As Metallica prepare to bring their WorldWired tour to the Manchester Arena Paul Riley takes a trip down memory lane.
“I find it hard to believe that there are no Metallica fans in here. It defies the laws of probability” – So sayeth one of the Slop Elders on our group chat, and they were not wrong.
Here I am. A Metallica Fan. Every home should have one. Rather like Irish theme bars, we are all over the place. Some have followed them through all ten studio albums, four live albums and five EPs. Some, like myself, prefer to stick to the older stuff, and while I admit that I do not whack on Kill ‘Em All every other weekend, this band sculpted my musical development more than most.
There are many reasons that Metallica fans are so bloody ubiquitous. There are those who fell in love with The Black Album, probably via some sweaty, smelly, sticky club that played Enter Sandman at least once a night. There are those who found them through the weirdly compelling lo-fi sound of their first two albums. There are those who were captivated by the ambition, the creativity, and the sheer breadth of material coming from a band in a genre that is not exactly renowned for its imagination.
I fit in all of these categories. I spent far too many nights in the K1 and Le Bateau. I wore out at least one cassette tape pirate of Ride The Lightning (but don’t tell Lars), but most of all, I love their audacity. Sure, they take themselves too seriously. They don’t have the tongue-in-cheek charm of Iron Maiden, or the artistic integrity of Pantera, but as Slop’s de-facto Metallica Fan, I am revisiting their back catalogue and finding a lot of things to love.
It can be a daunting thing, to listen to albums you loved in your teens; often you wonder what the hell you were thinking, and when it was that you developed your current impeccable taste.
There is a little of this with Metallica, but there is plenty that stands the test of time and the cynicism of my advancing years. If you haven’t ventured into this treasure trove of rock, I would urge you to do so. Whether it is the first two albums, thrash rock classics, the astonishing Master of Puppets (my personal favourite), cult classic …And Justice for All, or their eponymous album (fondly dubbed The Black Album by admirers) – go and get yourself some riffage.
1999’s S&M (Symphony & Metallica) is perhaps the silliest, most over-the-top and bombastic hard rock album of the lot; not many guitar bands would have the balls and the nerve to play live with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, but they did, and it worked. Even the most scornful metal-hater must appreciate the skill and musical ability it takes to play at that standard; it’s not all headbanging – they even collaborated with Lou Reed on his last studio album.
From 2000 onward, my musical path moved further away from metal, and so I stopped following the band so closely, but it only takes the slightest nudge to get me wondering what happened to all my black hoodies and wallet chains. With the prospect of seeing one of the best metal acts in the world once again, it is probably time for me to listen to the rest of those albums. Not to mention 2016’s number 1 release Hardwired…To Self-Destruct.
Metallica play Manchester Arena on October 28th as part of their WorldWired tour, support comes from Norwegian rock band Kvelertak. Offical resale tickets are on sale now here, a limited amount of special “Hardwired” experience tickets are available here.
You can also pre-order the live audio recording from the show as a 2-CD set here.
Planet Slop’s Wishlist-Setlist
The Four Horsemen – Kill ‘Em All
Seek and Destroy – Kill ‘Em All
For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ride The Lightning
Master of Puppets – Master of Puppets
The Thing that Should Not Be – Master of Puppets
Orion – Master of Puppets
One – …And Justice for All
The Unforgiven – Metallica
Low Man’s Lyric – Reload
No Leaf Clover – S&M
Photo taken from artists Facebook page.