Metallica have just released a newly-recorded intro to "My Apocalypse", the closing song from last year's Death Magnetic album. That song, in case you haven't heard it, is the most furious burst of straight ahead thrash metal Metallica have done since 1988's ...And Justice for All (and, I have just learned, the winner of the 2009 Best Metal Performance Grammy award). According to the band's MySpace page, they have really been enjoying playing the song on tour, but they just "felt like it could use something extra", so James Hetfield wrote a new intro for the song which can be downloaded for free from LiveMetallica.com.
The new intro stands in stark contrast to the rest of the song; instead of being a relentless sonic assault, this is all about building mood. The first 12 seconds of the roughly one-minute intro consist of nothing but a tolling bell, a gentle rainfall, and a crashing thunderbolt. The bell and the rainfall continue to sound for the rest of the intro, while a simple melody is repeated on a keyboard (or a processed guitar - it's hard to tell) over a subdued but steady drum beat. The final note of the melody is accompanied by another crash of thunder, and the drums continue for another few seconds. It would have been awesome if they'd just released a recording of the full song including this intro, but this is still quite cool - it adds an epic feel to the song, and I'm really looking forward to hearing the full thing someday (hopefully a full recording of the current tour will surface on the site after the tour is finished.)
If one minute of free Metallica music isn't quite enough for you, be sure to check out the rest of the free recordings on that site in The Vault. There are now more than 20 full concerts available; my brother wrote a guest post about some of his favourites last year if you need help finding a place to start. Happy listening!