By Rafael Almanza
Rock music has been around since the 1900s, with blues rock being one of the first genres to emerge from Black Americans. The rhythm and blues genre was influenced by gospel music and traditional folk music. Heavily influenced by the blues, rock became a genre that became very popular worldwide. Rock 'n' roll has a little more distortion than blues, which changes the sound of the music and is seen as a creative effect. However, soon after, people wanted heavier music, which meant more distortion, which is where the metal genre was born. One of the most iconic metal bands worldwide is Metallica.
“ . . . Take a look to the sky just before you die
It's the last time you will
Blackened roar massive roar fills the crumbling sky
Shattered goal fills his soul with a ruthless cry
Stranger now, are his eyes, to this mystery
He hears the silence so loud . . . ”
Some of the most famous lyrics from Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" song from the "Ride the Lightning" album. These lyrics describe how death affects not only the person who encounters it, but also everyone else the person may have known. The majority of Metallica's lyrics are about real-life issues that we all face at some point in our lives. Many songs may contain disturbing messages, even if they are relatable. The band has become very popular in the metal music genre and has had an even greater impact on their listeners.
In 1983, Metallica came out with their first official album, “Kill’Em All”, which featured songs such as “The Four Horsemen”, “Seek & Destroy”, and “No Remorse”. The band landed on the album name when bassist, Cliff Burton, was upset about the fact that their original name was denied for being too vulgar. Then later on in 1986, Metallica became more known when they released their third album, the “Master of Puppets.'' It was rated their most successful album since the band used more of a thrash metal rhythm, and it seems fans were blown away by it. Most of their songwriting was left up to two of the band members, Hetfield and Ulrich, who were inspired by bands such as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin to write lyrics about certain topics that can occur upon people and how these things impact their life.
In 1983 guitarist Dave Mustaine was “ejected” from the band for his drug abuse and having a bad influence on the other band members. Nonetheless, this didn’t stop Metallica from performing and soon afterwards 16 year old guitarist, Kirk Hammett, joined Metallica. The rest of the band really enjoyed having Hammett in their band and thought that he was a phenomenal guitarist.
Unfortunately, shortly after the release of the “Master of Puppets” album, Metallica lost their bassist Cliff Burton on September 27th, 1986. While the band was on tour, the driver unfortunately lost control of the bus, where Burton decided to jump out the window for safety. However the bus ended up rolling over him. The other members survived with minor injuries but were furious about losing a member. Later that year, Metallica recruited a new bassist, 23 year old Jason Curtis Newsted.
While Guns N’ Roses was on tour, Metallica thought it’d be a good idea to co-headline with them. While performing the song “Fade to Black”, guitarist and singer James Hetfield was standing too close to one of the pyrotechnic machines on stage. When the machine shot out flashes of magnesium that burned at about 12,000 degrees, his left arm and hand were lit on fire. Shortly after the incident, a stage member dumped water over him and covered him in a towel. Hetfield was rushed to the hospital, and someone had to fill in for his part. Today James Hetfield still has the scars but still happily performs with Metallica.
Metallica has had many ups and downs but yet they are still considered one of the best and most iconic bands. Metallica has overall won many Grammys for their music and to this day still release music and go on tour. Their band has sold more than 125 million albums worldwide. They are definitely a band worth checking out if you are into the metal genre, or are looking forward to getting into it.