Metallica Musings

Tara and I watched most of Some Kind of Monster the other night and I finished it off(mostly listening to, not watching) yesterday while working.

I want to say that it was interesting to see Metallica in that kind of light, but it wasn’t really. It just reminded me of the glut of Emo bands that popped up around that time(or at least hit the radar). I wanted to write a full post just about the movie but thought better of it when I realized that I wasn’t really saying anything  that doesn’t make me sound like a dick or unsupportive of group therapy. I guess it was just seeing Metallica in that environment that made me think; what a punch of pansies. In fact, during the movie, Jason said just that and I suspect that’s one reason they parted ways.

Anyway, back to the point.

I fell out of love with Metallica shortly after the release of Load as I felt they were moving in a direction that I really didn’t like and I decided to stop supporting them. That was in the mid 90’s, and I’m a little older now (probably no wiser, but that’s another story) and my tastes of changed over the years. So I thought, why not snag a copy of all the new albums, sit down and just listen again.

So that’s what I did today, and here are my findings:

Load:

I remember the day this came out. Doug and I wandered out, we both picked up the CD and went back to his place to give it a listen. When it was over, we both had this disgusted look on our face. Doug was still in ‘hard core fan’ mode, and the best he could come up with was “well, it’s not my favorite Metallica CD, but I still like it”. I traded my unopened copy for Soundgardens Superunknown and didn’t regret it.

However, listening to it today, it’s a fine fine album. Just not a Metallica album. In all honesty, if they had released this under a different group name, say, Bobo and the hard rockers, I would have accepted this album a lot more than I did. It’s got a great rock groove going and is very easy to listen to and enjoy. It’s just not the Metallica I grew up with.

Going forward, I think that’s going to be the main focus here. The Metallica I fell in love with is gone, and it’s been replaced by this other Metallica. Ok, so that’s kinda sounding Emo, but you know what I mean ;P

Reload:

Interesting name for a CD. I guess it was all the left over stuff from Load, which I can understand.

So far, it’s mostly the same feel as Load, which, again, makes sense if it was mostly left overs or do overs. I really don’t know the history of the CD as I gave up on them before this.

At this time I would like to partially blame Bob Rock for all of this. He produced the black album, Load, ReLoad and St Anger. Before that he was producing Motley Crew. I can hear that now. I didn’t like the idea then, mostly because I didn’t think he fit for the role, but one thing he does is create a very nice and clean album. No question.

So again, if you can get over the idea that this is Metallica, then it’s a fine piece of work.

Where the Wild Things Are really reminds me of 70s Alice Cooper, and that’s not a bad thing. Too bad it had nothing to do with the book. I could see that happening as they all started having kids around this time.

Over these last two CDs they really branched out and went in different directions, and for the most part they work. It’s almost as they dropped the past and just reinvented themselves. I’m not sure if the idea of ‘selling out’ comes into play here or not. I mean, there’s a song from Tool that kinda sums this up nicely:

All you know about me is what I’ve sold you,
I sold out long before you ever heard my name.

I sold my soul to make a record,
And you bought one.

All you read and
Wear or see and
Hear on TV
Is a product
Begging for your
Fatass dirty
Dollar

So…Shut up and

Buy my new record
Send more money

Did they change their sound? Yes. Did they do it to make more money? Very possibly. Or did they just want to take the band in a new direction without any thought of money? Hard to say.

I mean, it’s a business, anyone who says differently isn’t doing it right 😉

Anyway, moving on….

St. Anger:

This is the one that the movie was about. There were a lot of rumors floating around with this one; that they had gone back previous form and that there was no solos. This last one was a little confusing because, if that was the case, what was Kirks role then? After watching the movie though they kinda explain it, saying that they wanted to change the idea of what a solo was.

This brings me to another point. I’ve getting tired of Lars trying to sound deep and smart. He just comes off as a pompous prick that wants to sound smart and deep.

When I downloaded this the first time(yea, I’m not paying for crap I might not like), my first response is that I really really don’t like how the drums are laid down. It sounds cheap and, well, bad. I suspect I stopped listening after the first couple of songs and never actually heard it all the way through.

Listening to it further it sounds way under produced and I wonder if Bob Rock was out to lunch half the time? It’s a departure from the last three CDs he worked on. Again, this could have been done on purpose, but really, I dunna like it.

Also, half the time it seems to follow the “Metal by Numbers” formula.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chiVMrWMHko

Watch the video, it makes more sense than I could explain.

Death Magnetic:

Right away this is a better sounding CD. The annoying drums are gone, and overall it’s a much cleaner sounding mix. The old style solos are back(meaning that there are noted solos) and this is a heavier/harder album than Load/ReLoad/Black.

At the moment it doesn’t seem to follow the Metal by Numbers and the time changes are consistent within the songs. There’s no fast/slow/fast/slow for no reason going on. I guess you could say this is closer to traditional Metal. At least traditional for me 🙂

I’m closing in on half-way through Death Magnetic, and I have to say that it’s the best Metallica CD in close to 20 years. God I feel old.

I don’t think it fully pulls away from the 90’s and St. Anger, but it’s a far sight better than the last two and much heavier than anything they did in the 90’s.

It might be enough to make me a fan again 😀

So I think it’s time for a summary. Why not 🙂

If you’re an older fan like myself, and, like me were ‘burned’ by Metallica in the 90’s, I would do this:

Buy Load/Reload, remove the word Metallica from the CD Cover, replace with a made up band name, and enjoy. They’re actually pretty good CDs.

Dodge St. Anger. Sorry, nothing short of a complete makeover can save this for me.

Go for Death Magnetic. It’s got something going on that has been missing for some time now.

There you have it.

I should do this for Megadeth to. They pulled the same stunt at the same time and I had the same reaction. Maybe it’s time for a relisten.

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One thought on “Metallica Musings

  1. Awesome post!

    I did like Load/ReLoad, but skipped St. Anger.

    Death Magnetic has some good strong hooks.

    Of course, then there’s that Satriani-esque style instrumental. Half the time I hear it, I think it’s over the top… The other half, I’m a little warmer to it.

    (Satriani is good at what he does. There can be no doubt about that. It’s just that I’m not fond of that much guitar all at once… )

    As to Megadeth… Didn’t Dave Mustaine suffer some sort of crippling injury and religious conversion during the then and now?

    I didn’t really like them a lot years ago, but I’m a lot warmer to them now.

    Then again, my musical tastes meander with some regularity.

    (Thankfully, I still have my favourites though.)

    Again, excellent run down on the Metallica metamorphosis!

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