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Thoughts… Metallica and the Metal Scene/Culture

Where the fuck do I begin… Metallica has been a huge part of my life since I was a kid. I don’t ever remember “finding out” about Metallica. It’s one of those things like where most kids, ever since the Seventies, didn’t “find out” Jimi Hendrix died, they just *knew* he was dead, like it was cemented into their brain at birth. As cliche as this is, I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if it weren’t for Metallica. Would I be into mainstream pop music like Britney Spears, or other terrifying women like that? I have to give thanks to having older brothers. If I didn’t have older brothers, I couldn’t even imagine myself being here today. Another influence would definitely be my mother. I was hearing hard rock when I was a child, one of my first favorite songs being “Clampdown” by the Clash. So, why am I still such a devoted fan, for almost fifteen years straight?

It seems a little weird that such a young kid could already like so many kinds of music. I wasn’t with the times, and I guess I’m still not. You can call that sad because I was/am missing out on such “great” music, but I like it just the way it is. And who knows, if I was around back when Metallica was new to the scene, maybe I wouldn’t have even liked them, because I wouldn’t have liked the metal scene. The “scene” in music, to me, is definitely important. I love Metallica, Pantera, Anthrax, Alice in Chains, Iron Maiden, etc, but the fans… that’s a different story. Metal history is so important, and maybe I would have thought the same for the metal scene that I do with the music scene nowadays. Maybe I would have thought that they were a  bunch of rowdy and frightening people that liked to beat the shit out of other people for no reason, or maybe I would be attracted to it because it was dangerous…

Hell, my taste in music is all over the place. I absolutely love Crosby, Stills & Nash and a lot of great music came out of that era, but at the same time, that’s when Black Sabbath came out. That’s also when Led Zeppelin became popular. Led Zeppelin is more mainstream than Crosby, Stills & Nash and Black Sabbath, but that’s not the point. If I was around in the Sixties, would I be in the Sixties hippie counter-culture listening to CSN and the Grateful Dead, or would I be one of the people who despised that culture, and was looking for something heavier, like Black Sabbath? I assume the people who were attracted to Black Sabbath went all-out on the new heavy band. They had never heard anything like it, and so they immediately wanted to identify with it, creating a fan base that was and is so incredibly loyal and devoted. That can be a good thing, but it can also be a scary thing.

Of course everyone knows “Paranoid” and “Iron Man”. People who don’t even know a thing about Black Sabbath know “Iron Man” by the first note, but what would it have been like back then? “Iron Man” really is a cool song, despite having heard it for nineteen years straight, I almost dislike the song… back to Metallica.

You can criticize Metallica all you want, what with the “selling out” and the whole Napster deal, but people forget that they are SO huge and important when it comes to heavy metal music. What Black Sabbath left, Metallica picked up and carried on. In 1986, Metallica had just released Master of Puppets which is considered one of the best albums of all time, and one, if not THE, most important thrash metal album of all time. At the end of Metallica’s opening set for Ozzy in 1986, fans said “No” to Ozzy, wanting Metallica to continue to play. This is OZZY OSBOURNE, and the fans went haywire and started to get violent because Metallica’s set was over. Metallica became one of the biggest bands in music history, without help from radio and MTV. In 1988, Metallica released the political …And Justice for All, and one of their most famous songs, “One” was starting to catch on, being on radio and MTV, their first music video ever.

I remember one of my first favorite songs being “Orion”. I was on a fishing trip to this lake right beside a nuclear power plant, the cooling towers in plain sight, with my dad, my brothers, and a few of my neighbors. This is when I really started getting into Metallica. I was in the second grade, and in the car on the way back, I started humming the interlude to “Orion”, and the reaction I got was like something out of a movie. Everyone just stopped what they were doing and looked at me in amazement. Remember, I was about six years old and this was back when the Spice Girls and Britney Spears were ridiculously popular. I noticed that everyone was looking at me, so I stopped. My brother told me to hum the song again and I was embarrassed, because I didn’t want to admit that I liked something that I had learned from my brother. I hummed it again, stopped, and looked out the window with rosey-red cheeks, acting like it didn’t happen. Apparently this was big news because my dad and brothers ended up telling my mom when we got back, and she was astonished as well. I’ve talked to her about it since, and she told me that she thought it was great that I was into some complex music at such a young age, but also that she knew what she was in for: another Metallica-obsessed kid.

At the time, I had liked a few Clash songs, a few Pogues songs, and that was it. Maybe a few Tom Jones songs, and whatever I heard on the local classic rock radio station, but that was it. Other than that, Metallica was the only band that existed to me. My mom and I remember me saying that Metallica was the only good band on the planet, when I was in the fourth grade. I eventually branched out into the typical junior high fascination with ACDC and Guns N’ Roses, but that was while I was still in elementary school. Once I actually entered junior high, I couldn’t stand either of those bands, and it was all about Metallica again. There were a few embarrassing artists and bands that I liked, including Eminem and Good Charlotte, but that was a quick phase. I have to admit though, even though I was into Eminem, I was into old school Eminem, and early Nineties hip hop. I still am a fan of a lot of that stuff, like NWA and Public Enemy, but it’s more for nostalgia.

James Hetfield has one of the most powerful vocals on this goddamn planet. I still can’t believe that after Kill ‘Em All came out, they were still looking for a lead singer. Hetfield’s voice is so ridiculously perfect for thrash metal. He is one of the few vocalists where throughout his career, his voice actually matured. Some people say that’s just him getting older and trying to have a more mainstream type vocal, but it’s natural. His vocals just seem to get heavier and heavier as the years go by, and I think it’s great. Of course, everyone (including myself) wishes he could still hit the high screeching notes he did back in the early Eighties, but would those vocals make any sense in ANY song off the Black Album? Or even …And Justice for All for that matter. His vocals on Justice are probably my favorite. They are so fucking heavy, it’s absolutely brilliant. Justice also has some of Metallica’s best riffs and solos as well, and, just like every Metallica fan on the Earth, it lacks bass. It’s true that Justice would be a better album if the bass had been turned up, but all in all, it’s a fan-fucking-tastic album. It is so intricate that it makes me teary-eyed just thinking about it. Master of Puppets is considered a musical masterpiece, but Justice deserves some hailing as well. Forgetting the fucking bass issue, you can’t listen to that album without feeling like everything good has happened to you within that amount of time. Absolutely brilliant.

Favorite Songs of Each Album

Kill ‘Em All (1983)

1. (Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth
2. Jump in the Fire
3. The Four Horsemen
4. No Remorse
5. Hit the Lights
6. Seek & Destroy

Ride the Lightning (1984)

1. Fight Fire with Fire
2. Ride the Lightning
3. For Whom the Bell Tolls
4. Fade to Black
5. Trapped Under Ice
6. Escape
7. Creeping Death
8. The Call of Ktulu
(Yes, that is the entire album)

Master of Puppets (1986)

1. Disposable Heroes
2. Master of Puppets
3. Orion
4. The Thing That Should Not Be
5. Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
6. Damage, Inc.

…And Justice for All (1988)

1. Blackened
2. …And Justice for All
3. Eye of the Beholder
4. One
5. The Shortest Straw
6. Harvester of Sorrow
7. The Frayed Ends of Sanity
8. To Live is to Die
9. Dyers Eve

Metallica (1991)

1. Nothing Else Matters
2. Sad But True
3. Holier Than Thou
4. The Unforgiven
5. Wherever I May Roam
6. Of Wolf and Man
7. My Friend of Misery
8. The Struggle Within

Load (1996)

1. The House Jack Built
2. Hero of the Day
3. Bleeding Me
4. Cure

Reload (1997)

1. Devil’s Dance
2. The Unforgiven II
3. Low Man’s Lyric

Garage Inc. (1998)

1. Am I Evil? (Diamond Head)
2. Blitzkrieg (Blitzkrieg)
3. Turn the Page (Bob Seger)
4. Die, Die My Darling (Misfits)
5. Tuesday’s Gone (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
6. The More I See (Discharge)
7. Helpless (Diamond Head)
8. The Small Hours (Holocaust)
9. The Wait (Killing Joke)
10. Crash Course in Brain Surgery (Budgie)
11. Last Caress/Green Hell (Misfits)
12. Breadfan (Budgie)
13. The Prince (Diamond Head)
14. Stone Cold Crazy (Queen)
15. So What? (Anti-Nowhere League)
16. Overkill (Motorhead)
17. Killing Time (Sweet Savage)

And the whole S&M album is absolutely brilliant. The San Francisco Symphony is one of the best things to walk into Metallica’s career. Absolute perfection.

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About reallystupidrants

19, Toronto, Canada The best way to describe myself would be to list my favorite music. Metallica, Alice in Chains, Crosby, Stills & Nash (& Young), Tom Petty, The Band, Bruce Springsteen, The Allman Brothers Band, Pantera, Joe Walsh, Soundgarden, The Clash, CCR, The Byrds, The Animals, Buffalo Springfield, Cream, Anthrax, White Zombie, Mother Love Bone, Rob Zombie, Deep Purple, The Police, English Beat, Alice Cooper, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Traveling Wilburys, Sex Pistols, The Flying Burrito Brothers, etc...

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