Sunday, July 12, 2009

MetalliPost

Since my latest mini-implosion in the online poker world I've been doing a few other things. I mean after the BBT4 grind and the futility of trying to qualify for the WSOP via satellite (low buyin of course) I'm back to a very limited bankroll. It's not a bad thing during the summer. I will be back with a ferocity to the MTT's later. Probably at less frequent times...no more MTT's on weeknights..just weekends. I'll be ready and will take the criticism with an open mind. That's hard for me to do but I realize there are many people out there willing to help me change my game for the better. It was also stupid of me to jump back into the MTT's right after my daughter was born last year but it also helped me connect with the outside world on some of those long nights. So I've been listening to a certain new CD constantly among other things. I also plan to get out and see a show or two later this summer. It's hard to get out when you have a baby and a 4 year old in the house right? Last summer was pretty hard to get anything done but now my daughter Meg is over a year old so...fun times are here again!

I didn't want to buy the new Metallica album when it came out after the new year. I'm used to getting a Metallica album and being disappointed time after time. There are a few great moments through out the 90's and the 00's but not the shift back to the music that made them the greatest metal band ever. I didn't think they were capable of even making an album of metal at all. The 'St. Anger' debacle was the nail in the proverbial coffin for me. It sounded like the band 'System of a Down' decided to record a lame Metallica album...that's how it sounded to me anyway. Then the band came out with its biggest mistake ever...the movie 'Some kind of Monster'....Jesus Christmas...if I wasn't depressed about the band before that then I know that every single fan from the past 25 years should be after seeing it. It should have been called 'Some kind of Monstrous Mistake'.
I know this all sound juvenile but I've been a fan since '84 when I was a robust 14 years old. I heard 'Ride the Lightning' on a metal show on the radio and I had to get that album. I found out they had another album called 'Kill 'em all' and of course I latched on to that like a lamprey...MUCH to my parents chagrin. I figured it would be more 'Nothing else Matters' and 'The Unforgiven' than the good songs on the Black album (and by that I mean probably half of the songs....I'm not a big fan by any means of the lumbering ballads or the heavy lumbering rock that made them so middle-of-the-road in the 90's). Musically this pained me to no end...I am a fan of many genres of music but I am basically a metal head. People always assume that I am not a metal head because of the clean cut look but yes....I loves me some old school metal. I am not a big fan of the death metal or the guttural vocals that seem to be so popular at the festivals these days though. I like to hear some melody in the music with some basic structure. My attitude about the news of the new album was blase at best. Most big bands dominate for 10 years and then kind of flame out or die. There are only a few bands that can come out with a great album (CD or MP3 download for people chuckling about the 'album' thing) 15 or 20 years after they burst onto the music scene. I can only think of a band like U2, Pink Floyd,The Who or the Rolling Stones at the moment. Actually I think that U2 is about the only one that can do that. 'Tattoo you' came out about 19 years after the Stones started.....'Who are you' came out 13 years after the Who started out....'The Wall' came out only 12 years after Pink Floyd came onto the scene.....U2 came out with what I would consider a really good album almost a full 25 years after they started. At least that gives some idea about how hard it is to come out with an album that is both incredible and at least somewhat innovative after a band has been recording for a decades.
Metallica the band had actually made a great decision in the past couple of years. They decided to hire Ric Rubin to produce 'Death Magnetic' and their next album as well. I knew they were looking for the best producer and Ric Rubin is it. He is well known for producing rap records....but he is also well known for producing some of the best heavy bands of the past two decades. He is also well known for getting the best sound out of the band he is producing...just listen to any Slayer album. There is one comment he made before 'Death Magnetic' came out...he said..."think Master of Puppets for the bands next album sound". I was happy to say the least he referred to the best metal album of all time.

I could imagine the conversation between Ric Rubin and the band Metallica as follows:

RR : "Do you guys want to continue turning out substandard hard rock or do you want to reclaim the thing that made you Metallica.....like Metal maybe??? Hmmmmm?
Band : "Well of course! We've been working hard on bringing our brand of rock to the masses!"
RR : "Guys....I produce for Slayer and System of a Down....what you have been doing for the last 19 years is bringing a lame brand of Metallica rock to the masses. Do you want to be known as METALLICA or HARDRockica....or worse yet HEAVYRockica. Do you want a great album that all your fans know you are capable of creating or just another lametallica album."
Band : (in unison) "You are absolutely right Ric...we will listen to you for the next 5 years and will create music that our fans know we are capable of."

It certainly peaked my interest...but then I heard 'The day that never comes' on the radio. I couldn't believe it...it was straight out of the 90's as I listened to it...but then the second half of the song started coming through. I was happy but 'Black' album happy. Not completely thrilled about it but encouraged. I still didn't buy it when it came out...not until about early March anyway. All I heard on the radio was 'The day...' and 'Cyanide'. I wondered why then checked and the shortest song was 5 minutes long. I have no idea why it took so long to buy the damn thing but when I did it didn't stop playing for a month straight in my car. Here are the tracks and their length. I also noticed an 'Unforgiven III' on there...I thought...oh jeez here we go.

# Title Length
1. "That Was Just Your Life" 7:08
2. "The End of the Line" 7:52
3. "Broken, Beat & Scarred" 6:25
4. "The Day That Never Comes" 7:56
5. "All Nightmare Long" 7:58
6. "Cyanide" 6:39
7. "The Unforgiven III" 7:47
8. "The Judas Kiss" 8:01
9. "Suicide & Redemption" 9:58
10. "My Apocalypse" 5:01

OK...so after listening to it a million times I am about as happy as a fan can be. The CD aptly starts with the sound of a heart beat. I know their not going to completely avoid the last 19 years of recording style and songwriting but I'll say it now. I've been waiting for them to release and album like this for 20 years....20 effin years. This album come out a full 25 years after 'Kill 'em all' came out. Think about that for a second. Any fan of Metallica should be impressed by this album....at least that's my opinion. They recorded an album that puts all of their well known styles for the first decade. The thrashy riffing...the machine gun style riffing...the double base drum beats....the sick guitar solos....all of it. All of it without sounding retro or completely different. I heard the first track 'That was just your life' and couldn't believe what I was hearing. Somber intro....dual harmony guitars...fast time change riffs. That was what drew me to the band in the first place...but it also didn't sound like they were just creating an old style sound. It continues through most of the album....I'm not completely in love with everything on the album. I would say 1 and a half songs I could do without (first half of 'The day that never comes' and 'The Unforgiven III' is about it. Unforgiven almost gives me a break for a few minutes so I'll listen to anyway. There is even an epic instrumental almost 10 minutes long for you fans of the 80's albums...yet another hint at bringing back the original fan base.
"All Nightmare Long' is obviously the centerpiece of the album...if it wasn't intended to be it is now.......the version you hear on the radio is cut down a full 2 minutes and just doesn't sound right. So if you listen to the following version and the CD version you will be surprised after the into there is a straight thrash riff...then the a spot where the drums, bass and guitars all machine gun gallop riff in unison....OI LOIK IT! There is also a bizarre video that can't really be explained...but who cares?

All Nightmare Long

Edit :
I also forgot to mention some other incredible comeback albums. Although I wouldn't put them in the 'landmark' category like 'Death Magnetic' or the other previous bands who've had a landmark comeback album.

AC/DC : They aren't Metal but they rock.....'Black Ice' released 34 years after High Voltage in '75 and 28 years after Brian Johnson joined up with the boys from down under. That's quite a feat....'Black Ice' is their best album since probably 'Fly on the wall'. I have to admit I am not a fan of their stuff after that...but Black Ice is classic Brian Johnson-ACDC

Iron Maiden : I understand from the Maiden fans that 'A Matter of life and death' is quite a CD and brought them back to their original fan base although I haven't heard anything from it....and if no radio airplay is any indication it must be really good.
'A Matter...' was released in '06 a full 26 years after 'Iron Maiden' was released in '80 and a full 24 years after Bruce Dickinson turned them into a real band in '82. Another great 'Comeback' CD but probably not anything like a landmark album.

Judas Priest : 'Nostradamus' was released in '08 a full 34 years after 'Rocka Rolla' in '74. I have listened to the CD and I like it but the CD is simply not going to sell enough or be played enough to be considered 'groundbreaking'. I think it is the perfect CD for them and where they are going though...it should make their hardcore fans very happy.

Changing genres :

The Grateful Dead : 'In The Dark' was released a full 20 years after their debut 'The Grateful Dead' in '67. Wasn't a groundbreaking album but it brought back the whole jam band thing and set the stage for Phish to come and take over the jam band world.

The Allman Bros. : I love the Allman Bros.....I've gone to see them every summer since '92. They give me something every time so I keep going back...best band to see live IMO that isn't a Metal band. They released 'Where it all begins' in '94 a full 25 years after their first album 'The Allman Brothers Band' in '69.

There are probably a lot of other albums/CD's by a lot of other bands but those stand out as big comeback albums and some of them started or restarted their respective genres. It just points out just how hard it is for these most talented bands to come out with new and great material after recording for decades...that is all!

5 comments:

Heffmike said...

It's hard to explain to people who weren't around in the 80s, like my stepkids, just how good Metallica was in the day, because the only frame of reference they have is the relative crap they've put out over the last 10-15 years.

This is not crap. This is what metal is supposed to sound like.

Jeremy said...

Great post. I completely agree with you. I have always been a huge Metallica fan, but not of their recent music. I have seen them in concert 4 times and every show kicked ass. I haven't heard all of the new CD yet but I like what I have heard.

PokahDave said...

Absolutely Heff....

Jeremy you won't regret buying the CD and hearing the rest...I promise you. The rest of the CD is much better than 'The Day..' and 'Cyanide'...seriously. I've seen them 4 times as well...on a sad notes all of them after the 'Master of Puppets' tour.

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StB said...

Wow, it took you that long to get Death Magnetic? I downloaded a copy just before its release and was shocked by it. The old sound was there but sadly they were playing the worst song on the radio. Even better was the concert. They played some stuff you wouldn't expect like Fight Fire with Fire.

If you are a Crue fan of past then you probably would like Saints of L.A. It is a pull to their past as well.