The fact I haven’t ever listened to an entire Metallica album takes most people who know me well by surprise. I have a very broad taste in music; a pretty much anything-goes approach. Over my 28 years I have had many phases where I have totally thrown myself into every band in particular genres I could get my hands on, but Metallica just never aligned to where I was in my music-life. Of course, I’ve heard the big tracks from movies, music videos on TV and the odd track on a compilation album but not an end-to-end piece of their work, but by all accounts I was a Metallica virgin.
When I talked to the other ‘Scramble Writers about this they, like many others, were shocked and advised they were working on a Metallica playlist for the Metallica Week on Musicscramble; which I must listen to immediately.
“Gimme fuel, gimme fire, gimme that which I desire” – and my journey was underway with ‘Fuel’. Somewhere in my head I had a pre-conceived idea of what Metallica were like: loud, fast, gritty vocals, thrashy and some massive solos. I was right, but my word it was just excellent. The track is precise, well composed, meticulously-structured work of art.
‘Master of Puppets’ was a track I was familiar with and had heard many times in many places but when I sat down and listened to it as a part of Metallica’s body of work my perspective changed and I got what all the fuss was about. The guitar work was great but so too were the frantic drumming parts and the monstrous driving bass lines. This is the track that has ‘got me into’ the band.
With tracks like ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’, it’s impossible not to turn your headphones up a notch or 3 and just get lost in the power of the sound Metallica make. On many occasions throughout the playlist I had the same goosebumps I’ve had listening to classical, hip-hop, rock and everything else that has invoked that kind of response over the years.
My standout track as new comer to all of this was ‘The Day That Never Comes’. It just builds so well with its immaculate clean musical parts, brilliant vocals and superb lead guitar work. It’s a track I’ll certainly have playing on rotation for a while yet and by far my favourite track.
I’ve been pretty gushing so far of my thoughts on the band, and rightly so, they are excellent. There’s just one track I didn’t ‘get’. ‘…And Justice For All’ wasn’t a track I’d heard before but I gave it a fair hearing to understand what my Metallica-friends fascination with it was. Even on listening to it now after absorbing and enjoying a lot of their stuff I don’t understand the track, why it’s over 9 minutes long (other tracks are of similar length but have good reason to) and don’t get the same adrenaline rush I get with other tracks. I find the song pretty protracted. But maybe that’s just me.
The above track aside the rest of my listening experience has been really enjoyable. I’d now choose a Metallica album to play where before I’d skip past it. I’m still far from being part of the “Metallica Family” and don’t know where I’ll go from here with it but I’ll be sure to start by listening through their full albums and from now will certainly be an advocate of the band.
You can also listen to the same playlist and read more about the songs in our Introduction to Metallica.