Here are Metallica's five best country songs.

The pairing of country and Metallica might not be as far-fetched as it initially seems.

Fans don't have to look too far to see the admiration many of the biggest country artists have for the thrash legends. When The Metallica Blacklist compilation came out in 2021, several stars like Chris Stapleton, Darius Rucker, Jon Pardi and Jason Isbell all shared their takes on 'Black Album' classics.

Metallica themselves have shown an appreciation for country music over the years, too, in particular frontman James Hetfield.

He has shared stories of his friendship with Waylon Jennings — like the legendary tale that inspired Load's "Wasting My Hate" — and even covered Jennings' "Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out of Hand" for the CMT Outlaws TV show.

Fans have also taken note of Hetfield's T-shirt choices which usually include classic rock throwbacks to bands such as Tank or supporting his son's band Bastardane, but he's also worn tees for up-and-coming country artists such as Colter Wall.

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For years, the band has even employed the help of folk artist Avi Vinocur when they perform acoustically.

It shouldn't come as a surprise, then, that a little bit of country might slip into a Metallica song every now and again.

Here are five Metallica songs that definitely have some of that twang.

"Ronnie" (Load)

Though the lyrics to this Load track are very heavy — dealing with a violent tragedy like a school shooting — the rhythm has a groovy, country beat to it. Even the bridge of the song finds Hetfield speaking the lyrics in an outlaw sort of way. "Ronnie" wraps with Kirk Hammett's roots-oriented solo, giving the track the perfect ending.

"Mama Said" (Load)

Another one from Load, it's hard not to include "Mama Said" on this list of country Metallica songs if for no other reason than it finds the band immersed in the rare acoustic setting.

Though the songs are quite different, the title itself is reminiscent of Merle Haggard's most-famous song, "Mama Tried." (Interestingly, the same year "Mama Tried" was added to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry, Metallica's "Master of Puppets" was also inducted.)

You don't have to listen too many times to hear many country influences on "Mama Said," including a harmonizing chorus and what sounds like a pedal steel guitar throughout. And as if all of that wasn't enough to convince you, just watch the music video; it's clear Hetfield embraced all things country when filming it.

"Don't Tread on Me" ('The Black Album)

No matter how you feel about country music, there's no question that the majority of the genre's songs and lyrics are patriotic, masculine and individualistic. Though "Don't Tread on Me" is one of the more pounding tracks on The Black Album, its lyrics – and its title – are country through hand through.

With lines such as, "So be it / Threaten no more / To secure peace is to prepare for war / Liberty or death, what we so proudly hail / Once you provoke her, rattling on her tail," there are no doubt countless songwriters in Nashville who all wish they wrote the Music Row version of "Don't Tread on Me."

"Low Man's Lyric" (Reload)

Fans may not immediately connect the hurdy-gurdy instrument to country music, but it has its roots in the fiddle family, so it's not a stretch to bring it into this conversation.

Metallica's unusual "Low Man's Lyric" from Reload elevates the hurdy-gurdy to a surprising level, making it the center of attention for the entirety of the track. And though the lyrics can get a little deep or obscure, there are moments where Hetfield seems to channel the simplicity of a country songwriter: "There's a dog at your backstep / He must come in from the rain."

"The Unforgiven" Trilogy ('The Black Album,' ReloadDeath Magnetic)

Maybe it's cheating to consider three songs as one in this list of Metallica's most country songs, but the trilogy as a whole must be taken into account.

From the pensive nature of "The Unforgiven" to the near twang of "The Unforgiven II," all culminating with an almost drawl found in "The Unforgiven III," the trilogy of these iconic songs could live in the canon of outlaw country just as easily as it does in the world of hard rock.

With an ongoing theme of sin and the consequence of sin, "The Unforgiven" trilogy easily wraps up our list of the most country songs written and recorded by Metallica.

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