Metallica: Come, Gone, and Returned
The year is 1981. Danish drummer Lars Ulrich places an add in the newspaper, looking for heavy metal band members. He recruits vocalist and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield and decide to pick a name for their new found band. Between Metal Mania and Metallica, the two choose Metallica for their band. At the time, they did not know this would be the start of some kind of monster.
Metallica has been best known for being one, if not, the best thrash metal bands of all time. Part of the big four of thrash, they are currently the second most selling band behind The Beatles. The band has had several different band members (But not as many as other bands such as Anthrax or Iron Maiden have had), including some that are well known today; People such as Dave Mustaine (Megadeth), Jason Newsted (Ozzy Osbourne/Voivoid), and the widely popular Cliff Burton [Deceased (Yes, he is dead)].
The band has also been mistaken to not be the starters of thrash; People are confused with the thrash metal band Slayer starting it. While both bands started in 1981, Metallica beat Slayer to the first album in 1983. Metallica paved the way for other bands to start thrash metal, but it was just called “Metallica Music”. James Hetfield considered it Metallica Music in a Japanese interview. Later, it would be called thrash.
Back in 1981, Metallica recruited Dave Mustaine on lead guitar and Ron McGovney on bass. In 1982, McGoveny left the band. Metallica pulled in bassist Cliff Burton. Their first album was originally going to be called Metal Up Your Ass, but it was changed to, what it is known as now, Kill ‘Em All. The album featured tracks such as Hit The Lights, Seek And Destroy, and Jump In The Fire. Their fame shot up like a rocket to the moon.
Following the album’s release, Mustaine was booted from the band for being such a dangerous drinker. He later went on to form what is now Megadeth, one of Metallica’s rivals. The band recruited their current guitarist Kirk Hammet.
In 1984, Metallica released their second album Ride the Lightning. This album contained the original tracks of Ride the Lightning, For Whom The Bell Tolls, and the instrumental, The Call of Ktulu. Metallica’s fame rose even higher with this release.
It should also be noted that Metallica had never made a music video or been on TV to perform. They had gained popularity from people telling one another. Their popularity was already immense, but it was just to reach a new definition of popular.
In 1986, Metallica released Master of Puppets. Follow the release, they were considered musical masterminds. The songs Master of Puppets, Battery, and Damage, inc. are all included on this amazing album. Their fame was now shooting through the moon. And even though everything seemed to be working like a dream for them, the worst was yet to come.
When they were on the Puppets tour in Sweden, their bus crashed. On September 27, 1986, the bus crushed and killed bassist Cliff Burton. Many now consider Cliff Burton to be the best bassist who had ever lived and was the equivalency of Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Rich on the bass. He had played mind blowing bass solos that would cause anyone’s head to explode. A memorial was built in honor of the bassist. A video was released later entitled Cliff ‘Em All, in memoriam for the bassist.
Now Metallica’s future was in doubt. Still, they decided to find a replacement. After going through some forty auditions, the band found Jason Newsted and decided to have him play in place of Cliff. Still, the band would never play Cliff’s favorite song that he wrote, Orion, fully. Even though Newsted was a great bassist, it wouldn’t seem proper to play it with him.
The new line-up was James Hetfield andKirk Hammeton guitars with Hetfield on vocals, Jason Newsted on bass, and Lars Ulrich on drums. The band went into the studio and emerged in 1987 with ...And Justice For All, an album that contained the songs One and Eye Of The Beholder. This was the first actually CD released with Newsted, aside from the EP Garage Days Re-Revisited, which was all songs they didn’t release and is now considered rare.
Following Justice, Metallica released Black Album, or Metallica in 1991. The CD contains the song Enter Sandman, Metallica’s current most popular song. Many fans consider this album to be the last good Metallica album ever recorded. The next following years would be dark and hard for the band.
After a five year break, the band released Load in 1996, their largest album on a single CD to date. This album wasn’t the usual thrash metal they had made before hand. This was more southern. It was almost southern rock. It has been considered their worst work to date.
Following Load, they released Re-Load. They had recorded so much material for Load that they made another CD in 1997. Each song was “polished and reworked”, according to Hetfield.
In 1998, they released Garage, inc., which simply was a two disc album containing Garage Days Re-Revisited and some new songs, including a cover of Whiskey In The Jar. In 1999, Metallica recorded two live shows with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and released them on a CD known as S&M. The album mixed both classical and thrash metal with some of their songs (A lot sounding better than their original song), plus two new songs, No Lead Clover and Human.
At the turn of century, Metallica found out that Napster was releasing their albums digitally online through a special program. The band resorted to suing the company and having over 335,000 Napster accounts banned. That year also marked the release of a new single, I Disappear, which was featured in Mission: Impossible 2. While Metallica still reined supreme, even with the horrifying Load, the worst still was yet to come.
In 2001, Newsted left the band after several years. He claimed that the band wasn’t working well together to help James out with a drinking problem. Hetfield went into rehab to be removed from his problem. The band’s future was in more doubt than it was before.
Later that year, hope returned. Hetfield returned from rehab and was given restrictions. The new album that was scheduled before was back to being made. But one thing was needed: A new bassist.
In 2003, the band recruited Rob Trujillo of Ozzy Osbourne. Ulrich said that nobody could play like him since Cliff, so the choice was obvious. Trujillo was the new bassist for Metallica. Later that year, the album St.Anger was released. Trujillo was also the first person to play Orion fully live since the death of Cliff Burton.
The album was like Load, but not as much as a failure. It was still metal, but things were different. There were no guitar solos. The drums had a harsh steel sound. Things seemed really different.
As the whole St.Anger album was being recorded, it was all caught on tape for a documentary called Some Kind Of Monster, named after a track on the CD. It has been claimed to be a masterful documentary that is told with epic story telling.
Metallica currently is in recording of their ninth studio album. They have promised an album that reflects most of their old tracks and is going to please every fan. They released Mission:Metallica to have fans follow the making of the album instead of another documentary.
If this yet-to-be-named album fails, Metallica is surely done for; no question about it. But if the album works, then Metallica will still live on. But still, whether it is a success or not, we will always remember the starters of thrash and the legends that live on; they have come, gone, and returned from the metal, southern metal, and metal again. Long live Metallica!