“All Nightmare Long” is a song by American thrash metal band Metallica, released as their second single from their ninth album Death Magnetic. The single was released on December 15, 2008. The song is in Drop D tuning. It was nominated for the Kerrang! Award for Best Single.
The music video, directed by Roboshobo (Robert Schober), debuted on December 7, 2008, on Metallica’s official website and Yahoo! Video. The video, which does not feature the band, is an alternate history narrative done in grainy mockumentary style, depicting a sequence of fictional events following the historic 1908 Tunguska event, at which Soviet scientists discover spores of an extraterrestrial organism, a small harmless thing resembling an armored worm.
However, it turns out the incredibly hardy spores are able to reanimate dead tissue, and subjects turn violent sometime after exposure to the spores; a cartoon then shows the USSR adapting them as a bioweapon and scatters them from balloons in a preemptive strike against the U.S., causing a localized zombie apocalypse before intervening militarily to distribute humanitarian aid. At the end of the cartoon, a hybrid U.S.-USSR flag is raised in the now-Soviet-ruled America, and in 1972, a headless corpse is shown breaching containment and escaping from a Soviet biowarfare lab. The video ends with an incident in Arkansas, similar to the start of the video, with various news reporters reporting on chemtrails.
In an interview, James Hetfield commented on the song’s lyrical meaning:
“ It was an attempt to get back to the H. P. Lovecraft mythos with Thing that Should Not Be, Call of Ktulu.[sic] This was about the Hounds of Tindalos, which was another crazy mindfuck about these wolves that hunt through their nightmares and the only way you can get away from them is stay within angles (120 or less). You can’t even escape through sleep. “