Metallica 'The Black Album' Review Retrospective part 5- The Metal Voice
BY Justin Stockton
Metallica had pushed their popularity even further with “...And Justice For All” and had a pretty extensive tour in 1988-89 which brought them a lot more new fans. However when they entered the studio with producer Bob Rock, we would see Metallica become probably the most popular they would ever become when they released “Metallica” otherwise known as The Black Album on August 12th, 1991. It is undoubtedly their biggest selling album still to this day. However, is it truly as good as it's popularity really seems to show?
1. Enter Sandman- Well I honestly have to say I am very biased on how I feel about this song. It isn't like it is a horribly written song it is actually written quite adequately and shows Metallica trying for a more radio friendly Heavy Metal song. The problem is that radio has completely ruined this song like it has for countless others. Every time I hear that opening riff I think “Oh God again?!”. I know we all have those songs we never get sick of but this one is definitely not THAT good. It is okay at best to me.
2. Sad But True- I still actually dig this song and it really has a lot to do with how big the production sounds on it. The riffs aren't that very creative but they are catchy and very heavy. James' vocals are really catchy as well. I dunno, not much to say about this one.
3.Holier Than Thou-This song is definitely more on the thrashy side but still has a slower feel to it. It is definitely my favorite song on the album as well. The riffs are very much like Metallica's riffs they have on their albums today with that very down picking feeling. Definitely worth a listen.
4. The Unforgiven- Ugh, you know this song at the time felt like a good break and saw Metallica trying the ballad and expanding their horizons a bit more and unfortunately into radio again. This song is so overplayed at least from where I am and again that is one of the reasons I skip past it entirely most of the time.
5. Wherever I May Roam- This song has some cool middle eastern aspects to it but I was never able to get into this one for some reason, I just didn't feel the groove which I feel like they were trying to get with this song. The solo is pretty good though.
6. Don't Tread On Me- This song is just...weird with trying to be heavy and melodic but it doesn't feel like it is done right. There is just some parts that feel very out of place. Just one I tend to skip over it feels very filler to me.
7. Through The Never- Another favorite of mine because of the sheer anger I get from this song. The production adds to the power as well and James spits each line out with very good precision. I dig the chorus and solo as well.
8. Nothing Else Matter- I still really like this song. I always felt this one should have been THE ballad on the album and it is written just so well and the atmosphere is really good also. This song is definitely my second favorite on the album.
9. Of Wolf And Man- A pretty good straight forward metal song with some hooks and catchy verses as well. Again not a lot to say its kinda just okay to me.
10. The God That Failed- I always felt like this song kind of foreshadowed the sort of structure Metallica's next two records would follow. It is definitely one of the more less known songs on the album. I mean it is okay it is another rocker with a catchy chorus.
11. My Friend Of Misery- Some interesting sounds here and I really dig the bass, it is ashamed this isn't one of the more well known song on the album because I think it is just a lot better written than most of the songs. I really like the whole vibe this song gives off as well.
12. The Struggle Within- This feels like a song that could have been on the last album, at least in the beginning. It goes back more into that mid paced kind of structure most the album followed all the way to the end. It has some good points but otherwise compared to the bombastic endings on the last few albums, it just feels boring to me. I mean it does have a good solo going for it but that is really it.
Overall I give this album a 4 out of 10. I know a lot of people really dig this album and that's alright, music is all subjective. I just found it boring most of the time with the same mid paced down picking throughout at least 90 percent of the whole album. Besides a good ballad and a few catchy hooks and three songs I actually thoroughly enjoyed, I felt that this record was just uninspired feeling and just because you have a bigger production, doesn't mean it makes you a better band. The creativity has to be there in some way shape or form and for a majority of this album, It feels like simplified radio friendly heavy metal. And honestly that is what it was, because the album sold like freaking hot cakes. It brought a whole new crowd in. From the metalheads that loved Saxon, Diamond Head and the whole NWOBHM of the old days, we now had people who had never even heard heavy metal. Needless to say, the band toured almost five years in support and hit their peak in popularity. However, everyone was eager to see how they would beat grunge when so many bands dried up because of it. And in 1996 they would release “Load” and we'll take a look at that one next to see what Metallica did differently.
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