Dubbing The Unforgiven: 20 Years Of Metallica's "Black Album"

Categories: Metalocalypse

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Lars Ulrich, Y U NO SMILE IN PRESS STILL?
Twenty years ago, Metallica's self-titled album entered the No. 1 slot on the Billboard 200, where it would stay for four weeks. The band's most successful album, it has sold 22 million copies worldwide to date, and kicked in the door for heavy metal into the mainstream, sans glitter and teased hair.

As the follow-up to 1988's ...And Justice For All, the "Black Album" would need to out-rock, out-perform, and outdo everything that came before. This was the point in Metallica's career where they would either stay a beloved metal band, or take the next rung on the ladder as the world's most beloved metal band. We're still talking about it now, so the band and producer Bob Rock must have done something right.

At 12 tracks, the album was the band's longest studio album. Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets were eight cuts long, Justice was nine, and Kill 'Em All was a bloody and gruesome ten. But what set aside this album was the concise and methodical nature of it. It was scarily efficient, catchy and accessible, without being namby-pamby or soft. Unless you hold "Nothing Else Matters" against them, and stalwart metalheads very well may.

Even still, as fun and gnarly as it was, many old-school thrash fans got off the bus at this point, never to return. But we know some of you still jam it alone. And yeah, we cringe at the thought of a teenybopper in 1991 buying the new Paula Abdul and the Black Album on the same record store visit, but a good percentage of those kids probably turned to the great and grand dark side soon after because of it.

This fall the band releases Lulu, the first fruits of their project with Lou Reed. Loutallica promises to be weird and wild, though we wish the band would come out with a proper follow-up to 2008's Death Magnetic already.

Rocks Off's first exposure to "The Black Album" was the "Enter Sandman" video on MTV one afternoon during the summer before third grade. At the age when we had just left the world of nightmares and boogiemen, it was enticing and scary. That fall, Metallica and Nirvana were all the 'bangers at C.J. Harris Elementary cared about.

Lately the album has been on our gym iPod setlist, and if you see a guy on one of the cardio stations pumping his legs in time to "Sad But True" and playing air drums, come say hello. Don't mind the sweat.

We did some digging on our own and asked a few friends on Twitter and Facebook for some facts about "The Black Album," on this 20th anniversary of the metal going above ground.



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8 comments
Akaprime01
Akaprime01

Yall are full of crap, Metallica is Metallica and no one can change them or how they sound. At least they make great music unlike these other crappy band that have good riffs but sing about love and crap like that. All they wanna do is be like Metallica or Mega, Anthrax, or slayer, which no one will ever be in a million years. The only ones that can out do themselves are themselves. Those who talk crap about the 4 that started it all are the ones that are listening to bands like kings of leon and other shitty bands like that. Sorry, Sad But True.

Andreea Radu
Andreea Radu

U'R right ... many people suffer worse TY for reminding me that!

Andreea Radu
Andreea Radu

After 8 exhausting hours of hard work (not rock!), who would smile?

DerHare
DerHare

I was actually at that show in Hannover back in the days...Was my 1st time seeing them live...

And now, 20 years and 20 shows later i still can´t wait for the next time,the boys come around...

Al
Al

The beginning of the end for Metallica was the song and video "One." And then Hetfield tries to actually sing (cringe) on the Black album. But whatever has become of them since the Black album (pure crap), the first four albums are really, really good.

Ryan
Ryan

Further proof that Cliff Burton was the gasoline on the fire. Justice and The Black Album were both great (for the most part) and showed progression, but they just flat lost it after that. There were good singles here and there, but nothing in terms of great all around records. However, I'm glad they are still pushing through and making music.. hope this Lou Reed stuff is great. I haven't given up hope.

illegal1
illegal1

Blaspheme! . . . (sigh) . . . but yeah I have to agree.

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