Celebrating 1/4 Century Of Metallica’s “The Black Album” (1991-2016)

Today is a great day my Metal friends because it is not only Friday but it’s also the 25th Anniversary of Metallica’s eponymously titled album “Metallica” or as I’ve liked to call it along with so many others – “The Black Album”. In honor of this Music Milestone I figured that I would share some personal reflections and key information about this particular release. Like always, the deeper, finer details can be found on the Wikipedia link below as it’s all there for the research. “The Black Album” was a real departure from the kind of Metal that Metallica was playing on its earlier albums and with the majority of the songs there was a slower pace to them and a crunching groove that allowed each song to seamlessly work together. When the album was released I was a much bigger Metallica fan than I had ever been in the beginning and despite the different sound, I found a good number of the tracks appealing. It was hard to not have this being the case considering that conventional Rock radio was playing Metallica songs and this was something I never thought I would experience unless it was a late night Heavy Metal showcasing program. “The Black Album” would come care of Elektra Records and was produced by Bob Rock.

The shock that Metallica members all cut their hair to really short lengths was not something the diehard Metalheads dealt with all that easily and I remember many friends saying how the band had sold out by doing so. I didn’t think this but could see how they felt this way and since I was very active in regional Metal at the time, I only wanted my hair longer and longer. Time has changed that for me something fierce at the point of this anniversary toast LOL. The hair cutting and sound change was a clear sign that the mighty Metallica was aiming at a new and hopefully even greater success. Considering that five tracks of the albums total twelve were regularly heard on radio and music video stations (yes we still had those at the time and they played music videos more than anything else). Let’s take a look at the tracks on the original release below.

Track 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. The God That Failed
11. My Friend Of Misery
12. The Struggle Within

For me the favorites remain in all of those five tracks that were regularly in rotation and those are “Enter Sandman”, “Sad But True”, “The Unforgiven”, “Nothing Else Matters” and “Wherever I May Roam”. When I find myself listening to the album for any reason in today’s world those are the first ones that I will play. Yeah I felt that “Of Wolf And Man” and “Don’t Tread On Me” were good ones too but they never spoke to me as much as those other ones did. Thinking back on the time of this release I remember “The Black Album” as being something that pretty much every Rocker that I knew owned a copy of and I admitted some surprise when I would find those who were more into the Disco and Rap stuff digging into it. Such a thing was unheard of with “Ride The Lighting” and “Master Of Puppets”. There was a clear and visible dividing line between musical genres back in the day that’s for sure. Today I don’t mind when new fans listen to Metal. The more the merrier in my opinion so the genre keeps strong. I did catch the tour that supported the album back in December of that same 1991 year. To my recall I had been given a pair of tickets by a local DJ friend who had some extras so a dear friend and I made our way to Long Island to rock out like only Brooklyn could. I don’t remember if they were playing Madison Square Garden around the tour but didn’t mind the trek to Nassau Coliseum since it was straight-forward. Congrats to James, Lars, Kirk and Jason on this molten milestone. An album that remains as hot as the temperature outside of our own Metal metropolis. Its almost 100 degrees as I write this narrative. Stay hydrated my friends and enjoy our writings from a well ventilated and comfortable space (like an air conditioned apartment or coffee house).

What were your favorites from this album or were some of the recollections that you had about it. Please let me know in the comments section below. I’d love to hear them.

Official Album Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metallica_(album)
Official Website: http://www.metallica.com

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