Metallica - Metallica
The endless debate that has followed Metallica for the better part of their career began here, on their curiously self-titled release. Curious if only because they had released several albums prior, and to self-title an album seems, at least to some (myself included) to demonstrate an urging for definition beyond all else. If Metallica were aiming for such, or just short of inspiration in finding a proper title, I'm sure has been answered before. What ultimately matters is how far off their own beaten path they ended up, and the success that followed. The term "sell out" is probably undeserved, but not altogether unfounded.
"Enter Sandman" was essentially the moment in time when Metallica became the biggest name in metal. It all spun out of control after this one monumental metal moment. That is not meant to be offensive; it only signifies that everything they had done prior to it suddenly didn't matter as much as what they were demonstrating in the here and now of this album's debut. It is an undeniably catchy song, unsurprisingly well-written and, more than anything, showing how adept the band had become at interjecting the upmost melody into their sound. It's a toss-up from fan to fan what track stands out the most, from the slightly underrated "Sad But True" to the epic "Wherever I May Roam", or the bittersweet ballad-esque "The Unforgiven", or it's counterpart, the more personal "Nothing Else Matters". So much stood out on this record that finding the ultimate highlight is simply a matter of personal taste. In between, however, were some decidedly solid tracks that couldn't quite stand up to their big brothers; "Holier Than Thou" and "Of Wolf And Man" always were personal classics to me, songs that helped this album along without stuttering between the lines.
Well-rounded, well-written...but the shift from technicality and speed into more of a mid-paced, groove-based element left so many behind that this album would be (and still is) a dividing line amongst fans far and wide. I always gave kudos to the band for having the ambition to do what they deemed most worth doing at any given time in their career, and even though there would still be highlights in the future, this is probably the last time they ever would or ever will again write a truly cohesive and front-to-back impressive album. I've always been left on the fence with this record; where it is by itself enjoyable, it was a crossroads for the band and in my opinion, they went the wrong way afterwards. That, once again, basically comes down to the individual, and in no way does it reflect my rating of the album. More of a personal addendum to an otherwise solid effort.
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on 2011-10-17 hstisgod Said:
very cool, looking forward to it
on 2011-10-17 SolitaryMan Said:
Oh don't worry, if you check the timeline of these Metallica reviews, you'll see I'm tackling the entire discography from beginning to now. Same with Rush, actually. Figured it would help round out our database with some well-known stuff.
on 2011-10-17 hstisgod Said:
wow, great challenging review summed up cleanly and neatly and most importantly, accurately. Now, time for Load.... Not that I desire to see any additional talk about that album, i'd love to see your take on it. I dare you sir