We examine the lyrics of the song from Metallica’s 1984 album Ride the Lightning, line by line.
One of the side factors that make a metal band valuable to me is the meaning that the band in question puts into their lyrics. Bands whose lyrics go beyond mediocre love stories immediately rise to the level.
While listening to the song Creeping Death, I discovered this feature that I had not discovered before. I experienced once again that metallica is a band that is always open to discovery.
The biblically referenced relationship between Moses and Pharaoh is woven throughout Creeping Death.
Creeping death, which gives its name to the song, is none other than disasters and wrath sent by God to warn the pharaoh. According to the Bible, ten different wraths were sent by God to ancient Egypt. Let’s examine the song section by section to see the feature of Metallica that I mentioned above:
“slaves, hebrews born to serve. to the pharaoh
faith of the unknown one. the deliverer wait, something must be done. “four hundred years”
The Israelites were slaves to the Pharaoh for 400 years. It has never seen the light of day. The person mentioned as “the unknown one” and “deliverer” in the above section is Musa. that is, the person chosen to save the Israelites from captivity.
“now, let my people go. land of goshen go, i will be with thee. “bush of fire”
In this part of the song, Moses clearly warns Pharaoh to release his people (Israelites). Goshen is the name of the region where Israelis live. “Bush of Fire” is a reference to Moses’ conversation with God on the mountain (I’m not sure if Mount Tur is mentioned in the Bible). Moses communicates with God through a burning bush.
“blood, running red and strong. down the nile. plague, darkness three days long. hail to fire
The Nile River flowing red with blood is the first torment mentioned in the Bible. The darkness lasting three days is the ninth. The hail that rains down in the form of a ball of fire is the seventh wrath sent by God.
“i, rule the midnight air. the destroyer born, i shall soon be there deadly mass”
There isn’t as clear a reference here as there is in other parts of the song. However, by emphasizing that the angel of death will come very soon, the meanings of death and torment in the song were probably reinforced.
“blood, lamb’s blood painted door. “i shall pass”
the tenth wrath in the bible. The information that the angel of death will kill the first born boys in Egypt (to kill the first born pharaoh son) is constantly repeated throughout the song. Innocent Israelites are commanded to mark or paint their doors with the blood of the lamb; Thus, the angel of death realizes that there is an innocent Israelite behind that door and continues to perform his duty of taking lives by turning to another door. We make this inference through these words:
“die by my hand, i creep across the land, killing first-born man”
Azrael makes it clear that he has come to take the lives of all the firstborn boys in the Pharaoh’s land. The information that this task has been given to him by the chosen person is conveyed to the audience throughout the song through “I am sent here by the chosen one”.
A song I listened to encouraged me to do research. I learned about the wrath of God mentioned in the Bible. Even a standard song listening activity turned into an action that increased my knowledge and cultural repertoire.
Good luck metallica.