Metallica grabbed me by the throat at age 11. I had been sent against my wishes to a week-long Boy Scout summer camp. We had classes to attend. I skipped them and hung out with the older "burn outs." They stealthily chain-smoked cigarettes while talking in great detail about the female anatomy and heavy metal. I had no clue about either.
The big kids with the stubble, combat boots, ripped jeans and black T's put on the cassette Master of Puppets. For the first time, I found music frightening. Seriously, that shit scared me. I didn't know what to make of it--at first. By the time I entered junior high Metallica's self-titled album became the biggest rock record of 1991. Like everyone else, I bought a copy of the CD, loved it, and started going through the band's back catalogue.
By high school, Metallica tapes were helping me survive agonizing, wrestling-season, weight-loss runs--and preparing me for high-stakes matches. But then wrestling ended, Load came out right around graduation, and, like all but the most worshipful fans, I thought it mostly sucked. Spent the summer partying and rocking The Fugees. As the years went by my interest in Metallica continued to fade. I even passed on the doc Some Kind of Monster. Prefer to remember the band as heavy metal heroes, not a bunch of whiny, middle-age millionaires.
But then I read Metallica would be recording with Rick Rubin, who has helmed some of my--and likely your-- favorite records of all time. If he could make Johnny Cash cool again, Rubin might just be able to revive Metallica, right? And damn if he did. Big time. Forget what the stuck-in-the-'80s purists might say, Death Magnetic, which dropped last September, is an excellent album.
So, yeah, I'm stoked about reviewing tonight's show. From a classic like "Seek and Destroy" to "All Nightmare Long" (see clip below), my favorite from the new album, I'm looking forward to a punishingly loud, three-decade-spanning evening of thrash-n-metal mastery.