Friday, June 3, 2011

Oh Mr. Sandman.... Boo!

Metallica (the black album)
1991, Elektra.
produced by Bob Rock

James Hetfield - vocals, guitars
Kirk Hammet - lead guitar
Jason Newsted - bass
Lars Ulrich - drums

singles -
  • Enter Sandman/ Stone Cold Crazy/ Holier than Thou
  • Unforgiven/ So What?/ Killing Time
  • Nothing Else Matters/ Harvester of Sorrow/ Enter Sandman
  • Wherever I May Roam/ Last Caress/ Am I Evil
  • Sad But True/ So What/ Nothing Else Matters
In 1992, this album won the Metal Grammy, prompting Lars Ulrich to thank Jethro Tull for not releasing an album that year.  No competition...  get it?  Fans have nicknamed this album the Black Album, which just makes me think of Spinal Tap and giggle... ("It's like, how much more black could this be? and the answer is none.  None more black"). 

This album marks the end and the beginning of Metallica.  

Let me explain...  

Metallica was this gritty, drunk, thrash metal band from the early '80s that thrived on bootleg support and leather clad drunken mosh pit fans.  Their sound was fast, loud, Motorhead-like metal that relied on dark, twisted, evil lyrics.  That is until after they toured for this album.  

The black album, as it is known, is the last sounds from this era.  This album does its best to recapture the sound of '80s metal, the bygone era of punk hardcore, and bootleg thrash.

Following this tour, Metallica briefly disbands, cuts their hair (which is a huge faux pas in the metal community) and releases the worst pair of albums in their career.  Eventually Newsted quits, the rest of the band has a huge carthartic moment, hire the bass player from Ozzy, and begin releasing better contemporary hard rock.  However, the sound of this album will only be heard in snatches of melody, and bits of leftover thrash solos.

I guess I should have seen that all coming.  This album almost tells the future.  There are a few slower, softer songs on this album, Hetfield has started to sing in a lower register.  Newsted still did not seem to belong in a band that he had been a member of for almost five years.  Looking back, this album marked a division in the career of Metallica, and for most fans, is the last hurrah for '80s metal. 

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