When Metallica kicked off the North American leg of their WorldWired tour this past May in Baltimore, Rolling Stone reported that fans were calling out for the band to play “Spit Out the Bone,” the raging closing track of their latest album. When the band put out Hardwired … to Self-Destruct last year, the seven-minute, hyper-charged thrasher quickly became a fan favorite, but the band held off playing it live until a gig at London’s O2 arena earlier this week.
Video of the fiery performance shows James Hetfield trading vocals with bassist Robert Trujillo, as the band pummels through their way through the tune. When it’s done, the singer tells the audience that the tune was “special for you, London.”
Lars Ulrich called the tune “an adventure” in an interview with Rolling Stone last year. “I have versions of that song that are two to three minutes longer,” he said. “We just kept going and going and going. That was also the first song where we went, ‘Wait a minute, is there too much of a good thing here?’ And then we started peeling it back. It was one of those where you just keep going to different universes and different modes and areas because it was super fun. It was like this journey. Old-school Mercyful Fate–type stuff was kind of the inspiration for that.”
Hetfield explained the meaning behind the song’s lyrics in an interview with Metallica’s official fanzine, So What. “[It’s] just the wonder and fear of what’s happening to man,” he said. “Without future tripping too much, just the possibilities of Terminator, stuff like that. … We could be a much more efficient race if we just allow computers to help us. And yeah, they are helping us, but how far does that go? All of that craziness. So ‘Spit Out the Bone’ is that your bones aren’t needed. They break.”
The group is currently on a European leg of their WorldWired tour and will release a “super deluxe” edition of their 1986 touchstone Master of Puppets on November 10th.