Part 2 of my analysis as to what happened to Metallica’s once musical greatness. Part one here. — Carlos
There seems to be a plethora of reasoning and excuse making by people that are loyal to Metallica regardless of what they do or produce. I’ve narrowed it down to what I perceive to be the three primary excuses to explain their musical demise.
1. Since this is always brought up by the diehards I’ll address it first, I KNOW that Metallica could give two craps about me. I could spontaneously combust right after this article and they would never know it, and if they did, they wouldn’t care. I’m nothing to them. I get it dummies, everyone does, which is why I don’t undertand why the diehards continue to tell me that when I criticize my favorite band Metallica.
And yes, they still are my favorite band. That streak they had from Kill’Em to Black was one of the two greatest runs in Metal History (Maiden’s 80s run being the other). And during that streak they had more impact on me as a guitar player/songwriter than any other band. So by default, they will always be my favorite band. But they have gone far astray and we’ve had to deal not only with their bad music and bad artistic choices (Lulu, Gaga, the symphony recording they butchered, Through The Never, etc), but we’ve also had to deal with their idiotic drama. The kind of drama that only a bunch of spoiled out of touch “artists” can deliver to an audience just wanting great music.
But they will always be my favorite most influential band.
And that’s why they will always be the band I criticize more than any other. And I will always know, that despite me spending thousands on their products throughout my life, they will never give a crap about me or what I say. I get it. But to use that as a reason that my criticism of them should stop because it is futile or that I’m unworthy because I’m not a spoiled millionaire is nonsense.
2. One of the most easily disproven things that the diehards say is that Metallica is not putting out good Metal anymore because they are old, they have families, they can’t be angry 20 year olds their whole life.
Flotsam and Jetsam
All those bands are contemporaries of Metallica, and they all have released superior Metal to Metallica’s post Black album. There are more, but you get the point. There is NO validity to the defense that they are too old, etc. All those bands are in the same age range, with families, etc, and they are blowing Metallica away in terms of quality Metal. It is completly invalid to think it is their age and family life that is affecting their ability to write good Metal.
3. Metallica did NOT die when Cliff died. My position on this has changed somewhat the last year or so because I once used to believe it too.
What Cliff brought was his advanced understanding of musical theory and structure. He completely changed the way the band wrote music, and it evolved into a baroque progressive Thrash Metal with amazing harmonies, melody, and time changes. Even on the songs he didn’t have writing credits his influence was there.
The follow up after his tragic death was And Justice For All, which is a masterpiece, and it still had Cliff’s influence all over it, so in some ways it’s still a Cliff album. The one after that is when things started going wrong. The Black album was a good album, they simplified things and went for a commercialized form of Thrash, and it mostly worked. Yeah, it was boring compared to their earlier releases but it was STILL heavy, and it still retained some of their earlier trademark elements. They went for the gold, they got it.
Had they stayed there it would have worked because the Black album was still Metal. But as we know now this was the precursor to their musical collapse so it is understandable others may disagree with me, but I firmly believe that had they maintained what they created during the Black album Heavy Metal would have stayed relevant in the 90s. They were the only band that could have maintained the mass appeal Metal had during the 80s. So no, I disagree they died after Cliff when it comes to writing Metal, though I won’t argue the point if you think they did. They would never have been as good of course, but they showed they were still capable of writing good Metal.
So they didn’t die musically after Cliff died, they died musically when they became megastars and multimillionaires. It killed their hunger and drive.
Those are the three main excuses I read about why Metallica isn’t writing good Metal anymore, but they aren’t the real reasons, as I’ve shown. They became prisoners of their own success. Fat, lazy, unaccountable, and a corporate brand.
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