By Garrick Hoffman
Album of the issue:
Metallica, aka “The Black Album” (1991)
One of Metallica’s most controversial albums, Metallica exploded on the charts, and has now been certified sixteen times platinum – that’s over sixteen million copies sold. It’s been heavily criticized by ‘Tallica purists, saying they went “mainstream” and “sold out” with a new radio-friendly sound that they previously had not effused.
Dismissing the Black Album opponents and curmudgeons, Metallica is a driving, galloping, kick ass album. Major singles include “Sad But True” (one of my least favorites), “The Unforgiven” (great tune, but my least favorite ballad of theirs), and of course, “Enter Sandman.”
“Enter” has a resonanting significance for me because every time I listen to it I think of being in the car with my dad, who invariably turns the volume knob all the way to the right as soon as the opening riff enters our ears, and who then subsequently treats his steering wheel as if it’s a mobile drum set. I’d supply the head banging.
Although I don’t typically like to compare, Metallica is leagues ahead of their predecessor, ...And Justice For All, which falls flat and has dropped off my radar almost entirely. I’lll even venture to say that this album is a masterpiece, even if there are a few weaker children in the Black Album family. Every single song is worth listening to. There are virtually no “skip tracks” – the entire album can be listened to without skipping a tune. It’s no wonder Metallica came to be their magnum opus, at least in terms of sales, since the same purists will dispute its sound changed for the worst, and because Metallica also has Master of Puppets under its belt.
The standout gems, according to this Metallica nerd, are “Holier Than Thou”, “The God That Failed” (an outstanding song that receives little attention and virtually no live play), and “My Friend of Misery”.
Have a good summer, folks! For those about to rock, The Beacon salutes you.