I remember Metallica from high school. All of the burn outs wore the t shirts from the early tours. For those of you who don't remember or don't know what a burn out was, they were the kids really into Metal music and drugs. I never was fully in their group I really liked hard rock I didn't have the application for Metal at the time, and I didn't do drugs. So I spent high school around the music of Metallica. I even remember the disappointment and heartache when the original bassist Cliff Burton died way too early. I guess the closest to early Metallica I got into was the video for the song One.
When Metallica first came on the market they, like most Metal bands, weren't on the radio and they definitely weren't on MTV. Metal finally got a toe hold in the mass media with The Head Bangers Ball. I remember that show, 120 Minutes for alternative music and finally the great Ed Lover show for Rap was a way MTV gave a small voice to videos that weren't pop.
In 1991 I was in college and Metallica released the Black album. I finally heard the band on radio and saw videos on MTV. I enjoyed what I heard and saw, but Metal purists were none too happy. Before I get to my review of the album I want to look at the Metal fans reaction and what is truly Selling Out.
The problem with the Black Album is that it crossed over. This means Industry smucks realized that could make big money off of Metal music, or at least a formula of it. I think that after many times listening to New Metallica, and the fact that the band has lasted ,it must have meant that the band wanted a change. The great bands that last change. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Rush, and heaven knows Queen all changed and tried different styles over their careers. I think the reason Metallica lasted is that they wanted to change. Unfortunately, there were many Metal bands that listened to the music industry smucks and changed for the money. Fans know when it is real and when it is a formula. Hey there are many Metal bands that didn't give into the Industry and they are still around. So is it truly Selling Out if you want to change your music and it becomes popular? Let's be honest the Black Album could have bombed.
On the album, The first change I noticed is that the songs are much shorter. It kind of reminds me of the change Rush did after their first few albums. It's like the band felt we know we can write epics ; can we get the point across in a shorter time. The other change is there is a heavier bass line. I sometimes wonder if this change plus the cross over of Rap lead to the Metal of the 21 century? The songs are still very dark Enter Sandman, The Unforgiven, The God That Failed are all on the unpleasant side of life. I love Sad But True the grove just diggs in and grabs you. Finally, yes there is sort of a ballad on the album, Nothing Else Matters. I know that was probably the biggest sticking point for Metal purists. I have to admit I sort of side with the purists on this one. Now Hair Metal had already fallen into this Industry trap of releasing the heavy track and then the ballad ; so too did a lot of Metal bands who would never willing write more less release a ballad. So Metal went the way of Hair bands, Fans know a formula and will also look for the Pure Art
So I like the Black album, and to be frank to anytime there is a change haters be out in full force. But if it a change cause the musicians want it they will last. Give it a listen. it is a great Album.
Till next time, listen to the best your ears deserve it. s