Metallica Instrumentals: Orion vs. To Live is to Die

Two great albums with two cool instrumentals. If any band broke the stereotypes of thrash metal, it would be Metallica. When I wrote about the “And Justice For All” album last post, I stated about how enthralled I was with the penultimate track, the instrumental “To Live is to Die.” However, it also led me into comparisons with the penultimate track from the “Master of Puppets” album, “Orion.” Therefore, I am going to feature both songs, give my verdict and invite all of you to do the same. Remember, dissenting opinions are definitely welcome here.

Metallica with Cliff

“Orion” begins things in a very basic form with the rhythm guitars setting the pace and providing a building block for when the song progresses. You get a guitar solo from Kirk and then it goes back to the rhythm guitar and Lars’s drumbeat. At the midpoint, Cliff’s bass comes in for a brief solo and that leads things to go more progressive metal. Kirk plays a melodic solo backed up by a rather progressive bassline. That in turn builds up into some more cool guitar work and a solid power chord from James which in turn, spurs the song on to go out in more metal way.

“To Live Is To Die” opens with an acoustic guitar leading some to believe that this is going to be one of those acoustic instrumental ballads. However, that suddenly stops and some hard core power chords come pounding in with a cool and catchy metallic vibe. The tempo changes keep things interesting and with some lead guitar as an added attraction. However, Kirk is totally let off the lead around the three minute mark and cranks out a cool guitar solo with some changes in the melody. Once again, though, you get another change up with a soft electric guitar and for those who say they didn’t hear it, I can hear Jason’s bassline at this point and it sounds all right. A minute or so later, the song perks up again with some more guitar work from Kirk. Of course, I can’t leave out the spoken word part and it does fit in perfectly here. With a drumroll from Lars, the song goes full metal until the final thirty seconds where it goes back to being acoustic and ends the song perfectly.

Metallica with Jason

My verdict: I honestly believe that after “Orion,” Metallica thought that let’s make a good instrumental even better. “Orion” is a great instrumental but to me, it’s clear that “To Live is To Die” is an improvement and therefore the winner. However, you are all free to state which song you like better.

Next post: Iron Maiden- Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

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13 Responses to “Metallica Instrumentals: Orion vs. To Live is to Die”

  1. Yeah I like both but if I had to choose, it would be To Live Is To Die. That section from 4.32 to 7.32 still stops me in my tracks and gets me to pay attention

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cool idea for a post. I don’t have a preference as I don’t really follow either so they both win!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like Orion but they are both good tracks….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I still wish Jason was in Metallica! Also, the first time I heard “To Live is to Die,” I had no idea it was an instrumental because I wasn’t paying attention to the track list when I listened to the album for the first time. I was so confused and kept waiting for James to sing something lol. “To Live is to Die” wins for me!

    Liked by 1 person

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