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METALLICA

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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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MetallicaMetallica
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Audio CD$6.00
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Rhino 2013
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Rhino 2013
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Rhino 2013
Audio CD$13.05
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METALLICA shows & tickets


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METALLICA discography


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

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

3.36 | 313 ratings
Kill 'Em All
1983
3.99 | 391 ratings
Ride The Lightning
1984
4.08 | 497 ratings
Master of Puppets
1986
3.96 | 423 ratings
... And Justice for All
1988
3.20 | 364 ratings
Metallica
1991
2.37 | 242 ratings
Load
1996
2.11 | 238 ratings
Reload
1997
1.63 | 278 ratings
St. Anger
2003
3.39 | 284 ratings
Death Magnetic
2008
2.14 | 150 ratings
Lulu (with Lou Reed)
2011

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

3.95 | 42 ratings
Live Sh*t: Binge and Purge
1993
2.17 | 6 ratings
Live In London - Antipodean Tour Edition
1998
3.43 | 128 ratings
S & M
1999

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

3.32 | 18 ratings
Cliff 'Em All
1987
2.12 | 6 ratings
2 of One
1989
3.04 | 9 ratings
A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica Pt. 1
1992
3.75 | 9 ratings
A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica... Continued (Pt. 2)
1992
4.13 | 15 ratings
Cunning Stunts
1998
3.82 | 42 ratings
S&M
1999
2.50 | 4 ratings
The Metallica DVD Collection Sampler
2000
3.47 | 15 ratings
Classic Albums: Metallica
2001
3.78 | 30 ratings
Some Kind of Monster
2004
3.89 | 9 ratings
Live in San Diego
2005
1.07 | 6 ratings
Metallica- Kill Em All To St. Anger (The World's Greatest Albums)
2005
3.61 | 14 ratings
The Videos 1989 - 2004
2006
3.25 | 4 ratings
Français Pour Une Nuit
2009
3.25 | 4 ratings
Quebec Magnetic
2012
3.05 | 2 ratings
Through the Never
2014

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

2.75 | 4 ratings
The Good, the Bad and the Live
1990
3.35 | 100 ratings
Garage Inc.
1998
3.25 | 4 ratings
Vinyl Box Set
2004

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Ron McGovney's '82 Garage Demo
1982
3.50 | 2 ratings
Power Metal demo
1982
3.50 | 2 ratings
No Life 'til Leather demo
1982
3.00 | 2 ratings
Metal Up Your Ass demo
1982
4.00 | 2 ratings
Horsemen Of The Apocalypse demo
1983
3.40 | 5 ratings
Ride The Lightning demo
1983
3.40 | 5 ratings
Whiplash
1983
2.43 | 14 ratings
Jump in the Fire
1984
3.47 | 17 ratings
Creeping Death
1984
2.94 | 26 ratings
The $5.98 Garage Days Re-Revisited
1987
2.38 | 9 ratings
Eye of the Beholder
1988
2.98 | 12 ratings
Harvester of Sorrow
1988
3.82 | 21 ratings
One
1989
2.67 | 11 ratings
Enter Sandman
1991
2.69 | 13 ratings
The Unforgiven
1991
4.00 | 2 ratings
Live at Wembley Stadium
1992
3.90 | 10 ratings
Nothing Else Matters
1992
3.18 | 9 ratings
Sad But True
1992
3.90 | 10 ratings
Wherever I May Roam
1992
5.00 | 1 ratings
15 Pieces Of Live Shit promo
1993
2.48 | 6 ratings
One
1993
1.80 | 6 ratings
Until It Sleeps
1996
4.00 | 4 ratings
Hero Of The Day
1996
3.60 | 5 ratings
King Nothing
1996
2.33 | 3 ratings
Mama Said
1996
3.50 | 6 ratings
Fuel
1997
3.00 | 6 ratings
The Memory Remains
1997
2.57 | 7 ratings
The Unforgiven II
1997
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live In London - Antipodean Tour Edition
1998
4.00 | 4 ratings
Turn the Page
1998
2.83 | 6 ratings
Whiskey in the Jar
1999
3.00 | 4 ratings
Die Die My Darling
1999
5.00 | 2 ratings
No Leaf Clover
1999
3.17 | 6 ratings
Nothing Else Matters (S&M version)
1999
3.44 | 9 ratings
I Disappear
2000
3.00 | 2 ratings
Bay Area Trashers
2001
2.57 | 5 ratings
The Unnamed Feeling E.P.
2003
3.33 | 6 ratings
St. Anger
2003
1.46 | 7 ratings
Frantic
2003
2.36 | 9 ratings
Some Kind of Monster
2004
1.00 | 1 ratings
Live From Live Earth
2007
3.33 | 9 ratings
The Day That Never Comes
2008
2.12 | 7 ratings
My Apocalypse
2008
2.46 | 8 ratings
Cyanide
2008
2.83 | 5 ratings
The Judas Kiss
2008
3.94 | 12 ratings
All Nightmare Long
2008
3.00 | 4 ratings
Broken, Beat & Scarred
2009
1.62 | 4 ratings
Six Feet Down Under EP
2010
3.50 | 2 ratings
Six Feet Down Under Part II
2010
2.77 | 32 ratings
Beyond Magnetic
2011

METALLICA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Reload by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.11 | 238 ratings

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Reload
Metallica Prog Related

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I've been playing catch up with Metallica over the last few years and I must admit that it's been an enjoyable ride to experience their steady evolution into being one of the giants of the music industry. I'm not what you'd call a metal head so their early stuff didn't flick my switch very often but I could hear the raw talent they possessed seeping through their noisy, angry melees and I stuck with them in order to see where they took me. I'm one of those who consider their impressive fifth studio album to be the apex of their career not just for its popularity but for its undeniable qualities. Some of their fans think it too "commercial" but I'm still struck to this day by its pristine audio fidelity, the caliber and timeliness of the songwriting and its overall cohesiveness - all of which combined to make it an instant and enduring icon. Therefore, when I got around to listening to "Load" my expectations were respectfully modest because of the difficulty even the best of bands have in following up the golden goose album that puts them over the top like the ebony "Metallica" LP did. "Load" wasn't in the same area code but it also wasn't as bad as I feared and nowhere near as disappointing as some reviewers and diehard followers had claimed it to be but it was definitely a step down from its predecessor. Since I surmised that "Reload" was going to be nothing more than a collection of a handful of tunes left off of "Load" for one reason or another I figured it would be average fare, at best. Not so. It would seem that after "Load" failed to stun the globe into submission the group smartly reexamined, revamped and improved what was about to be unleashed on the world. These boys did take pride in their craft and the end result of reassessing what they had was a CD with fewer weak spots.

They wisely open with "Fuel," a combustible number with plenty of honest energy pouring out of it like molten steel from a furnace. It has all the ingredients for a memorable hard rock juggernaut: A gutsy vocal from James Hetfield, hot guitars from Kirk Hammett, earth-shaking bass lines from Jason Newsted and a strong backbeat from Lars Ulrich. "The Memory Remains" is a dirge-like pounder. Guest singer Marianne Faithful turns in an eerie and somewhat confusing performance but, taken in the context of her sordid history, I guess it works on a certain spooky level. The slow pace they apply to "Devil's Dance" would suggest that Lucifer is more of a stomper than a lithe Baryshnikov. The song itself is rather pedestrian but I do appreciate Hammett's demonic guitar work that adds a threatening dimension to the aural territory. "The Unforgiven II" is a bit of a head- scratcher for me because I'm not sure why they felt it necessary to revisit a composition that was a cornerstone of their mega-successful fifth record. Like many sequels this one's okay but it doesn't pack the punch of the original. However, it does effectively demonstrate that James doesn't have to scream and growl all the time to get the message of a poignant song across. The man was born with an enviable, distinctive singing style and he should explore its many aspects with confidence. "Better Than You" is next and it's a pile-driving rocker that emphasizes everything that got Metallica to the top of the heavy metal heap. Don't look for anything even slightly progressive on this cut, in other words. It's a battering ram meant to slam into things. "Slither" follows and it's a highlight of the album. Its Ozzy-ish vibe is infectious and its excellent hook riff along with Hetfield's ominous vocal make this tune stand out from the others. It's no masterpiece, mind you, but it does warrant repeated listens. "Carpe Diem Baby" is a good song but by now I'm feeling the album is starting to suffer from the guitar tones becoming repetitive and predictable. On the upside, though, they add something in the background (An organ? A Mellotron? A droning guitar effect? I can't tell from the credits.) that provides the track with a much-needed deeper atmosphere. Depth of field is always a plus in my book, no matter the genre.

"Bad Seed" sports a rock solid groove that propels the song efficiently and it's refreshing to hear them mess around with the vocals a bit. What I'm yearning to hear most but ain't getting is for Kirk to throw caution to the wind and rip out a torrid, decapitating lead guitar solo. I don't understand why he plays it so safe. On "Where the Wild Things Are" they present an opening segment that's at least a little different but then they soon drop into their familiar, tried-and-true headbanging motif to mollify their rowdy aficionados who will accept nothing less. I do like the fact that they get creative with the arrangement, however, and that's worth noting. "Prince Charming" is next and it possesses more of a traditional metal tinge than what's been offered so far. It's not a letdown, necessarily, but there's nothing going on inside the tracks that I haven't heard before. "Low Man's Lyric" follows and it's my favorite cut on the CD. I love it when guys like these have the balls to step out of their comfort zone as they do on this tune and deliver some comprehensible lyrics in a toned-down setting. It doesn't mean they're selling out, it just shows they're more than a stagnated one trick pony act. The tinny Hurdy Gurdy organ is a nice touch, providing the number with a cool Irish aroma. "Attitude" is a decent enough rocker but it does come off as mediocre filler material to my ears. They end with an epic, "Fixxxer." Hammett's tortured guitar effect augments the song's gargantuan riff but at 8:14 in length I was wishing they'd been much bolder and perhaps run off on some proggy tangents just to mix things up a tad but, alas, they stick with their bread and butter.

Released on November 18, 1997 "Reload" did not pass go but went straight to the numero uno spot on the charts. While there may have been grumblings amongst their legion of devotees about what they thought Metallica should be doing for them those minor misgivings had absolutely no effect on the number of discs purchased. If any group is able to sell over 4 million units in any era you gotta hand it to them. They're doing something right and I'd be a fool to criticize them for dancing with the girl that brought them to the prom. While a particularly revealing rock doc about the band (that showed what was transpiring during this period) indicates that all was not cool breezes and soft moonlight in the ego-sated board room of Metallica, Inc., they still managed to take care of business. This was the last go-round for bassist Jason Newsted who (along with producer Bob Rock) had been instrumental in bringing a big, fat low end into their music, thereby broadening the group's appeal in the process. Yet his departure didn't derail this locomotive. They're still a force in the biz to this day. While "Reload" is slightly better than "Load" I still have a difficult time in thinking of either album as being exceptional. Still, they both kept the metal flame lit throughout the unpredictable 90s when the winds of change were blowing in from every direction imaginable. And, by the way, I've heard much, much worse. 3.2 stars.

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 S & M by METALLICA album cover Live, 1999
3.43 | 128 ratings

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S & M
Metallica Prog Related

Review by Mind_Drive

5 stars In my youth I was a huge Metallica fan and liked almost every album. Over the years, they ceased to rock me like they did but one album will forever stand out: Symphony & Metallica!

Although they might not be very interesting and successful in terms of progmusic, they definately created some almost proggy songs across their career.

As if they wanted to keep up with the complexity of a symphony orchestra, the setlist contains not only their best but also their most complex songs!

This mixture is just pure extacy! All songs sound much much better than on any studio or other live-album. The orchestra adds the missing epicness and gentle interplay and James voice sounds better than ever! For me, this is the ESSENCE and Zenith of Metallica!

After 10 years, this Masterpiece is still one of my most favourite albums of all time!

Highly recommended!!

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 Lulu (with Lou Reed) by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 2011
2.14 | 150 ratings

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Lulu (with Lou Reed)
Metallica Prog Related

Review by TerryDactyl

3 stars Ahhh, Lulu. One of the main reasons I decided to begin writing reviews again was to touch upon this benighted object. It's an awful album, right? I mean it must be. It sounds not much at all like Metallica, and Lou, oh dear Lou (RIP) sounds like Eddie (the zombie mascot from Iron Maiden) making obscene phone calls in the middle of a drunken, drug fueled night of debauchery with the Marquis de Sade's shrink. But there's just SOMETHING about it that I can't quite shake. There are parts that grab me by the lovehandles and sort of throw me around and kick me in the face, and maybe I like that a little more than some listeners, but it doesn't sound nearly as "bad" as everyone makes it out to be even when I'm not in the mood to be tossed around like so much potato salad.

What's the problem here? Well, for one thing I believe this is an album made by two incredibly well beloved musical forces who share very few fans. I can't imagine many fans of Lou (especially those left after his last few efforts including the bland and pointless Hudson River album) were quite open to the chug chug thrump "YEAAAAAWWW" of Metallica anymore than many Metallica fans were really looking forward to the three chord progressions and Lou gasping like Leonard Cohen's dad about how he's an abused prostitute who loves her man.

And that's what makes this record great. Out of all things I've ever heard I can't imagine anything recorded more for the "f" of it than this. I don't believe anyone involved thought it would be really well received and I don't think Lou or Metallica were looking forward to it catapulting them to an even higher level of fame and glory. I really do believe Lou wanted to make the ugliest and most disturbing thing he could with the last sparks of energy he had in 'im and I believe he pulled it off quite well. The man who irked the music press for the last forty years by releasing Metal Machine Music (genius or total tripe?) got to go off doing what he did best, which is bothering people who don't know how to take him.

Plus "Iced Honey" "Junior Dad" "Pumping Blood" and "Mistress Dread" are all pretty great songs.

THE FUTURE OF MUSIC STARTS HERE! (and i'm not really kidding about that!)

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 Load by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 1996
2.37 | 242 ratings

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Load
Metallica Prog Related

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After spending a decade slowly but steadily rising through the ranks with very little radio support, Metallica hit the jackpot in '91 with their eponymous CD that was so accessible and expertly- produced it broadened their fan base exponentially and made them a household name worldwide. No longer were they a 'cult' band to be summarily dismissed as part of a fad. They spent three years touring 'Metallica' and then took a long break from the road and each other to write new material and allow lead singer James Hetfield to completely heal from his almost-disastrous run-in with a dangerous pyrotechnic stage prop. Yet I'm not sure that even they themselves realized that almost five years would elapse between album releases and, in the music biz, that can be an eternity. Tastes can change drastically in less than half that time so no one really knew what to expect to hear on 'Load.' Grunge had invaded and set up camp in the interim so it definitely wasn't the same sonic landscape that had so unreservedly nurtured and fertilized the 'Black Album' they were releasing their latest offering into. Their old fans hoped they'd go back to the manic thrashing and speed-pedaling ways that had characterized their early work while their more recent converts were most likely anticipating more stuff developed along the lines of the irrepressible 'Sandman.' I have to count myself in the latter group. When I first took notice of them in the mid-80s I didn't really understand what their brand of metal constituted because in that era I was enamored with groups like Genesis and Steely Dan that were a lot less noisy and didn't involve any head-banging. Plus, I was jealous because, as a guitarist, I'd never been able to play at even near the mind-blowing tempo they performed their music at. But the 'Metallica' disc had won me over with its high-level musicianship and mature songwriting acumen that confirmed to me they weren't just a rough gaggle of white punks on dope so I looked forward to hearing where they'd venture next. What I didn't expect was for them to incorporate so much of a bluesy mien into their product.

They open with 'Ain't my Bitch,' a big slice of hard rock metal that reaches down into your groin area and splits your billiards as we've come to expect this band to do consistently. Kirk Hammett's slide guitar is a new addition of sorts but overall I find the song to be average at best. '2x4' is next to arrive, sporting a strong shuffle beat that brings to mind a drunk Bigfoot bopping about at a rave. James is in good voice and throughout the record I'm impressed with his ability to sing without shouting all the time (a nuance that helped the Black Album to be more palatable to the public). The tune's breakdown to a half beat is okay but the guitar solo is surprisingly lame. Things improve with 'The House that Jack Built.' Deep guitars set up an ominous mood that I always like when it's done right and the change of time signatures on the chorus piques my interest. I'm glad to hear them experiment with and employ various state-of-the-art effects without fear of insulting the stodgy purists. 'Until it Sleeps' follows. After a minimalist beginning they find the fat groove and ride it properly yet once again the composition isn't memorable enough to make a lasting impact. That's not the case on 'King Nothing,' though. An edgy, buzzing guitar note flies in and then the song's powerful riff takes over and rules the realm. This number has the knockout punch that made the previous CD so special so I'm happy to report that this one has the goods. 'Hero of the Day' is a winner, too. I especially enjoy the deviation from their normal approach on this cut. Its upwardly mobile progression along with the tactfully infused distortion keeps me engaged from start to finish. 'Bleeding Me' is a step backwards. Building on a basic riff is what these guys have always excelled at but here they seem to run out of inspiration and the tune grows monotonous and repetitive halfway through.

'Cure' owns a beefy, skull-cracking motif that's difficult to knock but they certainly weren't taking any progressive risks at this juncture, either. I label this MOR metal and, therefore, nothing to get excited about. 'Poor Twisted Me,' is a keeper, however. It's got a bit of a nasty ZZ Top flavoring that I wouldn't have thought they could pull off but the fish-out-of-water factor actually works to their advantage here as it provides a nice twist on their traditional sound and Hammett's guitar ride is suitably aggressive. 'Wasting My Hate' is next. They lay down a generous, solid foundation early on that helps to carry the song over its relatively pedestrian and predictable structure but it's no highlight by a long shot. 'Mama Said' is truly the odd duck in the pond, though. I'm still not sure what to think about this folksy, acoustic guitar-driven number that includes some anemic C&W strains that only serve to further confuse me as to what they were going for. My final assessment is that it blows. 'Thorn Within' possesses an old school, Deep Purple-ish aura that's very alluring and somewhat refreshing after struggling through the previous cut. Alas, it's missing the necessary hook line that would've pushed it over the top and made it unforgettable. 'Ronnie' is a gem. This tribute to Mr. Dio exudes great tension, masterfully generated by a taut guitar lick that establishes an uncomplicated but eventually forceful tidal wave of sound for Hetfield's impassioned vocal to surf on. They end with 'The Outlaw Torn,' a piece that features a fade-in to a Brontosaurus-sized riff (I'm still pleased that I can hear and feel Jason Newstead's bass. Thank you, producer Bob Rock.) that thunders and shakes the floor. No doubt this was written to be an epic concert stunner and it probably benefitted immensely from the spectacular lighting and visuals that accompanied it live but here it just kinda drags on for almost ten minutes without anything remarkable happening.

'Load' was released on June 4, 1996 and debuted at the number one spot on the charts where it remained firmly ensconced for four weeks. Obviously demand for Metallica's rowdy, ear- pummeling assaults hadn't dissipated one iota yet the general opinion was that, in the long run, it was a letdown of sorts. I'll come to their defense and remind everyone that following up an overwhelming success that cements your permanent display in the Hall of Fame forevermore is no easy feat and one that few acts ever succeed at doing. All things taken into account, 'Load' delivered in enough ways to keep the Metallica boat seaworthy and viable. There's enough above average tracks on it to justify repeated listens and, as long as you don't compare it to its predecessor, it holds up fairly well as a worthy specimen of mainstream metal rock. 3 stars.

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 Through the Never by METALLICA album cover DVD/Video, 2014
3.05 | 2 ratings

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Through the Never
Metallica Prog Related

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

3 stars This is a movie in a concert or the opposite could be right also. It's not the first time that we see some music artist brings some fictional story in their music, just think of Led Zeppelin "The Songs Remains the Same". The story of the movie that starts in the arena where the band plays, have been conceived by the band's members with the director Nimrod Antal. So it would be natural to see a story that reflects the philosophy of the band related to their music. The actor Dane Dehaan play the role of a roadie that has a mission to find a mysterious suitcase and like it's often the case in a movie, things don't get as planned and the movie looks like a nightmare with some bizarre characters getting in the way of our roadie. The special effects of the movie; explosions, fire, lightening, demolition etc, are about the same special effects we see in the concert itself, so the concert and the movies are intertwined. The songs of the band continue to play even if the movie goes back to the fictional story.

The director has edited the show to 90 minutes, which mean that he had to cut off 4 songs of the set list of the band. The greatest hits are there, a music that has influenced a lot of metal bands in the world and it's always impressive to see Metallica in this huge stage, a bit like U2's stage. All the special effects are there including some Tesla coils that symbolize the lightening. The movie ends with the band playing during the closing credits their beautiful instrumental piece "Orion" from Masters of Puppets.

How can I rate this movie on a music site, I know that many movie critics have done their reviews of that movie, but it's still a music concert, so I should also give some stars to the music and the performance. Again should I evaluate on the basis of a prog rock listener or a metal listener? Let's say that this movie is not going to be appreciated completely by those who don't like the music of Metallica, in my case, I like the music just enough to enjoy the movie. I give 3 stars and ½.

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 Metallica by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.20 | 364 ratings

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Metallica
Metallica Prog Related

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After "And Justice for All" went zooming all the way up the charts to the #6 spot in the late 80s, establishing Metallica as a lot more than a raucous quartet of California thrashers in the process, I sense that the band members felt that they'd gone about as far as they could go with their uniquely furious and edgy motif. They, like many other bands that've put out several full-length CDs and a handful of EPs, stood at a crossroads. They could continue to churn out what had garnered them not only a huge throng of loyal followers across the globe but also the respect of the entire music industry for carving out a niche for themselves. The risk involved in staying on the safe course is the very real possibility of becoming stale and predictable. Their other option was to go where their muse and their recently-hired producer, the aptly named Bob Rock, took them. Bob had made a name for himself by helping to make hit albums for Aerosmith, Bon Jovi and The Cure. Metallica's collective hope was that he'd not only push them to their creative limits but that he'd more faithfully capture the music they heard rumbling in their heads along with the power they generated on the live stage. Easier said than done, though. Especially when it turned out that Mr. Rock's skull was just as hard as theirs. There was a massive amount of head-butting going on during the three years, the three mixes and the million bucks in studio time it took to make this record but I have to say that it was worth it. I'm a big fan of albums that sound incredible and this one does. I was never into speed metal per se but did consider Metallica to be the best of the lot. Yet when I heard these tunes on the radio I realized that the band had evolved and become more than a one trick pony act. They were ready for the major leagues.

They start with what has become my favorite song of theirs, "Enter Sandman." My first reaction was "Wonder of wonders! I finally hear a bass guitar!" Why they never noticed or tried to do something about the lack of deep thunder in their recordings before is a mystery to me but I'm glad they figured it out. This tune has one of those immortal killer riffs that grabs you by the billiards and then worms its way into your psyche. With this track I felt like I was at last hearing how truly talented these guys were. It may not be as prog-related as some of their earlier material but when something rocks this hard who gives a steaming turd? This gets me off and I crank it up every time it comes on. "Sad But True" follows and, frankly it's born from the same metal mindset that I found on their previous records but what makes the difference is, fidelity-wise, it's as if they went from shooting in fuzzy black & white to glorious Technicolor and it sounds amazing. Kirk Hammett's and James Hetfield's guitar work is less showy and more passionate than before, which I consider a plus. "Holier Than Thou" is next and there's no dearth of ferocity on this baby. It screams. I noticed that James' vocal is clearer and more understandable this time around yet he doesn't sacrifice an iota of his aggressive mien. It's stunning what a little depth of field can do for a good song and "The Unforgiven" is a fine example. The attention they gave to the dynamics involved is noticeable and the overall arrangement works like a charm. It was quite refreshing to hear Hetfield sing and not bellow and growl constantly. He was obviously maturing into a vocalist of note. The ever-mystical electric sitar sets up a distinctive aura for "Wherever I May Roam" before the tune's energized riff takes over and they proceed to kick the studio walls down. Kirk's guitar solo is fiery and the rhythm section of Lars Ulrich and Jason Newsted is as solid as Georgia's Stone Mountain.

The heavy shuffle beat they employ to drive "Don't Tread on Me" provides a welcome change of pace at this juncture. They definitely weren't restricting themselves to stick to a "normal" progression on this number and I find the song's structure interesting. "Through the Never" follows and any of their devotees who were missing their speed demon side were undoubtedly happy with this barnburner. It's a very tightly performed adrenaline-fed rocker held together by Lars' remarkably restrained drumming. The group unveiled their sensitive persona on "Nothing Else Matters," a poignant composition featuring a light orchestral score that adds a proggy touch. I admire them for letting the song go where it needed to go. It took some guts to do something in a quieter vein but it paid off handsomely. It's one of their best efforts. They then kick the door apart on the beginning of "Of Wolf and Man" just to assure their fans that they haven't turned into Journey but it's also the most humdrum number on the album. Hammett does shred his guitar ride properly, though, saving it from being overly pedestrian. "The God that Failed" is next and again, it was so refreshing to hear a palpable and high quality bass tone on a Metallica record. This striking song is a decent specimen of prog metal in that it doesn't turn into a formulaic bore. "My Friend of Misery" is another highlight. Its intriguing intro leads to some strong, punchy rock & roll that emphasizes James' impressive vocal range and Kirk's surprisingly tasteful, versatile guitar techniques. They close with "The Struggle Within." Lars' marching snare pattern sets the listener up for a balls-to-the-wall attack that's guaranteed to pacify the metal purists who want their ears pinned back. They go out with a bang.

Released on August 12, 1991 this album debuted at #1. While there was some disappointment and more than a few discouraging words uttered from a small segment of the Metallica fanatics who cried "sell out!" this record brought millions of people who had previously shunned all things metal (including me) into their camp. When a group "goes commercial" they put out something specifically designed to be annoyingly catchy and profitable like the mindless fluff you hear from Madonna. Metallica didn't do that. What they did was to not only get better at their craft but bring in a producer that could teach them how to project their aural art in such a way that they could no longer be dismissed as wannabe rock stars. This awesome "Black Album" elevated them into a permanent place in music history. While it's no masterpiece of prog rock, it's the best record they've ever made by far and it's certainly well worth having. 4.3 stars.

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 ... And Justice for All by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.96 | 423 ratings

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... And Justice for All
Metallica Prog Related

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'And Justice for All' was Metallica's fourth studio album so they were no longer the new kids on the block but a proven band that was steadily building up a huge, loyal fan base that the music industry couldn't afford to ignore. By pure stubbornness and grit they'd stayed true to themselves despite the popularity of the New Wave, Glam and subsequent Big Hair movements that were supported and nurtured by MTV during the 80s. Their dogged determination alone garnered them a lot of respect among free-thinking musicians whether they liked metal or not. While the fat cat executives didn't necessarily understand Metallica's broad appeal they certainly recognized a golden egg-laying goose when they saw one and were, accordingly, putting more money into advertising, promotion and tour support for the group to maximize their investment. I also guess that the band's success made their label decide to leave well enough alone so the boys were pretty much left to their own devices as far as producing their music was concerned and that freedom had an up and a down side to it. The positive was that they were unhindered in what they wrote and arranged. The negative was that they weren't being guided by an experienced, seasoned producer who could capture what they created with an ear bent towards fidelity and finesse. The result is another darn good record that should've sounded a whole lot better.

They open with 'Blackened,' where a slow fade-in leads to a fierce riff that grabs the listener like a steel claw. Right off the bat, though, the glaring fault line running through the studio control room is the lack of a bass guitar. I have no doubt that it's in there somewhere but it shouldn't be something you have to search for. Lars Ulrich's drums are up front where they should be but they sound naked and somewhat thin without a rhythm section companion to establish a killer groove with. That dearth aside, Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield's guitar work is intricate and the overall arrangement is engaging as they take you through various tempos and feels. 'And Justice for All' is proof positive that they belong on this web site. It begins with a quieter guitar intro that's interspersed with flashes of hot metal. I applaud their willingness to take risks and challenge their followers by delivering a host of unorthodox twists and turns involving tricky mixtures of odd time signatures. This cut is what I hear in my head when I think of prog metal. 'Eye of the Beholder' is another courageous track. After they fade in from nowhere they adopt a military-styled beat to build upon and I'm very impressed by the remarkable tightness they retain while moving from one distinct passage to another. Hetfield's gruff vocal approach grows old but that's what he sounded like and at least it's not overly distracting. 'One' is next and it was the first song I ever heard from these guys via the arresting MTV video that accompanied it. While it didn't exactly knock me out I could tell that there was some imagination and forethought going on in their craft, not just mindless head-banging. This tune has held up rather well over the decades, too. It's dark but very effective.

'The Shortest Straw' marks a turning away from their prog leanings as they go in a more straightforward direction from here on out. They dispense with the clever detours and go for the jugular by pounding the listener's ears with jackhammer blunt force. No doubt this number was a bonafide crowd-pleaser in concert but, other than Kirk's hot guitar solo, it only gives me a headache. 'Harvester of Sorrow' sports the closest they come to laying down a groove but a growling bass line would've solidified it in an instant. Maybe it's there and we just can't hear it. Hetfield and Hammett throw in some intriguing harmony guitar melodies but unfortunately the song fails to evolve into anything spectacular. I love the start of 'The Frayed Ends of Sanity.' Any band that pays homage to the Wicked Witch of the West's security detail's droning anthem without apology is cool in my book. Alas, they immediately return to their comfort zone by grinding out more unadorned heavy wrecking ball rock that most likely thrilled their congregation to death but leaves me in the cold. The instrumental, 'To Live is to Die' is a slight move in a proggier direction, though. The onset is more subdued than what's come before but it doesn't last long before another skull-crushing attack ensues. Yet rather than taking the easy way out they offer up a myriad of different sequences and musical ideas that restored my faith in them. I'd like to think that they were trying to stretch themselves and avoid resting on their laurels. They close with 'Dyers Eve.' Their full tilt metal onslaught is staggering only because of its sheer intensity, blinding speed and unending ferocity. It makes me tired just listening to it. I know what you're saying. 'Hey, you old fart; if you don't like hard core metal then stay away from it! Don't rain on my parade.' I gotcha. But if they're going to be considered prog then I feel obligated to tell it like it is, at least from my point of view. These guys are immensely talented musicians but, like any group, when they get predictable their music can get monotonous and that's what happens a few times in the course going through this album. I don't mind loud but I do mind tedium.

Released on August 25, 1988 this record furthered the legendary rise of Metallica by topping out at the #6 spot on the LP charts. The genre of metal was beginning to crossover into the mainstream and there wasn't a downside to that trend. Somebody had to shake the music biz up and these fellas were more than willing to take on that task. If there was a low end presence on 'And Justice for All' I'd like it a lot more but I figure they had their reasons for keeping new bassist Jason Newsted buried in the mix. I read on Wikipedia that it was part of the group's harsh 'hazing' regimen designed to keep him humble but I seriously doubt that they'd intentionally degrade the quality of the final product to punish the rookie. You never know, though. I get the feeling they had a crazy streak to beat the band. Nonetheless, Metallica was getting better with each release and, at least in my mind, the best was yet to come. 3.4 stars.

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 ... And Justice for All by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.96 | 423 ratings

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... And Justice for All
Metallica Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This was a new era for METALLICA. Hardly recovered from losing their bassist, Cliff Burton, they were finding sudden popularity after the success of MASTER OF PUPPETS. On this release they upped the progressiveness making this one of the earliest prog thrash metal releases and certainly one of the most successful in terms of sales. They went from being a slightly successful band to one of the biggest in the biz.

Although I hear a lot of complaining about the production of this album, I have to say that I quite like it and I think it gives it a unique sound unlike any other album. It's important to remember that there was a backlash to overproduced albums in the late 80s with the success of slick studio albums from Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Poison etc.

I believe that Metallica intended this to have a more lo-fi sound that would keep them sounding underground even if they were becoming one of the biggest names on the planet. Something about the theme and lyrical content about the lack of justice that lend an oppressive sound to the whole thing. The sounds of the guitars and bass as one super-instrument somehow imply that when justice is denied none has his own voice. I may be digging deep here but for some reason it really works for me!

While it's really hard for me to pick a favorite album from METALLICA (only 3 contenders), this one may be the one i've listened to the most. It was the first album I actually owned from them and I have listened to this more times than I can count to the point of being sick of it years ago!

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 Metallica by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.20 | 364 ratings

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Metallica
Metallica Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I have to admit that I do like this album to a certain degree. It is very well and slickly produced. The bass now plays with the drum instead of the guitar giving a more traditional metal feel. The angst is still there and it still rocks. Many songs are catchy and still have a familiar Metallica sound. Not a bad crossover album when all is said and done. The thrashiness still exerts itself in weaker doses.

However, after 3 stellar thrash releases this is an admitted let-down for the older fans. It was a clear rush to cash in on the momentum that they had accrued throughout the 80s and a calculated turn towards a more grungy radio-friendly sound that they felt would possibly not alienate old fans while attracting new ones. I have to say that they did that to a certain degree. I, myself, being a fan of their thrash albums still bought this and listened to it. Not against sound changes but this was the beginning of the great decline with this band.

The themes are still dark and the videos are cool and as far as a commercial release goes I do think they pulled this off fairly well. Good but not great. Can't say I love it. Can't say it hate it (that is saved for the next album!)

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 Master of Puppets by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.08 | 497 ratings

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Master of Puppets
Metallica Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This is largely regarded as a masterpiece and all I have to say is that not only is this third release from METALLICA cutting edge in progressively advancing thrash metal into the limelight but also deserves some credit for forwarding the doom aspect of metal. I can't think of anything more Sabbathy than the depressingly downtuned intros to "Battery," "The Thing That Should Not Be," and "Welcome Home." Although doom metal was taking root in bands like Pentagram and Candlemass, it was METALLICA who really brought the sound to the masses which contributed to its expansion in the 90s. Phenomenal album that everyone already knows about unless you live on Mars or something.

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