After all of the hair spray faded and the neon colors died, I was introduced to a band known as Metallica. I heard this little song known as “One” and the ending thrash part stuck with me for days. The next thing I know Enter Sandman, Wherever I May Roam and Unforgiven is being played on the radio and on MTV (Oh MTV, you use to be so worth a damn). With the double bass drums stuck in my head from One, I was hooked and wanted more. I got more and more into them once I heard the singles from their self titled (black) album. I was only 7 years old at this time (1992) and I was in love. I thought their tone was unmatched, their sound was so unique and their songs were so amazing. James Hetfield’s voice was the most epic thing I’ve ever heard, ever.
Of course between 1992-1996 I heard many many more gems from this band. Master of Puppets, Fade To Black, Harvester of Sorrow…I was in second grade singing “Sad but True” for fuck sake. I felt like no one could touch me and that I listened to the best thing in the world. Screw all you hippie 8 year olds and your Barney music, I want to listen to more METALLICA!!!! I was such a fan of everything they did, I literally listened to NOTHING but them for 7 years straight. I had no other musical interest from 1992-1999, until I heard something else that caught my interest (Part III will cover this). Until 1996, I was only able to get my fix of Tallica through the radio. I didn’t have any physical media at all until my friend Randy gave me a cassette of “Load“. Luckily, I had a small cassette player in my bedroom and would listen to this thing non-stop. It was my only copy of anything I ever owned. My property and I loved every second of it. Still to this day, I fully enjoy and respect that album especially the amazing song “The Outlaw Torn“.
I’m not going to get into my personal life too much but let’s just say Load means a lot to me. I know it was the album that pushed Metallica fans away but I grew to like them for all of their music. You appreciate things more when you have very little. Load saved this little 11 year old boy. Between 1997 and 1999 though, I ended up gaining a couple of their albums and doing a lot of borrow trading with friends. I got to enjoy Kill Em All, Fully explore Ride The Lightening, witness the greatness of Master of Puppets and …And Justice For All. I also managed to pick up a cassette copy of ReLoad. I played ReLoad while playing Super Metroid non-stop in 1997. It was my salvation after dealing with life, it was my escape. ReLoad isn’t the best album and I know that but the Memory Remains, Unforgiven II and Devil’s Dance fucking rule.
Soon after that I got my first cd, Garage INC, and yes I played the living crap out of that. Not one but TWO discs of Metallica?! Awesome! At the time, I didn’t know they were cover songs. I thought Disc II was just old demos of previously unreleased stuff. I caught wind that they were cover songs soon after getting the album but it didn’t change my opinion, I still loved that release. Garage INC was amazing: Breadfan, Stone Cold Crazy, Helpless and Am I Evil? Great stuff!
Metallica showed me that metal is the best music in the world. Lyrics of war, politics and death. True feelings and expressing them through guitar riffs. Playing fast, playing slow, screaming loudly or singing softly. Metallica did it all and did it well. I truly didn’t care about any other bands for years. Metallica was there for me when I needed it. The songs I heard got me through some difficult times in my life and helped me cope with it all. I never thought about listening to anything else. Why would I? I had convinced myself that nothing else would compare. Honestly, when they were in their prime…this statement would have been true. Metallica has made the greatest songs and the worst songs. Songs you can’t get out of your head and songs you never want to listen to again. They’ve grown and expanded, they are the world’s most powerful band, they are the reason why so many people in the world listen to metal and picked up a guitar. Through all of the changes…bass players….hair styles….musical approaches…one thing is for sure. Metallica is definitely a band I am thankful for.