METALLICA — Metallica (review)

METALLICA — Metallica album cover Album · 1991 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
2/5 ·
Conor Fynes
'The Black Album' - Metallica (4/10)

I like to think of the 'Black Album' as the album that killed Metallica, or at least killed their sense of musical integrity. Moving from an uncompromised metal spirit to being more or less a puppet of the almighty dollar does not go over well with me.

Now, I've never been a real fan of Metallica but I can admit that their first four albums are very noteworthy, each for different reasons. The band's debut 'Kill 'Em All' was essentially the first thrash metal album, and while it was condemned by 'metalheads' at the time (who were generally used to metal along the lines of Black Sabbath) it was destined to become the album that would define a genre. The next album 'Ride The Lightning' took the raw thrashy energy and transformed it into something even more epic. The two to follow that; 'Master Of Puppets' and '...And Justice For All' are both masterpieces that incorperated progressive elements into a metallic soundscape; something that was rarely heard of in that time. Metallica really seemed to be knocking heads with their uncompromised energy and power...

...Then the 'Black Album' came along and gave dawn to a period in the band's music that can't be considered anything short of pitiful.

It's the 'Black Album' where everything changed; where everything seemed to come crashing down for the band. There was a great musical switch with this album. Exchanging energy and creativity for accessibility and commercial nature, the band really toned down their fire and resorted to making what I can only call 'radio rock with an edge.'

The album has a few songs I really like that really do deserve praise. The song 'The Unforgiven' is among my favourites of the band, and the ballad 'Nothing Else Matters' has some great vocal and acoustic work. But most of this is basically an example of a Metallica that has been declawed by the market.

The 'Black Album' can be appreciated by your average rock listener, but for me, this album took away everything I previously appreciated about the band. I liked the band for their energy and speed. There's none of that here. Why would I give this much of a rating?

It's definately not the band's worst, and there are good songs on here. But apart from a few saving graces, there's alot of filler material that's character of a band that has sold it's soul to the record label.
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