Metallica: The Good, The Bad, And The Lulu

Sean Harris

So, for my very first official article here on GunShyAssassin, I have to cover a band that everyone in the metal community has an opinion on. Love them, hate them, or love to hate them, Metallica is a big reason why we’re all here.

They’ve blazed quite a trail and I can honestly say they’re the number one reason why I picked up a guitar. Over the years, many transformations have occurred including almost completely changing what genre Metallica was associated with. At the end of the day, though, we’ll all remember them for what they truly are: the band that brought heavy metal to the forefront.

Thirty years has been the lifespan of the Bay Area Bangers. Three separate decades that have given us The Good, The Bad and The Lulu.

The Good: 1981-1991

In the ’80s, Metallica could basically do no wrong. Four albums. Four masterpieces. Could quite possibly be one of the best four album runs ever. From the opening of “Hit The Lights” to the close of “Dyers Eve,” pure metal insanity was brought down upon us from the gods. Cliff Burton was the Messiah. No one could shred a bass like that crazy motherfucker. “Orion” is the best instrumental I’ve ever heard in my life due to Cliff’s larger than life bass lines. Kirk proved he could hang with the big boys, James’ songwriting was off the charts amazing and Lars actually had talent.

When we entered the 1990s, there was quite a shift in the music industry. Metal was no longer the focal point as bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam took center stage. But Metallica would not falter. Say what you want about The Black Album; is it ‘Radio friendly’ and ‘Mainstream?’ Yes on both accounts. BUT even though it’s not nearly as heavy as it’s ’80s brethren, it’s still a solid album that holds up to this day. I’ll take “Holier Than Thou” over any over-produced mass media bullshit that passes as music these days.

Unfortunately, as the Wherever We May Roam tour concluded, there was a need for some more Metallica. We all needed our fix, but what we received was definitely not what we expected.

The Bad: 1992-2002

Thrash metal roots be damned! Social and political overtones can wait outside. No more “Masters” and no more “Rides.” The long awaited first single brought tears to metalheads everywhere, and not tears of joy. There’s a reason why “Until It Sleeps” never gets played live anymore. That same reason also applies to “Thorn Within,” “Cure,” “Ronnie” and “The House Jack Built.”

They all suck the big one.

Reload wasn’t much better. All it did was further prove that the Grammy’s are a complete fucking farce. “Better Than You” won the award for Best Metal Performance, Reload went triple platinum, and Cliff vomited in his grave. I think the only thing good thing to come out of that album is the “Fuel” memes that keep popping up on the internet. ‘Give me food, give me fries, give me salad on the sides’ takes the cake for me. Admit it, you didn’t just say that, you sang it.

The millennium came and gone and our computers were safe, debunking the Y2K conspiracy theorists and their virgin status. How would Metallica enter the 21st century? By going into therapy, losing Jason Newsted and James quitting alcohol and entering rehab. As if his voice hasn’t been deteriorating over the last 10 years, he has to stop drinking too?! This turmoil would bring us the most recent decade and if you thought I ripped on ‘Tallica in the 90′s, just you wait my friends.

The Lulu: 2003-2012

St. Anger. Need I say more? I can’t even begin to converse on how much I despise this truly horrible piece of shit. Actually, fuck it. This is my column and I’ll do as I please. Let me present to you…

Top 6 Reasons Why St. Anger Is An Abominably Unacceptable Garbage Can Snare of Shit

1. Garbage can lid snare. Maybe if Lars emptied it, 1 song might be listenable.

2. 8 minute songs that run 6:57 too long.

3. No solos! Did Kirk lose his Wah Pedal? Imagine a Lamb of God album where Chris Adler abandons his double kick. I don’t want to live in that world.

4. James’ singing evolves from a pre-pubescent 12-year-old to a 67-year-old with lung cancer in one fell swoop.

5. Yes we know you’re angry but you don’t have to mention it 33 times in 1 song. I think you achieved “Setting Your Anger Free,” so shut it.

6. Bob Rock on bass.

Death Magnetic was light years ahead of the “Crap Album,” but still felt like a “Lack Album.” It did do things right like axing Bob Rock, guitar solos etc., but something’s surely missing. An OK effort at best. On the other hand, nothing could prepare us for what was about to rear it’s ugly head into the metal scene.

Lou Reed.

The guy’s a legend but did he attain his status writing 8 minute metal epics? The boys in Metallica are legends but did they attain their status with lyrics like, “I am the table?” Eighty-seven minutes this album lasted. I can only manage listening to 2 of them. I think Chuck Klosterman said it best:

“If The Red Hot Chili Peppers covered the 12 worst Primus songs for Starbucks, it would still be (slightly) better than this.”

So that’s it for me. I’ve done my share of bashing. Imagine what someone would say if they didn’t like this band? I’m off to the front row of the floor at Rogers Arena in Vancouver to see them film their 3D movie! Boys I’m only going to state this once:

Let’s keep it ’80s (And early ’90s)…

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