Metallica – Metallica

26 10 2008

Song Listing:

  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. My Friend of Misery
  11. The Struggle Within

Band Members:

James Hetfield – Guitars, Vocals

Lars Ulrich – Drums

Kirk Hammett – Lead Guitar

James Newsted – Bass

Release Date: August 13,1991

Producers: Bob Rock with Hetfield and Ulrich

Music Label: Gallo Music Publishers

Length:

Available at: http://www.musica.co.za

Price: R149.95 (26 October 2008)

Additional Information:

Album was Recorded by Randy Staub, assisted by Mike Tacci at One on One Recording, Los Angeles, Oct ’90 – June ’91. Orchestration on “Nothing Else Matters arranged” by Michael Kamen.

Overall Review:

80% of the album is brilliant and pure to the Metallica sound. The composition of the album does not make much sense to me as soft, slow rhythmic track are followed by sudden blasts of thrashing. While the composition fails in my opinion the album is still good as the songs individually sound amazing and the musical talent of the band shines. The album is good in that is can be played over and over again and years later you can still play it(I can still enjoy it after owning the album for 10 years now). The music does not age and the typical arrogance and style of Metallica comes through. Fans of Metallica will love this album and non-metal fans will probably buy it for “Nothing Else Matters”. All-in-all the album is well rounded and has on it well crafted tracks.

Track-by-Track Review:

1.Enter Sandman:

The beginning of the song has the true Metallica sound. The gentle and rhythmic cord progression gets one into the meat of the song in a calm way. One hears the bass drum enter and immediately we are reminded that this is indeed a metal song. Distorted guitars enter and start setting up the tempo and mood for the song. The song follows a simple chord progression all the way through as is typically Metallica. After a few minutes of standard progression we here Metallica lay their familiar guitar solo down. The solo is as always filled with intensity. Chord bending, hammer-on’s and pull-off’s flood ones ears. The solo ends suddenly and the intro riff once more plays with a vocal interlude taking place. The tune of tempo of the song is a standard 8-beat metal. The lyrics are somewhat integral to the song. They tie it together as the story of a child going to sleep is told. We see the familiar dark lyrical attitude taken. Impending danger and somewhat of a cynical view of parental protection over children is taken. Overall the song sets up the record very well with one wanting more of this rhythmic metal.

Track Length: 5:31

Tempo: Upbeat rhythmical

Mood: Dark Cynicism

Lyrical Quote: “Tuck you in, warm within. Keep you free from sin till the sandman he comes.”

Pro’s:

Great Length

Beautiful guitar solo.

Gentle intro allows one to leave your CD player at full volume without getting a heart attack.

Con’s:

Little Musical Variation

Rating:

Percussion Instruments – 8

String instruments – 8

Vocals – 7

Lyrics – 5

Replay ability – 9

Overall Rating – 7.4

2.Sad but True:

Smooth distortion flows through ones ears with harmonic pleasure. The intro is simple and pleasantly sufficient. A pause in the track allows the song to develop its core riff. This riff is very reminiscent of swing. Smooth transitions from the main riff into bridging riffs are done cleverly through partial drum rolls and pauses. The chorus provides a much needed break in tune with lead guitar softly piercing through. As before Metallica brings in their solo but in “Sad but True” one solo is not enough. Two solo’s are played with the first one being greater in difficulty. Short triplets and fast progression through scale allows for a pleasant release and climaxes the song adequately. The lyrics seem to speak of a deep hidden evil inside of the individual who breaks through and controls the person. It is a form of escapism that the individual has which replaces the conscience.

Track Length: 5:24

Tempo: Swing

Mood: Conceding

Lyrical Quote: “Do my deeds for you’re the one who’s shamed”

Pro’s:

Great metal tune.

Guitar sounds smooth and flowing.

Con’s:

None

Rating:

Percussion Instruments – 5

String instruments – 7

Vocals – 6

Lyrics – 6

Replay ability – 7

Overall Rating – 6.2

3.Holier than thou

Immediately one notices a new sound. The song is very progressive and upbeat. The count is still the standard eight beat but the tempo is fast. The drums take over the song and provide it with its sound. It is refreshing to have the drums control the melody and not the guitars. Clever double beats and rolls are inserted all over to vary the song and break from the previous two tracks monotonous melody. The guitar does however hold its own in this song as a marvelous solo provides a balance to the song. The lyrics are relevant to life in the sense that they speak about the typical religious person who believes they are right and all others are wrong and condemned and don’t deserve help of any kind. The lyrics are short but intelligent and make the listener sympathetic and also driven with the same kind of thinking.

Track Length: 3:47

Tempo: Thrash

Mood: Anger

Lyrical Quote: “Before you judge me take a look at you. Cant you find something better to do”

Pro’s:

Refreshing tempo.

Great Lyrics.

Con’s:

Intro too harsh when listening to the album on full volume.

Rating:

Percussion Instruments – 9

String instruments – 7

Vocals – 7

Lyrics – 8

Replay ability – 6

Overall Rating – 7.4

4.The Unforgiven

A truly brilliant intro to the song as we are introduced to the mood immediately; somber but also filled with some encouragement. We encounter gentle string plucking with lead guitar entering to set the riff in place. As always the drum enters in a burst and with the use of a clever pause the song explodes into rhythm. The whole tempo of the song is slowed from previous ones into a 4 count. The song has one of my favourite solo pieces which starts with a gentle progression into a fast climaxing and rather intense climax. The solo ends in a long note which allows the rhythm to re-enter. The lyrics are also exquisite with the story of a person who has done many things in their life and who is now looking back with some remorse and desire. But we see this person is not just saddened but sees hope.

Track Length: 6:27

Tempo: Slow rhythmical

Mood: Sombre

Lyrical Quote: “They dedicate their lives to running all of his. He tries to please them all this bitter man he is.”

Pro’s:

Incredible solo.

Perfect length with enough variation.

Con’s:

None.

Rating:

Percussion Instruments – 6

String instruments – 9

Vocals – 7

Lyrics – 9

Replay ability – 9

Overall Rating – 8

5.Wherever I may roam.

This songs rhythm is tied into the lyrics beautifully. We have the intro being soft and it follows a progressive scale but it bursts into distortion with the crash of symbols. The guitar is clean and smooth to the ears. The chorus is remarkable as is uses chord sliding in it to give a lovely variation. The lyrics talk of a man who is a traveler who lives life as it comes with its ups and down. The traveler needs no one and will not care for anyone. Variation in vocals after the chorus gives the track a feeling of possession. As if an ominous force is truly in control of the traveler.

Track Length: 6:44

Tempo: Upbeat

Mood: Arrogance

Lyrical Quote: “To the game you stay a slave”

Pro’s:

Great chord sliding.

Lovely to listen to when one feels rebellious.

Con’s:

Hardly ever performed live due to Sitar.

Rating:

Percussion Instruments – 6

String instruments – 6

Vocals – 6

Lyrics – 7

Replay ability – 9

Overall Rating – 6.8

6.Don’t Tread on Me

We are thrown into this track’s abusive and violent nature. The song oozes arrogance and power. It throws the listen up and down with its rhythm but has lead guitar piercing the violence to give clear and precise riffs which vary well through the song. The bridge to the chorus is formed using a fast drum roll which one hears at regular intervals throughout the song. The lyrics return to Metallica’s regular topic; war. The song is speaking of a nation preparing to go to war with its mighty air force that can enter enemy lines with speed and extreme destruction. The songs lyrics are incredibly smart as they subtly hint at the theme.

Track Length: 4:00

Tempo: Flowing

Mood: Power

Lyrical Quote: “Liberty or death, what we so proudly hail”

Pro’s:

Meaningful and well written lyrics.

Great to listen to when one feels in need of upliftment.

Con’s:

To short for my liking.

Lyrics could have another verse.

Rating:

Percussion Instruments – 8

String instruments – 8

Vocals – 7

Lyrics – 8

Replay ability – 7

Overall Rating – 7.6

7.Through the Never

Again we encounter this fast upbeat tempo. With what seems to be Metallica’s formula for this Album the stop the rhythm with a pause which allows the drum and lead riff to start taking over the song. The song is lacking in variation and seems to be very monotonous. The drum beat is standard off-beat and the solo is the only part which brings the song back to Metallica standard. After the solo we hear a very strange and clumsy interlude in the song which seems out of place and not really necessary. The lyrics are unique in that they speak of man’s discovery of his universe and its beginning. The theme however is also not really relevant to the time as 1991 had no massive breakthroughs in this field.

Track Length: 4:04

Tempo: Thrash

Mood: Truth Seeking

Lyrical Quote: “All alone in the family of the sun. Curiosity teasing everyone.”

Pro’s:

Interesting Lyrics

Con’s:

Awkward interlude.

Monotonous.

Rating:

Percussion Instruments – 6

String instruments – 6

Vocals – 5

Lyrics – 7

Replay ability – 4

Overall Rating – 5.6

8. Nothing Else Matters

One of Metallica’s greats! This song is rhythmically perfect, harmonic, meaningful and simply beautiful to the ear. It has been the song which has mad Metallica known by the non-metal enthusiast. The whole song is plucked on the guitar and has just the right amount of variation to keep the listener hoping the song would simply continue. The lyrics are a perfect compliment to the song. They speak of ones confidence and believe in oneself. Although the lyrics could well be arrogant they surprisingly come across as more of an anthem of youth and self-confidence. The song has a gentle solo piece in the middle that gives the listener a break from the rhythm but still keeps enough of the rhythm to enforce the song. The climax’s solo is in my opinion unrivalled. It builds you up slowly then with high pitch chord play it gives you a short but memorable climax. The song gently fades away like a feather in the wind and has a calm ending.

Track Length: 6.28

Tempo: Calm

Mood: Sombre

Lyrical Quote: “Never opened myself this way, life is ours we live it our way.”

Pro’s:

Great Lyrics.

Amazing rhythm.

Beautiful sounding song.

Con’s:

None

Rating:

Percussion Instruments – 6

String instruments – 10

Vocals – 8

Lyrics – 7

Replay ability – 9

Overall Rating – 8

9. Of Wolf and Man.

The song is awkwardly placed on the album. It is very harsh will beating of the snare drum making one feel filled with a sense of aggravation. It does however place one into the correct mood for a song which compares man to an animal. The riff in the song however is interesting and also makes one forget about the previous masterpiece and almost as if you are transforming into the werewolf the song which was initially harsh becomes pleasant and enjoyable. The solo is also wild and harsh on the ears but still pleasing. This song has unique lyrics and speaks of man transforming into a werewolf. With good variation the lyrics enforce the rhythm and one soon understands the harshness.

Track Length: 4:16

Tempo: Heavy rhythmic

Mood: Animal-like

Lyrical Quote: “Fear in your eyes, it’s later than you realized.”

Pro’s:

Grows one you like mould.

Con’s:

Placed incorrectly on the album.

Rating:

Percussion Instruments – 6

String instruments – 6

Vocals – 6

Lyrics – 7

Replay ability – 6

Overall Rating – 6.2

10. The God that Failed

Unlike Metallica we have the bass guitarist playing the intro but is quickly drowned out by the lead guitarist. The riff for the song is remarkable and pauses and plays and pauses and plays the whole song through. The bridge is accompanied by the intro riff and unfortunately the chorus leaves much to be desired when compared to the main guitar riff. The heaviness of the guitar in the verses is pleasant and one wants to put it louder and louder. The lyrics speak of a man that has turned away from God and who does not need a God in his life as he is who he is through himself.

Track Length: 5:08

Tempo: Heavy rhythmic

Mood: Arrogance

Lyrical Quote: “I hear faith in your cries”

Pro’s:

True Heavy metal verse!!

Con’s:

Lackluster chorus.

Rating:

Percussion Instruments – 6

String instruments – 7

Vocals – 7

Lyrics – 2

Replay ability – 7

Overall Rating – 5.8

11. My Friend of Misery

The intro to the song is a simple progression which is soon enforced with distortion and a distorted rhythm piece. The rhythm piece is remarkable and while it is simple it is full of variation. The drum beat is the typical 8 count with a double base on the last count, much like the standard swing beat. The chorus has not really got a proper bridge and sort of happens which is below the normal Metallica standard. The lyrics speak of a person who has immense trouble in life wants no-ones help or care. The person simply lives life and lets all the burdens build till the person becomes alone or surrounded by others who want to be miserable.

Track Length: 4:16

Tempo: Heavy rhythmic

Mood: Animal-like

Lyrical Quote: “Your insisted that the wight of the world should be on your shoulders.’

Pro’s:

An incredible rhythmic riff.

Con’s:

Drum beat is simple and uninteresting.

Rating:

Percussion Instruments – 5

String instruments – 8

Vocals – 6

Lyrics – 6

Replay ability – 6

Overall Rating – 6.2

11. The Struggle Within

A military style drum intro begins the song and with the sliding and long chord guitar riff which follows one is reminded of an air force squadron flying through the air as in “Top Gun”. The intro ends, however, and the song changes personality. A new intro starts and one sees that what you just heard was all a mask and the true song has none of the passion that you just heard. The thrashing song comes back and a screaming type of vocals comes through. The song is too long with far too little variation. The lyrics speak of a person who lives life safely but feels that he is boring. He has no fun because without danger life is somewhat simple and mediocre.

Track Length: 3:53

Tempo: Thrash

Mood: Condescending

Lyrical Quote: “Kicking at a dead horse pleases you, no way of showing your gratitude.”

Pro’s:

Military and passionate intro.

Con’s:

Song turns into something totally different to what one thought.

Rating:

Percussion Instruments – 7

String instruments – 5

Vocals – 5

Lyrics – 5

Replay ability – 1

Overall Rating – 4.6

Final Say:

The album is true to Metallica and I suggest any fan buys it. All fans of metal will enjoy this album and it is a worthwhile buy when one considers the album length and sheer musical talent.

Composition – 6

Musical Enjoyment – 9

Lyrical Enjoyment – 6

Replay ability – 9

Musical Aging – 9

Price – 7

Availability – 10

Graphics of album – 7

Extra features – 0

Truthfulness to sound – 9

Overall Album Rating – 7.2

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