Metallica's Black Album

Wassup people! themetalhead is back with another take on another great album. Metallica's self-titled album (known by most as the Black album).

Metallica's Black Album

Go ahead, take a second glance. Its not just a black square with a snake. There's more hidden XD

This album got its nickname obviously from the black background. Really when you buy a physical copy of the album, you can barely see the logo and snake. The band originally had difficulty deciding upon the name. It almost got the name "Five" (for who knows for what reason) or naming it after one of the songs that is on the album. But they decided to keep their simplicity this time around and just put the band logo there.

The Black album certainly has a different vibe compared to Metallica's thrash era. This came right after "...And Justice For All" (which will be in another take later in the month or in March). In this album, its easier to hear Jason Newsted's bass, unlike in the last one.

When Metallica was going to record this album, they recruited producer Bob Rock to work with him. He helped to shape the pulsating effect of the album, though there were a lot of times where he and band members wouldn't get along so easily. Metallica's goal was to pretty much give the music life. Make it feel like its breathing and given a "heartbeat", and for sure they succeeded in that part. They also wanted to make a change with the length of most of their songs, since "...And Justice For All" was full of long songs, even up to 9 minutes long. That album also came with a lot of complexity.

On the Black album, the track list goes as follows...

1. Enter Sandman

2. Sad But True

3. Holier Than Thou

4. The Unforgiven

5. Wherever I May Roam

6. Don't Tread on Me

7. Through The Never

8. Nothing Else Matters

9. Of Wolf And Man

10. The God That Failed

11. My Friend of Misery

12. The Struggle Within

A whole lotta stuff right there man. BUT, before going on, let me clear up one thing. The one most controversial song out of the whole album... "The God That Failed." I've heard many people who were once Metallica fans, end up hating Metallica all because of this song. They feel that the song is "proof of Metallica hating God". But the truth actually says different. The song is based on how James Hetfield felt as a teen. Back then he had a terrible childhood, and was growing up in a Christian science family. His dad left, and a year later his mom died from cancer. He literally watched his mom wither away to nothing because she refused any treatment. That scarred him, and as a teen he blamed it all on God really.

He felt the hate for a long time. But these days he has a better understanding of everything and feels love instead of hate. But even with that, the death of his mother inspired many songs, such as two from Load ("Until It Sleeps," "Mama Said") and a lyrical part in "Hero of The Day" where he says "mama they're trying to break me" (also on "Load").

"Nothing Else Matters" is a love song, written by James Hetfield due to missing his girlfriend while he and the band were on tour. Definitely a sweet one. Some lyrics are below.

Metallica's Black Album

Released August 12, 1991, Black became the band's most sold album. I mean of course there were still those people out there saying the band was better during thrash era, which I can understand there. Black was also ranked #252 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

In this album, aside from wanting to give their sound "life", they chose to slow things down a bit. Fun fact, there's a rumor that "Sad But True" was originally meant to be on Master of Puppets. But that Bob Rock didn't like how blazing fast it was, so he got them to slow it down a notch. Imagine sped up some, lol.

Metallica experimenting a little on this album, such as with "The Unforgiven" where a cello is included, and "Nothing Else Matters" which as a full orchestra included at a part. They originally intended "My Friend of Misery" to be an instrumental, since the first three albums had one, but lyrics eventually were made. Newsted also wrote the main riff for the song. Really a lot of original ideas for this album were conceived during the Damaged Justice tour, supporting the Justice album.

The movie "A Year And A Half In The Life of Metallica" was also filmed during the time of the Black album being created. It shows the progress of it all and how ideas of songs were not long before they became what they are known as now. Definitely a kick ass movie, highly suggested for any Metallica fan (or at least fans who love the era before Load and Reload). Just a warning though. Don't let the younger kids watch XD

Metallica's Black Album

As of right now the band is deciding whether they should remaster Black or "...And Justice For All."

To me, I honestly think the Black album shouldn't even be touched. I mean yeah some people hate this album since its not thrash, or doesn't include Cliff Burton. But I think its pretty awesome.

This was an album I grew up on. From when I was a tiny thing, up on to recent years, I grew up on Black and a little bit of Load, all because it played on the radio a lot. When I was younger, when I would first think of Metallica I would think of a song like "Enter Sandman" or "Sad But True". Last march I bought a copy of the Black album on CD at a Target store, along with my Metallica shirt I kinda live in now. Target didn't have much to choose from, because their CD section was so tiny and they didn't have much metal or even rock n roll. They had only one copy of Black. I picked it up, thinking "uhh, what is it?" Then under better lighting I saw the snake. Still could barely see the band name, but I read the songs on the back and knew where it was from. CD was barely $5. (shirt was on clearance for $10 too).

There were a few songs I never heard, such as "The Struggle Within", "My Friend of Misery", and "Don't Tread On Me". My mom was there with me, encouraging me to get it. "Believe me, you won't be disappointed, its bad ass! Its my favorite" she said. Believe me she's usually there when I'm buying music. She's helpful with options, lol XD

That day when I listened to it, I truly felt the raw power. Its definitely better than on the radio for sure! It's become a favorite of mine, along with Kill 'Em All. Some of the songs brought back memories of being little too. "Nothing Else Matters" became a special song for me and a guy I was in a relationship with as well since it was completely relatable. Metallica's Black album, to me, showed how much power an awesome band can have. \m/

*NOTE* There will be a slight change with the list of takes I'm creating. I was originally going to be doing an AC/DC one after this, BUT February 10th is the first official "Cliff Burton Day" (look it up if you don't know what that is). In honor of the mighty Burton I will be creating a take that's about both Master of Puppets & ...And Justice For All, since those albums were created around the time of Burton's death. After that's made I will be back to the regular list of takes.

Stay metal everyone! \m/

Metallica's Black Album


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  • At the time, there were a lot of "metal purists" who liked Metallica being underground and not on mainstream radio, who did not like the album. "Metallica Sold Out, Maaaannnnn!" was a common refrain.

    However, to me, Metallica was finally getting the recognition as top notch recording artists and performers that they deserved. To me, The Black Album was Metallica's"Dark Side Of The Moon", which cemented their place in musical history, just as the latter album did for Pink Floyd.

    On a funny note, the comedy metal band "Spinal Tap" noted that they had come up with an all-black painted album first, back on their soundtrack to their mockumentary film "This Is Spinal Tap" (1982).

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    • lol I recently saw that spinal tap movie! but yeah I think it was good that metallica got the recognition they deserved. its not always easy being underground really.

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What Guys Said 6

  • it defiantly a good if not fantastic album, how ever when you put it next to master of puppets or... And Justice for all, It does not even sound like the same bad. It also doesn't have the level of extreme technical skill from the prior albums. But its not there worst album by any means (saint anger) it just doesn't hold up next two the previous albums.

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    • yeah i get that, ughhh i couldn't handle saint anger much. to be honest i handle Load and Reload better than st. anger. i mean i only find 2 songs from st. anger that are ok. its true though that Black definitely doesn't sound like the older era, thrashy type thing. they got more rooted into simply heavy metal

    • its not really metal id call it hard rock

  • The album that made me fall in love with metal... my dad made me listen to green day, acdc, iron maiden and motley crue but Metallica made me fall in love with metal

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    • how the fuck did green day get in that mix? XD lol just kidding. yeah, black album I grew up on as being one of those that helped me become a metalhead lol. though some people believe that the album isn't metal. they just think kill em all, ride the lightning, and master of puppets are the only metal albums.

  • I wish someone would do these for punk or alternative hip hop cos I really can't get into metal

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  • No, it just sucked ass. Metallica died with Cliff. Justice was evidence of that.

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    • yeah I've always heard varying opinions about the black album. some say it was the best, others say it sucked, or that it was an in betweener. cliff was god though lol he was amazing

    • It's simple musicality. They went from using basic Art Music compositional elements, and some novel riffs, to doing just riffs. That influence was Cliff. I haven't though of him as special except insofar as his personal musical experience and how that manifested within and fed Metallica. Black album was a retrogression into blues elements, and Hetfield finding his voice for the next decade. It was their entrance into the mainstream, and they partly led that change. Weren't they the first 'heavy metal' into the Hall of Fame?

      Regardless, I've long thought some of those songs could be changed in pace, some riffs re-worked, and it could be pretty good. I've thought of doing some... renovations.

  • My favorite album at one time but then became over played. I still rock out to it sometimes though.

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    • yeah on radios in my area they haven't stopped with "enter sandman" and "the unforgiven" lol anytime I'm in my dad's truck, one of those songs is bound to play..

  • Rock on.
    Probably my favorite album of theirs.

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