Wednesday, September 18, 2019

MUSIC: What's With Metallica - "The Black Album"?

"The Black Album"
There's quite a a lot happening in Thrash Metal right now with a lot of new albums coming out from classic Thrash Metal bands like Destruction, Sacred Reich, Sodom and Death Angel who are one of the hardest working Thrash Metal bands in 2019 and are continuing their touring into 2020 for their new album "Humainicide" with Testament and Exodus so watch out for "The Bay Strikes Back" Tour 2020 featuring Death Angel.

On the other end Slayer is wrapping it up this November and ending their touring career, I don't know why people tell me this but they say Tom Araya is dressed up like Sony Producer Rick Rubin with the hair and beard and stuff, personally I don't know maybe that is his influence, and they are releasing a two disc set this fall...Disc one is supposed to be a fictional movie made by Slayer and disc two is a Slayer concert on home video, not sure what that's about and they have only released some vague promo clips.

As a Thrash Metal fan it's great to see all that doing so well with the huge Death Angel tour and promotion out this year and heading into 2020 with Testament, Death Angel and I think Forbidden and other Thrash Metal bands might be on that. Like I have said before although I play Death Metal and I am mainly into Death Metal that is not the larger music category. 

I have always been a Thrash Metal fan first and they have way better song writing in Thrash Metal with more commercial appeal compared to Death Metal which is way harder music to play with more technical guitars which is why I do Death Metal. 

Death Metal however can not compare to the Lead Guitar of Thrash Metal although it is not as Heavy of a music category. Thrash Metal has always had way better song writing than Death Metal with better production and more commercial appeal and also unmatched Lead Guitar Parts and Solos that Death Metal can not compare to. 

I was just watching Metallica - "The Black Album" on VH1 Classic Albums and they have some good insight on that into the story of Metallica. The album is actually called Metallica self titled or "Metallica - Metallica" and the term "The Black Album" is just a nickname for the record like the Beatles white album.

So what's the big deal about "Metallica - Metallica"?

That album was Metallica's big break through record with music videos and radio airplay and at the time doubled their sales or more in many Countries according to older documentary material. So although Metallica lost many fans with their self titled album they gained way more fans of their commercial record and larger sales.

This record was produced by Bob Rock and they reviewed the album on the older show VH1 Classic Albums and offered some good insight into the creation of the album.

Recently Metallica have defended their sound on the previous record to "Metallica - Metallica" on their "..And Justice For All" album saying they did the best they could with the record. The music media has been giving Metallica flack for not having a large bass guitar sound on that record after the death of their bassist Cliff Burton in 1986.

Bob Rock explains all this on the show VH1 Classic Albums when they did "Metallica - Metallica". What is going on with the "The Black Album" is that after the death of Cliff Burton Metallica had a different bass sound on their album "...And Justice For All" and you can't really hear much of it or it just follows the rhythm and is just blended in on the record.

"...And Justice For All" was a huge selling record for Metallica which somehow lead to them using Producer Bob Rock who made them a larger record than that for radio and video play and also brought back Metallica's bass sound. 

On VH1 Classic Albums or clips from Metallica's Documentaries they used on the show Bob Rock says that Metallica didn't want to put more melodic parts in their music for radio play and MTV / Much Music and that he had to tell them they they didn't need to be embarrassed if Megadeth and Anthrax were making fun of them from Thrash Metal which he thought they were concerned about.

Metallica followed Bob Rock's advice to put the melodic parts in the album and put the larger bass sound back in it. What you have to understand is that the old bassist Cliff Burton used a bass style similar to Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler which not only followed the rhythm guitar but also had it's own parts to fill out the Metallica sound.

After the death of Cliff Burton Metallica lost those bass parts and this led to a void in their sound on the album "...And Justice For All" and they lost many of their original fans who criticize the record for not having a large bass sound on it although the album was super successful anyway.

Bob Rock brought back the bass sound they were missing for "Metallica - Metallica" and they agreed to do more melodic parts for radio and video play on television. Obviously, the correct decision for their band financially, apparently their sales doubled or more, to be determined, according to some documentaries because of the radio play and music videos with a more melodic sound gaining them mainstream attention. 

What happened with the record is they called it "self titled" and made a clean start with the album, Bob Rock explains on VH1 Classic Albums that he had to get the band to "let go" of the past meaning things like Cliff Burton and Thrash Metal to start over with a more melodic sound to advance the band and not worry about what other people think.

Metallica did that and Bob Rock put or helped to put the large bass sound on Metallica's new record and made it more melodic leading to more widespread mainstream recognition, radio and television play and doubling their sales making the band the most successful band to come from Thrash Metal while other bands like Megadeth and Anthrax never gained the same mainstream recognition while keeping a more regular Thrash Metal sound.


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