The Ninth Album: Is There Hope Left for Metallica?

There’s an interesting article over at The Trukstop about Metallica and their forthcoming “ninth album.” There’s a lot of speculation, based on comments from the band members, that this release will be like “old Metallica” and deliver what fans are craving. But the question is: does it really matter?

I, for one, say no. Metallica is over. They are what they are and will never be more, and that’s okay. They’ve already changed the landscape.

Many fans, the snobbiest ones, if you ask me, believe that Master of Puppets was the last great Metallica album. Frankly, I think they are full of crap. Puppets was the last album before Metallica caught on, and that makes it a “got there first” kind of thing.

The next group of fans will tell you that …And Justice For All was the last great Metallica album, and they may be right. Justice featured the same heavy, fast, double-bass-y angst that people connected with on Ride the Lightning and Kill ‘Em All, only with better, more developed, more mature songs.

Then came the album that changed it all, Metallica, aka The Black Album. A lot of fans will tell you that The Black Album sucked, that Metallica sold out, that this album is all about “feelings” – like it’s something to be afraid of. But it’s not. Actually, at the time, it was awesome.

I remember standing in the boat house of Simsbury High Crew team and discussing how “James… like…. sings, or something” on one of the tracks (Nothing Else Matters). But let’s be honest: Sad But True, Whereever I May Roam, The God That Failed, The Struggle Within… all awesome songs. The Black Album is great, the only thing is it’s actually accessible. And the average Metallica fan doesn’t like that.

See, Metallica is about rebellion, chaos, defiance. It’s about angst, non-conformity, darkness, and anger. It’s about speed and power and head banging intimidation. And when your dad can listen to songs on a Metallica CD and enjoy them, it’s not the same.

So people lost faith. And Metallica cashed in. And their popularity grew. And they conquered the world on their diet of 10 songs every 4 years while real Metallica fans moved on. Some fans moved to rock equals Megadeth. Some got heavier with Death, Slayer, Carcass, and Cannibal Corpse. Some evolved into metal techno like Fear Factory. And some went to lighter fare like Rush and Dream Theater, and in my case, Phish.

Let’s not even get into the whole Napster thing. That is a large part of the reason so many people hate that loud-mouthed Lars. Metallica turned on its fans via Lars’ crusade, and they have paid dearly in fan loyalty.

There’s a lot of text here, but the gist is this: I don’t believe people will welcome back Metallica with open arms. Their music represents an era. The people who are most fitting fans for music like Metallica’s back catalog probably aren’t much interested in it anymore. And the ones who are don’t know and/or don’t care about them anymore because their new stuff is mostly irrelevant. I can barely name a song off St. Anger. Their contributions to music cannot be ignored, but their current status is more the MTV crowd than the teenage headbanger who is listening to Godsmack or System of a Down or any one of the 10,000 bands who are heavier, faster, younger, and more in touch than Metallica.

So, yeah, I’ll check out the ninth album. But buy it? Not likely.

13 Replies to “The Ninth Album: Is There Hope Left for Metallica?”

  1. I care. I love Metallica for the music. So I’ll probably but it. What if it does rock, though, and every kid who says they hate Metallica because of the Napster thing will come grovelling back to the fan club. The Napster thing is ridiculous, though. I had Napster, and about 125 Live/Studio songs from Metallica– which I stole!!! They had every right to be mad, regardless of how much money they have. I don’t like St. Anger either, and Load and Reload were obviously lesser creatures, but I think they still have it in them to rock us one more time.

  2. Remember how in to Metallica we were at Lohikan? Puppets was a great album, Justice was better, but after the “Black” album was where the Metallica train started to leave the station for me. Still a fan though.

  3. Nice speeche about Metallica.
    I just have a few things to say.

    First of all.. the opinions of the so called “Black/Metallica Album” are very different. You say a big part of the real fans don’t like it. Though some of the more known Metallica songs are Enter Sandman Sad But True The Unforgiven and don’t forget Metallica’s best.. Nothing Else Matters.

    Load and Reload are 2 albums which I heard @ a friends, but never bought. Songs like The House Jack Built (especialy the talkbox solo) Wasting My Hate, Fuel, Devil’s Dance and the Unforgiven II are great songs!

    St. Anger is a prety cool album. The Unnamed Feeling, St. Anger, All Within My Hands, Shoot me Again, Sweet Amber, Dirty Window.. all great songs! The final sound of the songs is bad though. The guitars are (in my opinion ofcourse) way too loud on distortion, the bass is too loud, and the drums. Don’t get me started on those. The only good thing is the Bassdrum. That gives a good feeling. But the sound of the high-hats and snare drums are terrible.
    James’ voice was a mess. I dont like it on st. Anger.
    But listening to recent Recordings and bootleggs such as Live in Denmark 13-07-2007 and Rock Werchter 2007 damn his voice sounds good! And the New Song and Other new song are great aswell! The only problem is.. people know them ass bootleggs! And the quality of those aren’t that good anyway.

    I think Metallica is going to make an outstanding comeback with their ninth album. If this album is good enough, I hope they make a tenth, and final one! 10 would be a nice number for Metallica to finish up their carreers. Metallica will eventualy fade away in the next years. They will get older, the guitar skills won’t let us down, but the drumming will, and so will the speed, and we will eventualy go back to load reload and black albums.

    Looking forward to their ninth, and hope they are still a succes!


    (quick ps question: how do you wanna hear the album but not buy it?)

  4. mmm I realize this is originally pretty old but..meh.

    I cannot understand how someone actually has the mind to say is there any hope for metallica…St anger was their least accessible album to date, it takes a lot of listens to get into that cd and it still sold acting like they are done for is pretty ridiculous, not saying record sales translate into whether an albums good or not but record sales do keep bands making more albums, so even if they where making bad music they’d still have 20 years left, but they have made such good music, you don’t just dry up creatively, jimmy page can still write amazing rifts so can kerry king so can dave mustaine so can joe satriani and steve vai etc etc etc if your a great musician you stay a great musician you don’t just hit 40+ and suddenly suck, metallica re invented a grenre, breathed new life into metal said fuck you to bands like motley crew and posion people can complain all they want the second they go oldschool every single fan of that era will come hopping back with prepubescent joy.

    The napster thing is well over with and I really don’t care at all about it , metallica are from the 80’s and just like 70% of other oldschool bands from that era and before they hate downloading..As do many current artists but of course they don’t say it because well backlash and no one wants worse album sales then they’ve already got, yea metallica pissed on a lot of fans but at least they stuck to their guns which is more then you can say about a lot of current bands out there now.

    On top of all that any band that made such metal/thrash gold as they have and who have shown the ability to re create old tunes and refresh them as on (garage inc) well I for one will never stop caring, bands grow they change fans always hate it, we all protest we call it selling out but generally if that band sticks around long enough they come full circle and sooner or later so will metallica, and all of those fickle fans who bitched about the snare who bitched about the videos who bitched about this that and the other thing will come running back to praise the metal magicians of magnificent magnitude metallica…hehe.

  5. I bought the last album St. Anger….listened it a couple of time and…throw it away……..yes. Into the garbage bin. Totally disappointed. The production of this album was a joke. I started liking Metallica through the “black album”, maybe because I never was a trash metall fan but this was different….I liked it really much so I started to listen all previous released albums. What came after…load…reload….rereload 🙂 …no…wasnt, from my perspective, not even near……diffrerent but it didnt reached me…….than came St Anger…..and this was totally crap……so let’s see what’s coming next…….

  6. as much as i hate to say it, metallica is washed up! they ae not pissed about anything. i remember when they would cut a record in just a few months, and death magnetic took 2 years! ridiculous. even james himself said they put forth half assed efforts on load and reload. and st angers kettle drum sucked. they only start recording when cash runs low. there hearts ain’t in it anymore. so just hang it up, move on. i have. you let bob rock commercialize you. if there is anything about y’all that is raw, it is probably chaffing. ac/dc is codgers, and they rock like hell. go angus!!!

  7. Have any of you listened to the new Metallica CD now that its out? You can’t tell me with out lying that Death Magnetic isn’t the best album they have put out since the Black Album. Any of you who bash something with out listening to it are closed minded and immature babies who never made it out of puberty and can’t understand that genres change over time and bands who wish to continue have to change too. It’s called being a musician. No body stays the same from when they are 20 to when they are 45. You wont listen to the same music anymore and if you still do, I feel sorry for you for not expanding your self because eventually you’ll turn out like the rest of the old people who “dont get those kids now days.”

  8. Patrick- You’re an idiot. You must be from Texas or something. Everyone knows bands evolve. Unfortunately, Metallica has evolved into a bunch of asshats. Hopefully, the new album won’t suck.

  9. Fortunetely for the fans the new Album “Death Magnetic” is really great and it’s really the best one since Black album, although i don’t think that black is the best from Metallica. It’s the most popular, no doubt, but not with the best heavy/speedy/clear sound. I love the …And Justice for all and my favourite song is Master of Puppets. New album is speedy, heavy and with better drums, even James’s vocal’s improved. This has to be record selling album, just like “Black”. Congratulations to the old boys, they’ve reached our best expectations!!

  10. Metallica is not irrelavent, the new album is badass Metal if you can’t admit it then you’re just a hater. Either way the are one of the greatest concert bands of all time.

  11. I find it funny, I have been reading so many opinions about Metallica over the years (since they have “sold out”). The people who seem to have the most to say are the haters. If you grow to dislike something so much why care enough to keep responding on how much it sucks? I realize there are a lot of fans who followed them from the time they came out with their demo “no life till leather” like me, who turned their backs come the polished black album ( although I didn’t, even though it was a shock). No they didn’t release their best material from Metallica- St. Anger, but I still found many good points in all of those albums. All I’m saying is there are bands I have stopped listeng to or even always disliked but I don’t bother writing blogs about them. It just proves to me that you are all closet Load fans that don’t want to admit it cause it might ruin your reputation in your little metal community. Metal has been about non conformity, but you just conform to the masses of Metallica haters, but go home and thrash around your livingroom to invisible kid. Who cares? kill em all, ride the lightening, master, and justice are GREAT albums but they have all ready been done, frankly I can’t listen to them anymore, fuck my tapes are so worn out I think they would snap in two if I tried playing them I will madmit to being a fan from 1983- 2008..
    BTW DEATH MAGNETIC is a great album, and I listen to it as much as the first 4 when they came out, I may need an extra copy the cd may wear out lol. To the haters, Metallica don’t care and neither do the true fans who don’t care that they stopped playing thrash, bands change and some like to experiment with different sounds, I could name a few thrash bands that have especially throughout the 90’s. ie. Slayer, Megadeth, Kreator, Carcass, Obituary, Anthrax, and the list could go on but what is the point, it has been made.

  12. @Rob: What a joke. I love this continuing internet idea that if someone has a bad review of something, they either a) are stupid or b) secretly like it.

    I first began listening to Metallica in 1988. I was a huge fan, even after the Black album came out. When Load came out, I was simply not that interested in what they had released. I didn’t even follow the subsequent releases because I simply didn’t like the singles and then, with the Napster controversy, I simply couldn’t stand listening to Lars anymore.

    St. Anger is a steaming turd. Even if I liked the songs, the production is so horrible I can’t get past it. I saw Metallica on the St. Anger tour and was surprised that the songs were much better than I remembered, but even after that, I couldn’t swallow the sound. I paid $9.99 to to download the show. I support the music I like.

    Perhaps Death Magnetic is good, I’ll check it out at some point. But Metallica can’t just pretend the last 10 years didn’t happen. I was a fan, and now I am “kinda” a fan – at best.

    All the inane fanboys like the above post can wish all they want that I care at all what any “community” thinks of me or that I secretly listen to my ReLoad cassette in the privacy of my room, but it’s simply not the case. People doubting Metallica now is the direct result of releasing shitty music and suing their fans. Period. But Death Magnetic seems to be a good step in the right direction.

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