Metallica: Back to the Front A Fully Authorized Visual History of the Master of Puppets Album and Tour Hardcover
By Matt Taylor
Foreword by James Hetfield
Afterword by Ray Burton
Publisher: Insight Editions with Moonrise Media
Released date: September 13, 2016
In 1986, Metallica went from local San Francisco Bay Area garage band to support act for part of the U.S. leg of Ozzy Osbourne’s Ultimate Sin tour, as well as headliner of their own European tour. The four very young men “” singer/guitarist James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, and bassist Cliff Burton “” had only been playing together for three short years, but in that time, they released their first three albums, all of which eventually went on to be regarded as some of the greatest in all hard rock and heavy metal. It was their third album, though, Master Of Puppets, which put them on the map and skyrocketed them to fame. But, with success and popularity also came a devastating blow when they lost Burton when he was killed in an accident after the band’s tour bus skidded off the road in Sweden. The respected bassist, who had been like a big brother to his younger bandmates, was only 24 years old.
Another band might have fallen apart and never gotten past such a heartbreak, especially if they were that young and just starting out. But the unyielding musicians in Metallica knew no other life but the road and no other destiny than with music, so with the blessing of Burton’s parents, they persevered. They continued to create. They went on pounding out aggression all across the land on every stage they hit, until they became not only the kings of thrash metal, but one of the top rock acts of all time… and they’re still on top today. Although a lot has been written and documented about the band over the last 30-plus years, including those early days, there’s never been any personal memoirs. And while the members of Metallica have always spoke highly of Burton throughout the years and have tearfully relayed the events that occurred on the early morning of September 27, 1986 when they saw their brother killed in front of them as they and their devoted crew stood injured and freezing on a Swedish highway, they’ve managed to keep some details about that time private. Now, the surviving members have joined with Insight Editions, in association with Moonrise Media, for Metallica: Back To The Front: A Fully Authorized Visual History Of The Master Of Puppets Album and Tour, written and compiled by Matt Taylor.
I know what you’re thinking: “Ides has lost it. The old boy’s gone senile and forgotten that he just featured Metallica in last week’s Thrashback Thursday!”
Well, fear not dear reader, there is a reason for my redundancy. I awoke this morning to see an article which pointed out that today is the 26th anniversary of the release of the video for “One.” This was such a watershed moment in the history of thrash that I felt it remiss to let it pass without acknowledging it.
“One” is the last track on the first side (anyone remember album sides?) of the record that many (myself included) consider to be Metallica’s last great work, … And Justice For All. It marks the moment that Metallica ceased to be an underground phenomenon and broke through to the mainstream, on their way to becoming the biggest metal band in the world. It was the first time that the band had made a video and the heavy rotation from MTV and other video outlets would propel the song to #35 on the Billboard charts, making it the Metallica’s first top 40 hit.
I found myself the other day trying to explain to my kids the immense impact that Metallica had on the metal underground when they first burst onto the scene in 1982. That’s right kids; Metallica was an underground (and cutting edge) band once upon a time. Their debut album Kill ‘Em All did exactly as it’s title promised. It was a manifesto… a declaration… Metallica were about to take over the world and indeed kill ’em all.
For the next eight years, through endless touring, tragedy and triumph, and four albums that would become the very pillars upon which modern metal is built, Metallica would rule at the forefront of the metal underground. There is no way to describe to someone who wasn’t there the amount of reverence that we metalheads held for this band during those years. And then came the black album and Metallica was no longer the metal world’s underground darlings. But that’s a story for another Thursday.
Here is the shot heard ’round the world, “Hit The Lights” the opening track of Metallica’s landmark debut album Kill ‘Em All.
Bay Area thrash masters Exodus are set to release their tenth studio album Blood In, Blood Out on October 14th via Nuclear Blast Records. Guitarist Gary Holt has been doing double duty playing not only in Exodus but also filling the slot left vacant by the late Jeff Hannemann in Slayer, raising Exodus’s public profile. Add to that the fact that the band’s iconic vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza has returned to the fold and former Exodus and current Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett is contributing a guest solo, and you get arguably the most anticipated record Exodus record ever.
Now, we are getting our first listen to the track that Hammett contributed to and it does not disappoint. “Salt the Wound” is exactly the sort of classic thrash riff fest that we’ve come to expect from Exodus and Hammett’s solo is instantly recognizable.