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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
Blackened Recordings 2013
Audio CD$4.31
$4.31 (used)
Master Of PuppetsMaster Of Puppets
Blackened Recordings 2013
Audio CD$4.98
$3.79 (used)
...And Justice for All...And Justice for All
Rhino 2013
Audio CD$2.99
$4.00 (used)
Ride The LightningRide The Lightning
Rhino/Blackened Recordings 2016
Audio CD$4.12
$4.12 (used)
Kill 'Em AllKill 'Em All
Rhino/Blackened Recordings 2016
Audio CD$4.65
$4.64 (used)
LoadLoad
13STAR RECORDS 2013
Audio CD$4.98
$1.60 (used)
Re-LoadRe-Load
13STAR RECORDS 2013
Audio CD$2.97
$2.96 (used)
Garage IncGarage Inc
Rhino 2013
Audio CD$12.75
$12.75 (used)
S&MS&M
13STAR RECORDS 2013
Audio CD$12.00
$10.85 (used)
Death MagneticDeath Magnetic
Rhino Blackened 2013
Audio CD$7.60
$4.50 (used)
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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)

3.39 | 375 ratings
Kill 'Em All
1983
4.05 | 484 ratings
Ride The Lightning
1984
4.09 | 602 ratings
Master of Puppets
1986
3.93 | 502 ratings
... And Justice for All
1988
3.21 | 428 ratings
Metallica
1991
2.35 | 289 ratings
Load
1996
2.08 | 282 ratings
Reload
1997
1.63 | 323 ratings
St. Anger
2003
3.37 | 330 ratings
Death Magnetic
2008
2.10 | 187 ratings
Lulu (with Lou Reed)
2011

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

3.88 | 58 ratings
Live Sh*t: Binge and Purge
1993
1.80 | 10 ratings
Live In London - Antipodean Tour Edition
1998
3.46 | 154 ratings
S & M
1999

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

3.48 | 25 ratings
Cliff 'Em All
1987
2.20 | 11 ratings
2 of One
1989
3.21 | 14 ratings
A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica Pt. 1
1992
3.82 | 14 ratings
A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica... Continued (Pt. 2)
1992
4.06 | 18 ratings
Cunning Stunts
1998
3.84 | 48 ratings
S&M
1999
2.50 | 6 ratings
The Metallica DVD Collection Sampler
2000
3.47 | 17 ratings
Classic Albums: Metallica
2001
3.76 | 36 ratings
Some Kind of Monster
2004
4.00 | 10 ratings
Live in San Diego
2005
1.06 | 7 ratings
Metallica- Kill Em All To St. Anger (The World's Greatest Albums)
2005
3.63 | 16 ratings
The Videos 1989 - 2004
2006
3.20 | 5 ratings
Français Pour Une Nuit
2009
2.83 | 6 ratings
Quebec Magnetic
2012
2.85 | 8 ratings
Through the Never
2014

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

2.67 | 6 ratings
The Good, the Bad and the Live
1990
3.39 | 113 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)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Ron McGovney's '82 Garage Demo
1982
3.67 | 3 ratings
Power Metal demo
1982
3.50 | 2 ratings
No Life 'til Leather demo
1982
2.67 | 3 ratings
Metal Up Your Ass demo
1982
4.00 | 2 ratings
Horsemen Of The Apocalypse demo
1983
3.43 | 7 ratings
Ride The Lightning demo
1983
3.50 | 6 ratings
Whiplash
1983
2.42 | 17 ratings
Jump in the Fire
1984
3.87 | 19 ratings
Creeping Death
1984
3.07 | 32 ratings
The $5.98 Garage Days Re-Revisited
1987
2.38 | 9 ratings
Eye of the Beholder
1988
3.00 | 13 ratings
Harvester of Sorrow
1988
3.82 | 22 ratings
One
1989
2.58 | 12 ratings
Enter Sandman
1991
2.63 | 13 ratings
The Unforgiven
1991
3.50 | 4 ratings
Live at Wembley Stadium
1992
3.55 | 11 ratings
Nothing Else Matters
1992
3.07 | 10 ratings
Sad But True
1992
3.55 | 11 ratings
Wherever I May Roam
1992
5.00 | 1 ratings
15 Pieces Of Live Shit promo
1993
2.50 | 7 ratings
One
1993
3.00 | 5 ratings
Until It Sleeps
1996
3.14 | 5 ratings
Hero Of The Day
1996
3.67 | 6 ratings
King Nothing
1996
2.00 | 4 ratings
Mama Said
1996
3.14 | 7 ratings
Fuel
1997
2.71 | 7 ratings
The Memory Remains
1997
2.38 | 8 ratings
The Unforgiven II
1997
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live In London - Antipodean Tour Edition
1998
3.60 | 5 ratings
Turn the Page
1998
2.63 | 8 ratings
Whiskey in the Jar
1999
2.67 | 6 ratings
Die Die My Darling
1999
4.00 | 3 ratings
No Leaf Clover
1999
2.50 | 6 ratings
Nothing Else Matters (S&M version)
1999
3.08 | 12 ratings
I Disappear
2000
3.00 | 2 ratings
Bay Area Trashers
2001
3.40 | 5 ratings
The Unnamed Feeling E.P.
2003
2.38 | 8 ratings
St. Anger
2003
1.32 | 9 ratings
Frantic
2003
2.17 | 11 ratings
Some Kind of Monster
2004
1.00 | 1 ratings
Live From Live Earth
2007
3.33 | 12 ratings
The Day That Never Comes
2008
2.11 | 9 ratings
My Apocalypse
2008
2.47 | 11 ratings
Cyanide
2008
2.78 | 8 ratings
The Judas Kiss
2008
3.94 | 14 ratings
All Nightmare Long
2008
2.92 | 6 ratings
Broken, Beat & Scarred
2009
1.64 | 5 ratings
Six Feet Down Under EP
2010
3.00 | 3 ratings
Six Feet Down Under Part II
2010
2.74 | 33 ratings
Beyond Magnetic
2011

METALLICA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Master of Puppets by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.09 | 602 ratings

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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
3.37 | 330 ratings

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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 | 323 ratings

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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
3.21 | 428 ratings

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Metallica
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
4.09 | 602 ratings

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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
3.93 | 502 ratings

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... 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
3.46 | 154 ratings

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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
3.93 | 502 ratings

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... 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.

 Hero Of The Day by METALLICA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1996
3.14 | 5 ratings

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Hero Of The Day
Metallica Prog Related

Review by thwok

3 stars This EP consists of 3 different versions of one song from Metallica's LOAD album, and 3 live covers of Motorhead songs. LOAD comes from what is generally regarded as Metallica's weakest period. Although I love Metallica, I've let the generally poor opinions of LOAD dissuade me from listening to it. However, I think "Hero of the Day" is a terrific song. It does demonstrate Metallica's more melodic, less thrashy side. As for the other songs, they are well done although Metallica's versions don't seem significantly different from the Motorhead originals.

As one of the inventors of thrash, I like Motorhead's songs except for Lemmy's singing. I think James Hetfield has a much better voice. So, in a manner of speaking, Metallica is paying tribute to one of their biggest influences. I wouldn't say this EP is very representative of what Metallica does, so this may not be for you if that's what you're looking for. I have one other reservation about the HERO OF THE DAY EP. As much as I like listening and reviewing EPs, I'm not really interested in 3 different versions of the same song back to back. For an open-minded Metallica fan, however, this is a worthy release.

 Reload by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.08 | 282 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.

Thanks to The T for the artist addition.

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