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Metallica biography
METALLICA is a heavy metal band formed in Los Angeles, California, in the United States, in 1981. Although not directly a progressive-metal band, their influence on the genre is undeniable, not only due to the mark their music made in major acts like DREAM THEATER or FATES WARNING, but also because at least two of their early albums are considered by most prog-metal experts as pioneering efforts in the genre, and arguably progressive-metal's first real albums. Though METALLICA's music gradually became less progressive with each subsequent release, their first four records are amongst the most forward-thinking in metal's history, and have been widely regarded as masterpieces without which the progressive-metal genre would not be what it is today.

It all started when Danish drummer and amateur tennis star Lars Ulrich moved from his homeland to the United States in 1979. Although his original intention was to become a successful tennis player, he soon traded his racket for a pair of drumsticks as he decided to live his passion for heavy metal and bands like IRON MAIDEN and DIAMOND HEAD. This latter one played a particularly important role in the drummer's development when they allowed him to tour with them after he went to see the group play live in the United Kingdom in 1981.

1981 was also the year where Ulrich met guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield, after the latter answered to an announcement in a newspaper looking for a guitarist to "jam to the music of TYGERS OF PAN TANG, DIAMOND HEAD and IRON MAIDEN" that Lars had posted days ago. The two would become partners and the main creative force behind the band which they soon created, called METALLICA. To record a song for an upcoming metal compilation, METALLICA looked for a lead guitarist. After unsuccessfully trying out Lloyd Grant on the first recording of "Hit the Lights", which was met with favorable comments from the underground metal community, they found a more stable line-up when they hired Dave Mustaine to replace him. With Hetfield's high school friend Ron McGovney joining them on bass, they re-recorded "Hit the Lights" for the second edition of the Metal Massacre compilation and several other demos that helped them make their name known in the world wide metal underground.

McGovney wouldn't last long as his lackluster skills were soon eclipsed by the mastery of the instrument that Hetfield and Ulrich were able to behold in the hands of Cliff Burton when they saw him perf...
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Hardwired...To Self-Destruct (Limited Deluxe Edition)Hardwired...To Self-Destruct (Limited Deluxe Edition)
Rhino/Blackened Recordings ADA 2016
Audio CD$13.44
Blackened Recordings 2013
Audio CD$2.97
$2.96 (used)
Ride The LightningRide The Lightning
Rhino/Blackened Recordings 2016
Audio CD$2.69
$2.68 (used)
Kill 'Em AllKill 'Em All
Rhino/Blackened Recordings 2016
Audio CD$4.46
$4.45 (used)
Master Of PuppetsMaster Of Puppets
Blackened Recordings 2013
Audio CD$2.83
$2.82 (used)
...And Justice For All...And Justice For All
Rhino/Blackened Recordings 2013
Audio CD$4.65
$4.55 (used)
Rhino/Blackened Recordings 2013
Audio CD$2.97
$0.30 (used)
Audio CD$4.83
$2.05 (used)
Beyond MagneticBeyond Magnetic
Rhino/Blackened Recordings 2013
Audio CD$2.58
$2.57 (used)
Death MagneticDeath Magnetic
Rhino Blackened 2013
Audio CD$7.60
$7.59 (used)
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METALLICA discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

METALLICA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.39 | 386 ratings
Kill 'Em All
4.07 | 497 ratings
Ride The Lightning
4.10 | 616 ratings
Master of Puppets
3.94 | 512 ratings
... And Justice for All
3.22 | 442 ratings
2.35 | 299 ratings
2.08 | 292 ratings
1.63 | 332 ratings
St. Anger
3.36 | 341 ratings
Death Magnetic
2.09 | 195 ratings
Lulu (with Lou Reed)
0.00 | 0 ratings Self-Destruct

METALLICA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.89 | 62 ratings
Live Sh*t: Binge and Purge
1.80 | 10 ratings
Live In London - Antipodean Tour Edition
3.45 | 157 ratings
S & M

METALLICA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.49 | 26 ratings
Cliff 'Em All
2.20 | 11 ratings
2 of One
3.24 | 15 ratings
A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica Pt. 1
3.82 | 15 ratings
A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica... Continued (Pt. 2)
4.06 | 18 ratings
Cunning Stunts
3.64 | 49 ratings
2.50 | 6 ratings
The Metallica DVD Collection Sampler
3.47 | 17 ratings
Classic Albums: Metallica
3.76 | 36 ratings
Some Kind of Monster
4.00 | 10 ratings
Live in San Diego
1.06 | 7 ratings
Metallica- Kill Em All To St. Anger (The World's Greatest Albums)
3.63 | 16 ratings
The Videos 1989 - 2004
3.20 | 5 ratings
Franšais Pour Une Nuit
2.83 | 6 ratings
Quebec Magnetic
2.85 | 8 ratings
Through the Never

METALLICA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.67 | 6 ratings
The Good, the Bad and the Live
3.39 | 115 ratings
Garage Inc.
3.25 | 4 ratings
Vinyl Box Set

METALLICA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Ron McGovney's '82 Garage Demo
3.67 | 3 ratings
Power Metal demo
3.50 | 2 ratings
No Life 'til Leather demo
2.67 | 3 ratings
Metal Up Your Ass demo
4.00 | 2 ratings
Horsemen Of The Apocalypse demo
3.43 | 7 ratings
Ride The Lightning demo
3.50 | 6 ratings
2.42 | 17 ratings
Jump in the Fire
3.87 | 19 ratings
Creeping Death
3.08 | 34 ratings
The $5.98 Garage Days Re-Revisited
2.38 | 9 ratings
Eye of the Beholder
3.00 | 13 ratings
Harvester of Sorrow
3.82 | 22 ratings
2.58 | 12 ratings
Enter Sandman
2.63 | 13 ratings
The Unforgiven
3.50 | 4 ratings
Live at Wembley Stadium
3.55 | 11 ratings
Nothing Else Matters
3.07 | 10 ratings
Sad But True
3.55 | 11 ratings
Wherever I May Roam
5.00 | 1 ratings
15 Pieces Of Live Shit promo
2.50 | 7 ratings
3.00 | 5 ratings
Until It Sleeps
3.14 | 5 ratings
Hero Of The Day
3.67 | 6 ratings
King Nothing
2.00 | 4 ratings
Mama Said
3.14 | 7 ratings
2.71 | 7 ratings
The Memory Remains
2.38 | 8 ratings
The Unforgiven II
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live In London - Antipodean Tour Edition
3.60 | 5 ratings
Turn the Page
2.63 | 8 ratings
Whiskey in the Jar
2.67 | 6 ratings
Die Die My Darling
4.00 | 3 ratings
No Leaf Clover
2.50 | 6 ratings
Nothing Else Matters (S&M version)
3.15 | 13 ratings
I Disappear
3.00 | 2 ratings
Bay Area Trashers
3.40 | 5 ratings
The Unnamed Feeling E.P.
2.38 | 8 ratings
St. Anger
1.32 | 9 ratings
2.17 | 11 ratings
Some Kind of Monster
1.00 | 1 ratings
Live From Live Earth
3.33 | 12 ratings
The Day That Never Comes
2.11 | 9 ratings
My Apocalypse
2.47 | 11 ratings
2.78 | 8 ratings
The Judas Kiss
3.94 | 14 ratings
All Nightmare Long
2.92 | 6 ratings
Broken, Beat & Scarred
1.64 | 5 ratings
Six Feet Down Under EP
3.00 | 3 ratings
Six Feet Down Under Part II
2.77 | 34 ratings
Beyond Magnetic


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ride The Lightning by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.07 | 497 ratings

Ride The Lightning
Metallica Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars Welcome to Thrash-terpiece Theater!

On today's episode, the very first entry in the timeline is the prodigious second offering RIDE THE LIGHTNING by the 1980s thrash- sters of the universe: METALLICA! This album was released all the way back in 1984. George Orwell didn't see this one coming! While the exact beginning of thrash metal has remained elusive with some claiming it appeared as early as 1974 on Queen's "Stone Cold Crazy" with elements appearing in the works of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and ultimately bands like Venom and Anthrax, it isn't hard to pinpoint just exactly where all those metal attributes that would constitute a new metal subgenre would coalesce into the perfect storm. METALLICA are the winners with their outstanding collection of eight tracks that they blended with a brilliant mix of rapid percussion, shredding crunchy riffs, speed of light tempo, pure metal attitude all topped off with classical music underpinnings to create a melodic distortionfest of epic proportions.

RIDE THE LIGHTNING was only METALLICA's second album but a huge improvement in about every way. While "Kill Em All" certainly mastered the art of thrash riffing, pummeling rhythms and not-a-middle-finger-left-to-give attitude, the album was clearly lacking the melodic nuances that were introduced on this one. RIDE THE LIGHTNING offers up all the thrash deliciousness and aggressive fury but adds a healthy dose of diverse dynamics and a major expansion beyond the one-dimensional approach of the debut. Not only are there classical guitar arpeggiated chords that serve as intros and more progressive songwriting techniques but there was also a major leap in the philosophical lyrical content with more thoughtful subject matter as heard on the classic "For Whom The Bell Tolls" which was entirely inspired by the Ernest Hemingway novel about the horrors of the Spanish Civil War," which brilliantly begins with the tintinnabulation of bells as the guitar riffs slowly build up in intensity until it becomes a fully formed thrash behemoth.

"Fight Fire With Fire" begins the album's magic with a classical clean guitar arpeggio that must have thrown fans of the first album for a loop and then ruthlessly and suddenly bursts into full thrash fury that sets the pace for the entire run of the album and a testament to the more mature songwriting on track one only continues through the eight outstanding tracks that make up this musical chef-d'oeuvre. "Fade To Black" debuted the softer side of METALLICA where they created perhaps one of the very first thrash ballads that begins with an acoustic guitar intro that would become a distinct METALLICA staple that would decorate future releases (such as "Welcome Home" or "One".) The technique of a softer intro followed by a harder edged sound was nothing new in the greater world of rock and metal, but METALLICA successfully tackled the dilemma of how to make it happen in the burgeoning world of extreme metal.

As the album churns on delivering one catchy melodic tour de force after another with such thrash classics as "Trapped Under Ice" and "Escape," the true cream of the crop actually comes towards the end with the combo effect of the Biblical inspired "Creeping Death" which lambastes the listener with tales of Egyptian plagues in cahoots with the ultimate instrumental closer in the form of "The Call Of Ktulu." This final juggernaut is really the display of musical brilliance in action and a perfect display of sound dynamics, tempos, time signature changes and the fusion approach of both classical music with hardcore heavy metal. The many moods that are contained in the nearly nine minute run also display the progressive rock influences that would continue to develop into ever more complex tracks on future albums.

James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Cliff Burton and Lars Ulrich didn't only create the world's first bona fide thrashterpiece, they also hurled the entire extreme metal world into a much larger audience that allowed the genre to grow exponentially until METALLICA themselves would burst onto the world's stage as one of the biggest metal bands in history. RIDE THE LIGHTNING isn't only important from a historical standpoint. I can respect an album's influence and still not find it a terribly interesting listen. On this album all of the ingredients on board are perfectly blended together with stellar songwriting, flawless performances and exemplary examples of how to blend disparate musical genres into a seamless whole. METALLICA took the extreme metal world by storm with this one and single handedly opened the doors to the endless stream of bands to follow. While i do prefer "Master Of Puppets" and "And Justice For All" for their increased progressive complexities, RIDE THE LIGHTNING has the perfect raw metal energy from the debut mixed with just enough of the new ideas to put this in its own little transitional state of perfection.

This concludes today's episode of Thrash-terpiece Theatre. Please tune in again.

 S&M by METALLICA album cover DVD/Video, 1999
3.64 | 49 ratings

Metallica Prog Related

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Seven years ago I wrote the review of the audio-only version of S&M, and a couple of weeks ago I wanted to watch the DVD and had a good time. And while re-reading my review, I realized most of my thoughts has not changed which is why I will practically copy those old words and put them in this DVD review. ---

Metallica with orchestra, not a bad combination at all! This is a very popular band that came to my ears since i was a little kid, because it is my uncle's favourite band so i used to go out with him a lot and of course most of the time we listened to Metallica, they have never been one of my favourite bands, not at all, but someday they made great music and some of their songs will be held in my mind forever. Well so i remember vividly i was very keen with their newest album which happened to be a live album, but not just that, but a live album with a symphonic orchestra, so i was curious to know what was it about and bought the album in the week it was released here in Mexico.

And i was happy with it, nowadays i can say i enjoy listening to this album, though i dont really do it that frequently, but i believe the inclusion of the orchestra was a great and correct decision, something kind of new to the old thrash metal band, a soft and classical sound included in their fast and aggressive music, was a nice combination, in my humble point of view, and you know, i am not the best metal follower around here, so that may be a reason why i liked the album, due to the symphonic orchestra sound.

So besides the previously said, what you will find in this double CD live album released in 1999 is a performance of most of the better known Metallica songs played of course by them, as they use to do it, accompannied with an orchestra led by Michael Kamen and offering more than 2 hours of their music.

The first album CD is opened with a intro of a song from The Good, The bad and The Ugly performed by the orchestra, and leading to the beginning of Metallica's music with of my favourite songs, The Call of Ktulu which is instrumental, and then to the surprise of the people they follow with Master of Puppets one of the best songs they have created, so the concert's beginning is actually a bomb, excellent, after those songs you can foresee a great concert.

Well some other great moments or favourite songs from that first cd are The Thing that SHould not Be, Memory Remains or the last one Bleeding Me, they also included two unreleased tracks, the first one in this CD, No Leaf Clover.

And the second CD, opens with Nothing Else Matters, you know, a catchy song and my favourite moments are For Whom the Bell Tolls, One and Battery, honestly i prefer much more the first CD, here there are moments where i get bored, but after all it is a nice second cd.

So it's a very good live album, for Metallica fans, a must having, for beginners, also a nice recommendation, and for prog fans, it may be nice to have one more album in your collection, prog moments here are minimum.

My rating would be 4 stars, but in this site, i think 3 are good enough.

Enjoy it!!

 Master of Puppets by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.10 | 616 ratings

Master of Puppets
Metallica Prog Related

Review by CassandraLeo

5 stars Does the world really need another review of Master of Puppets? Probably not. But it's the album that got me into more extreme forms of metal, and as such has had an immeasurable impact on my musical taste, so I'm going to write one anyway.

To fully appreciate this album in its proper context, one must first be aware of the background: Metallica burst onto the scene in 1983 with Kill 'Em All, which has been called the first full-length thrash metal album ever recorded. This consensus is not universally shared among listeners; some will point to Venom's 1981 effort Welcome to Hell instead (note that Venom also had a substantial influence on the yet-to-be-named style of black metal, which actually takes its name from the band's second album). Regardless, what is a matter of consensus is that Kill 'Em All rewrote the rules of metal. It was faster, louder, and heavier than anything that had been released before, and it did not sacrifice musicianship in the pursuit of these goals.

Metallica, however, were not content to rest on their laurels. They began incorporating substantial progressive rock influence on their next album, Ride the Lightning, and even incorporated an honest-to-god ballad as the fourth track (though, in a form that Metallica would repeat several times throughout their career, it eventually built to metallic sections). The band also incorporated a lengthy instrumental showcasing the skills of bass monster Cliff Burton (named for H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos, no less), and the album also featured one of their signature songs, "Creeping Death".

However, even that monster of an album couldn't have prepared people for what was to come in Master of Puppets. No one had ever done anything like this album before. The song were longer and more complex than ever, the aggression was generally higher than ever, and the quality of the music surpassed Metallica's already high standard. From the opening acoustic notes of the album opener "Battery" to the last thrashy chords of the closer "Damage, Inc.", there is not a single moment here that qualifies as even remotely dull. The band's intense musicianship doesn't let up even once; there is not a single moment on the album where Burton, Hetfield, or Hammett aren't playing something technically fascinating. Indeed, the only respites from the album's frenetic pace after the distorted guitars come in on "Battery" are the lyrical solo on the title track, the opening half of the album's obligatory fourth-track part-ballad "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)", the more subdued moments of the instrumental "Orion", and the opening chords of "Damage, Inc." (It has become a Metallica tradition for the first half of the fourth track to be a ballad and the penultimate track to be an instrumental; they have repeated this with ...And Justice for All and Death Magnetic).

The production on this album is almost perfect. The instrumental clarity is astonishing for a metal recording made in 1986, and the fidelity remains superb whether the band are playing with their amps turned up to 11 or whether they're playing a more subdued clean passage. The album is mixed quite well, with all its dynamics intact. My only complaint with the album is that I'd like the bass to be a little higher in the mix, but at least it's still audible, which can't be said for the band's next album, ...And Justice for All.

Master of Puppets remains Metallica's highest artistic achievement. It's more polished than Ride the Lightning, more unrelenting than Death Magnetic, and doesn't have the fatal production flaws that marred ...And Justice for All (or the original version of Death Magnetic, for that matter). It also doesn't help that the band's virtuoso bassist Cliff Burton tragically perished in a bus crash after this album. His successors Jason Newsted and Robert Trujillo are no slouches on their instrument, either, but no one could truly have match the standards Cliff set. Additionally, it might be a slight exaggeration to say the genre of progressive metal wouldn't even exist without this album, but it certainly would sound a lot different. Every metalhead needs to have this album in their collection, and if you aren't a metalhead yet, it just might make you into one.

 Death Magnetic by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.36 | 341 ratings

Death Magnetic
Metallica Prog Related

Review by CassandraLeo

5 stars Most people already know what they think of Death Magnetic, but the general consensus, with which I do not disagree, seems to be that it's a striking return to form that was fatally marred by absolutely abysmal production. It's considered one of the worst examples of the "loudness war", a trend in which engineers crank out dynamic range compression to ever-increasing levels in the pursuit of loudness, at the expense of sound quality. If done ineptly, as was the case here, it results in digital clipping that removes the peaks and troughs from the audio signal and results in a distorted, muffled sound. Admittedly, metal is supposed to sound distorted, but not like this.

As a result of the abysmal mastering, fans generally resorted to various fan-made mixes of the Guitar Hero III versions of the tracks, which surprisingly were not subjected to the digital clipping of the other versions, and the irony that the erstwhile anti-Napster poster boys had an album that could only truly be appreciated through piracy was widely noted. While Death Magnetic is not the all-time worst example of this on a well-known rock record (that would be Iggy Pop's remaster of the Stooges' Raw Power, although there are albums that are even worse, such as Merzbow's mid-'90s albums Venereology and Pulse Demon, though this was probably done for artistic purposes in Merzbow's case, particularly considering that this trend is usually absent from his work), the album has nonetheless become a byword for terrible mastering, and fans begged the band to remaster it for years.

In 2016, Metallica finally answered their prayers, and I am happy to report that the new version is a night-and-day improvement. The digital clipping that plagued the original album is (mostly) gone on the remaster, and the album's dynamic range is literally more than twice that of the original. It's still a loud record when compared to the releases of the '80s and earlier, but it actually sounds like music now. The remaster also fixes some other flaws of the original version, such as a weak bass sound. I'll have to run some A/B tests to decide whether I can retire the Guitar Hero version, but the mere fact that I'm not certain of this is testament to how well produced this remaster is. Whenever I wrote about this album in the past I had to mention the loudness war caveats, but I can finally unconditionally recommend this album. Five stars.

 St. Anger by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 2003
1.63 | 332 ratings

St. Anger
Metallica Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

2 stars Wow. This album is REALLY hated. I have to admit that i pretty much gave up on METALLICA after the 'Load' album. Between the wannabe Jane's Addiction image and the pop punk songs that showed yet another 80s pioneering band stray into unfit territory, i just decided that METALLICA was just another 80s band that wanted to be something they were not so i never gave albums like ST ANGER the time of day, ESPECIALLY reading the vituperrious reviews. Well, at long last i have exposed myself (not in public!) to this most-hated edition of one of metal's most revered bands and i have to say that'.. it's not as bad as i expected.

No, it's not a return to form. It's hardly in the same league as anything from the debut even to the self-titled black album BUT'.. it beats the crap out of 'Load,' 'Reload' and the weak nonsense that followed. So what happened to this once great band? Only speculation, of course, but perhaps a band that enjoyed too much success and garners one of the highest royalty payouts of all metal history just got too fat and cozy and out of touch with the R-E-A-L world? Hmmm. Just a theory as farfetched as it may sound.

OK. I'll keep this short. This album doesn't deserve much praise or criticism. It's been uttered many times before. I actually like this album's tenacity and experimental prowess BUT'. is this really METALLICA? Well, yes. James Hetfield makes that perfectly clear. Everything except the vocals indicates this is a new 90s alternative band that has come of age and ready and willing to make a stab at the big time. WTF? OK. I almost buy the whole shtick. I can understand the willingness of a band to experiment and try to play the new game and yadda yadda yadda but for bleep's sake TAKE IT ALL THE WAY!!!!

In a nutshell, i really love the grungy deep bass laden production that Bob Rock (also bassist) contributes on this album. The problem i have is manyfold but the main beef being that this isn't innovative in any way. METALLICA were clearly scanning the alternative metal soundscape of the 90s and incorporating anything far and wide into their sound that they could grasp onto. I still to this day do not understand the psychology of WHY a band that was so innovative in the metal world wanting to tackle every possible nuance of metal and claim it as their own. Some say Lars the ego driven maniac had his lead in this but really who knows.

The album comes across as a wannabe alternative compilation of the 90s. The main influences i detect are a Ministry industrial metal approach in riffage with Alice In Chains type grunge and vocal approaches with sparsely dispersed Pantera groove metal influences. However the most distinct ripoff of all comes from the incessant use of White Zombie type riffs that resonate low in the decibel range and have riffs that resonate as if they were of the 'La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol 1' album.

While i really like the production and sound and much loathed snare drum idiosyncrasies of this album unlike many others, what really turns me off about this album is the horrific vocals of James Hetfiels and the equally abysmal lyrics which are just bleepin' nonsensical (OMG like the goddam 'Tick Tick Tick from the first track or the other suckmefests like 'Shoot Me Again.' As the 90s unfolded new possibilities in the metal genre, METALLICA was trying (but obviously not succeeding) in ripping off the up and coming newbies. There is imagery in the liner notes ripping off My Dying Bride to the riffage on 'My World' that rips off their own 'Master Of Puppets.'

Overall i don't hate this album as much as others in the pure listening category although i get it totally in the intellectual department why this sucks donkey wankers. I actually enjoy the sound, the production and the instruments on board. What REALLY rankles my doggie reality is James Hetfield's vocals. This dude has clearly lost his luster. He has never been the cream of crop in the vocal department but has delivered stellar songwriting contributions to the metal universe. On this release he seems totally out of place and i truly feel this could have been a better album if Rob Zombie was on board as vocalist. I mean really! IF YOU'RE GONNA REINVENT YOUR SOUND'. then why not just go all the way and add a new vocalist. There are many brilliant moments here if this WERE a different band but because James Hetfield's limited diminishing abilities only SCEAM a declining band here in full deciblage i just can't embrace this album even though the aggressive instrumental portions are quite satisfying. Bob Rock's production is quite satisfying for me on this one. 2.5 rounde doooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwn

 Metallica by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.22 | 442 ratings

Metallica Prog Related

Review by martindavey87

4 stars Any claim that this is 'the best heavy metal record of all time' might seem a bit far-fetched, but any accusations that Metallica 'sold out' on this mainstream pop album are truly mistaken. A bunch of whiny, underground thrash metal fans can't get over the fact that their heroes 'went mainstream' (trying to actually earn any money is a big heavy metal no-no), but realistically, with the rising grunge scene placing heavy metal in the early 90's on its deathbed, 'Metallica', commonly referred to as 'The Black Album' made sure the genre went down swinging.

Regardless of people's opinions about the direction the band was taking here, I don't think there is any denying that what we have on offer are great heavy metal songs. So they aren't as complex and progressive as previous albums, and the lyrics don't seem as dark, deep or super-serious as on 'Master of Puppets' or 'Ride the Lightning'. But what Metallica's self-titled record has in abundance that previous releases were missing is "anthems". Straight-to-the-point, bang-your-head kick-ass metal anthems. All souped-up with Bob Rock's beefy production, these songs introduced fans to a whole new Metallica.

A few filler tracks got thrown into this record, but then, when you look at the songs they're being mixed amongst, it's pretty easy not to really notice, or care. 'Enter Sandman', 'Sad But True', 'Nothing Else Matters', 'The Unforgiven' and 'Wherever I May Roam' all justify why this album sold millions upon millions of copies.

It's the album that split the fans, which for me, means it distinguishes the true music fans from the whiny elitists, but either way, this is a great record that capped off Metallica's rise to the top and firmly placed them on the throne of heavy metal.

 Master of Puppets by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.10 | 616 ratings

Master of Puppets
Metallica Prog Related

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars You might be surprised, but I never knew anything about progressive rock or progressive music until 2010. Yes, after 28 years of listening to various kinds of artists I had only ever heard the term "progressive rock" mentioned by Dr. Evil's son, Scott, in an Austin Powers movie. But once I understood what it meant to play progressive rock or progressive music, I soon thought that Metallica should be included on this site and the album that made me think so was "Master of Puppets".

I was introduced to Metallica sometime during '84/'85 and thought that "Ride the Lightning" was the coolest album I had ever heard since Judas Priest's "Screaming for Vengeance". So, when a friend of a friend told me and said friend that the new Metallica album was out and let us listen to the beginning of "Leper Messiah", I was thrilled and dying to get a hold of the album. In fact, for two weeks until I could purchase my own copy, the main riff to "Leper Messiah" refused to fade from my memory.

"Master of Puppets" was and is such a wonderful step in the evolution and progression of Metallica's early music. "Kill 'em All" was delightfully speedy and thrashy with a rawness that was meant to deliver this new development in metal with full intensity. "Ride the Lightning" featured acoustic guitar and a step forward in music complexity. "Master" proved to be not only heavier but more mature and more sophisticated than its predecessors. For me, this is the ultimate Metallica album.

"Battery" told you right from the start that this was "Ride the Lightning" Metallica with the heaviness turned up and all the fury and intensity still faithfully loaded. But it was the stunning title track that exhibited the band's song-writing skills at their height. The song is masterfully constructed with an intro to blow you out of the water and a riff that should be one of the coolest in 80's metal. The song cruises rapidly as you'd expect from thrash but with the balls to keep the pace less break neck enough for you to follow the lyrics, which I have always somewhat proudly interpreted as a song warning of the hazards of cocaine use. Hey, when parents in the eighties were constantly on about how heavy metal was turning their kids to drugs, my friend and I (neither of us ever touched anything stronger than cough syrup and only in the recommended doses) were right proud to point out the meaning of the lyrics.

Then there's this totally unexpected slow down with clean guitar and Kirk Hammett plays this melodic solo that is truly beautiful. A guitarist once told me that the key to great solos was not shredding or blazing through some tricky technique, but rather playing something along with the melody of the song. Hammett establishes a melody on the lead and then solos over where the melody is established to be. In the "Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage" movie, Hammett talks about Alex Lifeson's phrasing on "The Villa Strangiato" and how it impressed him. He certainly learned from it as Hammett pulls off some great melodic solos on this album, the first of the better ones to be heard here on the title track. The song goes on to build in tension and intensity and after a fiery thrash-shred solo, the song returns to the main riff with bludgeoning brutality. It's an awesome thing. Hammett said of Rush's "2112" that it took him on a journey. Well, I feel that Metallica accomplished creating a journey here on the song "Master of Puppets".

"Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" is another song that has its own structure and story in the music. By the end of side one, I feel that Metallica worked hard to create individual songs that could each stand up on their own, and they did so on "Master" better than on "Ride the Lightning".

"Disposable Heroes". I was surprised to find out this song is over eight minutes long. Back in the cassette days, we didn't care about song length so much. You had your three-digit counter that had nothing to do with keeping time. Heck, I didn't know that "Child in Time" was over eleven minutes or that Pink Floyd's "Dogs" was over 17 minutes. They were just songs that had in them what they required to be what they were. They were complete as they were and the time length wasn't a concern for us. So side two opened with another thrasher but in parts that were not just verse/ chorus but actually introduced two contrasting choruses. One sang from the field commander's perspective as he shouts to the young soldier to get out and die: "Back to the front / You will do what I say when I say / Back to the front / You will die when I say you must die". The other sang from the remorseless, matter of fact send off of the deceased soldier: "Soldier boy made of clay now an empty shell / 21 only son but he served us well / bred to kill not to care / do just as we say / finished here, greetings Death / he's yours to take away". Writing about the waste of life in war is nothing new but metal bands had and have a way of being very cynical, honest, and at times ironic in how they deliver their message about the wastefulness of human life in war.

The song with the unforgettable riff, "Leper Messiah" was next. A funny thing, I was listening to this song on my Walkman for the first time in the dark of one early morning as I delivered newspapers and suddenly I heard the voice counting in the song and it startled me. I froze in my tracks and scanned the darkness, searching for the person who was possibly calling out to me. But it was just the cassette. Man, I still love this song, even though the theme is another fairly common metal target: evangelism that encourages cash for God's favour. It brings to mind Rainbow's "Man on the Silver Mountain" at least in lyrical subject.

Then comes the fantastic instrumental, "Orion". Introduced by a growling organ sound with a drum beat driving along, the music turns heavy with a thunderous riff and then goes thrash. In the middle, it all breaks down to a slow and mysterious segment with an almost sexy guitar solo that could work for a strip tease if it were longer. The music remains melodious with more of that moving lead guitar work. Then a bass solo by that incredible musician who was Cliff Burton. The music returns to its thundering thrash riff again in the last minute.

At last, after such a memorable journey through what surely must be called progressive thrash metal to be understood clearly, we close the album with a bass solo performed by volume dial adjusting and then enter the intense thrash tune that is "Damage Inc." What a fine way to end the album, bookended by two very heavy and blistering tunes.

I actually had a ticket to see Metallica on the "Master of Puppets" tour but James Hetfield broke his wrist skateboarding and the show was cancelled. Then later they had their tragic bus accident that killed Cliff Burton. When they finally came to Vancouver, Burton was no longer among them, and I couldn't attend the concert anyway. The next best thing was going to collect the newspaper delivery monthly fee from a customer on my route, who played the drums, and meeting his friend who played guitar. The two of them performed "Master of Puppets" for me, a flawless and jaw-dropping performance, right in the drummer's living room. As far as I could tell, they totally nailed it. All I knew was the main riff and I couldn't play it fluidly.

Speaking of drumming, one thing that I have noticed in recent listens is Lars Ulrich's drumming. The 1980's had a lot of stale drumming, just a steady 4/4 beat with a drum fill coming in just ahead of the chorus or at the end of a solo. After all the creativity and skill that developed in drumming throughout the sixties and seventies, the eighties seemed to drive it all into flatline. But what I hear on "Master of Puppets" at least is how Ulrich's drumming is used almost instead of a lead guitar. For example, in the title track or in the rhythmically un- complex "The Thing That Should Not Be", when the guitars are chugging along steadily and without variation, the drums will add some colour with some well-placed hits on the toms and a cymbal crash. It would be easy to imagine throwing in some lead guitar notes or other effects, but Metallica use the drums to spruce up these parts. This had me playing closer attention to these two songs as I listened to them today and I realized how Ulrich was skipping beats in places only to add a double beat after or some slightly more complicated drum bit. It just struck me as using the drums to more creative effect, in a more progressive approach than a standard song would have. This to me is more interesting than a five-minute drum solo.

After 30 years now almost, this album still stands out for me as one of the best examples of a metal album of all time. And one of the things I admire most about it is the high level of musicianship coupled with the advanced thinking toward song structure and melody, something that most thrash bands of the day would not have dared to attempt. This is surely a vital step toward the development of progressive metal.

 ... And Justice for All by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.94 | 512 ratings

... And Justice for All
Metallica Prog Related

Review by Necrotica
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Back when the name "Metallica" actually meant something to the metal community, there was a quadrilogy... a "tetrology" if you will... the four great champion albums of Metallica's otherwise polarizing body of work. Kill 'Em All was the raw attempt to kick the listeners' asses in a full-throttle riff fest; Ride the Lightning was the symbol of maturity, mixing aforementioned rawness with the air of progression; Master of Puppets is the magnum opus fans beheld as the climax, the absolute peak of the 80's metal movement. And where was ...And Justice For All in all of this excitement? In the annals of thrash history as their black sheep? for the 80's, anyway (don't even get me started on St. Anger or their more recent years).

While Master of Puppets presented a cleaner and more "developed" approach for the Metallica bandwagon, no one could have predicted the sudden change of pace their next album would bring. Even longer songs? Nearly nonexistent bass? An even more progressive approach to songwriting? Indeed, the album was an interesting departure from previous works, and despite the high sales of 8 million copies, many were poised to dislike it because of its oddities. In hindsight, however, this proved to be essential for the thrash band, harboring some of their best songs to date.

If there's one thing that was always commendable about 80's Metallica, or even in other Metallica records, it is the integration of honest emotional depth in their songwriting, and it shines in the best possible way here. Band staple "One" is perhaps the best example, combining building dynamics with extremely heartfelt lyrics about a soldier fighting in World War I (based on a book, mind you). The song has a real tendency to bring me to tears because of its subject matter and the emotional speed metal climax to close it off. Then there's "To Live is to Die," which barely uses any lyrics, but rather combines its interweaving guitar harmonies with multiple dynamic contrasts (mainly in the middle section in which Kirk's guitar sound resembles two harmonizing violins) to get its point across. James Hetfield recites a poem near the end, symbolizing the loss of their previous bassist Cliff Burton and their mourning for him. This is a great example of what music is supposed to do; it should be able to tap into a listener's feelings as if it's an old friend that you can come back to anytime to share memories, whether happy or sad; it's what makes us who we are today.

As if that wasn't enough, the metal numbers are fantastic all the same. Songs like "Blackened" and "Dyers Eve" are the "Battery" and "Damage Inc." of this record, ripping through your face as if it were tissue but still with fresh song structures and the occasional tempo change to boot. More variety is implemented as well, with "Harvester of Sorrow" having a slower groove than the usual thrash tune and "Eye of the Beholder" utilizing a strange mid-tempo atonal riff. Sure, "Blackened" used similar notation in its riff, but it was faster and much less noticeable. Just when you thought things were getting too conventional, the song slows down for a 12/8 section (once again tying in with that progressive style) and Hetfield starts singing in a more off-beat, syncopated fashion. It works, though, and keeps you wondering throughout.

Sadly, though, the lack of then-newcomer Jason Newsted in the bass department is quite disappointing. Supposedly, the band turned his bass volume all the way down so he wouldn't overshadow Cliff's playing, quite a controversial move on their part. While Newsted would get his big chance and succeed on The Black Album a few years later, the lack of bass here is disappointing, especially given the complexity of the record. Also, a few songs (especially the title track) have a tendency to drag a bit, occasionally creating a dull or repetitive moment where a solo or more varied section could have been added.

If that's all that is wrong with this, though, that's not saying a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. ?And Justice For All is a true masterpiece in the thrash world (hell, even the metal world in general) and deserves the increasing praise it's garnered in recent times. While it does have its clunky moments and flaws, the moments that are good are just flat-out triumphs. Honestly, those triumphs are exactly what makes this record work.

The good:

-Precise instrumentation -Good emotional depth -Well-composed riffs -Great soloing -Surprisingly solid drumming

The bad:

-Almost no audible bass -Occasionally bloated

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

 S & M by METALLICA album cover Live, 1999
3.45 | 157 ratings

S & M
Metallica Prog Related

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Behind Between The Buried And Me's "Parallax II: Future Sequence", "S&M" is one of the greatest metal albums that's ever graced my ears.

Not necessarily because of the music itself, but the way that it's approached.

Let's back up then: Cliff Burton, Metallica's bassist who passed away in 1986, always loved the possibility of combining classical music with heavy metal. After all, it makes sense. Just today I saw another article on a study showing that both classical and heavy metal listeners have almost identical personalities, with emotional release being the key feature in both genres. Always looking to do something like that, the group looked at Deep Purple's Concerto For Group And Orchestra from 1969 and decided, "hey, let's do something like that!".

And honestly, I'm glad they did. I'm a fan of Metallica's music, but from an emotional perspective, it's never done much. Thrash metal really just doesn't in general (even though thrash metal fans will now chastise me for saying Metallica and "thrash metal" in the same sentence. Calm down, ladies, I'm trying to make a point). But the incorporation of, not just an orchestra backdrop, but music specifically COMPOSED to accompany these tracks is frankly, pure genius. The man behind the genius, Michael Kamen, wasn't known as a composer, rather a conductor for the San Fran symphony, but since he also did a similar thing with Roger Waters' performance of "The Wall" in Berlin roughly 8 months after the actual wall fell, this wasn't his first rodeo.

And frankly, it's just a stroke of emotional genius. Opening with Morricone's infamous "Ecstasy Of Gold" may be a bit cliche, but it all makes sense with "Call Of Ktulu". Immediately the orchestra presence is known, and adds a crucial extra dimension to what otherwise would've been a straightforward thrash instrumental. The big breakdown section before the main guitar theme reprises doesn't sound very epic in studio. With the orchestra, it sounds like god damn trailer music. The show has literally just started and I'm giddy like a little schoolgirl.

And then once "Master Of Puppets" starts, forget it, I've died and gone to heaven. It's a completely different song. The riffs might be the same, the lyrics are still the same, but the song is completely different. This isn't just an old school mugging in the back parking lot. This is now a battle for the fate of the universe waging high above the planet.

To briefly recap why adding orchestral backing to music is a good thing, let's just summarize to this. Basically, it adds depth to an otherwise stale product. I always use the analogy of adding condiments, lettuce , onions and pickles (orchestra) to a burger (metal). It doesn't mean one overpowers the other, but rather, done correctly, both are enhanced by feeding on each others' unique qualities. The orchestra sounds badass with with some grunt from the metal band, while the metal band feels like they're in an action movie and as a result, the music they make is going to be better.

Another interesting thing I love about this album is James Hetfield's both performance and just overall attitude. Luckily, on a special recording such as this, his voice is perfect, the sound quality is bang on, and the production couldn't be any better. Both the band and every single instrument in the orchestra can be heard, even the far away mallet percussion (go xylos!). Hetfield also just sounds like he's having fun. Considering the gigantic undertaking something like this, you'd expect a bit of pressure on the frontman. Well if there was, you certainly don't hear it. I personally love the "OH YEAH!'s and other little quips during the songs. It shows he's having fun, he's engaging with an audience that's clearly engaged. Both sides win, and no sides lose. It's a win-win, for everyone.

But really, the orchestra makes everything better. "Of Wolf And Man" on Metallica's self-titled sounds probably the grungiest thing on that album. On "S&M", it sounds like music you hear when that really hot chick gets brutally decapitated in that cliched horror movie. It's goddamn terrifying. That dissonance from the high-pitched strings instantly changes the tone and adds that extra element of emotion.

And the beauty is that the orchestra is flexible with each track. "Fuel" is action-movie soundtrack material, a meathead of a good time, as I call it, but it actually makes some of the post-90's Metallica actually sound good! "Until It Sleeps" has a nice interesting, Eastern-culture influence, while "Bleeding Me" and "Outlaw Torn" sound more like stories worthy of concept album status. Literally you could probably use every single song on this album as music for a movie trailer. It's that powerful.

The two original tracks premiered, "No Leaf Clover" and "-Human" were specifically composed for this occasion, and sound it. They're not the biggest production ever (I mean, apart from the use of a full-fledged orchestra), but these weren't written to prove that Metallica had sold out. No, these tracks were written because a) they could and b) they were special little treats that, frankly, wouldn't have sounded good in any other setting or environment.

In short, very few tracks are overlooked, and the ones that are just not very good songs in general (i.e. "Hero Of The Day"), but I do love the fact they ended with some big guns at the end. "Sad But True", "One", "Enter Sandman" and "Battery" makes for an epic close, especially "Battery". Of all the expectations that had been surpassed when listening to this album, I didn't think they could make "Battery" much more epic than the original version, but holy crap, Kamen and the SFO had one last surprise in store, and they did not disappoint.

VERDICT: I know, you're probably thinking "Well, just adding an orchestra doesn't necessarily make it prog". Prog, no. Progressive, yes. You see, adding orchestras makes everything better. It creates a spectacle. McCartney. Fleetwood Mac. Deep Purple. Pink Floyd. Every single one of their projects that involve full orchestras just sound amazing. It just adds that something special that some people just can't describe. To me, it adds texture, it intensifies emotion, heightens sensitivity. It almost seems like it adds on a second story to the one being heard through the lyrics of the original song. No, the timing wasn't always perfect between band and orchestra, but frankly, the music sounds so goddamn badass, it really didn't matter.

Yes, there are quite a few bands since that have incorporated orchestras significantly into their music (gothic bands like Nightwish, Epica and others, [Damnation Angels]), but for some reason, there still isn't as much drama, this much goofy spectacle, this much useless pomp and circumstance just for the sheer fun of it. This album is just awesome, fun and plain awesome.

I also understand that people don't like Metallica, but seriously, if not one song on this track turned up loud got you feeling good, then honestly, you need to see a doctor, because something's wrong with you. And if you disagree with me on this, well, you're wrong.

 ... And Justice for All by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.94 | 512 ratings

... And Justice for All
Metallica Prog Related

Review by AndyJ

3 stars Metallica's 'And Justice For All' is my favourite album by the infamous thrash metal band, and not least of all because in my eyes its their most progressive release. I'll start by saying that I've never been a particularly big Metallica fan. When I was growing up as a teenager my music of choice was Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath. But I had friends through school who were absolute Metallica obsessives, including one guy who even bought a James Hetfield signature ESP Explorer and proceeded to learn almost the entire back-catalogue of songs from their first four albums. Some pretty serious dedication on show right there!

But for whatever reason I've never really loved this band, with the exception of this album right here. What I love about 'And Justice For All' is the song structure - you could almost call this "progressive thrash". There are some very clever song progressions on show in this album, no more so than in the title track of the record. Instead of taking a formulaic approach to song writing Metallica weren't afraid to experiment and write much longer compositions for 'Justice'. I remember reading an interview once with Lars Ulrich, the Metallica drummer, and he was talking about this record and how much the band hated playing it live due to how complicated and drawn-out the long songs were. Sounds like perfect prog then!

Now it wouldn't be a Metallica review without talking a bit about two things - the vocals and the drums... I'll start with the vocals - I've never really liked James Hetfield's voice. There isn't much variation in his vocal style, most of the time he just barks the lyrics at you in a gruff, uncompromising way. There are moments on this album where he sings a little bit more, and its not bad, but he'll never win an award for his vocal style.

Which brings us to the drumming of Lars Ulrich. This guy gets a lot of stick from reviewers and music experts, and I think with good cause. Just compare his drumming technique with that of Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden), Neil Peart (Rush) or Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater) and you'll see what I mean. His fills are largely just playing fast snare drum breaks. What doesn't help his case is the God awful drum production on this album. There is hardly any reverb from the drum strikes, it sounds way too sterile. Of course, it's no where near as bad as the infamous "pie-tin" production from their 2003 album 'St. Anger', but its still pretty bad, at least to my ears!

At this point I would talk about the bass guitar, but it doesn't appear to exist on this album. This has always been one of the biggest complaints about this album. Hetfield has gone on record to say that mixing the bass out was one of the ways they hazed the new boy, Jason Newstead, who joined Metallica after the tragic death of Cliff Burton.

But I said in my opening remarks that this was my favourite Metallica album and all I've done is bemoan Hetfield's vocals and Ulrich's drumming! So, some positives, and there are loads on this record. Hetfields rhythm guitar playing is brilliant here, very precise, crunchy and a great tone. The guitar solos when they come are drop dead gorgeous, no doubt about it Kirk Hammett is one of the best lead guitarists ever. The song structures are wonderful, as I said before, "progressive thrash". The lyrics are powerful, no more so than in their famous song 'One'. The songs are long and varied, and aren't just a wall-of-metal like you would have expected, far from it.

The real highlight of the album comes near the end, with the wonderful 10-minute instrumental piece 'To Live Is To Die', which continued the tradition Metallica had of including long instrumental songs on their first few albums. I think progressive metal fans would get a kick out of this album if they hadn't already heard it, but I'd be hard pushed to recommend this to the wider prog community. I'll give it 3.5 stars but round it down to 3-stars for the official rating.

Thanks to The T for the artist addition.

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