Metallica’s “Disposable Heroes” Lyrics Meaning

In the verses of “Disposable Heroes”, the singer is playing the role of a solider. And he is giving a harrowing portrayal of what he goes through as a member of this profession. For example, in the first verse we find him on the ‘killing field’, where he is surrounded by the dead bodies of his peers. And in the second verse, he portrays himself as someone who has borne witness to so much devastation that now for instance the sound of “machine gun fire” has no effect on him. And he is compelled to engage in this ‘never-ending slaughter’ based on the masculine ideologies which are part and parcel of being a soldier (i.e. being decorated with “stripes”).

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Metallica's Disposable Heroes at


Meanwhile in the choruses the singer rather takes on the role of one of the executive commanders of the aforementioned fighter. And to make a long story short, said individual perceives the solider as a killing machine. Or more to the point, his perception of reality is that the soldier’s intended purpose in life being to engage in war. As such, even if he is the 21 year old “only son” of a family, that does not matter to the commander. Rather his only preoccupation as far as the soldier’s life is concerned is how effectively and obediently he serves in the theater of war.

“Disposable Heroes”

So needless to say this song is critical of how the powers-that-be go about conducting war. Soldiers, when they prove themselves on the field, are indeed commended. But as the title suggests from the eyes of those in command, they are seen as “disposable”, i.e. individuals whose lives can basically be thrown away in the name of war. Hence the song’s title – “Disposable Heroes”.

Lyrics of "Disposable Heroes"

Facts about “Disposable Heroes”

This song was released on 3 March 1986 as part of Metallica’s third album, “Master of Puppets”. And the label behind the track is Elektra Records.

“Disposable Heroes” was written by Metallica members:

  • James Hetfield
  • Kirk Hammett
  • Lars Ulrich

And the entire band produced the tune along with Flemming Rasmussen.

1 Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow very impressive description for someone who has never served. You coward you servant you blind man.

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