I have been listening to the band Metallica for over twenty five years. The album Master of Puppets completely changed my life. I remember playing it for the first time (a C60 cassette that my friend Anne-Marie had recorded on from her vinyl): I was mesmerised from the classical guitar introduction of Battery through to the final closing riff of the insanely fast Damage, Inc.
I became (for want of a better word) obsessed with the band. Every magazine article that mentioned them (Kerrang! and Metal Hammer were essential reading) was pored over, digested and memorised. I got my hands on as many ridculously poor quality gig bootlegs as possible. I grew my hair long. I told my parents that I wanted to leave school and follow the band around the world (in a pathetic attempt to emulate Lars and his stalking of Diamond Head). I ate, slept and breathed Metallica.
That obsession, first developed as a shy and timid twelve year old, has barely waned over the last quarter of a century. There have been some truly amazing personal moments (the first time I saw the band in 1992; being crushed on the barrier at Donington in 1995) and also some moments that, frankly, I’d rather forget (the feather boas in the video for Until It Sleeps; Lars’ white leather jacket; all of St. Anger). Which leads me, in a rather long winded way, to the reason behind this post: Lulu.
I’m not going to go into the history of the project. It’s written far more eloquently elsewhere. I just need to say that after hearing the car crash mismatch that is The View I was left stunned. And not in a good way either. Stunned because I couldn’t comprehend the turgid, leaden and laborious sludge filling my headphones. So I listened to it again. And then for a third time.
I have yet to manage a fourth attempt.
This will be the first Metallica-related album in twenty years that I haven’t bought immediately on release day (the first being 1991’s self-titled opus that propelled the band into mega stardom). Which is a shame. It’s a state of affairs that I never thought would happen. Not that the band would give a flying friar – they’ve always been honest about the simple fact that they make music for themselves, not the fans.
Does this mean that my love affair with the band is over? Calling it quits after celebrating a silver anniversary together? I hope not. I just have to make sure that I don’t start listening to Muse. Hah! Of course not. As if I would. That would be ridiculous! That’s as likely to happen as Metallica making a record with Lou Re…oh.
If all else fails – at least I’ll always have Seattle 1989.
PS. It’s also twenty five years since Clifford Lee Burton was taken from this world. *shakes head*
PPS. Metallica and collaborations really don’t work. It’s historical FACT. We Did It Again anyone?