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.
|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.|
|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.|
|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 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.|
|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.|
|The tenth album, 2003.||St. Anger|
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:
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.