The Friday rant - 10.06.11
I have pondered long and hard on this one, and I came to the conclusion on my dog walk early this morning that the time was right to rant properly about a subject that has distressed me for years now. Ever since they released their last great album in fact, and since that was in 1988 then I am sure you will understand my anger, frustration, sadness, disappointment and disgust. I am talking of course about Metallica. The Metallica that used to be one of the finest thrash metal bands on this planet. The Metallica that now have disappeared so far up their collective behinds that those distant glory years now seem as if they were represented by a tribute band that used to be Metallica - where is the real Metallica ? Get my drift ? How have the once truly mighty fallen.........
If you are now thinking that no, Henry is wrong, the Black Album was actually pretty good, and perhaps Death Magnetic was nearly a return to form then stop right now. Go and bang your head against the wall and then listen to Kill 'Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and .....And Justice for All back to back. Sit in a darkened room, pump the stereo right up to annoy the neighbours volume, dress in your old sleeveless t-shirts and studded denim jacket (yes, I know), and headbang until you drop. Those are some out and out classic thrash metal albums, and Master of Puppets was in my opinion a hungry metal band at the peak of their song writing powers. The song "Battery" is like the rolling thunder at the onset of a storm. Metallica were a great band that wrote awesome albums, and Lars used to be a pretty good drummer behind a proper sized metal drum kit. But then what the hell went and happened ?
I reckon it's that word "hunger", that's what went wrong. Metallica get huge, and quite rightly so, and they then go and spend far too long locked away in some luxury studio producing the over-produced pile of garbage that is known universally as the Black Album. Am I being unfair on what has I am guessing been their biggest selling album ? Well I can't listen to the riff from the opening song "Enter Sandman" without wanting to throw up, I despise it that much. When I saw them live some years ago and they opened up with "Enter Sandman" I came very close to walking out. Metallica got all commercial and forgot how to write proper thrash metal songs. OK, so there's a couple of songs I can listen to perhaps once every couple of years without wanting to jump up and down on my CD, but the Black Album is not one that I carry on my iPod, put it that way. Where's the aggression ? Where's the "'eff you" attitude, the in your face thrash metal anthems, the sheer reckless precision that spawned so many thrash metal anthems in the past ? Lost in a haze of money, too much time and fame if you ask me. Art collecting ? Come on.
And then we come to Load. My then girlfriend/now wife bought it for me and I remember taking it back to HMV for a refund almost immediately. "Why do you want a refund sir ?" "Because it's complete shXXte". "Fair enough, here's your money back." Enough said. Losing serious patience with what was once one of my favourite bands of all time. Kill 'em All. Now that's hunger, that's a band making one of the biggest musical statements of all time. With associated mullet haircuts and dodgy moustaches as well. Classic. Mosh pits, leather, alcohol, rebellion, proper thrash metal. Don't get me wrong, I am not one of those music fans who can't take their favourite bands progressing through the course of their careers, but I weep at the demise of Metallica and their loss of ability to write decent music.
Re-Load ? Ain't even going there. St. Anger - I told my brother not to buy it, but he did, and he paid full-whack for the CD. He then rang me up to tell me he had thrown it away in disgust after just one listen. Told you. Utter and complete garbage, with a drum sound so painfully awful that I can't even think about it. As for that documentary "Some Kind of Monster", well let's not go there in case I break down and blub. A metal band hiring a psychiatrist to deal with their problems ? What happened to a crate of Special Brew, a decent fight, and then a good old devil worshipping session to bring in the peace ?
"Death Magnetic", the Metallica comeback album ? Ain't even close. Look, they will always be one of the great thrash metal bands of all time, and yes, if I was honest then even the mighty Slayer have not released a truly great album since "Seasons in the Abyss". But then Slayer rule the roost with the best thrash metal album of all time (official, don't even bother arguing) with their peerless, never to be bettered "Reign in Blood". Slayer have kept it metal all the time, and live they are on a different scale to Metallica. Plus Slayer has arguably the best thrash metal drummer ever in their ranks. Metallica are close with "Master of Puppets", but not close enough to be forgiven for their many years of drivel. Sell the houses, burn the big cars, ditch the wives and families, grow the hair long and get back to making some great thrash metal again. Give up on art and big cigars and find some anger and aggression. Take true thrash metal to the masses once more. Make the mullet trendy again. Allow us to worship at the altar of true music unfettered by external influences. Come back Metallica..........