Metallica broke into 2017 on the heels of their huge record Hardwired... To Self-Destruct that was released at the end of last year. The album featured some of Metallica's biggest moments in years, epic riffs and storming vocals making the album one of the best metal records of 2016. It became more clear than ever that Metallica truly stood at the front of the metal scene for a long time, despite some blunders in between their big moments.
Their rule over the genre began long ago, however. The level at which they are at now is truly the band at its finest form, but it was more than two decades ago when that all started. Metallica's domination began in Metallica, otherwise known as The Black Album, the band's 1991 record. This album embodied Metallica's firm grip on their definitive sound.
Metallica features some of the band's most popular selections: it is headed off by the classic 'Enter Sandman,' its iconic riff intro leading into a bustling track full of big riffs and epic solos. The thick guitars of 'Sad But True' follow through, James Hetfield's angry vocals powering through the track as the heavy riffs blast powerfully, with great melodies accompanying it all. The same melodies offer 'Wherever I May Roam' its style.
The album is much more than just its singles, though. There are some really big moments found in the album's deep cuts - closing track 'The Struggle Within' may be the most threatening of them all. The fast paced riffs and aggressive drive take the album on a very angry note, as if all the rage from previous tracks culminated into one epic conclusion. 'Of Wolf and Man' brings out some really big riffs and a truly electrifying guitar solo that etches itself into the album's darkness. 'Holier Than Thou' has a very edgy vibe about it, but its big riffs help it look past that. The epic bassline of 'My Friend Of Misery' is one of the best moments on the record, as well, it's haunting, crawling nature offering the song a whole different atmosphere apart from the rest of the tracks on the album.
There are times where the album's rage sounds a bit all over the place. There's an overdramatic sense to 'Nothing Else Matters' that does serve as a setback, but the rest of the track's build really helps it move past that. The orchestras and delivery of the track have really earned it its stature. As mentioned before, the edginess of 'Holier' is something a bit off putting, and there's a weird positivity to 'Don't Tread On Me' that seems discursive from the track's heaviness.
Metallica's domination began in Metallica, their position in the metal world being solidified right there with this record. With epic riffs, strong drive, and everything else. Metallica's undeniable power became really defined in this album, with their sound being as solid as ever. Big songs, big hits, and great tracks have made Metallica the boss of metal, proving time and time again from past to the present that that will never change.
Favorite Tracks: My Friend Of Misery, The Struggle Within, Enter Sandman
Least Favorite Track: Don't Tread On Me
Rating: 92 / 100
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