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 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album 
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Post 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album
Just noticed on my "not endorsed by Metallica" Metallica calendar that today (12th August where I am) is the 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album, more correctly known as "Metallica".

I remember the hype behind this thing coming out. I picked up a flyer in the record store about 10 days before it came out. It actually had TV ads advertising it! Then, the "Enter Sandman" video debuted a week before. Yes, the video was cool, even though the song was somewhat unexpected. It was heavy as fuck, but it was a bit...slow.

Due to study commitments, lack of funds, and not being allowed out that night (at university, but still living at home- "no, you're not going out to a record store at midnight!" :( ) I picked up said album the next day (I also bought "The Massacre" by The Exploited). I stuck it in my Walkman (cassette obviously, high tech times, 1991!), and of course, the first song was "Enter Sandman", which I'd heard probably half a dozen times by then. The second song was "Sad But True", which just simply HAD to be faster! This was Metallica after all!

Well, "Sad But True" is heavier than fuck, but it's still slow. The entire 12 tracks of this album were just too fucking slow, too over-produced, too shiny, too commercial, too not-Metallica. For me that day, a part of my metal soul died. It seemed like a bigger chunk back then than it is now.

This album sold fucking millions of copies, but it alienated so many of Metallica's old fans. It popularized metal, but sold it down the river at the same time. To this day, I have a love/hate relationship with this album. Some days I love the odd track, but most days I hate it.

Anyone else remember the first time they heard this thing? What do you think of it now? For better or worse, what did it do to metal? Is there a possibility of any metal band ever producing another monster album like this again? And how the fuck can it be a quarter of a century old??

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Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:24 pm
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Post Re: 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album
I used to pick up hitchers a lot. While playing pre-Black Album Metallica I was often asked what I'm listening to. When it was the Black Album they would be 'Aah, the Black Album!'
First heard Enter Sandman on the radio, then they played The Unforgiven & Nothing Else Matters. Then I heard the album. Sad But True & Whenever I May Roam impressed me but the rest was mostly bearable.


Last edited by blacklorre on Sat Aug 13, 2016 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:46 pm
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Post Re: 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album
I enjoy it more now than I did back then. I remember when it came out very well. Guess I was 20 or 21, and was very disappointed with it. You couldn't get away from it. Seemed like every other video on MTV was off of it. That album was one of the reasons I kind of went off metal for a bit. Also, during that timeframe was when Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, STP, and Smashing Pumpkins hit the scene. Was also about the same time that I started listening to Helmet, Dinosaur Jr, Radiohead, Sugar, and Screaming Trees. Then Tool came out a few years later. All of those bands I just listed were definitely a breath of fresh air for me. I was like who needs Metallica any more. Fuck them.

Then I started to get into Death and Black metal, and was really like who the f-ing fuck needs Metallica. Guess why I was so pissed at them is that their 80s albums were such a big part of my teen years that I saw it as a big "sell out." Now, I've come to enjoy the album.


Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:20 pm
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Post Re: 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album
I recall the release date was a weekday & I had school that day so I waited until afterwards & raced to the record store to secure my copy. I found it all a bit disappointing initially but I was willing to give it a chance so I recorded the CD onto audio cassette & took it with me to my rugby league end-of-season snow trip that weekend where my mates & I gave it a good bashing. "Sad But True" made a particularly big impact on me & it's still my favourite track on the album today. The ballads were my main concern & I still have less time for those than the other tracks. I actually think it's a very solid heavy metal record but death metal had completely taken over my life by that stage so it wasn't a major issue that Metallica were drifting off my radar.


Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:50 pm
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Post Re: 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album
I was 15 when it came out, visiting my uncle in Belfast and bought it (along with the Enter Sandman 12") in the Virgin shop there. Played it to death (yep, on my walkman) that whole week and loved it from the off, which puts me in the minority on here. Along with the Stone Cold Crazy cover on Enter Sandman's B-side, my uncle had Sheer Heart Attack on vinyl so we had a good listen to each version and both approved of the Metallica one.

I'm on my fifth copy of it now, though I rarely listen to it anymore, just totally overplayed it back then. I've always hated Nothing Else Matters, it's simply cringeworthy.

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Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:01 pm
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Post Re: 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album
It was impossible to ignore The Black Album in 1991, whether you liked it or not. It was Metallica's big cultural moment where they successfully courted mass appeal and became our generation's Led Zeppelin.

Like Sol I bought the Enter Sandman single and played it to death. The production sounded massive then, big toms and chucky riffs, it made a huge impression on my 12 year old self and seemed like the heaviest thing out there (I hadn't discovered death metal yet). I also bought a book of guitar tabs and spent countless hours learning the songs and jamming them out with friends, which was the standard cliched thing to do at the time for young aspiring metal players.

In retrospect, the album was really just a new form of stadium metal that served as a bridge between two eras, but it didn't seem that way then. Although Nevermind gets the credit for wiping out hair metal, the fact is that Metallica got there first, and they were actually a metal band, unlike Nirvana. The Black Album was also much bigger than Nevermind, especially on a global scale.

The legacy of The Black Album is less impressive though. Firstly, it totally derailed Metallica's career and created unrealistic sales expectations. They just seemed lost after it and struggled to find their creative feet. Secondly, it made them rich and lazy. The Black Album was calculated, but you can't deny the effort that went into its creation. They worked long and hard on it, and it was a big risk for them and Vertigo. Every album since The Black Album has sounded like a half arsed stab in the dark. They were never that focused again. The intensity was gone.

Lastly, it was a pretty terrible influence on the genre, resulting in a series of watered down overproduced pop metal albums. While Megadeth released respectable albums in its wake, nobody else did except for Paradise Lost and maybe one or two others. The Black Album became the new gold standard, the model of success to emulate. The Black Album gave us bands like Godsmack, there is just no two ways about it.

As for the album itself, it certainly doesn't sound as fresh 25 years later, but that's inevitable. I don't listen to it much, but it has some great songs and its nostalgic appeal is relatively strong. Like Nevermind, it's inseperable from a pivotal moment in music history, but it's not completely frozen in time.

25 years though......f%@k me!

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Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:31 pm
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Post Re: 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album
I was 16 going on 17 (HA!!) at the time it came out and something of a Metallica (and Danzig. And Suicidal Tendencies..) fanboy. I remember taking the bus to the local shopping complex, slapping my hard earned on the counter (while the blonde pin up girl behind the counter rolled her eyes and sneered) and holding it tightly to my chest for the entire journey home.

Walked in the front door, dropped my schoolbag, took off my blazer and school tie, closed the bedroom door, slipped the cd into the player and hit "PLAY". What happened next (how it affected me, which songs I liked / disliked) is lost to memory and a haze of marijuana smoke (thank you college years) but I DO remember abandoning Metallica only a few months later to weirder, "edgier" stuff like Godflesh and Butthole Surfers.

Actually I kinda remember liking Through The Never and Wherever I May Roam a lot at the time. Now that I think about it. And that track about Christian Science or whatever it was......

And that video for The Unforgiven was half alright too. If memory serves.

But yeah. Twenty five years, eh..?!?!

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Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:33 am
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Post Re: 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album
I tend to think of it as my first Metal album but that's not true as I bought Fear of the Dark when it came out a few months before, so it was 92 when I got it. I really liked FOTD (hell, it was my first Metal album) for a short while and UYI 1 for a short while just before that, then this monster came along and everything changed... I don't think I've listened to any other album as much, the closest competition was Pet Shop Boys' Behaviour a couple of years earlier and my first "proper" album. I had it on tape and used to listen to it on my walkman and crappy ghetto blaster, didn't get a stereo for a few more years, it still sounded absolutely immense to me. That's partly the production, which still largely holds up and partially it being so new.

It's the album that really got me into Metal, I was no longer interested in GNR and Maiden, or Nirvana, having tried hard to like Nevermind but finding it a but dull. I then started buying the Metallica back catalogue in order of release over the next year or so, as well as trying out other bands starting with the rest of the big four. You guys who were already into Metallica when it came out are either a little older than me or got into Metal sooner, having not really heard much Metal prior to it coming out, I obviously wasn't disappointed by the change in sound, in fact, it more or less set the bar for what Metal should sound like to me, at least production wise. I was a little disappointed that older stuff by Metallica and and other bands didn't sound so huge.

I didn't have access to MTV and so wasn't as aware of the albums ubiquity as other posters. I was aware it was a big album but initially I didn't realise it hadn't taken Metallica to a whole new level. I seldom remember seeing videos on TV and didn't listen to the radio either. Other than the Radio 1 Rock Show every now and then, so it was something just me and a few of my friends were into.

I think it more or less destroyed Metallica as a band, if you took the ten strongest songs they recorded after TBA and out them on one CD, then, well, you would have a pretty average album. I think Statters is right, that it deserves more credit for killing off hair Metal than it gets. I was aware of the combined effects of the album and of Grunge through Metal mags talking of Thrash in the past tense and I think I noticed a shift in the coverage of Thrash albums from 92ish onwards, where there seemed to be increasingly snobby and dismissive reviews. In fairness that may well have been down to those specific albums not being very good and the genre simply having run its course. Outside of the Big 4 and Seps, I've never been into Thrash.

The album has aged, inevitably, though not terribly. Having binged (and purged) myself on it 92-93, I've seldom returned to it, when we did that forum vote on it 5 or so years ago, I was horrified to find a third to half the tracks are duff, the good ones are still good to great Pop Metal songs of course. Also, obligatory: twenty five years... I remember when all of this was fields...


Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:31 am
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Post Re: 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album
Myrddin wrote:
I think Statters is right, that it deserves more credit for killing off hair Metal than it gets. I was aware of the combined effects of the album and of Grunge through Metal mags talking of Thrash in the past tense and I think I noticed a shift in the coverage of Thrash albums from 92ish onwards, where there seemed to be increasingly snobby and dismissive reviews. In fairness that may well have been down to those specific albums not being very good and the genre simply having run its course..


Agree. Thrash had run its course, and while most of the old guards were releasing decent albums, they just weren't exciting by the time the mid 90's rolled around. As much as I like Divine Intervention and Testament's Low, which was an admirable and largely successful attempt at reinvention, they didn't seem as fresh and exciting as Far Beyond Driven or Burn My Eyes.

After Pantera hit it big in 92/93, it was impossible to play thrash the 'old way' and totally get away with it.

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Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:16 am
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Post Re: 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album
The third factor in killing off hair metal after the Black Album and Nevermind came about a month after the release of the Black Album. The release of the bloated, directionless mess that was Use Your Illusion I&II showed the genre had well and truly shot it's load.

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Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:45 am
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Post Re: 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album
At the time of its release, I was too young to notice, really. By the time I checked it out a year or so later, I found it a bit of a trudge. Unlike Axl or Cobain, no one in Metallica appeared to be a genuine maniac or even give a decent impression of being one; it came across as "grrrrrr!" would-be hard-man rock music and I had quite enough of wannabe tough guys at school already. I forgot about it, and we didn't have satellite (and hence, MTV) in our house anyway.

It didn't help that round about the same time, I was introduced to AiC's 'Dirt', which as I have said before, was what the black album only thought it sounded like - same approximate thing going on with the same sort of influences, but much denser, bleaker, nastier and weirder.

Listening back, the best tracks ('Sad But True', 'Wherever I May Roam') are sort of like Helmet with a zillion-dollar production, and 'The Unforgiven' suggests Hetfield has a Nick Cave album or two stashed away somewhere, but you may as well just listen to Helmet or Nick Cave.


Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:19 pm
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Post Re: 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album
Clint Ruin wrote:
At the time of its release, I was too young to notice, really. By the time I checked it out a year or so later, I found it a bit of a trudge. Unlike Axl or Cobain, no one in Metallica appeared to be a genuine maniac or even give a decent impression of being one; it came across as "grrrrrr!" would-be hard-man rock music and I had quite enough of wannabe tough guys at school already. I forgot about it, and we didn't have satellite (and hence, MTV) in our house anyway.

It didn't help that round about the same time, I was introduced to AiC's 'Dirt', which as I have said before, was what the black album only thought it sounded like - same approximate thing going on with the same sort of influences, but much denser, bleaker, nastier and weirder.

Listening back, the best tracks ('Sad But True', 'Wherever I May Roam') are sort of like Helmet with a zillion-dollar production, and 'The Unforgiven' suggests Hetfield has a Nick Cave album or two stashed away somewhere, but you may as well just listen to Helmet or Nick Cave.


Spot on and this mirrors my experience as well. Fwiw, Metallica did cover Nick Cave on Garage Days revisited, so accurate assumption...


Sat Aug 13, 2016 8:36 pm
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Post Re: 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album
Clint Ruin wrote:

I was introduced to AiC's 'Dirt', which as I have said before, was what the black album only thought it sounded like - same approximate thing going on with the same sort of influences, but much denser, bleaker, nastier and weirder.




NO NO NO it WASN'T!!!!!!


:shock:

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Sun Aug 14, 2016 1:50 am
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Post Re: 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album
At that time, I was 15/16 and had already moved onto death/grind/industrial so was perhaps less enthusiastic about the new metallica than i was over Seasons/Rust/Persistence when they came out.

But there can be no ignoring it was a major event and I do remember getting the bus into town to go to Our Price and pick up the cassette and listening to it on the walkman on the slow journey home

What I actually thought of it at the time is hard to recall - but what I do remember was expecting the two ballad tracks to be like "One" and being distinctly disappointed with the ballad type quality

I think Thrash n Burn did a track by track analysis which may have accurately summed up that some tracks were definitely filler and this was not the metallica we knew and loved

I did not listen to it obsessively, my tastes were already evolving beyond thrash, there was no place for a polished hard rock album. I don't think i even own a copy anymore.


Sun Aug 14, 2016 4:30 am
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Post Re: 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album
I was late to the party, the first time I listened to the Black Album was 1994. I can remember thinking "where's the thrash?" and also that Of Wolf And Man was shit.

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Sun Aug 14, 2016 7:05 am
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Post Re: 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album
I sort of liked it, at the time. It's faults as previously mentioned (Slowness & over produced), I put down to a one off, maybe something to do with Jason being allowed to be a band member, I did miss the old Metallica but it didn't really bother me. I was more interested in Bolt Thrower and wizards and shit.

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Sun Aug 14, 2016 5:12 pm
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Post Re: 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album
Clint Ruin wrote:
It didn't help that round about the same time, I was introduced to AiC's 'Dirt', which as I have said before, was what the black album only thought it sounded like - same approximate thing going on with the same sort of influences, but much denser, bleaker, nastier and weirder.



Pleased to say I've never, ever heard Dirt, and I have no intention of ever doing so.

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Sun Aug 14, 2016 11:16 pm
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Post Re: 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album
You're missing out, big time.

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Sun Aug 14, 2016 11:40 pm
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Post Re: 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album
Solaris wrote:
You're missing out, big time.


Truth. The knee jerk reactions toward AIC on this board is baffling. You like haunting, dark slow heavy metal (yes, metal)? You could do a LOT worse than Dirt.


Mon Aug 15, 2016 1:31 am
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Post Re: 25th anniversary of the release of the Black album
Dirt and The Black Album really have nothing in common anyway.

The AIC and Megadeth bashing are both quite unusual for a metal/hard rock forum.

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Last edited by Stat_Rad on Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:34 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:00 am
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