East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy

Review: Metallica’s “Metallica” (The Black Album)

In 1980, a man named Lars Ulrich would immigrate to the United States in hopes of forming a heavy metal band because he loved the British Heavy Metal scene which had bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Motorhead. In 1981 James Hetfield would see an advertisement on the newspaper from Ulrich.

Ulrich was looking for a guitarist and Hetfield would call him and together along with Dave Mustaine and Ron Mcgoveney. Future members of the band would be Cliff Burton, Jason Newstead and Robert Trujillo.

In 1983, the band would release arguably the fastest album at the time. The album was praised for its technicality, speed, and lyrics about anarchy, rebellion, and the rock n roll life.

In 1984, the band would release their second studio album entitled “Ride the Lightning.” The album was praised for how much the band expanded their direction musically and lyrically.

In 1986, the band released “Master of Puppets.” It is considered one of the best albums of all time by many critics and fans alike. Tragedy would strike the band when their bass player Cliff Burton died in a bus crash and the band thought that their career would be over. They would hire Jason Newstead and in result of sorrow for the death of their friend they would take out all their anger on Jason.

Their fourth studio album “…And Justice for All” was released in 1988 and had lyrical subjects on war, the justice system, and family abuse. The music video for the song “One” had footage from the movie “Johnny’s got his gun.”

The song reached 35 at the Billboard Hot 100 and the album reached 6 at the Billboard 200 charts. It would go on to sell over 13 million copies worldwide with 8 million in the U.S alone. It was their highest selling album at the time, until the release of their self-titled album which would sell 31 million albums worldwide.

The band hired producer Bob Rock (Dr. Feelgood from Motley Crue) and took the band in a slower and heavier direction. The opening song “Enter Sandman” is an example of that sound. It is the bands most well-known song and is a stadium-anthem. The song talks about a kid’s nightmare.

Overall, I feel like the self-titled album is an achievement in music because it manages to sound good sonically, lyrically, musically. The record may not be one of their fastest records, it may not have the speed of the first 4 records, but the record shows great musicianship from each member, form Ulrich’s thunderous drumming, Hetfield’s lyrics, and Hammet’s solos, we can’t also forget the crunchy bass tone from Jason Newstead.

The album also shows a soft side of the band with songs like “Nothing Else Matters” which is a love song Hetfield wrote to his girlfriend at the time. The song “The Unforgiven” shows complex lyrics about a broken man. This is a masterpiece of an album. It has heaviness and a great production sound. Overall I rate this album a 9.5 out of 10.