Tune Talk: Metallica


Willie Williams, Staff Writer

Named the greatest metal band of all time, Metallica. Metallica may have its rivals, but its fans put up a riot shield and absolutely dominate any enemies that decide to come anywhere towards this amazing metal band. I love Metallica, but I have yet to see them play live but from what I’ve seen, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to see these guys rock live, their shows are known to not only be full of thrash metal and awesome drumming as well as some great Kirk Hammett solo’s but the pyrotechnics are the ones that keep not only the fans but the bands adrenaline pumping.
Metallica first formed way back in 1981 with James Hetfield on the rhythm guitar and vocals, Dave Mustaine on lead guitar, and Lars Urlich was back on the drums, the band did not have a bass player at this time, there wasn’t a bass player founded for this band until 1983, whenever “Kill ‘Em All” was released the band contained members which were Cliff Burton, James Hetfield, Dave Mustaine, Lars Urlich, and Kirk Hammett was actually just added into the band. On “Kill ‘Em All,” it contained hit songs that I’ve heard of a lot frequently like “The Four Horsemen,” “Jump in the Fire,” “Hit the Lights,” and Kurt Cobain’s favorite song, “Whiplash.” In this same year, Lars, Cliff, and James all agreed that lead guitarist, Dave Mustaine, as I mentioned earlier, was very overly aggressive and a huge alcoholic, even as well as a drug addict, so they decided to kick him out of the band, this was very painful for James, Dave and James were pretty good friends whenever they were in this band together, but Dave was easily replaced with a much better guitarist, Kirk Hammett. Kirk Hammett is definitely my favorite heavy metal guitarist, I really look up to Kirk with his great solos that he improvises within 90% of Metallica’s songs. I have a favorite guitarist from every genre I like actually, Grunge would obviously be Kurt Cobain, and Pop Punk is Tom DeLonge, and Pop Rock would definitely be Ryan Ross. Anyways, Kirk was loved by all Metallica fans and Dave Mustaine formed his own band in 1983 called MegaDeth which actually became a rival to Metallica fans and it’s been a feud up until about 2015 which is where both bands played together and bonded their fans together.
Anyhow in 1984 was whenever greatness came to the public eye, “Ride the Lightning” came out with songs like “Fade to Black,” “Creeping Death,” “Ride the Lightning,” “From Whom the Bell Tolls,” and “Escape,” and became a huge success for Metallica in an instant, it is actually said that “Ride the Lightning,” and “Kill ‘Em All,” are Metallica’s best albums, which is ironic since those are the two albums that they ever released. I still have yet to actually listen to “Kill ‘Em All,” but I cannot wait until I get the album and blast it on every speaker that I own. Metallica went on tour in 1984, playing their great new songs for their crowds, and got even more fame whenever they went on tour with bands like Torme as well as Tank.
Metallica just seemed to be getting more and more fans by each year as “Master of Puppets” was released in 1986, I would say that it contained certain hits but literally every song on that album is great in my opinion and all Metallica fans opinions, it had “Battery,” “Master of Puppets,” “The Thing That Should Not Be,” “Welcome Home (Sanitarium),” “Disposable Heroes,” “Leper Messiah,” “Orion,” and “Damage, Inc.” That’s every song on that album.
Moving onto 1988, Metallica released a breakthrough album, “…And Justice for All,” which is mainly known for Metallica’s hit song, “One,” which was actually covers the story of Joe Bonham, a World War I soldier who wakes up in a hospital after being injured in battle. It is unaware to Bonham at first, but Bonham slowly learns that the injuries he sustained were the result of being involved in an explosion, including the loss of his appendages and all of his face. However, Bonham’s mind is fully functioning. He has become trapped in his own body. Hence Hetfield’s lyrics, “I cannot live, I cannot die, Trapped in myself, Body my holding cell.” Other than that one song there actually weren’t actually any other huge hits, but I personally love the song, “…And Justice for All,” as well as “The Shortest Straw,” I honestly love this entire album as well as all of their albums.
Quite some years went by and Metallica was silent with new material, they kept on playing shows but didn’t release anything new until 1991, which is when “The Black Album” was released which had one of Metallica’s known hit, “Enter Sandman.” Now there are a whole bunch of other songs on the album of course that were really good and also bumped Metallica up in success like “The Unforgiven,” and “Nothing Else Matter,” which are the other two most people know very well, “Wherever I May Roam,” “Don’t Tread on Me,” “Holier Than Thou,” and my favorite, “Sad But True.”
Metallica then went on yet another huge tour and went silent again up until 1996 whenever they released their next album, “Load,” which not a whole lot of people loved so much. I think that it’s a pretty good album, I love two songs on there “Until It Sleeps,” and “The House That Jack Built.” But the ones that most people liked were “2×4” “King Nothing,” “Hero of the Day,” “Cure,” and “The Outlaw Torn.” Then a year after Metallica tried to redeem themselves with “Reload,” which was also not a huge success but I still don’t mind it, it had yet another one of Metallica’s most popular songs, “Fuel,” as well as “The Unforgiven II,” but I honestly like “Load” way more than “Reload.”
Finally, Metallica was done “loading” and came out with “Garage Inc.” which was actually a low quality album since the album only contained covers that Metallica did by some of their favorite songs, and it didn’t really get much publicity for Metallica. This album did actually have Metallica’s other known song “Whiskey in the Jar,” which originally was written by Lena Bourne Fish, as well as “Am I Evil?” which was originally written by Diamond Head. Metallica didn’t come out with another one of their own material until 2003, and that was whenever “St. Anger” came out, but yet again, Metallica didn’t get a large amount of successful progress for Metallica, personally I haven’t even bought or looked at neither “Garage Inc.,” nor “St. Anger” but I plan on buying them soon, as Metallica still has yet to disappoint me with a bad album, “Reload” isn’t my favorite but I still like it.
Anyhow, moving on, Metallica only went onto festivals and another tour in celebration of “St. Anger,” and didn’t get another album out until 2008 which was the release of “Death Magnetic.” “Death Magnetic” actually got Metallica right back on track with success as “All Nightmare Long” is one of Metallica’s best known songs from 2000-2010, as well as “The Unforgiven 3” actually came out on that same album and I’m pretty excited to listen to it, since “The Unforgiven” is one of my favorites from Metallica’s “Black Album,” there were also songs like “My Apocalypse,” “Cyanide,” “Broken, Beat, and Scarred,” and “The Day That Never Comes.” This album gained much publicity for Metallica as the went on another tour and even more festivals as well as a bunch of EP’s that were released to keep Metallica fans going while Metallica worked on new stuff.
It’s hard to believe that Metallica didn’t come out with anything new for 8 years, because Metallica is very consistent with coming out with new material, and it wasn’t until 2016 that Metallica would release their newest album, “Hardwired to Self-Destruct.” I absolutely love this album, I was actually told by multiple people not to get this album because it’s just not a good album, but of course I didn’t listen because these are the same people that said Nirvana’s only good album is “Nevermind,” but “In Utero” and “Bleach” are my top favorites and I listen to them on a daily basis, anyways, on “Hardwired to Self-Destruct,” came “Hardwired,” “Moth into Flame,” “Spit Out the Bone,” “Am I Savage?,” “Atlas, Rise!,” and depending on if you buy the deluxe version which is what I did, I also got “Lords of Summer,” “Remember Tomorrow” which is actually and Iron Maiden cover, and you also get a taste of what Metallica sounds like live with some of their live versions of songs.
Now, I can’t say that this is my favorite Metallica album, if I had to rank them I’d say “Ride the Lightning” would go first, then I’d put “Hardwired to Self-Destruct,” “Master of Puppets,” “…And Justice for All,” “The Black Album,” “Load,” and then “Reload.” Sorry I couldn’t put “Kill ‘Em All,” “Death Magnetic,” or “St. Anger” because I haven’t listened to or got them yet, the ones I did list are the ones that I got. Metallica’s been around for 37 years exactly, and in 2014 they actually admitted to being too old to be playing heavy metal, but we all hope that they stick around for years to come, Metallica changed the world of heavy metal, honestly I don’t know what I would do if they retired, it’s bad enough I lost Nirvana due to Kurt Cobain’s death as well as Linkin Park due to Chester Bennington’s death, Foo Fighters might end in about 10 or 20 years maybe if Dave Grohl decides he’s too old to be screaming “The Pretender” in the microphone, so let’s hope James, Kirk, Lars, and Robert stick around for quite a while.