics". Metallica. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  3. ^ Ratliff, Ben (August 31, 2008). "Some Kind of Refined Monster". The New York Times. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
  4. ^ Pastorek, Whitney (June 14, 2008). "Bonnaroo 08: My Morning Friday". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
  5. ^ McKenna, Dave (January 17, 2009). "Metallica, Still Putting the Pedal to the Metal". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
  6. ^ Raymond, Serena (June 2009). "10 Best Metallica Songs". AOL Radio. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
  7. ^ Huey, Steve. "Metallica – Kill 'Em All". AllMusic. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
  8. ^ Jeff Kitts (October 1991), "Through the Past Darkly", Guitar World, p. 83
  9. ^ "Song Info – Seek & Destroy". Encyclopedia Metallica. Retrieved May 28, 2010.
  10. ^ Putterford, Mark (2000). Metallica: In Their Own Words. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-8440-9.
  11. ^ "Song Info – Seek & Destroy". Encyclopedia Metallica. Retrieved May 28, 2010.
  12. ^ See for example: Metallica (1993), "Seek & Destroy", Live Shit: Binge & Purge, Scanning the scenes [in] Mexico City tonight...
  13. ^ Metallica (1986), "Seek And Destroy", Cliff 'Em All
  14. ^ Metallica (1993), "Seek & Destroy", Live Shit: Binge & Purge
  15. ^ Metallica (1998), "Seek & Destroy", Cunning Stunts
  16. ^
  17. ^ Gonzales, Mark (May 20, 2010). "Slumping Beckham changes his tune". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
  18. ^ DeMott, Rick (June 6, 2010). "Zoic Studios Returns To NASCAR With Variables". Animation World Network. Retrieved May 14, 2010.
  19. ^ "Контрол – Леле Како!". Discogs (in Bulgarian).
  20. ^ a b "Metallica covers (James Hetfield)". AllMusic. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
  21. ^ a b c d e "Metallica covers". AllMusic. Retrieved March 27, 2010.

External linksEdit