Welcome Home (Sanitarium)

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For other uses, see Welcome Home (disambiguation).
"Welcome Home (Sanitarium)"
Song by Metallica
Released October 23, 1986
Recorded September–December, 1985 at Sweet Silence Studios Copenhagen, Denmark
Genre Heavy metal, thrash metal
Length 6:28
Label Elektra
Writer James Hetfield / Lars Ulrich / Kirk Hammett
Producer Metallica, Flemming Rasmussen
Master of Puppets track listing
"The Thing That Should Not Be"
"Welcome Home (Sanitarium)"
"Disposable Heroes"

"Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" is a power ballad by American heavy metal band Metallica. It was released as the third and final single from their third album, Master of Puppets. It was Metallica's last single to feature bassist Cliff Burton. It is track four on the album, and it keeps traditions set by "Fade to Black", as shown in the composition article below.

Meaning of the song[edit]

Keeping with the theme of powerlessness of "Master of Puppets", the lyrics portray one being trapped in insanity, or perhaps trapped in a mental asylum. Hetfield said he actually wrote it as tribute to the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and that the style was to create a "slow, clean, picking type of song" similar to "Fade to Black", but "this time with a chorus".[1]


The song begins slowly with guitar harmonics, which eventually leads into the main riff followed by the bass guitar, drums and solo. The lyrics progress and become more harsh, backed by harsher vocals (in comparison to the cleaner vocals of the song) and heavily distorted guitars. The song ends with several guitar solos, two heavy and fast drum solos by Lars Ulrich, and a few lyrics that hint about an uprising in the asylum. Like "Fade to Black", "One", and "The Day That Never Comes", the song starts off slow and clean, but becomes heavier and faster as it progresses.

The original demo version of this song features an extended ending which is eventually used as bass and guitar solos in the song "Orion".

Live performance[edit]

Sanitarium is tied with Battery as being Metallica's 10th most-played song. The first performance was on March 27, 1986 in Wichita, Kansas. As of December 9, 2012, the song has been performed 862 times (the most recent being October 27, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana at the Voodoo Music Festival.[2])

In the early 2000s, Metallica would often combine the song with "Master of Puppets" in concert, calling it "Mastertarium".

In popular culture[edit]

The song's intro can be heard during the Bass/Guitar Doodle on Cunning Stunts which led into "Nothing Else Matters".

"Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" is used as background music for the film Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, which details the controversial West Memphis Three murder case, as the three boys listened to heavy metal. It has been used as the music for the opening credits for all 3 films, and is a theme of sorts for the series.




  1. ^ Bienstock, Richard (December 2008). "Metallica: Talkin' Thrash". Guitar World. 
  2. ^ "METALLICA.com - Songs". metallica.com. Retrieved 17 October 2014.