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Metallica

Metallica

Heavy metal group

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

After 20 years, ten albums, and five Grammy Awards, Metallica has more than proven its staying power as rocks preeminent metal group. The group paid its dues during the hair band era of the 1980s, but Metallicas 1991 release addressed the decidedly adult topics of nuclear holocaust, mental illness, suicide, and the dangers of drug addiction. Yet despite these grim themes, Metallicas music runs contrary to heavy metals one-dimensional image; their sound involves more than just bone-breaking chords and fire-and-brimstone lyrics. The band has distinguished itself with a grungy sophistication well beyond the work of its predecessors to become the seventh largest selling act in the history of American music as of 2001. Members of Metallica are rude and cheeky, but theyre proficient.Bass Players Coryat attested, Their famous Metal Up Your Ass T-shirt ensured Metallica a notorious place in rock-and-roll history. Taste in merchandising notwithstanding, Spin magazines Alec Foege called Metallica a burnished black gem.

Metallica coalesced in 1981 with singer-guitarist James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, bass player Cliff Burton, and lead guitarist Dave Mustaine. Mustaine, who had taken over for early collaborator Lloyd Grant, was replaced in 1983 by Kirk Hammett. Their first

For the Record

Members include Kirk Hammett (replaced Dave Mustaine, 1983, who had replaced Lloyd Grant), lead guitar; James Hetfield, vocals, rhythm guitar; Jason Newsted (replaced Cliff Burton, who died in a tour bus accident, 1986; left group, 2001), bass; Lars Ulrich, drums.

Group formed, 1981; recorded Kill Em All on Elektra/Asylum Records, 1983; released multiplatinum-selling Metallica, 1991; released Load, 1996; released Reload, 1997; released S&M, a collection of concerts with the San Francisco Symphony, 1999; filed law suit against Napster for copyright violations, 2000.

Awards: Grammy Awards for Best Metal Performance, 1989, 1990, 1998; Best Metal Performance With Vocal, 1991; Best Hard Rock Performance, 1999.

Addresses:Record company Elektra Entertainment, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019, website: http://www.elektra.com.Website Metallica Official Website: http://www.metallica.com.

album, Kill Em All, attracted droves of head-banging fans. The follow-up releases Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets were greeted with even more enthusiasm by the worlds heavy metal constituency, which enabled the band to strut their stuff with fellow metalheads on the enormous Monsters of Rock Tour. That outing featured a free concert in Moscow that was attended by 500,000 Soviet metal fans. Infamous spitoon in tow for this tour and othersband members needed a place to deposit their chewed tobacco Metallica was increasingly credited with single-handedly revitalizing heavy metal music, paving the way for other thrash bands like Slayer and Megadeath.

Tragedy struck Metallica on September 27, 1986, when the bands tour bus went into a ditch in Sweden, killing bassist Cliff Burton. After a brief hiatus the band reassembled and began looking for a replacement for Burton. Attempting to fill the bass players shoes and duplicate his eccentric, unbridled style seemed impossible. Burton had never been a particularly smooth player, but other band members had not attempted to reign him in. They did try once, however, to persuade him to forego his bell-bottom jeans in favor of more traditional heavy metal garb, but quickly realized the attempt was futile; Burton was set in his ways and rarely influenced by others. In truly bizarre heavy metal fashion, one of his dreams had been to invent a gun that shot knives instead of bullets.

To refurbish their lineup, the members of Metallica decided to settle on someone completely different from Burton: Jason Newsted, then with the Phoenix band Flotsam & Jetsam. Newsted was raised in Niles, Michigan, and had decided to turn professional after playing in bands throughout high school. He told Coryat, I heard Cliff (Burton) had died the day after the accident I was a huge Metallica fan at the time. When I was looking at the blurb in the paper, I was sad, but things started flashing through my mind. I just thought if I could play Four Horsemen once with those guys, Id be really happy.

Burton had been a remarkable soloist, but Newsted provided Metallica with a more cohesive sound. Burtons sound had not been well-defined, particularly when he played low on the guitars neck. Newsted chose to mirror the bands guitar riffs precisely instead, producing a newly unified guitar effect. This sound dominated the new bands 1988 double album. TitledAnd Justice for All, the record went multiplatinum by 1989 and earned a Grammy Award nomination, despite a dearth of radio airplay. The release of Justice coincided with Metallicas return to its musical roots: the groundbreaking metal stylings of 1970s rock giants Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. This resolve became the cornerstone for the 1991 release, Metallica, also known as the Black album.

Still steely, but a little slicker, Metallica was produced by Bob Rock, who had also worked with metal acts Motley Crue, Loverboy, and Bon Jovi. Buoyed by the dark, driving single Enter Sandman, Metallica sold 2.2 million copies in its first week and has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide since its release. Metallicas hard-won versatility is showcased on the record with guitarist Hammetts winsome wah-wah, and open-throated, more melodic vocals from Hetfield. The band earned Grammys in both 1990 and 1991 and effectively ascended to a new strata of heavy metal superstardom. Featured on the covers of both Rolling Stone and Spin, Metallicas popularity seemed to know no bounds. With increased media coverage, it became clear that the bands appeal was not narrowly bohe-mian, political, or reflective of any trendexcept perhaps anger.Village Voice contributor Erik Davis wrote that Metallicas imagedark shades, frowns, and poorly conceived facial hairallies them with a musical culture of refusal. They havent stopped dragging mud onto the carpet and slamming their bedroom doors without saying hello. Enter Sandman has touched the brains of fry cooks and Bud guzzlers across the land.

Analysis of Metallicas lyrics reveals the bands unique penchant for conjuring up the timeless grandiosity of myth by placing the object of a line before its subject: This fight he cannot win, and Off the beaten path I reign are two examples. The bands head-banging thrash metal songs are short, but not sweet; theyre delivered with grim, tight expressions, and a minimum of emotion, which gives the impression that the entire band is grimacing. Metallicas albums have few tender spots; songs range from the brutal Sad But True to the sweet and gritty Ride the Lightning, from the praised pagan slant found on Of Wolf And Man to the metaphysical musings of Through the Never. Commenting on their larger musical style Metallicas riffs crack like glaciers the Village Voices Davis said of the band, They hew thrash to a rigorous minimalism.

Worn from touring during the early 1990s and a contract suit against Elektra, Metallicas next release was not to come until 1996. The album Load, the longest of the groups work with 14 songs, was a marked change in style and sound from the Black album. As described in the groups biography at its official website, the material was loose, powerful and eclectic, the sound thick and punchy and the image one which screamed out change and freedom from the enslavement to the Black album era. The group built on the critical success of the album and released an additional set of Load session tracks as Reload in 1997. Instead of simply revisiting Loads eclecticism, Reload offers enough left curves to make it a better record, according to All Music Guides Stephen Thomas Erlewine.

The late 1990s and early 2000s brought new challenges for the group, both inside the studio and out. The group toured in support of Load and Reload in 1997 and 1998, and ventured into new musical territory in 1999 with S&M, a two-disc collection of concert performances with the San Francisco Symphony. The innovative collaboration between the groups featured orchestral arrangements behind Metallica classics such as Master of Puppets, One, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Sad But True, and Of Wolf and Man. On April 14, 2000, the group, along with rapper Dr. Dre, filed suit against Napster, the website that facilitated the sharing of music files between personal computers for free, alleging violation of copyright laws. During a prolonged battle against the site by Metallica, Dre, and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the group managed to block 300,000 users who had downloaded copies of Metallica songs. The group and Dre settled their suit against Napster for an undisclosed amount in July of 2001. Metallica said it would allow some of its music to be swapped on the site after the scheduled start of subscription service in the late summer of 2001.

In January of 2001, Jason Newsted announced that he planned to leave Metallica after 14 years due to private and personal reasons, and the physical damage that I have done to myself over the years while playing the music that I love..This is the most difficult decision of my life, made in the best interest of my family, myself, and the continued growth of Metallica, according to comments at the Elektra Records website. The group planned to search for a replacement for Newsted.

Spins Foege waxed mathematic in his assessment of Metallica, writing, At turns algebraically elegant and geometrically raucous, present-day Metallica can stop and start on a dime. With their popularity showing no signs of flagging, their musical and lyrical virtuosity on the upswing, and their fans more crazed than ever, Metallica is a speeding bullet surely headed for continued success.

Selected discography

Kill Em All, Elektra, 1983.

Ride the Lightning, Elektra, 1984.

Master of Puppets, Elektra, 1986.

And Justice for All, Elektra, 1988.

Metallica, Elektra, 1991.

Live Sh**: Binge and Purge, Elektra, 1993.

Load, Elektra, 1996.

Reload, Elektra, 1997.

Garage, Inc., Polygram, 1998.

S&M, Elektra, 1999.

Sources

Periodicals

Bass Player, September/October 1991.

Newsweek, September 23, 1991.

PC Magazine (United Kingdom), July 2000.

Rolling Stone, November 14, 1991; March 19, 1992.

Spin, October 1991; December 1991.

Village Voice, September 18, 1991.

Washington Post, July 12, 2000, p. A23.

Wilson Library Bulletin, January 1992.

Online

All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (June 6, 2001).

Grammy.com, http://www.grammy.com (June 6, 2001).

Metallica, Dre Settle with Napster, Netscape, http://dailynews.netscape.com/mynsnews/story.tmpl?table=n&cat=50880&id=200107130714000120526 (July 15, 2001).

Metallica News, Elektra Records, http://www.elektra.com (June 6, 2001).

Metallica Official Website, http://www.metallica.com (June 6, 2001).

Napster, MusicNet Forge Deal With Strings Attached, Billboard.com, http://www.billboard.com (June 7, 2001).

B. Kimberly Taylor

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Metallica

METALLICA

Formed: 1981, Los Angeles, California

Members: Kirk Hammett, lead guitar (born San Francisco, California, 18 November 1962); James Hetfield, vocals, rhythm guitar (born Downey, California, 3 August 1963); Lars Ulrich, drums (born Gentofte, Denmark, 26 December 1963). Former members: Cliff Burton, bass (born Castro Valley, California, 10 February 1962; died Ljungby, Sweden, 27 September 1986); Ron McGovney, bass; Dave Mustaine, guitar (born La Mesa, California, 13 September 1961); Jason Newsted, bass (born Battle Creek, Michigan, 4 March 1963).

Genre: Heavy Metal, Rock

Best-selling album since 1990: Metallica (1991)

Hit songs since 1990: "Enter Sandman," "Until It Sleeps," "The Memory Remains"


Equal parts punk and heavy metal, Metallica pioneered the darker and faster genres known as speed and thrash metal in the early 1980s. As the decade progressed, they emerged as the premiere underground metal band and sold millions of records despite minimal airplay on radio and MTV. After adopting a slower, simpler sound in the 1990s, the group reached a mass audience. By the decade's end, Metallica was one of music's most successful acts but had alienated much of their original core audience.


Origins

When drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist James Het-field met in Los Angeles in 1981, they decided to form a band that reacted against the style-over-substance glam metal, which was quickly gaining popularity on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. They recruited guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist Ron McGovney and began making music influenced by British heavy metal bands like Iron Maiden, Motorhead, and the lesser-known Diamond Head. The latter band's driving irregular rhythms and dark tone were the most direct influence on Metallica's sound. They took Diamond Head's heavily distorted but technically precise rhythmic guitar style and sped it up to a blistering pace. By using two bass drums simultaneously, Ulrich augmented the tempo to unthinkable speeds. These elements of extreme velocity combined to develop Metallica's distinct version of speed metal.

Los Angeles was not quite ready for them, but similar-sounding metal was gaining popularity in the San Francisco Bay Area. The band relocated there to get Cliff Burton, the bassist of local band Trauma, to join them. A solid fan base grew rapidly. Their widely circulated demo-tape, No Life 'Til Leather, prompted a record deal with underground label, Megaforce, on one condition: They must move to New York City.

Shortly after arriving on the East Coast, the band dismissed Mustaine because of behavioral problems. He went on to form Megadeth, one of the top speed-metal rivals of Metallica throughout the 1980s. The competition between the two bands was often heated and personal because of Mustaine's unceremonious departure. His replacement was Kirk Hammett.

With the lineup of Ulrich, Hetfield, Burton, and Hammett in place, Metallica released its debut album, Kill 'Em All (1983). The album creates an ominous and mesmerizing world with lightning-quick rhythms, Hetfield's coarse growl, and the use of the notably eerie Phrygian musical scale.


Underground Stardom

The band's next two albums, Ride the Lightning (1984) and Master of Puppets (1986), were more accomplished. Having Hammett from the beginning of the creative process allowed him to develop a more melodic and classically virtuosic guitar sound to complement Hetfield's pounding strums. Hetfield's vocals remained abrasive, but he introduced more melody and showed an aptitude for more conventional singing during the balladlike verses of "Fade to Black" and "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)." The songs dealt with suicide and mental illness, respectively, and represented a major step forward in lyrical maturity. Master of Puppets was hailed a masterpiece by even the unlikeliest critics. It cracked the Top 30 of the Billboard album chart and became the first platinum speed-metal album.

As the band's career soared to new heights, tragedy struck during a tour of Sweden in November 1986: The group's bus was in a horrible accident, and the band's bassist, Cliff Burton, was killed. After an anguished hiatus, Metallica chose to continue. Jason Newsted, a fervent Metallica fan and leader of the Phoenix-based band Flotsam and Jetsam, took Burton's place. Following a five-song EP of covers, Garage Days Re-Revisited (1987), the group released their most ambitious album to date, . . . And Justice for All (1988). With its bleak outlook at a decaying society, thin production, epic songs averaging more than seven minutes, and sophisticated compositions, it is a challenging listen. It cracked the Top 10 and swiftly went platinum.

After years of resistance, Metallica finally decided to shoot their first music video for "One," near the end of 1988. The song is based on the Dalton Trumbo novel Johnny Got His Gun, about a hospitalized war veteran who loses his sight, voice, hearing, and limbs but maintains total consciousness. Using scenes from the film version of the book and stark black-and-white performance footage, "One" was a disturbing tour de force. Medium rotation on MTV pushed the song to become one of the most unlikely Top 40 hits in Billboard history. Despite the crossover success, Metallica's uncompromising methods kept them in solid standing with their longtime fans.



Blockbuster Success

Having difficulty reproducing the complicated songs from . . . And Justice for All onstage, and uncertain how to refine its complex sound any further, Metallica decided to scale back on its self-titled 1991 release. With shortened, simplified, and significantly slower songs, it was a more straightforward album that was destined to reach a larger audience. Though the first single and video, "Enter Sandman," was ominous, its throbbing, repeated riff and verse-memorable chorus structure made it a hit. Selling a half million copies and peaking at number sixteen on the Billboard Hot 100, it became the group's most popular anthem.

The album's next two singles, "The Unforgiven" and "Nothing Else Matters," demonstrated a commercial side of Metallica not seen before. The former features a hefty guitar crunch in the verses that leads to a gentle pop chorus. The latter is the band's first love song, complete with a string section. Only "Holier Than Thou" and "Through the Never" approach the velocity of past efforts, while "Sad but True," "Don't Tread Me," and "The God That Failed" forge new territory with bass-heavy grooves and plodding guitars. Those characteristics were indicative of much of the nu-metal to follow in the 1990s and thereafter.

Metallica's new direction naturally disappointed some die-hard fans, but it introduced the band to a substantially larger audience. Metallica debuted at number one, sold 3 million copies in its first two months, 6 million by the end of 1992, and 12 million by the end of decade. Its tremendous success generated new interest in previous albums and pushed all of them to multiplatinum status.

After incessant touring and some much-needed time off, the band felt heavy pressure to follow up their self-titled album. Instead of fearlessly trailblazing as they had always done, Metallica chose to assimilate to the 1990s alternative rock look and sound with Load (1996). The album's first video, "Until It Sleeps," presents all four members with short hair, with Hammett and Ulrich donning glam makeup. Similar images fill the album's liner notes, and the cover sports an updated, less menacing logo. They toned down the threatening, doomsday attitude and replaced it with a safer, more transparent, and occasionally bluesy sound. This distancing from the Metallica of the past surprised and disappointed many, but it did not prevent the album from debuting at number one, quickly selling 3 million copies, and yielding another gold single, "Until It Sleeps." The next year the group followed with Re-Load, a collection of songs that did not make it onto Load and some newly written material. Though somewhat of a rehash of the previous album, it offers a few new twists and found similar success.

After a five-year gap between albums in the middle 1990s, Metallica kept up an album-a-year pace in the late 1990s. Garage Inc. (1998) was a double-album of covers, some previously recorded and some new, paying tribute to artists ranging from Bob Seger and Lynyrd Skynyrd to early, more direct influences such as Diamond Head and the Misfits. S&M (1999) was another double disc that captured the band performing Metallica classics and two new songs with the San Francisco Symphony. The album once again attracted a new audience while acknowledging their classical influences. Both sold millions, garnered solid airplay, and reaffirmed the band's immense popularity, establishing them as one of the top-selling acts of the 1990s.

At the beginning of the new millennium, Metallica's headlines shifted from its music to its legal battles. The group garnered a litigious reputation by suing companies like Victoria's Secret and Pierre Cardin for trademark infringement over the use of the band's name. They also sued Amazon.com over sales of a bootleg album and released Garage Inc. partially as an attempt to prevent unauthorized dissemination of their rare material. It was no surprise then, when they filed suit against the online music distribution company Napster in April 2000 for facilitating the illegal trading of their copyrighted music. Lars Ulrich hand-delivered thirteen boxes of legal paperwork containing the names of over 300,000 users who had traded Metallica's music illegally. Though legally justified, Ulrich's antics seemed unfashionable and greedy for a rock star who had sold nearly 50 million albums. His actions caused a major backlash among some fans and fellow musicians. Metallica settled with Napster and praised them for attempting to run a legitimate business that thwarted the sharing of unauthorized, copyrighted material.

With all the distractions stalling Metallica's musical growth, and a longstanding ban on side projects, Newsted became frustrated and left the band. He promptly formed Echobrain, released an album with them, and then joined Canadian progressive metal legends Voivod. In April 2001 Metallica entered the recording studio to start work on a new album without a bassist. Three months later all progress ceased as James Hetfield entered rehab for alcoholism and other addictions. Five months later he returned to the group, and they readied an eighth studio album for 2003 release. Galvanizing speed metal into a viable underground institution, Metallica transcended its genre to become one of rock's most enduring forces. After years of boldly defining new directions in heavy metal, the band eventually made mainstream concessions to maintain longevity. Thriving long after most of their contemporaries had floundered, Metallica has left a legacy as one of the greatest rock bands of the 1980s, 1990s, and beyond.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Kill 'Em All (Megaforce/Elektra, 1983); Ride the Lightning (Elektra, 1984); Master of Puppets (Elektra, 1986); . . . And Justice for All (Elektra, 1988); Metallica (Elektra, 1991); Garage, Inc. (Elektra, 1998).

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

M. Putterford, Metallica: In Their Own Words (Chester, New York, 2000); K. J. Doughton, Metallica Unbound: The Unofficial Biography (New York, 1993).

WEBSITES:

www.metallica.com; www.metclub.com; www.encycmet.com.

dave powers

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Metallica

Metallica

Heavy metal band

For the Record

Bass Player Killed in Tour Bus Accident

New Sound Signaled Turning Point

Mythic Syntax and Rigorous Minimalism

Selected discography

Sources

In a world of hairspray-and-mascara glam rock, I Metallica sticks out like a junkyard mongrel at a poodle show, wrote Karl Coryat of Bass Player magazine. The San Francisco Bay Areas Metallica, a flagship speed-metalor thrashband has emerged as one of Americas most popular heavy metal outfits, a result, no doubt, of the groups steady maturation during the dues-paying 1980s. Metallicas self-named 1991 release addressed the decidedly adult topics of nuclear holocaust, mental illness, suicide, and the dangers of drug addiction. Yet despite these grim themes, Metallicas music runs contrary to heavy metals one-dimensional image; their sound involves more than just bone-breaking chords and fire-and-brimstone lyrics. The band has distinguished itself with a grungy sophistication well beyond the work of its predecessors. Members of Metallica are rude and cheeky, but theyre proficient. Bass Players Coryat attested, Their famous Metal Up Your Ass T-shirt ensured Metallica a notorious place in rock-and-roll history. Taste in merchandising notwithstanding, Spin magazines Alec Foege called Metallica a burnished black gem.

For the Record

Kirk Hammett (lead guitar; raised in San Francisco, CA; studied guitar with Joe Satriani, 1983; replaced Dave Mustaine, 1983, who had replaced Lloyd Grant), James Hetfield (vocals, rhythm guitar), Jason Newsted (bass; raised in Niles, MI; replaced Cliff Burton, who died in a tour bus accident, 1986), Lars Ulrich (drums).

Group formed in 1981; recorded Kill Em All on Elektra/Asylum Records, 1983; toured with heavy-metal Monsters of Rock arena show.

Awards: Gold record for Ride the Lightning, platinum record for And Justice for All, and double-platinum record for Metallica; Grammy Award nomination for best hard rock/metal performance, 1989, and Grammy Awards for best hard rock/metal performance, 1990, for One, and 1991, for Stone Cold Crazy.

Addresses: Record company Elektra Entertainment, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019.

Metallica coalesced in 1981 with singer-guitarist James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, bass player Cliff Burton, and lead guitarist Dave Mustaine. Mustaine, who had taken over for early collaborator Lloyd Grant, was replaced in 1983 by Kirk Hammett. Their first album, Kill Em All, attracted droves of head-banging fans. The follow-up releases Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets were greeted with even more enthusiasm by the worlds heavy metal constituency, which enabled the band to strut their stuff with fellow metalheads on the enormous Monsters of Rock Tour. That outing featured a free concert in Moscow that was attended by 500,000 Soviet metal fans. Infamous spitoon in tow for this tour and othersband members needed a place to deposit their chewed tobaccoMetallica was increasingly credited with single-handedly revitalizing heavy metal music, paving the way for other thrash bands like Slayer and Megadeath.

Bass Player Killed in Tour Bus Accident

Tragedy struck Metallica on September 27, 1986, when the bands tour bus went into a ditch in Sweden, killing bassist Cliff Burton. After a brief hiatus the band reassembled and began looking for a replacement for Burton. Attempting to fill the bass players shoes and duplicate his eccentric, unbridled style seemed impossible. Burton had never been a particularly smooth player, but other band members had not attempted to reign him in. They did try once, however, to persuade him to forego his bell-bottom jeans in favor of more traditional heavy metal garb, but quickly realized the attempt was futile; Burton was set in his ways and rarely influenced by others. In truly bizarre heavy metal fashion, one of his dreams had been to invent a gun that shot knives instead of bullets.

To refurbish their lineup, the members of Metallica decided to settle on someone completely different from Burton: Jason Newsted, then with the Phoenix band Flotsam & Jetsam. Newsted was raised in Niles, Michigan, and had decided to turn professional after playing in bands throughout high school. He told Coryat, I heard Cliff (Burton) had died the day after the accident. I was a huge Metallica fan at the time. When I was looking at the blurb in the paper, I was sad, but things started flashing through my mind. I just thought if I could play Four Horsemen once with those guys, Id be really happy.

New Sound Signaled Turning Point

Burton had been a remarkable soloist, but Newsted provided Metallica with a more cohesive sound. Burtons sound had not been well-defined, particularly when he played low on the guitars neck. Newsted chose to mirror the bands guitar riffs precisely instead, producing a newly unified guitar effect. This sound dominated the new bands 1988 double album. Titled And Justice for All, the record went platinum and earned a Grammy Award nomination, despite a dearth of radio airplay. The release of Justice coincided with Metallicas return to its musical roots: the groundbreaking metal stylings of 1970s rock giants Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. This resolve became the cornerstone for the 1991 release, Metallica.

Still steely, but a little slicker, Metallica was produced by Bob Rock, who had also worked with metal acts Motley Crue, Loverboy, and Bon Jovi. Buoyed by the dark, driving single Enter Sandman, Metallica sold 2.2 million copies in its first week. Metallicas hard-won versatility is showcased on the record with guitarist Hammetts winsome wah-wah, and open-throated, more melodic vocals from Hetfield. The band earned Grammys in both 1990 and 1991 and effectively ascended to a new strata of heavy metal superstardom. Featured on the covers of both Rolling Stone and Spin, Metallicas popularity seemed to know no bounds. With increased media coverage, it became clear that the bands appeal was not narrowly bohemian, political, or reflective of any trendexcept perhaps anger. Village Voice contributor Erik Davis wrote that Metallicas imagedark shades, frowns, and poorly conceived facial hairallies them with a musical culture of refusal. They havent stopped dragging mud onto the carpet and slamming their bedroom doors without saying hello. Enter Sandman has touched the brains of fry cooks and Bud guzzlers across the land.

Mythic Syntax and Rigorous Minimalism

Analysis of Metallicas lyrics reveals the bands unique penchant for conjuring up the timeless grandiosity of myth by placing the object of a line before its subject: This fight he cannot win, and Off the beaten path I reign are two examples. The bands head-banging thrash metal songs are short, but not sweet; theyre delivered with grim, tight expressions, and a minimum of emotion, which gives the impression that the entire band is grimacing. Metallicas albums have few tender spots; songs range from the brutal Sad But True to the sweet and gritty Ride the Lightning, from the praised pagan slant found on Of Wolf And Man to the metaphysical musings of Through the Never. Commenting on their larger musical styleMetallicas riffs crack like glaciersthe Village Voices Davis said of the band, They hew thrash to a rigorous minimalism.

Spins Foege waxed mathematic in his assessment of Metallica, writing, At turns algebraically elegant and geometrically raucous, present-day Metallica can stop and start on a dime. With their popularity showing no signs of flagging, their musical and lyrical virtuosity on the upswing, and their fans more crazed than ever, Metallica is a speeding bullet heading perilously close to the heads of those adults with barely tolerant, thin-lipped expressions molded onto their faces. The bands motto, after all, is Bang Those Heads That Dont Bang.

Selected discography

Kill Em All, Elektra, 1983.

Ride the Lightning, Elektra, 1984.

Master of Puppets, Elektra, 1986.

And Justice for All, Elektra, 1988.

Metallica, Elektra, 1991.

Garage Days Re-visited, Elektra.

Sources

Bass Player, September/October 1991.

Newsweek, September 23, 1991.

Rolling Stone, November 14, 1991; March 19, 1992.

Spin, October 1991; December 1991.

Village Voice, September 18, 1991.

Wilson Library Bulletin, January 1992.

B. Kimberly Taylor

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"Metallica." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Metallica." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved November 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/metallica-0