If you liked the Metallica album just don’t read this. Let’s just agree to disagree, and you can listen to Hefield Whoah-oho you to sleep each night while holding your inner child tightly.
Why would you bother with the new Metallica? How can I possibly get some form of cathartic release from the music made by 4 multimillionaires who are patently disdainful of their moronically loyal fanbase. If you watch Some Kind of Monster, they’re not even making music for the potent emotional release it affords. They buy art or ride horses or work on cars or surf for that abreaction. They rely on these hobbies to take away the dread realities of being famous musicians much the same way that young kids and unknown bands make music to escape their daily life. That’s why fuck Metallica–it’s a day job for them and just because they’ve had one good day amongst 20 years of being the workplace bludger doesn’t mean we celebrate them. That’s why we all hate working: the wrong people get the glory and attention, the glass ceiling exists always.
People saying it’s good are clearly saying “It’s better than we expected given the last 25 years of shit music they’ve asked us to buy off them”, and if this is all it takes to make “good music” these days then, Yes, it is good. It actually sound like Metallica from circa ’91, but a bit more Anthrax-y. Hetfield’s vocals are warmed with some reverb that resembles a comfortable diaper for him to shit in with his steroidal rockabilly crooning. Stylistically it’s just wildly inconsistent.
Moth to Flames sounds like power metal that Sonata Arctica thought was way beneath them releasing being sung by ageing music teachers whose idea of rebellion is smoking a cheeky durry behind the groundskeeper’s shed at recess. Like, it’s that toothless and mild. Not to say there aren’t some good riffs occasionally, like one Atlas, Rise! or Murder One but there’s more to making good and effective metal than resuscitating some licks from your old book of cast-offs. It doesn’t advance heavy music in anyway; they haven’t drastically altered their image or ‘brand’; and they haven’t bought thrash–the genre they ruled for two decades– back into the mainstream. Before the purists come after me, it’s not even a thrash album, it’s like metal-core and heavy rock amalgamated half as good as the majority of modern bands would do if they didn’t see it as the most boring, corporate, old man sound to ever chase. Like if the world’s most renowned chef just cooked tepid pumpkin soup for every service, and called any youngster who made a virtuosic Galantine overly ambitious with no skill. Imagine the type of authority that has nothing to offer except its authority, nothing to say except: “you didn’t pay me enough debt for that.” Metallica, the grey ceiling. The sound of this album? Imagine Load and Reload funnelled through crunchy NWOBHM while sucking its own thumb to old glowing reviews.
Why does a band of millionaires who’ve already had their influence on modern music still get thrown these bones and get shine for bullshit? A new group has to smash all glass ceilings, come out with fanfare, and basically has to change the current face of music (either through their sound, appearance, or new methods of distribution) to even get noticed, and even then their music is not judged on its own but in the matrix of all new releases and the hallowed back-catalogue of classic. The only thing they’ve done different with this album is to release all the tracks simultaneously as individual videos on youtube which could be interesting if it wasn’t just a money grubbing ploy to get as much revenue as possible for their meagre efforts a la their Napster suits in the 90’s (Napster was the new wave, the precursor to the entire way the music biz is ran now, and Metallica hated it, hated change and newness as they still apparently do– even Fred Durst was more preceptive and liberal on the topic than them). This is what’s so annoying with modern consumerist culture and it’s influence on art, which should be free of mercenary concerns and purely about making other people feel. These album doesn’t make me feel anything except disgusted for my hero-worship of these guys when I was 14, and glad they’ll never get another one of my dollars. Everything I liked about them finally and consummately died around St Anger (2003), as I imagine it did for most fans. I’ll still love their earlier albums and acknowledge they were some of the best in metal EVER, still listenable to this day, but for every action there is an opposite reaction and that is what we are witnessing, like a supernova exploding, now.
The most metal things are: authenticity, non-conforming, and independence, something we’ve seen all the big 4 thrash bands disregard in the last decade (except Anthrax who were always the meaner more genuine little child). And still, young, forward thinking groups with an abundance of talent are being cut down and homogenised because they don’t want to follow the recipe, because they think and innovate and so have to be cut into perfect little squares by the music industry to survive without some god-like providence. All backward, everything Metallica stands for being destroyed with their every venal action.
Like, how can you market an album on the fact that its less shit than their other albums. Modern culture of the lowest common denominator. Either listen to old Metallica the they were good, or listen to one of a plethora of modern bands who are better, more emotionally ferocious and more individual than these old codgers.