When I was a nipper, about 14 I fucking LOVED Metallica. Everything was about Metallica, t-shirts, posters, patches....well, it was before a lot of mass merchandising so....t-shirts. posters and patches...and of course the records.
I got into them about 1989 I guess, just as the album "...And Justice For All" was getting bigger. At the time of course Metallica we by no means "underground" but this was a time before mass airplay and MTV (for most of us) and it wasn't until a bit later on that they in fact had a song in the charts and a video (for the song "one") but this was a bold step into the mainstream for the band. Before that they were to me the long haired rebellious voice of my youth - THRASH METAL!
I love the first four albums that they made and can still listen to them today - awesome stuff. Then came "The Black Album" and this was the point where for most, they sold out. But did they?
Now, for a long time I have been saying yes but just recently I watched the film "A Year & A Half In The Life Of Metallica" for the first time and I realised that they actually DIDN'T sell out, they just made a commercial record. They didn't do it on purpose, it just came out that way.
OK, Enter Sandman for me is on a par with any bullshit rock song of the past 100 years, it might as well be Bon Jovi. When I see a "T-Shirt Rocker" singing along to it, they might as well be singing along to Simply Red for all I care. And that fucking ballad!!!
OK, A ballad, different for Metallica? Hmm, no not really - it was kind of a staple of bands in the 80s to do a ballad on their albums, I mean look at "One" or "Sanutarium" or "Fade To Black" - Metallica had been slipping us a sneaky ballad for years. They at least did us the decency of thrashing out at the end but ballads they were none the less!
Bob Rock as producer? Bon Jovi? Cher? Yup..but also Subhumans and D.O.A. And when you think about it...Slayer's Reign In Blood? What was Rick Rubin doing before that? Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, LL Cool J....all super chart staples of the time.
So, I can't listen to Metallica today,anything after "...And Justice For All" makes me weep, nor can I stand your average Metallica fan (unimaginative standard "t-shirt rocker" likes also: Rammestien, Disturbed, AC/DC). But I will take back my years of abuse for them selling out over The Black Album. I really think that they just got older.
They lost the spark, they lost the energy, they lost the THRASH ....
Sad But True, but So What, they were once awesome, so Nothing Else Matters...