Metal is a state of mind. It’s gone back underground and Metal always gets better when it goes back underground.
A detailed historical essay on Metallica is unnecessary. METALLICA are neither musicological scholars nor trailer-trash numbskulls. They play no-frills modern Arena Rock. "Indie Rock" is not part of their vocabulary. Their influences range from Diamond Head to Motörhead.
Metallica changed the face of popular music. Before them, Heavy Metal had become an embarrassing array of well-coifed poodleheads with bad clothes and lame drugs. I’m not saying that these guys were street punks either, but in comparison, they were a huge breath of fresh air. Metallica were inspired by the so-called New Wave Of British Heavy Metal which really wasn’t New Wave or even very memorable (bands like Vardis, Tygers Of Pan Tang and Holocaust just haven’t aged that well), but what they came up with was rude and real.
At this point in time, nobody really remembers their earliest recordings on the No Life Till Leather demo or the Metal Massacre compilation appearance. What they remember is that Metallica rocks! Check them out with the Irony-metal divas Monster Magnet.
Nobody really cares what Swedish tennis-wünderkind-turned-drummer LARS ULRICH proposes we do to achieve world peace. And if you ever heard bassist JASON NEWSTED’s old band Flotsam And Jetsam, you wouldn’t ask him how to clone a sheep. His musical coup de maître was called "Flotzilla." Guitarist KIRK HAMMETT is a good guy and a great player but seems to be in a transitional stage, finding his way in this Punk-dominated anti-Guitar Hero era.
Even though the record-buying public has forgotten the Steve Vais and Joe Satrianis, they still respect Hammett’s cool virtuoso vibe.
JAMES HETFIELD is the heart and soul of Metallica. He is a ferocious frontman and the greatest riffmaster in the business. There’s also the legacy of former bassist Cliff Burton. He turned these guys on to The Misfits and The Dictators back in the day, and defined the "crossover" nature of their early recordings. After Cliff died in a tragic tour bus accident in 1986, Metallica became huge, but they were never the same again. They should’ve been the next Led Zeppelin, instead they were the next Deep Purple…
Let’s shout it out loud: Metallica are the true Kings of Metal! (Manowar be damned!) While it is true that they made their mark as pioneer thrashers, Metallica don’t even play fast anymore, just bottom-heavy mid-tempo monster-truck Rock. And in this age where people waste their hard-earned cash on twerps singing silly love songs, Metallica have never shit on their fans.
Sure, they did commit a major faux pas last year trying to come off as arty for their latest album Load, but judging by their behemoth sold-out world tour of two-and-a-half-hour shows with the most production gear this side of Emerson, Lake And Palmer, they have absolutely reclaimed the throne.
Praise, hail Metallica!