Metallica - Metallica review



Reviewer:
9.8

2422 users:
8.28
Band: Metallica
Album: Metallica
Release date: August 1991


01. Enter Sandman
02. Sad But True
03. Holier Than Thou
04. The Unforgiven
05. Wherever I May Roam
06. Don't Tread On Me
07. Through The Never
08. Nothing Else Matters
09. Of Wolf And Man
10. The God That Failed
11. My Friend Of Misery
12. The Struggle Within
13. So What [Anti-Nowhere League cover] [Japanese bonus]


Even though Metallica became more known to a wider audience in 1986 with the release of Master of Puppets, "The Black Album" (released in 1991) however, was the biggest break point for Metallica. It was praised by reviewers and musicians, it stunned many fans then and also now. With the "Black Album" their old thrashy sound was abandoned and Metallica was literally shot into superstardom. With commercial hits such as "Enter Sandman" and the widely known "Nothing Else Matters", Metallica's music became more and more accessible to radio stations and television. But as I said, I still believe it's a "must have". "The Black Album" was major break point in the rock music business and the influence of it and Metallica in general is just impossible not to notice. Not only does it differ musically from the previous four releases, this album is also lyrically much more personal and therefore occasionally softer. Still, Metallica hasn't lost their touch and the aggressive guitar sound is still there.

The immortal riff of "Enter Sandman", the gentle "Nothing Else Matters" and "The Unforgiven", and of course, the aggressive tunes of "Sad But True" and "Wherever I May Roam" - this albums offers a true hard rock journey. The production of the album was taken on a higher level with the coming of Bob Rock as almost the fifth member of Metallica. "The Black Album" gives you Metallica as an entity, with the perfect sound of the bass. Also James Hetfield's vocals became more arranged and accurate, which is for some a treat - some still prefer the distorted voice he used to have. The next thing added was the acoustic guitar, noticeable in the charming (I never knew this word could be used when talking about Metallica!) "The Unforgiven", which we heard before in smaller amounts in ''Fade To Black'' and ''One'' for example. Also, Michael Kamen did the orchestral part for "Nothing Else Matters". And there is one more thing I just have to mention - the drumming. Listening to "Of Wolf And Man" or the intro to "The Struggle Within" just unplugs my ears and brains from all the sounds other than Lars Ulrich's drums.

So when you come to the end of the journey through "The Black Album" you see that it's not all about Hammett's riff in "Enter Sandman" or the melancholy in "Nothing Else Matters". Each and every song is a small masterpiece that in the end creates "The Black Album". Whether you're looking for hard riffs, loud drums or something a bit more tender, this album has it. "The Black Album" has it all - and nothing else matters.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Production: 10

Written by AnGina-- | 07.10.2006


 


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Guest review by
ScreamingSteelUS
Rating:
7.3
Like far too many people in this world, I was largely introduced to Metallica by their self-titled album, fueled by the super mega platinum #1 smash hit single "Enter Sandman." In fact, Metallica, known colloquially as "The Black Album" for its presumably Spinal Tap-inspired artwork, was, in fact, one of the first Metal albums that really resonated with me and warranted repeated listens. Even so, I cannot confess to having much of a sentimental connection with this album, because, after exploring the wide world of heavy metal and acquainting myself with REAL Metallica, it has become clear to me that this album is nothing special.

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published 17.08.2012 | Comments (20)


Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 51   [ 1 ignored ]   Visited by: 286 users
01.06.2009 - 13:16
Deadmeat
Necrobutcher
Written by Uirapuru on 01.06.2009 at 13:14

Very nice album. I love Metallica from the 90ths, sold-out really works when do excellent music . This album has so many immortal songs that it's hard to criticize.

Best Metallica album.

yeah but it has also some total silly songs right???
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Υou've sold your human essence to the cold world of dead and empty things... You're SOLD!
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01.06.2009 - 13:24
Uirapuru
Liver Failure
Written by Deadmeat on 01.06.2009 at 13:16

Written by Uirapuru on 01.06.2009 at 13:14

Very nice album. I love Metallica from the 90ths, sold-out really works when do excellent music . This album has so many immortal songs that it's hard to criticize.

Best Metallica album.

yeah but it has also some total silly songs right???


Right. I usually stop the disc after ''Of Wolf and Man'', and sometimes skip the first Unforgiven. Its a good song, but Im already tired of listen to it.
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member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/
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01.06.2009 - 13:26
Deadmeat
Necrobutcher
Written by Uirapuru on 01.06.2009 at 13:24

Written by Deadmeat on 01.06.2009 at 13:16

Written by Uirapuru on 01.06.2009 at 13:14

Very nice album. I love Metallica from the 90ths, sold-out really works when do excellent music . This album has so many immortal songs that it's hard to criticize.

Best Metallica album.

yeah but it has also some total silly songs right???


Right. I usually stop the disc after ''Of Wolf and Man'', and sometimes skip the first Unforgiven. Its a good song, but Im already tired of listen to it.

i asked you that cause you said this is the best metallica album. if on your fav album, you stop it before the end, then on master of and ride the lightning what do you do???
----
Υou've sold your human essence to the cold world of dead and empty things... You're SOLD!
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01.06.2009 - 13:32
Uirapuru
Liver Failure
Written by Deadmeat on 01.06.2009 at 13:26

Written by Uirapuru on 01.06.2009 at 13:24

Written by Deadmeat on 01.06.2009 at 13:16

Written by Uirapuru on 01.06.2009 at 13:14

Very nice album. I love Metallica from the 90ths, sold-out really works when do excellent music . This album has so many immortal songs that it's hard to criticize.

Best Metallica album.

yeah but it has also some total silly songs right???


Right. I usually stop the disc after ''Of Wolf and Man'', and sometimes skip the first Unforgiven. Its a good song, but Im already tired of listen to it.

i asked you that cause you said this is the best metallica album. if on your fav album, you stop it before the end, then on master of and ride the lightning what do you do???


Metallica is not my favorite band.. not even close actually.. So even their best works doesn't get me into so much.

Self-titled is absolutly the best IMO, it has the larger number of songs that I like. The albums from the 80ths are just good to me, since I'm not this genre, but respect and enjoy many of their works.
----

----
member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/
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01.06.2009 - 13:34
Deadmeat
Necrobutcher
Written by Uirapuru on 01.06.2009 at 13:32

Written by Deadmeat on 01.06.2009 at 13:26

Written by Uirapuru on 01.06.2009 at 13:24

Written by Deadmeat on 01.06.2009 at 13:16

Written by Uirapuru on 01.06.2009 at 13:14

Very nice album. I love Metallica from the 90ths, sold-out really works when do excellent music . This album has so many immortal songs that it's hard to criticize.

Best Metallica album.

yeah but it has also some total silly songs right???


Right. I usually stop the disc after ''Of Wolf and Man'', and sometimes skip the first Unforgiven. Its a good song, but Im already tired of listen to it.

i asked you that cause you said this is the best metallica album. if on your fav album, you stop it before the end, then on master of and ride the lightning what do you do???


Metallica is not my favorite band.. not even close actually.. So even their best works doesn't get me into so much.

Self-titled is absolutly the best IMO, it has the larger number of songs that I like. The albums from the 80ths are just good to me, since I'm not this genre, but respect and enjoy many of their works.

well then it's ok i didn't get it well, probably because of the language!
----
Υou've sold your human essence to the cold world of dead and empty things... You're SOLD!
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19.06.2009 - 10:43
terrorist
Classic album,very simple but very good!!!!
----
Will the ones who live after our end
Worship the goddamn cross again?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnlG0h7YN_8&feature=related
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28.11.2009 - 08:46
sbgmetal
The first metallica album i heard was justice... the second cd i heard was this one n i gotta say i didnt think it was the same band... such a downgrade imo... the vocals, drumming and guitar solos are not what they use to be... they shoulda concentrated on the music instead of $... talka bout spitting on cliffs grave
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28.11.2009 - 13:59
Lord_Regnier
Sold out album. Pseudo-metal for noobs who barely started to listen to something else than pop music and haven't realized yet that there are tons of metal albums a hundred times better than this commercial garbage.
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"Why would we fear death, when life is so much more frightening?"
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14.07.2010 - 22:56
Angelic Storm
Melodious
This is surely the most controversial metal album of all time. Not just because of the fact that many felt Metallica had ''sold out'' with it, but because of the knock on effect it had on thrash as a whole. Megadeth, Testament, Overkill, Exodus, Sepultura, and a host of other thrash bands either slowed down/watered down and/or experimented with their sound in the wake of Metallica's self titled. Coincidence? Probably not. Metallica at the time, were undoubtedly the biggest thrash band around, and it definitely seems like a few other thrash bands followed Metallica's lead when they decided to streamline their sound. So some underground metalheads also think Metallica were responsible for the ''death'' of thrash metal. And immediately despised them for it. This hatred for Metallica still remains within sections of metal's underground community to this day. Metallica arguably didnt sell out. There's no way they could have known how huge the album would become. In an interview with James before tha album's release, I remember him saying they just wanted to streamline their sound. Make shorter, more compact songs. IMO they didnt sell out.

As for the album itself, well...it's a very good album, if not quite a classic like the first 4 were. Nor is it as adventurous as their next album ''Load''. The main thing the album suffers from, is pacing. All of the songs are mid-paced (with the exception of the slightly faster ''Struggle Within".) So it definitely lacks the excitement of their earlier albums. However, isolate most of the songs on their own, outside the context of the album, and there are quite a few gems here to savour. The massive mid-paced crunch of opener ''Enter Sandman", with its timeless signature riff is still regarded as a total classic song of metal, and rightfully so. It might not frighten me like it did when I first heard it as a kid, but its still a great song. lol

The creepy, almost doom-like slow burn of ''Sad But True'' is another highlight. Of course, its the two ballads that usually come in for the most scorn from the ''tr00 metal'' brigade, but I think they are both good songs. Especially ''The Unforgiven'' with its mournful, and expressive sound. (and a classic solo by Kirk Hammet) Id definitely class it as a classic Metallica song. xD Although they never quite put their foot to the accelerator in a ''Whiplash'' stylee, songs like ''Through The Never'', "Holier Than Thou". (I love the way this song seems to blast out during its immense intro!) and especially the charging closer "Struggle Within" provide some great headbanging moments.

Overall, I feel this album is probably overrated by some sections of metalheads, and unfairly maligned by many others. It may not be genre defining, groundbreaking, or as classic as their 80's output, but this is still a great album by Metallica. I dont like it quite as much as I did when I first heard it in the early 90's, but it still holds up very well today. xD
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15.07.2010 - 14:20
RavenKing
Written by Angelic Storm on 14.07.2010 at 22:56

This is surely the most controversial metal album of all time. Not just because of the fact that many felt Metallica had ''sold out'' with it, but because of the knock on effect it had on thrash as a whole. Megadeth, Testament, Overkill, Exodus, Sepultura, and a host of other thrash bands either slowed down/watered down and/or experimented with their sound in the wake of Metallica's self titled. Coincidence? Probably not. Metallica at the time, were undoubtedly the biggest thrash band around, and it definitely seems like a few other thrash bands followed Metallica's lead when they decided to streamline their sound. So some underground metalheads also think Metallica were responsible for the ''death'' of thrash metal. And immediately despised them for it. This hatred for Metallica still remains within sections of metal's underground community to this day.



I'm what you call an "underground metalhead" (you can also call me an elitist if you want, I don't mind- better being an elitist than a self called self proclaimed metal fan who barely knows anything about metal other than the most mainstream bands like Metallica) and I can tell you I despise this album and hate Metallica for having released it. And I will always hate Metallica no matter what. Why?, you will ask. The reason is quite simple: this commercial and mainstream album made it obvious for all to see that a metal band could sell out and make a hundred times more money by releasing garbage the radio stations would play to death.
Yes, lots of Thrash bands became shitty after that and the metal scene started to be more plagued by sold out bands and posers. What Metallica did with this wretched piece of shit is to bring 'metal' to the mainstream, with the result that lots of bands softened to appeal to those self-proclaimed metal fans who are in fact nothing more than mainstream people who believe they're something else.

I agree with everything you're saying on the part I quoted. I happen to see it from the point of view of those who hate and despise Metallica and this album, however. I'm one of those who are convinced that metal should have always stayed underground and that it's way too corporated, commercial and mainstream nowadays. And I will always see things this way.
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They shake your hand and they smile and they buy you a drink
They say we'll be your friends we'll stick with you till the end
But everybody's only looking out for themselves
And you say who can you trust I'll tell you nobody
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15.07.2010 - 14:42
!J.O.O.E.!
Account deleted
Written by RavenKing on 15.07.2010 at 14:20

I'm one of those who are convinced that metal should have always stayed underground and that it's way too corporated, commercial and mainstream nowadays. And I will always see things this way.

I've literally never understood people who push this argument. You speak as if metal, by and large, is mainstream whereas the truth of the matter is only a small handful of bands are in fact so, and then that's usually bands of offshoot genres like nu-metal and metalcore, not the genre as a whole. If you ask me it sounds like you were once burned by the fact Metallica sold out and have had a grudge ever since.

If you're an "underground metaller" as you say (though I very much doubt it after perusing your recent posts, or we at least have a different idea of what constitutes underground), then you'd indeed know that there's more underground metal than either you or I could ever hope to listen to so once again, I will never understand why mainstream metal would be a problem for anyone. Naivete and cynicism are a terrible combination. Metal doesn't begin and end with Metallica.
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21.10.2010 - 18:11
Coolingsrock
Keep the album at 7 to 7.5 and its realistic. 9.8 is just crazy talk in my opinion. Half a good album.
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29.11.2010 - 05:11
Captain Obvious
I just want to say that metal was a mainstream genre long before this album came out, in fact, It's been mainstream since it started: Black Sabbath's first 2 albums were in the top 10 in Britain, the latter hitting number 1, with the song Paranoid becoming a huge hit worldwide. Let's not forget that all of maiden's 80's albums were top 10 charters (except for Killers) and had lots of radio airplay with songs like Run to the hills and the trooper. Should I also remind people of Priest's Breaking The Law and You've got another thing coming? I mean if those songs aren't shamelessly blatant attempts at commercialism I don't know what is. So when I see posts that say Metallica brought metal into the mainstream, I just shake my head (I'm looking at you ravenking).

But I do have to agree this was a sellout album. But I blame that on Lars, I mean, if the guy who founded the band isn't willing to improve on his drumming abilities, and then hires a mainstream producer, there's not much you can do about it, right? Nevertheless, I still think this album was pretty good, but I find that the non-radio hits were way better, ie The God That Failed and Holier Than Thou.

Also, this was the first metal album I ever owned (I'm sure I'm not alone on that one) so if weren't for nostalgia I'd give this album a 7 or 7.5.
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Did you ever notice that the people who tell you to get a life are normally people who should be dead in the first place?
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20.09.2011 - 18:41
Cuca Beludo
Account deleted
Such a excellent review. Although I like MOP more than this, it was "The Black Album" that made me into Metallica. Thank you, anGina!
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28.11.2011 - 19:15
Berserker
Account deleted
This was the first metal album i've ever had (bought it in 93 i think) and i've must listened it a million times. It gets obsolete after listening Cowboys From Hell, for example, but it's a good album for a person who's starting to listen metal because it doesn't have a very agressive atmosphere.
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22.05.2012 - 16:30
Valentin B
Iconoclast
Written by Guest on 23.10.2006 at 17:05

A highly overrated album in my humble opinion. I used to enjoy it a lot back in 1991. I don't listen to it much these days. The only song that totally satisfies me is My Friend of Misery. Still, it's a very good album but it is not their best. As far as I'm concerned, they went downhill big time after this album, althuogh i enjoy Load. the rest is totally forgetable, for me at least. excuse my subjectivity.

Seeing how popular this album (and Metallica in general) still is around here I can see how you also thought this was awesome but changed your mind.

Imo this is a decent album, some great moments, some forgettable ones, but definitely a step down from Justice (which is almost my favorite Metallica album, second to Lightning).
----
Sing me a song, you're a singer
Do me a wrong, you're a bringer of evil.
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23.05.2012 - 03:04
JohnDoe
Account deleted
Written by Valentin B on 22.05.2012 at 16:30

Written by Guest on 23.10.2006 at 17:05

A highly overrated album in my humble opinion. I used to enjoy it a lot back in 1991. I don't listen to it much these days. The only song that totally satisfies me is My Friend of Misery. Still, it's a very good album but it is not their best. As far as I'm concerned, they went downhill big time after this album, althuogh i enjoy Load. the rest is totally forgetable, for me at least. excuse my subjectivity.

Seeing how popular this album (and Metallica in general) still is around here I can see how you also thought this was awesome but changed your mind.

Imo this is a decent album, some great moments, some forgettable ones, but definitely a step down from Justice (which is almost my favorite Metallica album, second to Lightning).


I wrote this almost 6 years ago.

Of course it was a step down from AJFA; this used to be called their worst back then , I never thought (back then) they could get worse than that but they did.
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23.05.2012 - 19:45
Valentin B
Iconoclast
Written by Guest on 23.05.2012 at 03:04

Written by Valentin B on 22.05.2012 at 16:30

Written by Guest on 23.10.2006 at 17:05

A highly overrated album in my humble opinion. I used to enjoy it a lot back in 1991. I don't listen to it much these days. The only song that totally satisfies me is My Friend of Misery. Still, it's a very good album but it is not their best. As far as I'm concerned, they went downhill big time after this album, althuogh i enjoy Load. the rest is totally forgetable, for me at least. excuse my subjectivity.

Seeing how popular this album (and Metallica in general) still is around here I can see how you also thought this was awesome but changed your mind.

Imo this is a decent album, some great moments, some forgettable ones, but definitely a step down from Justice (which is almost my favorite Metallica album, second to Lightning).


I wrote this almost 6 years ago.

I noticed that, but seeing as you're more into prog/classic rock I figured you feel the same about the album (now that the hype has died down a little bit and "being a rocker" doesn't equate to being a Metallica fanboy anymore)

and oh yeah, they got worse.. and with Lulu I really think/hope they hit the bottom.
----
Sing me a song, you're a singer
Do me a wrong, you're a bringer of evil.
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25.05.2012 - 02:56
JohnDoe
Account deleted
Quote:
Quote:
Quote:


I wrote this almost 6 years ago.

I noticed that, but seeing as you're more into prog/classic rock I figured you feel the same about the album (now that the hype has died down a little bit and "being a rocker" doesn't equate to being a Metallica fanboy anymore)

and oh yeah, they got worse.. and with Lulu I really think/hope they hit the bottom.


I listened to their 80s albums and even their self titled album way too much back in the early 90s, that's why I rarely listen to them these days. Sometimes it's just for nostalgia reasons I play their classic albums. Not just because I discover new music or other music genres get my attention.
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23.10.2012 - 03:33
fanapathy
I have never liked this album at all

But I truly appreciate how important it has been for bringing metal to the masses
I grew up when this hit the radio. People were listening to Dr Alban, 2 Unlimited and whatever the name of those eurodance techno bands. That was what was going on

And then bam. Enter Sandman. People started listening to Metallica and shortly after it was Fear of the Dark pretty much the same happened.

This was amazing and so many people would never have discovered rock/metal music and a lot of great albums would probably never have been made.

All that said I strongly dislike the sound of the album. I like only a handful of Metallica songs total and they're all before this. But thanks a lot for what influence this album has had
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20.08.2016 - 23:18
Bad English
Masterchief
Well I like this good review, you should write more, and I like such kind changes, because how to put it , many band stry change go to some prog shit this band still was metal, same time what they did after this one os another thing, band simply died, some injection to heart stoped flat line in garage inc, now band just revoken from coma but are not same
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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