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Metallica Lyrics

Metallica - Biography

Metallica was formed in Downey, California, in 1981 by Lars Ulrich
and James Hetfield after they each placed classified advertisements
in the publication The Recycler. Hetfield, who had been influenced
by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal or NWOBHM, tried to start his
own band before contacting Ulrich but was unsuccessful. Bassist Ron
McGovney was an original member, and the band used a few transient
guitar players, such as Brad Parker and Jeff Warner. At their first
session, in Lars Ulrich's garage, there were only three members,
Ulrich, Hetfield, and Lloyd Grant, but McGovney joined a few days
later.

Metallica was easily the best, most influential heavy metal band of
the '80s, responsible for bringing the music back to Earth. Instead
of playing the usual rock star games of metal stars of the early
'80s, the band looked and talked like they were from the street.
Metallica expanded the limits of thrash, using speed and volume not
for their own sake, but to enhance their intricately structured
compositions. The release of 1983's Kill 'Em All marked the
beginning of the legitimization of heavy metal's underground,
bringing new complexity and depth to thrash metal. With each album,
the band's playing and writing improved; James Hetfield developed a
signature rhythm playing that matched his growl, while lead
guitarist Kirk Hammett became one of the most copied guitarists in
metal. Lars Ulrich's thunderous, yet complex, drumming clicked in
perfectly with Cliff Burton's innovative bass playing. After
releasing their masterpiece Master of Puppets in 1986, tragedy
struck the band when their tour bus crashed while traveling in
Sweden, killing Burton. When the band decided to continue, Jason
Newsted was chosen to replace Burton; two years later, the band
released the conceptually ambitious ...And Justice for All, which
hit the Top Ten without any radio play and very little support from
MTV. But Metallica completely crossed over into the mainstream with
1991's Metallica, which found the band trading in their long
compositions for more concise song structures; it resulted in a
number one album that sold over seven million copies in the U.S.
alone. The band launched a long, long tour which kept them on the
road for nearly two years. By the '90s, Metallica had changed the
rules for all heavy metal bands; they were the leaders of the genre,
respected not only by headbangers, but by mainstream record buyers
and critics. No other heavy metal band has ever been able to pull
off such a trick. However, the group lost some members of their core
audience with their long-awaited follow-up to Metallica, 1996's
Load. For Load, the band decided to move toward alternative rock in
terms of image -- they cut their hair and had their picture taken by
Anton Corbijn. Although the album was a hit upon its summer release
-- entering the charts at number one and selling three million
copies within two months -- certain members of their audience
complained about the shift in image, as well as the group's decision
to headline the sixth Lollapalooza. Re-Load, which combined new
material with songs left off of the Load record, appeared in 1997;
despite poor reviews, it sold at a typically brisk pace through the
next year. Garage Inc., a double-disc collection of B-sides,
rarities, and newly recorded covers, followed in 1998. In 1999,
Metallica continued their flood of product with S&M, documenting
a live concert with the San Francisco Symphony; it debuted at number
two, reconfirming their immense popularity.

The band spent most of 2000 embroiled in controversy by spearheading
a legal assault on Napster, a file-sharing service that allowed
users to download music files from each other's computers.
Aggressively targeting copyright infringement of their own material,
the band notoriously had over 300,000 users kicked off the service,
creating a widespread debate over the availability of digital music
that raged for most of the year. In January 2001, bassist Jason
Newsted announced his amicable departure from the band. Shortly
after the band appeared at the ESPN awards in April of the same
year, Hetfield, Hammett, and Ulrich entered the recording studio to
begin work on their next album, with producer Bob Rock lined up to
handle bass duties for the sessions (with rumors of former Ozzy
Osbourne/Alice in Chains bassist Mike Inez being considered for the
vacated position). In July, Metallica surprisingly dropped their
lawsuit against Napster, perhaps sensing that their controversial
stance did more bad than good to their "band of the
people" image. In late summer 2001, the band's recording
sessions (and all other band-related matters) were put on hold as
Hetfield entered an undisclosed rehab facility for alcoholism and
other addictions. He completed treatment and rejoined the band and
they headed back into the studio in 2002 to record St. Anger,
released in mid-2003. The recording of St. Anger was capped with the
search for a permanent replacement for Newstead. After a long
audition process, former Ozzy Osbourne/Suicidal Tendencies bass
player Robert Trujillo was selected and joined Metallica for their
2003/2004 world tour. The growing pains the band experienced during
the recording process of St. Anger were captured in the celebrated
documentary Some Kind of Monster which saw theatrical release in
2004. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Greg Prato
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