M is for Metallica
You knew it was coming; how could you deny it? Any metalhead worth their salt has to give a little credit to these guys even if now, there are people who’d argue that they aren’t hardcore enough. Yeah well, in the 80s and early 90s, this band was a God-tier thrash metal patriarch in the world of rock.
I believe I have told this story before but let’s delve in.
I entered the sixth grade at 11 years old, one year before the Metallica Black album would be released. Sixth grade was a really crucial stage for me and my development. It was in that year that I realized who my true friends were and what I was into.
I’ll never forget the day that my friends from elementary school – the popular ones who also happened to be cheerleaders – booted me from their table. It wasn’t some big to-do. I got my food in the cafeteria and when I went to our normal table, some other girl was sitting in my seat. And not one single person went to bat for me. Resigned, I spied a table with some others girls I sort of knew from English class. They were slightly nerdy, smart, definitely not popular. But they welcomed me with open arms. Jamie and Tracy became my very best friends and we all, coincidentally, loved rock and metal music. I remember Jamie’s mom dropping us off at the mall and being so excited to spend my allowance on the cassette tape of the Black album. To date, I think it was the hardest I’d ever listened to. Sure, I’d listened to the likes of Maiden and Sabbath in passing but I had not come to realize their inner workings the way I did that Metallica album. It was with those twelve songs that the idea of metal being a genre and a lifestyle took hold in my mind.
I remember this guy we all thought was a loser, Gary. He had long hair and always wore a Metallica shirt. He skipped often and spoke to no one and at first, I thought that was your typical metalhead. I’m sure some of them were, but not all. I look back and wonder whatever happened to Gary and realize that as a community, we were all a bit outcast, a bit weird and different but we still belonged to that group. And that pretty much firmed it up for me.
Though I bought the Black Album first, I’d have to pick the Master of Puppets album as my favorite because it’s such an all-around complete Metallica outing. If someone asked me what one Metallica song I think they HAVE to hear, it would be the title track.
I am also sharing this video, where this musician I watch breaks down why the song is so great:
I play the crap out of Guitar Hero: Metallica on Playstation 2 so I understand – at least a little – how difficult and intricate their songs are. Sure, I don’t play actual guitar but the concepts remain the same. Here’s some gameplay from someone I found on youtube. This is a very hard song.
When I first started playing, easy was pretty, well, easy. I quickly moved up to medium but then I five starred almost every song on that level. I literally never thought I’d be able to move to hard. I have now 5 starred almost every song in the first 3 sets on hard. I have also completed 3-4 songs on expert, though admittedly only earning 3 stars. I still like to play this and I will say, there are a couple songs from their later albums that I never liked until I played them on here. This isn’t from the system I play on but this song is one from their later stuff that I came to love after playing it.
The fact remains that this band did an awful lot for the entire genre and whether people argue that they went corporate sell-out after the black album or not, it does not matter. The music industry is always shifting and sometime you have to shift with it if you want to keep making it. There’s a certain charm to being underground – at least there was; the way things work now, I don’t think this actually exists anymore – but you have to adapt and reinvent or you fail. Simple as that.
My one regret is that I have not been able to see them in concert. When I would have been old enough to go, I was in the midst of a move four hours north of my childhood home and then I just didn’t have any other friends who were into them with me. And by that time, grunge had kind of taken over and I bought in. I have watched some of their more recent live shows and, sad to say, I am not sure it would be that good. Papa Het can still sing pretty well but I feel like it’s hard for him and I’d be disappointed. But I mean, don’t get me wrong: if they come anywhere near me in the next couple years, I WILL be marking them off my band bucket list!