KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

METALLICA Part 3 – The Memories Remain…But Not The Long Hair

Following up a successful album can’t be an easy task, and when that album is one of the biggest sellers of all time (1991’s Metallica, aka The Black Album) the pressure has to be even greater. Five years after that massive success, and three years after the multiplatinum concert recording, Live Sh*t: Binge & Purge, Metallica re-emerged with Load (1996). Common wisdom (especially among many of their old-school fans) would have you believe that this is where they lost the plot, even pointing to their shorter hair and various stylish photos in the CD package as proof that the “sell out” that began with The Black Album was Metallica - Loadnow complete. As someone who wasn’t a fan during their classic era, I never had any expectations regarding this album or its similar follow-up (which I’ll discuss below). In fact, this might have been the first Metallica CD I owned, as my tastes were returning to heavier music in the late-‘90s and it was readily available in used CD stores at the time. Before revisiting Load this past week I didn’t remember much about it, other than the fact that the songs were heavy but more in line with mid-‘90s mainstream hard rock rather than the speed metal they were best known for. Now that I’ve given it a number of spins I came to like at least half of the 14 songs. Only a handful of them would sit comfortably among their acknowledged classics but I tried my best not to hold them up to that lofty standard. My biggest complaint about the album is that it’s 79 minutes long, and 9 of the tracks exceed 5 minutes. Since they were no longer striving to create progressive-metal epics like they did on …And Justice For All, many of the songs don’t warrant their excessive running times, making the album a tiring listening experience. Perhaps by lopping off a few songs and editing down some others, Load could have been a much more enjoyable top-to-bottom listening experience. But I also have to credit the band for giving fans their money’s worth by packing the disc to capacity, and producer Bob Rock gives the album a modern, punchy sound that makes even the minor tracks more powerful.

The heavy, plodding intro to “Ain’t My Bitch” gives way to a driving AC/DC-inspired rhythm. I love the slower melody at “before…you arrived, but now it’s time to kiss your ass Metallica Photo (circa 1996)goodbye” as well as everything about the chorus except for the cartoonish way James Hetfield over-enunciates “biiitch-ah!” “Until It Sleeps” begins with a light drum beat featuring Lars Ulrich’s ride cymbal & subtle snare work before giving way to a heavier rhythm, and the descending guitar figure in the quieter parts is a great hook. Hetfield is addressing his mother’s battle with cancer, alternating between comforting her & singing from her perspective. “King Nothing” is introduced by Jason Newsted’s moody bassline over a ringing guitar tone (or is that a synth?), then slowly builds to the awesome chorus of “Where’s your crown, King Nothing?” This song features great use of dynamics, with a slightly psychedelic section in the middle, and it’s one of the highlights of the album for me.

According to Hetfield, “Bleeding Me” addresses his attempts to clean up his lifestyle after rehab. The slow, moody opening (“I’m digging my way, I’m digging my way to something”) is reminiscent of grunge icons Alice In Chains. Shortly before the 5-minute mark the music stops and then a new guitar riff enters, leading to “I am the beast that feeds the beast.” I would describe it as a ‘90s mainstream rock track…and a very good one…but like many songs here it’s just too long. “Wasting My Hate” is one of the fastest songs, with a driving groove & a staggered rhythm after each section of the verse. There’s a cool riff at “Good day, how do, and I send a smile to you,” and I love how it gets quiet for the end of the chorus (“waste my hate on you”). “Mama Said” is a wonderful change of pace, with acoustic guitar in the intro, heartfelt vocals from Hetfield and steel guitar adding a country element (at “Let my heart go…let your son grow”). This song deals with the difficult relationship between him & his mother and you can hear the hurt & pain in his voice. Bon Jovi would’ve made this hokey but Metallica nails the arrangement.

[Metallica – “Mama Said”]

The main riff in “Thorn Within” reminds me of Kiss’ “War Machine,” and it’s featured both instrumentally & during the chorus (“I am, I am…the secret, I am, I am…the sin”). This offsets nicely with the sparse & quiet verses (“Forgive me father, for I have sinned”). Metallica Photo (from Load CD)“Ronnie,” with its snarling guitar tone (courtesy of Kirk Hammett?), combines southern rock, ZZ Top & Aerosmith (circa their sleazy ‘70s heyday), all set to a steady, deliberate rhythm. It’s one of their bluesiest songs, and the de facto chorus (“He said, ‘lost my way,’ this bloody day…All things wash away but blood stained the sun red today”) is one of the catchiest parts of the album. Any songs I haven’t already mentioned were not among my favorites, but there are a handful of noteworthy sections. “2 X 4” is a bluesy shuffle with a ‘70s vibe and a catchy hook at “I can’t hear ya, talk to me…so talk to me…are you talking to me?” “Hero Of The Day,” which the band has compared to Alternative icon Bob Mould (of Hüsker Dü fame), is one of the most subtle songs here. “Cure” is a bit generic but I like the chorus (“Betting on the cure, ‘cause it must get better than this”) and “I do believe” is a great repeated refrain. Album closer “The Outlaw Torn” doesn’t go in enough interesting directions to earn its nearly 10-minute running time, but in edited form I would’ve liked it a lot (especially at “So on I wait my whole lifetime”). Overall there’s a lot to like (and even love) on Load, but the negatives I discussed above keep it from being in the same league as any of their previous releases.

The hit-to-miss ratio for Reload (1997) is about the same as its predecessor. This one includes 13 tracks over “only” 76 minutes, but the issue of quantity-over-quality pops up Metallica - Reloadagain. “Fuel” kicks things off immediately with a blast of Hetfield vocals (“Gimme fuel, gimme fire, gimme that which I desire”), heavy riffing & driving drums. I love the energy to start the album. “The Memory Remains” was a huge hit single, and one of the only songs I was familiar with prior to revisiting these albums. The huge production, swirling lead guitar & pounding drums wouldn’t sound out of place on The Black Album, but the secret ingredient that sets it apart is Marianne Faithfull’s inimitable “na-na-na” backing vocals, giving the song a creepy vibe. Hammett delivers a fantastic guitar solo as well. Newsted’s super heavy bass drives the rhythm in “Devil’s Dance” before the fuzzy, Black Sabbath-indebted guitar riff kicks in. Hetfield sings from the perspective of the Devil, and Hammett tears off a creative & wacky guitar solo. The war-themed “Where The Wild Things Are” is slow, sparse & mournful, with more Alice In Chains-type vocals, and it includes two of my favorite melodic vocal sections: “So wake up sleepy one…it’s time to save your world” and “You’re where the wild things aaaarrre.”

[Metallica – “Where The Wild Things Are”]

I like the cool phased effect on the music & vocals during the intro to “Slither.” Throughout the rest of the song, Hetfield’s voice is higher & less gravelly than usual. There’s a great effect (and excellent tom-tom heavy groove) at “See you crawlin’, see you crawlin’ in,” and Metallica Photo (circa 1997)it’s nice to hear the tastefully melodic guitar solo. “Prince Charming” took several listens to, er, charm me, but eventually Hetfield’s snarling “Hey ma, hey ma look at me” hook won me over. This one features a couple of tasty guitar solos. Album closer “Fixxxer” is the longest song, at 8+ minutes, but unlike “The Outlaw Torn” from Load (which didn’t make good use of its extended running time), here they use the time wisely, stretching out without overdoing it. The extended slow, brooding intro, which lasts until 1:45, sets the mood before Hetfield’s vocals enter. He’s seeking help to heal emotional wounds (“Can you heal what father’s done, or cut this rope & let us run?”). Hammett’s excellent wah-wah infused guitar solo is among many highlights of this mini epic. “Low Man’s Lyric” is another standout, and possibly my favorite track. The first couple of times I played it, I assumed the eerie melody being played on top of the sparse percussion, fingerpicked electric guitar & Hetfield’s quiet vocals was courtesy of a harmonium (or pump organ), but then I checked the liner notes to discover that it’s a hurdy-gurdy, a hand-cranked instrument that produces a droning, hypnotic effect. It certainly grabbed my attention from the first listen, and coupled with the slow-building intensity & the repeated refrain of “Please forgive me,” I looked forward to this song each time I played the album. It’s not only a highlight of this album; it’s also one of the most distinctive songs in their discography.

None of the other tracks were great but there are a few worth mentioning briefly. “The Unforgiven II” is a sequel to the Black Album song that adds a country twang but doesn’t possess the power of the original. Apparently “Better Than You” won a Grammy for Best Metal Performance, but other than a catchy chorus it’s merely a collection of chugging riffs & driving drums. I like the overall vibe of “Carpe Diem Baby,” and the hook at “So wash your face away with dirt, it don’t feel good until it hurts” is very catchy, but otherwise it doesn’t go anywhere & it’s too long. “Attitude” features some decent rhythmic shifts & I like the melody at “Born into attitude, asleep at the wheel,” but beyond that it’s kind of generic. I would rate Load & Reload as equals. Neither is an underrated classic, nor would the best songs from each form a perfect album (it would still be too long), but thanks to an open mind & low expectations I found plenty of new Metallica songs that I would include on a career-spanning anthology. I’m very pleased that I gave these albums the attention they deserved, even though I won’t be revisiting them nearly as often as the first five.

Metallica Photo Collage (from Reload CD)
Like most bands, Metallica has been playing cover songs in their live sets since the early days, but they also recorded a lot of them over the years for various EP’s, b-sides and one-off projects. I never owned any of this material, so I was pleased that they compiled so Metallica - Garage Inc.much of it on the 2-CD set, Garage Inc. (1998). Once again giving their fans great value for the money, this collection includes 27 songs by nearly 20 different artists, spanning the years 1984 through 1998. Although they chose some obvious artists to cover, like fellow metal bands Diamond Head, Mercyful Fate, Motörhead & Black Sabbath, several of their choices were a little surprising, such as Bob Seger, The Misfits, Lynyrd Skynyrd & Nick Cave. In some cases they’ve Metallica-ized these songs while others were merely faithful reproductions, but even if none of their versions surpass the originals they were successful in introducing this music to millions of new fans, in many cases helping out the original songwriters with much-needed publishing royalties.

Disc One features all new recordings, their final studio work with Jason Newsted. Of the 11 songs here, there’s a cluster of 6 near the start of the disc that includes the strongest material. Diamond Head’s “It’s Electric” is a driving, dumb, fun rocker…and I mean that in the best possible way. Black Sabbath’s “Sabbra Cadabra” has a bouncy feel. It’s a little lighter than the original, but they replaced the quieter parts with the riff from “A National Acrobat,” making this into a mini Sabbath medley. Bob Seger’s mournful ode to life on the road, “Turn The Page,” was a good choice for them, and Hammett’s slide guitar replacing the original’s saxophone line gives it the hard rock stamp they needed to make it their own. “Die, Die My Darling,” originally by The Misfits, is an excellent propulsive rocker with a repeated hook when he sings the title as well as “Don’t cry to me, oh baby.” You can hear Hetfield aping Glen Danzig’s vocal style without sounding like a parody. Nick Cave is an artist I discovered about 10 years ago after reading about him for many years, and I hope to revisit his catalog for this blog at some point. I’m glad I’m relatively familiar with his music, because it gave me an appreciation for Metallica’s inclusion of his “Loverman,” not a song one would usually associate with hard rock or metal, even though it possesses the power & intensity of the best of those genres. Clocking in at 90 seconds longer than the original, Metallica’s version has a great atmosphere & slowly shifting dynamics, making it the highlight of this disc for me.

“Mercyful Fate,” by the band of the same name, is actually an extended suite of five songs from their first EP & LP. Hetfield may not have the operatic voice of vocalist King Diamond, but he delivers them powerfully in his own inimitable style. This is an amazing, tightly arranged progressive-metal epic. The traditional Irish song “Whiskey In The Jar” was popularized in the ‘70s by Thin Lizzy, whose version is the template for their faithful cover. They add a little metallic crunch but Hetfield’s over-enunciated vocal delivery kept me from enjoying it as much as the Lizzy version. I’m glad they chose an early, obscure Blue Öyster Cult song, “Astronomy,” to cover. If it drives people to their discography then Metallica’s mission was accomplished. Sadly, despite guest stars like Alice in Chains’ Jerry Cantrell, Blues Traveler’s John Popper & Primus’ Les Claypool, their slog through Lynyrd Metallica Photo (Metallicats from Garage Inc.)Skynyrd’s “Tuesday’s Gone” is tedious. It was probably a lot of fun for the musicians when they recorded it for a radio broadcast, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the original.

Disc Two includes a couple of EP’s (Garage Days Revisited and Garage Days Re-Revisited), from 1984 & 1987 respectively, along with b-sides, one-offs & a 4-song Motörhead tribute. All of the details of these recordings are readily available elsewhere, so I just want to focus on the songs that made the biggest impact on me. Diamond Head is covered three times: “Helpless” is speed metal with a great melody, especially at “See the flashing lights, hear the thunder roar”; “Am I Evil?” is nearly 8 minutes of progressive metal that was my impetus for checking out Diamond Head’s music a few years ago (I highly recommend it); “The Prince” is fast galloping metal with Hammett shredding at full speed. I’ve never heard of Holocaust, but if the cover of their “The Small Hours” is any indication, they combine all the best aspects of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal with the sludginess of Black Sabbath. There’s also a cool melody at “And I try to get through to you, in my own special way.”

Metallica Photo (from Garage Inc. CD)
Budgie was a very good if slightly one-dimensional ‘70s hard rock band. I have a decent CD compilation of their music so I’m somewhat familiar with their sound, and Metallica chose two powerful songs that could pass for originals: “Crash Course In Brain Surgery” and “Breadfan.” I’ve never been more than a casual fan of punk rock but I can get into its aggressive simplicity when I’m in the right mood. The version of The Misfits’
“Last Caress/Green Hill” did just that, at least in the first part (“I’ve got something to say, I killed your baby today”). Some naysayers could take those lyrics seriously, but I can hear a cartoonish silliness in Hetfield’s delivery that makes it acceptable. I’ve been a Queen fan since the late-‘70s, and it takes a talented band to do their music justice. With their take on the early Queen track “Stone Cold Crazy,” Metallica accomplishes that and nearly makes the song their own. The rest of the material on this disc didn’t have much impact on me but it’s all solidly performed. I might have enjoyed “Blitzkrieg” (originally by Blitzkrieg) more if the main riff wasn’t so similar to the yodeling prog-rock classic “Hocus Pocus” by Focus. The four Motörhead tunes that close out the CD are straight-up covers, but Hetfield tries too hard to copy Lemmy’s vocal style which keeps them from being distinctive. There’s a lot to love on Garage Inc., and hopefully a lot of younger fans were turned on to the original artists after hearing this collection.

In my next post I’ll wrap up the Metallica discography (so far) with their two most recent studio albums and a couple of live recordings (including one with a symphony orchestra). Until then, I look forward to hearing what fans think of this controversial era that’s sometimes referred to as “The Haircut Years.” Please share your thoughts in the Comments section. Thanks.

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47 comments on “METALLICA Part 3 – The Memories Remain…But Not The Long Hair

  1. mikeladano
    October 9, 2013

    Nice write up Rich, of a difficult and divisive period!

    I love Load. Every song. I like to think of it as Rocktallica, and there’s nothing wrong with Metallica rocking instead of thrashing for a change. Wasting My Hate is probably my favourite on Load.

    Now Reload…that’s another story. You’re talking about “Slither”…and I can’t remember how it, or half the other songs even sound like. Meanwhile when you were discussing Load, I’m following along saying, “Yep…yep…I know that part…” and so on. So I think that the Reload album was a bit of a disappointment for me.

    Now Garage Inc is a beaut, even though it sharply reduced our asking price for copies of Garage DAYS. We used to ask $50, and we dropped it to $25 after this came out.

    Glad that you’ll be covering the S&M album. I enjoy these Rich!

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    • Thanks for the feedback, Mike. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. Very surprised at your hot-and-cold response to Load & Reload, respectively, since I see & hear them as cut from the same cloth. Not surprised that you love Garage Inc. even though I’m guessing you owned every individual CD, single & EP prior to its release. At least they gave fans their money’s worth with those new recordings on Disc One, and the packaging is excellent.

      I’ve already given the next (and final) couple of studio albums a listen, and will be spending plenty of time with them in the next week. I remember liking S&M a lot when it came out but wasn’t enough of a fan to know how those versions compared to the originals. I have at least one friend who despises that album but I’m not sure why. I guess some people just don’t like the idea of a rock band with an orchestra.

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  2. BeeDeeWarner
    October 10, 2013

    Great review, Rich! Metallica is clearly one of the best classic hard rock bands around, and now popular with the newest generation of rock fans. Funny that you would mention Budgie. I’d forgotten about them, but remember listening to them in the record store where I worked in the late 70’s-early 80’s. We opened a lot of records to play, even when a promo wasn’t sent to us. I used to have quite a collection of promo albums that I took home when we were done with them in the store!

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    • Great to hear from you, BeeDee. I enjoyed all of our conversations during my Alice Cooper series, and I’m glad you stopped by again. Budgie was a band I had always heard of but never listened to until I bought a CD compilation 10-15 years ago.I think it’s cool that Metallica helped expose their music to their fans. That’s one of the best things about Metallica, beyond the music they create.

      Didn’t realize you worked in a record store. I did the same, at three stores between ’83 & ’88. At least half of my paycheck was spent on music, and thanks to a decent discount (and first pick of releases before they were put in the bins) I built a nice collection for not a lot of money.

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  3. soulcrusher
    October 10, 2013

    I remember when Load and ReLoad came out and I listened to them non-stop. But you know what? The albums did not stand the test of time. Now if I try to listen to even just one song I can’t make it through.

    Maybe it is just that I know that this band was capable of so much more and being so much better?

    Not going to lie though, I think all the covers they have done are better than the originals even if I only really listen to the second disk and only until the Motorhead songs. I agree that they just are not up to par.

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    • Thanks for the feedback, Soulcrusher. I understand how you feel about Load & Reload, since I’ve had that reaction to albums by some of my favorite bands, but as a relative newcomer to Metallica I’m still able to enjoy those albums for what they are, in spite of their numerous flaws.

      As for their covers, I can’t agree that they’re all better than the originals, but they brought something unique to a lot of them which is impressive. Most bands would simply settle for a carbon copy.

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      • soulcrusher
        October 11, 2013

        I think my views are clouded on the covers because as much as I don’t like what Metallica did in the 90’s they are still my favorite band. Also, James is a big part of that. Or more acurately his voice. Even though he is now one of the higher singers in bands I listen to, it is still deeper than the originals. I am not a fan of high vocals. I find the vocals to be the weakest point in say Queen, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. I know I am in the minority and I know those singers are talented. I just don’t like that style or the sound of their voice.

        Now the question is, did I gravitate towards death metal because of this or is it because I gravitated to death metal that I feel that way?

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      • Obviously we have different preferences regarding the singers we like. Since I grew up with Zeppelin being my favorite band, I’ve always been drawn to higher voices, but I’ve also loved Johnny Cash since I was a kid, and voices don’t get much deeper than that. It’s only in recent years that I’ve come around to people like Hetfield, Phil Anselmo and some growling metal singers (Opeth has become one of my favorite bands). I hope you don’t get upset when I occasionally describe Hetfield’s vocals as “cartoonish,” but I do think he over-enunciates sometimes & don’t respond to that at all. I do think he’s a unique vocalist, and if I had to describe his voice in one word it would be “testosterone.”

        Not sure how to answer your chicken-and-egg question. The important thing is, you know what you like, and you like what you know. Or something like that.

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  4. stephen1001
    October 11, 2013

    I enjoyed how during their MTV Unplugged show, the bassist of Alice in Chains had given Metallica a shout out by writing “Friends Don’t Let Friends Get Friends Haircuts…” on his bass!

    Perhaps it’s perspective that matters when listening to these ones. If fans were looking for metal, disappointment is guaranteed. Much of this was hard rock and if you see it through that lens, there’s a lot to like.

    I have a love/hate relationship with the over-enunciating. One the one hand, I love imitating it, “Exit Light – AH, Enter Night – AH” but it’s also pretty distracting!

    Symphony & Metallica’s on the 1001 list, I’ve only heard a few selections from it so far but it seems like a lot of their songs would work well with Orchestra arrangements.

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    • Hi Geoff. Didn’t know about that Alice In Chains shout-out. Very cool. Thanks for that info. It’s fitting because I definitely heard an AIC influence, especially a lot of the vocal parts, on Load & Reload.

      I usually hate labeling music other than as a descriptive term, so to me it doesn’t matter if something is hard rock, metal, speed metal, death metal, prog-metal, rock ‘n’ roll, etc. If it’s good that’s all that counts. I realize when you love a band for a particular reason, it’s hard to accept change, but most of the best bands who have had extended careers have dabbled in various genres. It’s one of the things that makes them great. Only a handful of bands can stick to one thing & maintain success (AC/DC and Motorhead come to mind).

      Glad I’m not the only one who feels that way about Hetfield’s over-enunciating. It’s certainly part of his vocal style, and millions of fans wouldn’t have it any other way, but sometimes it comes across as silly. That’s an exception to the rule, though, and they wouldn’t be Metallica without it.

      Ironically, I’m listening to S&M right now for the first time in years. I’m loving it already. It’s nice to finally know the majority of the songs really well, so I can appreciate the new arrangements with the orchestra. The final post in this series should be an interesting one, between that live album, the brutal no-guitar-solos assault of Death Magnetic and the somewhat return-to-form of Death Magnetic.

      I look forward to reading your review of S&M whenever you get to it.

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      • stephen1001
        October 11, 2013

        I guess Hetfield’s vocal style has that fine line between the enunciation being a unique characteristic and the over-pronouncing descending into caricature!

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      • Not sure if you’re a fan of South Park, but when Trey Parker writes rock songs for the show (or in the movies they’ve done), he does a similar over-enunciating thing that might be an homage to Hetfield, or he could just be mocking him.

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      • mikeladano
        October 11, 2013

        I think it’s an homage. Hetfield did an uncredited cameo song in the South Park movie.

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      • I don’t remember that, although I’ve seen the movie a couple of times. Do you also hear that Hetfield vocal affectation in Trey Parker’s songs? It’s all over “Team America: World Police” and even in “Baseketball.”

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      • mikeladano
        October 11, 2013

        For sure I do. I have always loved that. Baseketball…I wanna re watch and review it now.

        Look out up ahead there’s a truck changing lanes,
        You got some yellow stuff on your upper lip.
        And those warts on your dick won’t go away,
        Unless you start using topical cream every day!

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      • Why am I not surprised that you also love Baseketball? I’ve seen it so many times & it never fails to make me laugh. A lot of people who have seen it aren’t even aware that it’s not a Parker/Stone movie…they just acted in it. But it certainly feels like one of their movies.

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      • mikeladano
        October 11, 2013

        It feels like it’s their movie. It has Trey singing and some of their friends I’m it, I’m sure they must have come up with ideas on set.

        Orgasmo was also great. That had another Trey song called Now You’re A Man.

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      • I love Orgazmo, and Cannibal The Musical was also hilarious. I really try not to use the word “genius” unless it’s warranted, but Trey Parker really is one.

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      • mikeladano
        October 11, 2013

        Yeah I wouldn’t argue with that. His humour is not for everybody — my mom did not like Basketball. (I tricked her into watching it with me by telling her it was a “sports movie”)

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      • Baseketball is definitely a movie for dudes, so no surprise that your mom wasn’t into it. That was a clever ruse, though, telling her it was a “sports movie.” Haha.

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      • mikeladano
        October 11, 2013

        My parents refuse to watch movies with me these days. They don’t trust me anymore. I guess you can see why!

        I love how this turned from Metallica’s haircut years into South Park. That’s great.

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      • That’s the glory of our blogs & the conversations among all of us lunatics. We can go way off topic but never lose sight of the original subject.

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      • mikeladano
        October 11, 2013

        You know, I’ve been reading a lot of professional magazine reviews and articles lately. I’m blown away by how so many of them are not as good as some of the better blogs out there.

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      • I agree. A lot of reviews don’t actually talk about the product (what the readers care about), but instead deal with the writers’ history with the band & their music. If there’s a deluxe edition of an album I know, I don’t need you to tell me much about the original album. Tell me why I need to buy (or avoid) the new version. I’ve written to Classic Rock and Mojo about this, but no one has ever replied.

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      • mikeladano
        October 11, 2013

        Back in 1991, I wrote a letter to M.E.A.T Magazine under the name “Mikester” Ladano. (Yes, sorry.) I said that I wished their reviews included information about bonus tracks, B-sides, etc. They published my letter and said it was something they were going to do, and I have to admit their coverage of such rarities was better than most US mags that were covering similar kinds of music.

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      • I’m happy to know that you were able to make a positive contribution to that publication. My recent letters to Mojo & Classic Rock were regarding their reviews of a couple of “Complete Albums” box sets. Instead of describing details of the package, bonus tracks, what might be missing from the original packaging, etc., they merely included a brief synopsis of each album. I’m guessing they won’t be changing their approach anytime soon, so I’ll have to look elsewhere for that important information.

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      • I’m happy to know that you were able to make a positive contribution to that publication. My recent letters to Mojo & Classic Rock were regarding their reviews of a couple of “Complete Albums” box sets. Instead of describing details of the package, bonus tracks, what might be missing from the original packaging, etc., they merely included a brief synopsis of each album. I’m guessing they won’t be changing their approach anytime soon, so I’ll have to look elsewhere for that important information.

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      • stephen1001
        October 11, 2013

        I haven’t seen South Park in years but I’m a fan of the movie + Team America for sure (I hear Book of Mormon is spectacular) – I recall the “America” theme song being Hetfield-esque!

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      • mikeladano
        October 11, 2013

        America! F yeah!
        Comin’ again to save the mutherf’n day, yeaaaah!

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      • stephen1001
        October 11, 2013

        McDonald’s! Sportsmanship! Books!

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      • mikeladano
        October 11, 2013

        I bought the whole soundtrack 🙂

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      • stephen1001
        October 11, 2013

        Money well spent – there’s some brilliant songs on there. My personal favourite is likely Pearl Harbor sucked…and I miss you!

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      • mikeladano
        October 11, 2013

        Hmmm. I’m partial to Freedom Isn’t Free! (Apparently it costs $1.05)

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      • stephen1001
        October 11, 2013

        for folks like youuuuu and me!

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      • You guys rock. I also have the soundtrack. My favorite part of the movie might be the “Rent” parody (including the un-PC song “Everyone Has AIDS”), and even though I’m not a fan of vomiting as a comic device, I thought it was hilarious when Gary threw up so much that he ended up in a giant pool of puke.

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  5. John Sturm
    January 30, 2014

    Hey Rich, Great post Sir. Like Mike, I am an unashamed Load fanboy. It came into my life at a pivotal moment and will forever be linked with a number of event sin my life that shaped who I am (more of that here if you’re interested: http://echoesanddust.com/2013/06/echoes-of-the-past-12-metallica-load/).

    It’s interesting that your take on Reload is so positive as that appears to be the album out of the pair that gets the most flak from Metallica fans. There are certainly some forgettable tunes on that album (hello ‘Attitude’) but some crackers (as you mentioned, ‘Where The Wild Things Are’).

    Oh and I’m going to have to disagree with you with regards to ‘The Outlaw Torn’ that is (IMO) one of the best things Metallica has ever recorded (the full un-edited version that is!)

    Great blog Sir!

    Like

    • Hi John. Thanks for the positive feedback. I read your post on Load and you do excellent work. I like your humo(u)r & honesty, and I totally agree with your comments about emotional connections to our favorite music. I’ll be checking in regularly. I didn’t realize there were any Metallica fans who consider this their favorite album, so that was a pleasant surprise.

      Regarding “The Outlaw Torn,” I don’t dislike the song but I also think they’ve done much better epics. I’ve been a prog fan for 35 years, so I’m all for the concept (no pun intended) of epic songs that take you on a musical, lyrical & emotional journey. Maybe I have unreasonable expectations, but a long song for the sake of being long doesn’t do it for me. I’m not saying “Outlaw…” fits that description, but I know I would like it a lot more if it was only 5 minutes long. Maybe one day down the road when I revisit this album I’ll feel differently, but that was my impression as I worked my way through their catalog.

      Hope all is well in North East England. It has to be warmer than the Northeast of the US where I live.

      Cheers!
      Rich

      Like

      • John Sturm
        January 31, 2014

        Thanks Rich! I think for the more broad minded Metallica fan (ie those that accept that there will never be MOP/TBA era style Metallica again) Load is an album to appreciate the band stretching their limbs, so to speak, trying something new. Then there are the fans that can’t see pas the haircuts…..

        I see what you mean when you put Outlaw in a prog context. In that setting it does meander terribly. But I still love it 😉

        I dunno about warm…. I’m right next to the North Sea!!

        Like

      • To be honest, I encountered a number of Metallica fans who weren’t broad-minded when I wrote this series. A lot of people expect a certain thing from them, and if the band strays too far from those expectations they lose their minds. I think that applies to a lot of metal fans in general. They’re very protective of their favorite genre, and I respect that, but I enjoy having conversations with open-minded music fans…like you.

        Stay warm and have a great weekend.
        Rich

        Like

      • John Sturm
        January 31, 2014

        Yes I think I know…. in a small world type of way I read this blog first via your post on the Metallica forums…. not the place usually associated with broadmindedness 😉

        You too Sir!

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      • I found the majority of Metallica fans at the forums to be very obsessive & nitpicky. Instead of carrying on intelligent conversations about the music they love (and that I was finally spending time with), they just wanted to point out all the places I got things “wrong”…as if opinions on music can be wrong. Of course, that didn’t affect my enjoyment of the music, but I did find it frustrating at times. Of all the artists I’ve written about here in the last 3 years, they were the only ones who rarely engaged in enjoyable discussions, which is one of the two main purposes of my blog.

        Like

      • mikeladano
        January 31, 2014

        You should see the Kiss forums. No matter the subject, somebody always turns it into Ace & Peter vs Tommy & Eric. Or alternatively, “Vinnie was the most talented one.”

        Like

      • It’s the price we pay for the internet allowing everyone an equal voice in stating their opinions. Every forum should have a sub-forum called “Only For Open-Minded Grownups: No Idiots Allowed.”

        My biggest gripe with any music conversation is when I state an opinion and someone replies with a “fact” which proves that opinion wrong. This is why I love our music blogging community. We all like to listen & learn, and that makes for a much more enjoyable discourse.

        Like

      • mikeladano
        January 31, 2014

        It’s like Cusack said: “How can it be bullshit to state a preference? “

        Like

      • Always loved that line (can’t remember if Nick Hornby wrote it for the book, or if it was just for the movie). I used to have a group of music-obsessive friends who got together regularly for something we called “Record Club.” Basically, we ate, drank, and talked/argued about music. I can’t tell you how many times the words “you are so wrong” were uttered. I would say it ironically, but most of the others were convinced that their opinion was a stone-cold fact. I still see them occasionally, and I’m happy to report that most of them have mellowed with age. My opinions are still better than theirs, of course (haha).

        Like

      • mikeladano
        January 31, 2014

        Obviously, and mine trumps them all so there.

        I much prefer the atmosphere that we are a part of on WordPress. And music aside, I like that we all sort of “get” each other’s methods to the madness that is being a fan.

        Like

      • Yep, it’s a great vibe here on WordPress. Whether it’s fellow bloggers or other music nuts like us, the conversations are always fun & rarely get stupid (for those, we just put ’em in the spam folder).

        Like

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