[Metallica]

[Metallica 2003 logo] Updated 6/16/2003: Quite a difference, huh? Things have changed a lot since 1983. Site is being updated to include the new album, I'm still formulating my opinion on it. Stay tuned for more.

I've wanted to do a fan page for Metallica for a long time, but I've resisted the urge to go online and try to compete with the hundreds of sites that already exist out there. But, now that Garage Inc. has hit the shelves and I've had time to listen to it thoroughly, I just can't resist any longer.

I first noticed Metallica when I was a junior in high school. We were living in Japan at the time, and somewhat cut off from stateside culture and popular music. I have to give the U.S. Air Force a certain amount of credit, because they did try hard to get us as much as they could in the way of movies and music, but they simply couldn't provide things like current television shows and (more importantly) live radio.

Anyway, I was heading home from school one day, and someone was playing this amazing bit of music on a boombox at the rear of the bus. I was transfixed, I'd never heard anything like it. The way the guitars weaved together and apart again in this hard driving rock riff grabbed my attention and hung on, I hardly even noticed the lyrics.

The song turned out to be Welcome Home (Sanitarium). Big surprise, right? Most of you out there probably had that figured out beforehand, since that cut turned out to be one of the most vicseral on the entire Master Of Puppets album. The year was 1986, and it was brand new, on sale in the record section down at the base Audio/Photo Center. I still have my vinyl album versions of that and ...And Justice For All, but some SOB stole my copy of Kill 'Em All, something that still pisses me off when I think about it.

Now, here I am 10 years later, with a new Metallica album burning up the speakers in my house, and I've had time to reflect on how much these guys and their music have meant to me over the years.

Metallica Discography
Kill 'Em All The first album, 1983. Actually my least favorite album, though it does retain sentimental value as an early memory of the band. My favorite song is Seek & Destroy. [Kill 'Em
All]
[Ride The
Lightning] The second album, 1984. This was the second album that I listened to extensively. Favorites include the title track, Fade To Black, Trapped Under Ice, and of course, For Whom The Bell Tolls. Ride The Lightning
Master Of Puppets The third album, 1986. My favorite album overall, the only song I don't particularly care for is The Thing That Should Not Be. [Master
Of Puppets]
[...And
Justice For All] The fourth album, 1988. Bar none, this is the thrashiest and fastest album of them all. I like this album a great deal, but I have to be in the mood to really sit down and listen to it. Besides One, my favorites are The Shortest Straw and Harvester Of Sorrow. ...And Justice For All
Metallica The fifth album, 1991. Also referred to as The Black Album, this album has been panned unfairly by Neanderthal fans. The production values are considerably higher than the previous records, and it really shows in songs like Through The Never and Wherever I May Roam. My favorite song is Don't Tread On Me. Overall, I like this album very nearly as much as I liked Master Of Puppets. [The Black
Album]
[Load] The sixth album, 1996. I remember my first indication of a new album coming out was when I was flipping through the channels on the TV one day, and as I passed MTV I heard them mention a world premiere Metallica video. Naturally I stopped cold at that, and waited until they finally played Until It Sleeps. I have probably listened to this album more thoroughly than any other, and I'm constantly impressed with the depth of the songwriting. My favorite songs are the block of Bleeding Me and Cure, and the excellent Wasting My Hate. Load
Reload The seventh album, 1997. I bought this album almost entirely unheard, with the exception of The Memory Remains. I was immediately hooked on Fuel and Better Than You. The rest of the album is consistently solid Metallica, and I have to say I really like to hear James show off his range as a vocalist. Also, no matter what anyone says, Unforgiven II is a damn good song. [Reload]
[Garage Inc.] The eighth album, 1998. This is the album I've been waiting for 10 years to get. I never did manage to get the original Garage Days EP, so it's excellent to have it rereleased on CD. The best thing about it is now I finally have studio quality tracks of Am I Evil?, Breadfan and Stone Cold Crazy. My favorites of the new covers are Astronomy and Whiskey In The Jar. Garage Inc.
S & M The ninth album, 1999. This is a double CD, and it's really interesting. The combination of a serious metal band with a full blown symphony orchestra comes off better than I thought it would, the orchestra really does a fine job of enhancing the majority of the songs played. Overall, it's very good, and a live album besides. [S+M]
[St. Anger] The tenth album, 2003. St. Anger

As I mentioned, living overseas when I was first getting into the band made it difficult. We did have English language music radio available, but it was all canned stuff sent over from stateside, and there was no dedicated rock program. It wasn't until much later when I moved to Florida that I started to really hear Metallica on the radio. That was when Load came out, and the album was getting radio airplay left and right. This had the pleasant side effect of causing the rest of Metallica's catalog to get played more often, which really gave a fan the opportunity to compare and contrast songs like Seek & Destroy and Hero of the Day.

I like both of those, by the way. There have only been very few songs that I didn't like, but I'll worry about that later.

For the last three years KISW, 99.9FM radio here in Seattle has played back the top 1000 rock songs as chosen by listeners. At the end of 1998 there were 22 Metallica songs in the countdown. At the end of 1999 there were 23. This year, there are 25. I think comparing the lists is kind of interesting:

    1998
  • #10 Enter Sandman
  • #84 Master Of Puppets
  • #185 For Whom The Bell Tolls
  • #234 The Unforgiven
  • #283 Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
  • #337 One
  • #397 Sad But True
  • #437 Nothing Else Matters
  • #466 Hero Of The Day
  • #525 Fade To Black
  • #593 Until It Sleeps
  • #660 Seek & Destroy
  • #687 Breadfan
  • #703 Wherever I May Roam
  • #729 King Nothing
  • #753 Fuel
  • #766 Stone Cold Crazy
  • #787 Eye Of The Beholder
  • #830 Ain't My Bitch
  • #844 Turn The Page
  • #922 The Unforgiven II
  • #966 The Memory Remains
    1999
  • #16 Enter Sandman
  • #71 Master Of Puppets
  • #144 One
  • #190 For Whom The Bell Tolls
  • #243 Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
  • #259 The Unforgiven
  • #327 Sad But True
  • #377 Hero Of The Day
  • #430 Nothing Else Matters
  • #463 Fade To Black
  • #513 King Nothing
  • #552 Fuel
  • #566 Wherever I May Roam
  • #613 Turn The Page
  • #654 Eye Of The Beholder
  • #712 Seek & Destroy
  • #749 Until It Sleeps
  • #774 Breadfan
  • #828 Whiskey In The Jar
  • #848 The Unforgiven II
  • #884 The Memory Remains
  • #903 Stone Cold Crazy
  • #944 Ain't My Bitch
    2000
  • #18 Enter Sandman
  • #45 Master Of Puppets
  • #92 For Whom The Bell Tolls
  • #134 One
  • #188 Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
  • #222 The Unforgiven
  • #281 Sad But True
  • #316 Hero Of The Day
  • #390 Nothing Else Matters
  • #444 Fade To Black
  • #504 Turn The Page
  • #532 King Nothing
  • #611 Fuel
  • #655 Until It Sleeps
  • #683 Seek & Destroy
  • #709 Whiskey In The Jar
  • #747 Eye Of The Beholder
  • #767 Wherever I May Roam
  • #794 No Leaf Clover
  • #822 The Unforgiven II
  • #858 The Memory Remains
  • #886 Stone Cold Crazy
  • #919 I Disappear
  • #937 Ain't My Bitch
  • #980 Breadfan
The interesting part here is the way the lists are almost entirely identical in terms of content, with Whiskey In The Jar being the new song added in 1999, while 2000 saw the additions of No Leaf Clover and I Disappear. The way the other songs have moved around in the countdown is also intriguing from a statistical standpoint, considering the way the lowest ranked song rose 22 points from #966 to #944, and yet the highest ranked song fell from #10 to #16. Some of the songs moved radically, Ain't My Bitch fell 114 points, while One climbed 193. The song I voted for both this year and last year was Welcome Home (Sanitarium) (my all-time favorite song), and it climbed exactly 40 points. For Whom The Bell Tolls lost five points, Enter Sandman lost six, Nothing Else Matters gained seven. I don't know what it means, but it's interesting to contemplate.

First time I ever saw Metallica in concert was way back in 1989. That was the Damaged Justice tour, they played in El Paso. Their opening band was a then still little known band called Queensrÿche. That was the show that got me to buy Operation: Mindcrime, but that's a whole other story. Since then I've seen them four more times: Las Cruces, New Mexico in 1992 with Guns 'N Roses and Faith No More; 1997 in Tampa, Florida and again that same year in Seattle, both times with Bush; and most recently over Labor Day weekend in 1998, still in Washington but that time out at the Gorge with Days Of The New. There's no other band I've seen live so many times, and I don't think there's another band that I would go to see as often. I hope to be rocking out at Metallica shows until I'm old and grey.

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