Streaming Review: Classic Albums: Metallica: The Black Album

Classic Albums – Metallica: The Black Album
Directed by Matthew Longfellow
Starring James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Jason Newsted, Bob Rock
Eagle Rock Entertainment
Originally Released: November 06, 2001

With the buzz surrounding Metallica‘s upcoming movie, Through The Never, I thought I’d take a glance back at the band during a major turning point in their career that would see them go from heroes of the Thrash Metal scene, to a worldwide phenomenon. The Black Album became Metallica’s springboard to international recognition, propelling into the mainstream, an accomplishment that still largely divides fans to this day.

Prior to 1991, Metallica’s reputation was legendary among metalheads following underground movements. During the Eighties, as far as MTV was concerned, Heavy Metal was all glam and hair; with bands such as Ratt and Poison taking a front seat in the mayhem mainstream. But elsewhere, metalheads knew there was far more to the rapidly growing genre, and that there was more variety in the scene that involved less hairspray and less lipstick.

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Will Rick Rubin Save Metallica’s ‘Death Magnetic’?
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It’s been five years since Metallica‘s last studio album, St. Anger, and nearly two decades since the band’s original fans have been satisfied with Metallica’s musical offerings.

With their upcoming ninth studio effort, Death Magnetic, due out September 12, 2008, the Bay Area original masters of metal will seek to recapture the magic of their 1986 multi-platinum Master of Puppets.

To help them with this endeavor, Metallica ditched long-time producer Bob Rock in favor of Rick Rubin, the mastermind behind Jay Z’s hit single “99 Problems,” The Dixie Chicks’ Taking the Long Way and its controversial award-winning “Not Ready To Make Nice,” and Johnny Cash’s American IV: The Man Comes Around, which contained the popular cover of Nine Inch Nail’s “Hurt.” Rubin was also the one who came up with the idea in 1986 for Run DMC and Aerosmith to do a rap/rock hybrid of the latter artist’s classic rock tune, “Walk This Way,” which topped the charts and helped propel rap music into the mainstream.

That small sample of Rubin’s 33-year career in music producing should tell you that the man has the Midas Touch. But will Rubin’s golden touch shine through on Metallica’s Death Magnetic?

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Metallica, I’m Madly In Anger With YOU
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So gimme fuel, gimme fire, gimme that which I desire, ooh…

Since I am the Empress of Metal, I think it’s about time I make some declarations regarding the current metal/hard rock scene as well as that of the past. What better subject could there be except the long-awaited Metallica CD St. Anger to be my inaugural review.

I’m a long-time fan of the band, and by long-time, I mean pre-Master of Puppets, thank you. Therefore, there’s no one more than me that wants MY Metallica back, but honestly, I think I’m going to have to break up with Metallica for good. I feel like they’re the old boyfriend that I keep having sex with even though we’ve been broken up for years. Although it’s unhealthy, it’s comfortable, so you do it.

Dave and I were trying to listen to St. Anger in the car and after two songs Dave was like, “I can’t take it. I’m not listening to another song that’s tuned down to B flat, damnit” and proceeded to hit the “˜next’ button until he found a song in E. Suffice it to say, we skipped a lot of songs, but we eventually went back to them to hear them all. St. Anger is merely a representation of a band that was once innovative, but is now trying to keep up with the current metal (and I use the term “˜metal’ lightly) scene. Remember that MTV Icons they just did with all those crap-ass bands covering Metallica songs? (The best was Limp Bizkit doing “Sanitarium.” The guitar solo was replaced with an audience chant of the words “sanitarium” because God forbid someone learns how to play a fucking lead these days.) Well, those are the bands that Metallica wants to be, or at least feels they have to be in order to survive.

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