Metallica is an American heavy metal band that formed in 1981. Since its inception, the band has had four different drummers. Their longest-lasting drummer was Lars Ulrich, who joined the group and original guitarist Dave Mustaine in 1981 after answering a newspaper advertisement. Metallica’s early releases included fast tempos, instrumentals, and aggressive musicianship that placed them as one of the “big four” of the thrash metal subgenre alongside Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax during the genre’s development into a popular style. The band earned a growing fan base in the underground music community and critical acclaim through their first three albums; their fourth album, Master of Puppets (1986), was described as one of the most influential and “heavy” thrash metal albums. The band expanded its musical direction and achieved substantial commercial success with its eponymous fifth album Metallica (1991), resulting in an extended public controversy about the future of heavy metal music.
Metallica’s sixth studio album Reload (1997) combined the group’s heavy, guitar-driven sound with blues rock, hard rock, acoustic rock, and alternative rock elements. It was another huge commercial success for the band; they domestically sold over 16 million copies and became one of the best-selling albums worldwide. The band followed up on Reload’s success by touring extensively and releasing a series of live recordings during the late 1990s. In 2003, Metallica suffered its biggest blow when longtime bassist Jason Newsted abruptly left the group over personal differences. Hetfield and Lars Ulrich were troubled with this development but managed to find a replacement in time for the band’s first tour of the United States in eight years. Newsted’s last performance with Metallica was on July 17, 2004, at Summer Sanitarium in San Francisco, California.
The band recruited former Suicidal Tendencies/Ozzy Osbourne bassist Robert Trujillo in October 2003. It announced that he would be performing with them on their upcoming South American tour two months later. Since 2006, they have been promoting all their albums by playing them from start to finish during live performances (often referred to as “Albums & Dates”). In 2008, Metallica went into an “indefinite hiatus,” allowing the members to work on side projects and take a break from Metallica. The band returned to active touring in 2010 and 2011 with festival appearances and touring around North America and Japan for three months each year; these were the first since 2005. The band announced on May 2021 that they would do one more #MetallicaMondays on May 24 to benefit their All Within My Hands Foundation. To help you know more about this amazing band, here are 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Metallica:
# 1 – They Intentionally Didn’t Make Music Videos
There is a reason why Metallica never made music videos; they were too busy making music. The band members didn’t want to make cheesy videos and waste their time. The band didn’t like the professionalism of most low-budget videos, which made them change their mind on music videos only when they realized they needed a new promotional tool on MTV with a huge amount of airtime on this channel.
# 2 – Enter Sandman was added at the last second
It’s well known that “Enter Sandman,” is one of Metallica’s best songs. What some don’t know, however, is that this song was originally excluded from the album and wasn’t included until it was time to master the record. The lyrics were then quickly written and recorded just days before the deadline.
# 3 – Metallica suffered a great loss in 1986
The first version of “Master Of Puppets” lacks one significant element that makes the final product powerful. On March 27, 1986, bassist/vocalist Cliff Burton died in a bus accident, and the band called it quits for several months to grieve. During this period, Metallica manager Q Prime made them go back to develop new songs and re-record what they had previously created for what would become known as “the other six songs.”
# 4 – Metallica is part of the BIG FOUR
The Big Four is four bands whose members are influential founding fathers of Thrash Metal; they are generally cited as having set the standards for and laying the groundwork for this particular genre in heavy metal. The Big Four, according to most observers, include Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth, and Metallica. These four bands were considered to have defined thrash metal differently with their album releases throughout the ’80s. These albums had different influences, including hardcore punk and traditional heavy metal.
# 5 – The original cover painting for the album sold at auction for $28,000
Instead of commissioning an artist to render their ideas, Metallica hired illustrator Don Brautigam who created his art based on Cyrus Melchor’s concept. The original was later acquired by Conni Marie Brazelton, who sold it at auction in June of 2011 for $28,000.
# 6 – All Nightmare Long Was Originally Slated For St. Anger
“All Nightmare Long,” is not only one of the top five Metallica songs, but it has also been hailed as one of their best efforts in recent years. This particular song was originally slated for inclusion on 2003’s St. Anger; however, some difficulties were getting the song just right. It wasn’t included on this record when it was finished. It has since become part of setlists during live shows supporting Death Magnetic in 2008/2009.
# 7 – Metallica is legendary for their concerts
It is probably accurate to say that no band even comes close to offering the caliber of live performances like Metallica delivers. Their stage show is the stuff of legends. The band members all enjoy engaging in “battle of the bands” with each other that frequently spills over into their lyrics and music, which keeps fans on their toes when they see a Metallica concert.
# 8 – Geddy Lee was supposed to be their producer
It has been well documented that Rush’s Geddy Lee was originally slated to become Metallica’s producer for this iconic debut release after they fired Bob Rock. However, due to scheduling conflicts, he could not do so, so he offered his hand at mixing instead. He also ended up playing bass on three tracks while Ron McGovney handled things on four others.
# 9 – Lars was originally supposed to be fired
When James Hetfield’s drinking got completely out of control in 1985, some band members wanted to fire Ulrich, while others advocated for giving him another chance after showing signs of improvement shortly after that.
# 10 – Ulrich borrowed a snare drum from Def Leppard’s Rick Allen
During the recording sessions for this album, Ulrich had to borrow drumming equipment from veteran rockers Rick Allen (of Def Leppard fame) and Vinnie Paul (of Pantera ) due to his kit not arriving until they were almost completed. However, this was not a big deal as he had no issue with borrowing a snare drum from Allen.
In conclusion, the band’s debut release is still considered one of their top efforts and continues to influence bands playing thrash metal/heavy metal and those who work with bands playing similar genres. Although other bands influenced them, Metallica managed to put their unique spin on things, and non-fans realized that they stood out from the rest by 1986, when Kill ‘Em All was making waves. Today, it endures as a classic that has earned its place among the best albums in the history of heavy metal.