The year 1991 doesn’t seem that long for some of us. But at the same time, seems like a completely different lifetime to others. Home computers were still relatively new. We used floppy disks to store data. Metallica was on the verge of a breakthrough. A couple years prior, they released their first video for “One” from their 4th record "...And Justice For All" after refusing to make a music video for years.
This was the dawning of a new era or some hardcore fans call it an “error” and the beginning of the end. Some fans you just can’t please. But the harsh truth is old fans can be replaced with new ones. When Metallica released their self-titled album (aka The Black Album), it broke all expectations by selling 16 million copies. That is double what their previous effort sold (it tool 14 years to get to the 8 million mark). I have to think part of that is due to the popularity of The Black Album and newer fans looking into the bands history.
I was one of the lucky ones, hearing the record before the release date at the listening party in New York City at the famed Madison Square Garden. Hearing the songs pumped through the sound system with nearly 20,000 other rabid fans. They also played some live videos, studio footage, etc. At the end of it all, the band came out on stage. It was James Hetfield’s birthday. So Lars said “On the count of 3, I want everyone to say “Fuck you, James!” and 20,000 fans replied. Fabulous!
Here we are, 30 years later and this classic is hitting a milestone. Metallica is celebrating its anniversary with a massive box set. Remastered CD, demos, rough mixes, live stuff, 53 artists covering the songs, DVDs, guitar picks, laminates, and a book. But you better have a thick wallet or one hell of a good friend. That box will cost $240. You could go with the cheaper, slimmed down, alternative route. Expanded remastered 3 CD set with demos and rough mixes will only be $30. And $30 more for the 4 CDs of the cover songs. Honestly, listening the clips of the covers, that seems a little high since its very eclectic and not a high likelihood of me liking a lot of it. A few may be good but I’m not holding my breath for the most of it. The digital copy of this is $50. Who names these prices and how is the digital more than a physical 4 CD set?
Getting back to 1991 though. Right from the first listen, I loved it all except “Nothing Else Matters”. It was a wide departure for the band but it eventually grew on me. Still didn’t like it as much the heavier stuff— “Don’t Tread on Me”, “Holier Than Thou”, “Sad But True”, “The God That Failed”, “Through the Never”. The track listing is perfect.
This masterpiece managed to knock down walls for new fans and build up walls, alienating some older fans at the same. I am one that stuck by them. A fan since their 3rd release, “Master of Puppets”, and journeyed backwards getting their first 2 cassettes, I embraced the bands growth. You can’t grow while standing still. For better or worse, this is essentially the start of Metallica 2.0 and they were ready to take over the world with the help of heavy rotation airplay on MTV. To paraphrase bassist Jason Newsted, you can call them a sell-out. Yes, they sell out every show, every night, sometimes multiple nights in the same city.
Dave Christy loves horror, music, documentaries and more. He is also the co-runner of several fan based groups including Morningstars (THE Lucifer fan group also run by Melanie), and now is a member of the VIPers Spotlight Lounge team for Melanie's Muses. Other than "In The Spotlight" Features -check out his "31 Days Of Halloween Movies"
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