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YMMV / Metallica

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  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Newsted after he left. In keeping with the band's unpleasable fanbase, after spending 14 years as the Replacement Scrappy, he left, only for some of those fans to suddenly decide he really was very talented and how terrible it was that the other members mistreated him like they did.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The 2016 remaster of Death Magnetic, which has much more dynamic range and much less severe clipping issues than the original version. It's not as dynamic as most people's Guitar Hero III remixes, but it still sounds a lot better than the original version of the album.
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    • Self Destruct. While it's still criticized by the band's ever broken fanbase, many fans do agree it's still a solid release within the ranks of Death Magnetic.
  • Award Snub:
    • Arguably the biggest ever, at least in music. Metallica was the largest reason that the Grammys created the "Best Hard Rock / Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental" award in 1989, and then they lost to Jethro Tull (the members of whom hadn't even shown up to the ceremony since they weren't expected to win). The look on Lars' face (as the band stood offstage literally just after they had played a blistering performance of "One") was priceless. Alice Cooper and Lita Ford, who presented the award, said "Jethro Tull?" in the form of a question when they read the name off the winner card, and booing could be heard from the crowd. The resulting backlash and criticism against the Academy resulted in the category being split into two separate ones; "Best Hard Rock Performance" and "Best Heavy Metal Performance", the latter of which Metallica won for the next three years afterward and holds the record for most won.
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    • When they finally won for an album in 1992 (they had won for individual songs in the two previous years), Lars Ulrich jokingly thanked Jethro Tull for "not putting out an album this year" (referring to how Paul Simon jokingly thanked Stevie Wonder for not releasing an album that year, after winning Album of the Year in 1976).
  • Broken Base:
    • Several. Some fans only like their first three albums claiming the band died with Cliff and disliking the more progressive metal sound for ...And Justice for All. Some only listen to their first 4 albums, calling sellout on anything post-Black Album. Some fans include The Black Album as canon but dislike their their change in style for the albums after that. Some like Load and ReLoad but dislike St. Anger (and some like Load but not ReLoad, although these days the inverse is more true). Some listen to anything they put out. Some of any of the aforementioned consider Death Magnetic to be a nice recovery and more like their pre-Black Album work, and some have blacklisted it due to poor audio quality. Hardwired... to Self Destruct, while getting an overall good reception from fans, had a fair amount of dissers, particularly about its advance singles. Even Lulu, which seemingly everyone hated, has its defenders, and there are those who have predicted that, like Lou Reed's Berlin (and, for that matter, the Velvet Underground's works), it will end up being Vindicated by History twenty years down the line.
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    • There are even fans who insist that Metallica was at its best when Dave Mustaine was lead guitarist, despite the fact that Dave was only in the band for a year and never played on any of their albums. Obviously there aren't a lot of these people because they would have had to have seen the band live when Metallica was still an unknown band playing heavy metal clubs in Los Angeles and San Francisco, but they do exist.
      • This one applies more to Dave's guitar riffs than to Dave himself. Although Dave didn't actually play on any of the albums, his riffs were used on their first two, and he has writing credits on them. Hence, the claims that the band started going downhill after Master of Puppets.
    • Is Lulu a Metallica Album featuring Lou Reed, or a Lou Reed album featuring Metallica?
    • Surprisingly, a sizeable number of people have recently argued that Load and/or ReLoad were superior to Death Magnetic, arguing that they were more musically adventurous and less bloated/contrived. A few have even argued that at least one of the Loads was superior to Hardwired... To Self Destruct.
  • Complete Monster: "Phantom Lord": The Phantom Lord, the titular antagonist, is a warmonger who wishes to conquer an unnamed territory. The Phantom Lord is introduced flogging captives, and is stated to flog them frequently. The chorus recounts how the Phantom Lord enters into battle, intent on conquering the unnamed territory, and upon victory, forces the masses to bow to him. The following verse cuts to a group of the Phantom Lord's captives crying out in their captivity, dying while bound by chains. In the final verse, the Phantom Lord emerges victorious with his leather armies as the smoke clears.
  • Contested Sequel: Legitimately every album, with the possible exceptions of ReLoad to Load (because they're basically a double album released separately) and Lulu to everything, because (nearly) everyone hates it. Even their first album is one.
  • Covered Up: Both "Turn the Page" and "Whiskey in the Jar" are more associated with Metallica than their original artist. The latter is itself a cover of a cover of a tradtitional Irish song. "Astronomy" also is an arguable case.
  • Critical Dissonance: St. Anger is savaged by fans, both of Metallica and metal in general, but actually received reasonably decent reviews from critics.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Every song they do about war, most notably "For Whom the Bell Tolls". Although it's about the futility of war, it's a kick ass song that gets one's adrenaline pumping.
  • Dork Age: The albums Load and St. Anger are generally agreed to be this. ReLoad is also included with those two, but that album has been somewhat Vindicated by History by the band and most fans in recent years (see the entry below).
    • The most hardcore thrash metal fans would also include the black album, "Death Magnetic" and "Hardwired... To Self Destruct" as well. Basically anything Metallica did after "...And Justice for All".
    • While not part of Metallica official Discography, large numbers of fans will also throw Lulu in here.
  • Ending Fatigue: By the band's own admission, this was one of the reasons for the style change with The Black Album. Kirk made a comment about the songs being "too fucking long" and his claim that one of the band members swore that they'd never play "...And Justice for All" (the song) again after a grueling concert (he also mentioned "seeing the front row start to yawn by the 8th minute"). It only started being played again two decades later, mostly in concerts where fans voted for the setlist.
    • They've gone back to Epic Rocking (for a given definition of "Epic") in St. Anger though. And a more indisputable form in Death Magnetic and Hardwired... to Self Destruct. The latter has been put on two discs (despite actually fitting on one), which makes some people say it averts this trope.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Cliff.
    • Regarding songs, "Fuel" from ReLoad definitely qualifies, as it has a more thrashy tone than the other songs in the album, and for having a very car racing-ish sound. It even has its own official video and is often played live, all complete with Great Balls of Fire!, a thing that makes its live performances very unique.
      • Other songs from this period that can qualify for this include "Where the Wild Things Are", "Devil's Dance", "Low Man's Lyric", "Fixxxer", "Bleeding Me", "The Outlaw Torn", "Ronnie", and "Hero of the Day", though if you ask a dozen Metallica fans what the best songs from this period are, you'll probably get a dozen different answers. It's pretty rare for Metallica fans to dislike every single song on Load and Reload, though it's also a pretty common opinion that they would have been much better if they had been trimmed significantly, possibly enough to fit on a single CD.
  • Epic Riff: The bread-and-butter of some of their most popular songs. "Enter Sandman" also loaned itself to the greatest pro wrestling entrance ever caught on film.
  • Even Better Sequel: Kill 'Em All is an influential classic, yet Metallica managed to top it thrice in a row (Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and ...And Justice for All). That's not even counting Death Magnetic that was released almost 20 years later.
    • Hardwired... To Self Destruct is also widely considered to be this to Death Magnetic (some also argue that it's a Surprisingly Improved Sequel).
  • Evil Is Cool: The song "Phantom Lord" recounts the tale of the title character, an Evil Overlord intent on taking control of an unnamed territory. The song is so badass, as is the chorus which paints him as a vicious fighter, that it's easy to overlook the fact that the Phantom Lord is a tyrant who mistreats his captives.
  • Face of the Band: James and Lars.
  • Fandom Heresy: Cliff is the best bassist. There is no other opinion allowed. The end.
    • If YouTube comments are something to go off of, covering any Cliff-era bass lines with a pick.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • Which album(s) depends on who you ask, but St. Anger is perhaps the most universally ignored. Even the band themselves acknowledge this, as they rarely play any of the St. Anger songs during their live sets, and Ulrich mocked the album in this clip.
    • Lulu seems to be going this way, and a lot faster too.
      • Though it's debatable how much Lulu is part of their continuity anyway, since Lou Reed was responsible for most of the input.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • At one point in the '80s, during an interview Cliff Burton was asked who in the band would probably die first. Burton guessed it would be him.
    • A related, if rather creepy one: According to the Other Wiki, Cliff won a game of drawing cards to determine which bunk he would get... By drawing the ace of spades. It is known as the death card in fortune telling, popular myth and folklore.
    • Another one by Cliff during the band's last performance. After they performed "Blitzkrieg" (which they did on a whim), he shouts "See ya!" Fortunately, at least, this isn't the last thing he's ever recorded saying. Shortly afterward, he shouts "YEAH!" Which might not make it that much better, but it's something.
    • Seven years later, James would enter rehab for alcoholism. The year after that, Layne's addiction killed him.
  • Funny Moments: From the Live Shit: Binge and Purge performance of "Seek and Destroy":
    James: Jason, impress the fuck out of us, man.
    Jason: *stops playing entirely*
    James: *beat* I'm impressed.
    "Can we get fucking Kirk in here?"
    "Yeah, get Fucking Kirk in here... not Regular Kirk"
    Lars: I don't think we have a song called "Dick."
  • Gateway Series: For both fans and haters alike, Metallica is usually the band which has introduced most people, especially people who grew up in the 90s and beyond, to the heavy metal genre, or thrash metal in particular. As for the fans who choose to go on to become more full-fledged metalheads and explore thrash, classical, death, or any other metal sub-genre, they usually have Metallica to thank for being their gateway metal band.
  • Growing the Beard: Ride the Lightning was the album where the band's thematic compositions transitioned entirely from teenage metalhead desires to more complex and mature subjects.
    • After literally Growing the Beard (in the form of mutton chops that made him look five years older than he did clean-shaven) during the ...And Justice for All era, James Hetfield's vocal style became much more deep and angry, and it's almost impossible to tell that it's the same person who sang on Kill 'Em All. A few years later, however, this vocal style was lost (along with the mutton chops); some cite that James blew his voice out, while over state that his anger over Cliff Burton's death had largely decreased since ...And Justice for All.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The line "Cannot the Kingdom of Salvation take me home?" from "To Live Is to Die." Considering this line was found in one of Cliff's notebooks...
    • Worse yet, it's also Cliff's epitaph.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Subverted; Guitar World published a fake review of Kill 'Em All after The Black Album was released:
    "What is this crap? The guitars sound like rusty chainsaws and the singer barks like he wants to be let outside to chase a cat. This band has a huge underground buzz, but they're not going anywhere. I'll stake my entire reputation on that. Jeff Gilbert; GW."
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!:
    • To a certain extent, the band has had to deal with this after each new album due to their Unpleasable Fanbase, and usually goes hand in hand with something new on each album. Hetfield in particular is known to find it amusing. However, The Black Album is by far the most prominent example. It provided them with a lot of success, making them the biggest heavy metal band in the world after its release but also gave them a lot of hatred and sell out accusations from their original fan-base.
    • It's also worth noting that the band itself believed this trope originally, claiming they would never do a music video nor change their style to become more successful, stating that doing so would be selling out, yet later loosened up about them and did both.
      • Ironically, in 2010, Lars openly admitted that he was a pretty big fan of MTV when it first premiered. So the sincerity of their claim to never make a music video even in 1986 is definitely open for debate.
    • The band as a whole gets this, because they are by far the most popular metal band in the entire world (unless Linkin Park counts) and naturally are going to be the first band that novice metalheads try out. If Metallica is the first metal band you can name, chances are you'll get called out as a "noob". It's gotten to the point that it's almost not okay to like the band because of their immense popularity.
  • Memetic Mutation: When singing, Hetfield has a tendency to end words with -AHH! tacked on to them, like THIS-AHH!! This tendency sometimes gets made fun of, but it's usually in good fun. There's also the issue of "Frantic" from St. Anger. Frantic tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick... You get the point. More recently, "Split apart" from "My Apocalypse" from Death Magnetic and "I am the table" from their much-ballyhooed collaboration with Lou Reed have been smaller examples.
    • "I AM THE TABLE!", courtesy of a running gag from Botchamania involving unbreakable tables.
    • Kirk's (over)use of the wah pedal. Whenever a video is posted claiming to analyze Kirk's technique or sound, expect to see a lot of comments claiming that this is all there is to it.
    • Lars's snare on St. Anger quickly became the stuff of legends after the album was released, with memes depicting him banging on a series of trash cans and Matt Smith's "St. Anger Parody" having its percussion done entirely on a steel chair.
  • Memetic Villain: Dave Mustaine. On any videos of concert mishaps, expect Dave to be blamed (jokingly, of course).
  • Mis-blamed:
    • Hetfield's gone on record blaming Lars and Kirk for the Load image change:
      I just went along with the make-up and all of this crazy, stupid shit that they felt they needed to do.
    • Jason Newsted is frequently blamed for the Lighter and Softer nineties albums, with cries of " Cliff would have never allowed this to happen," being frequent among old-school fans. This is despite all evidence pointing to Jason being the most hardcore metalhead in the band and the fact that James, Lars, and Kirk all credit Cliff as the one who expanded their musical tastes beyond simplistic thrash metal. Not to mention the fact that Jason had one writing credit between the Load and Reload albums, and only one on the self-titled album.
      • This is all true about Jason, but Kirk did say something to the effect that St. Anger was in a sense Jason's vision for where the band would go, but he was the "sacrificial lamb" for that to happen. Presumably, though, he wanted it without the outlandishly terrible sound.
      • To be fair, Metallica has stated that, while a change in musical styles would've definitely happened with or without Cliff, it probably wouldn't have been a shift to blues based alternative (as was the case in the mid-'90s). It would've likely been a shift to a more progressive style of heavy metal akin to bands like Dream Theater.
    • The people who dislike Lulu tend to blame Metallica despite the fact that they had practically nothing to do with the writing process.
    • The lack of bass on Justice is often accused of being an act of hazing towards Jason by James and Lars. Producer Flemming Rasmussen, who was not present for the mixing, indeed claims the first thing James and Lars demanded on hearing the initial mixes was that the bass be turned down. Ultimately, mixers Steven Thompson and Mike Barbiero "scooped" James' guitar tone (cut the middle tones out, leaving only highs and lows), Jason messed up on the bass lines (doubling the guitar parts, rather than following the kick drum as taught in Bass 101), and mixing the bass to normal levels (for Metallica; even before Jason they weren't a bass-heavy band, and switching from a finger bassist to a pick bassist made for louder bass at the same mixer levels) would have drowned out the low part of James's rhythm guitar. The result made Rasmussen joke that "Jason, Toby [Wright, engineer] and I are probably the only people who know what the bass parts actually sounded like on that album." Thankfully, a version that restores the bass can be found online, named And Justice for Jason, although it muddles up the low end, and Jason's pick slapping gets annoying enough after several tracks to think James and Lars may have had a point.
      • Newsted admitted his mistakes when he appeared on the first 2013 episode of That Metal Show and the issue was brought up. He said that he recorded his parts by himself with no input from anyone else, using the same equipment, bass, and engineers that he used in his former band Flotsam and Jetsam. Also, since he wrote the music in F&J and the guitarists took their cues from him, his bass parts on Justice were too much like a rhythm guitar, and ended up clashing both note-wise and sonically with Hetfield's actual rhythm guitar parts.
      • One's mileage may vary on how much Jason's parts clash with Hetfield and Hammett's. There are some people who quite like them.
    • Death Magnetic is often criticised for its mastering, because the original version of the album is a sonic abortion that provides one of the worst examples of the Loudness War. However, the digital clipping that people dislike about the album was not introduced in the mastering process; the album's mastering engineer Ted Jensen expressed frustration that the album's mixes came in already clipped, so there was nothing he could do (effective declippers did not exist at the time the album was made). You will routinely see references to the album having "terrible mastering", when in fact the problem was by all indications introduced during the mixing phase. It also appears that the album was mixed that way at Metallica and Rick Rubin's insistence; several engineers who have worked with Rubin have indicated that he has insisted on having the album's mix/master be digitally clipped. Metallica have somewhat redeemed themselves with the 2016 remaster of the album, which is actually mastered fairly quietly by contemporary standards and doesn't have much clipping.
  • Narm: This gem from "All Within My Hands". So excessively over-the-top it's hilarious. To be honest, the whole St. Anger would qualify for the same reasons.
    • Who can forget "My lifestyle determines my deathstyle"? Disregarding overall opinions on the song, it's pretty hard to take this part seriously when it's more reminiscent of an angry 13-year old's interpretation of metal.
    • To some, Kill 'Em All and the live shows before and for about a year afterward simply because of how young the band was. They both looked, and in James' case sounded more like angry teenagers than Metallica.
  • Newbie Boom: After "One" and its video were released, and again when it was featured in Guitar Hero. An even bigger one happened after the release of Metallica.
  • Never Live It Down: St. Anger. No-one is going to let James forget "I am the table" either.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The videos for "One" and "All Nightmare Long".
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: Guitar Hero: Metallica is considered by many to be the single best entry in the Guitar Hero franchise. The best since Harmonix left the series, at least.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Jason Newsted
  • Sacred Cow:
    • Both Master of Puppets and Ride the Lightning have become this within the metal community. Kill 'Em All and ...And Justice for All aren't too far behind.
    • Cliff Burton, in spades.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Lars Ulrich after the Napster debacle. Also his drumming style is criticised as by far the weakest in the Big 4 bands. Especially since the late 90s when he often omitted double bass parts when playing live.
    • Producer Bob Rock, whom many of the fans blamed the band's 90s decline on.
    • Kirk Hammett has become this as of late; like Ulrich, many fans have begun to see him as a technically stagnant and unimaginative player whose weaknesses have become far more pronounced over the years. It certainly is jarring to look at Gary Holt (who was apparently taught how to play guitar by Hammett) and some of Joe Satriani's other students (namely Rick Hunolt, also of Exodus, and Alex Skolnick) and notice the major gap in ability even by objective standards.
    • Connecting to Death Magnetic, many fans hate Rick Rubin for being involved with the mixing / mastering of it, pointing out the only reason the album is low on some of their lists are because of how poor the mixing / mastering is. It's even become a running gag for fans make their own remasters because of it.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Averted mostly, they show up in the top 5 of any list of the best heavy metal bands, but occasionally people forget just how heavy they were when they came out.
    • This song was the face of mainstream heavy metal in 1982-83. This is Metallica's first song.
    • To further emphasize just how heavy Metallica was at the time, check out this sample of Rolling Stones' review of then newly released ...And Justice for All.
    "Thrash is too demeaning a term for this metametal, a marvel of precisely channeled aggression. There are few verse-chorus structures, just collages done at Mach 8."
  • Signature Song: While many of their songs are iconic "Enter Sandman", "For Whom the Bell Tolls", "Master of Puppets", "Nothing Else Matters", "One", and "Sad But True" are among the most popular depending on which era of the band you prefer.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Lars' crazy trashcan snare sound on St. Anger can be seen as this.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • Master of Puppets doesn't even try to be subtle about the fact that Drugs Are Bad. Nor does it need to.
    • The title song from ...And Justice for All manages to still be relevant more than twenty-five years after it was recorded.
  • Sweet Dreams Fuel: Believe it or not, they have at least one example: "Junior Dad" from Lulu, which could practically be a Sigur Rós song. With the Reality Subtext of its being the last song on Lou Reed's last album, though, it's also a Tear Jerker.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: In addition to each new album leading to them being accused of selling out they also get accused of this after each one. Though The Black Album is the most prominent example, even their pre-Black Album works get this; Ride the Lightning for having a ballad, Master of Puppets for being slightly less thrash sounding than the previous two albums, and ...And Justice for All for having a more progressive metal sound. In addition to making them commercially successful, Metallica, AKA, "The Black Album" also marked a big change in their musical style to a more general heavy metal sound. Load and Re Load continued that change to an alternative rock sound, and St. Anger to nu metal. Going even FURTHER back in time, Cliff Burton once mentioned in an interview that some fans who had watched the band perform in bars considered them sellouts for getting a record deal and creating "Kill 'Em All".
  • Vindicated by History:
    • Criticism towards the Black Album has softened over the years. Although it's not as loved as the previous 4 albums, it's now considered one of their best albums and is definitely more loved than Load, Reload, St. Anger, or Lulu.
    • ReLoad has been getting a much better reaction between fans and the band recently, mostly because the two signature songs of the album, "Fuel" and "The Memory Remains", are amazing when played live; and the third one, "The Unforgiven II", has been requested a lot due to the band barely ever playing it even during the ReLoad days. Most recently, Kirk has gone on record to say he would love to release new videos for the songs of this album, mentioning "Carpe Diem Baby" as an example.
    • Jason Newsted is now seen as a fantastic bassist in his own right.
    • Lulu may be going this way as well, if the shoutbox is any indication. Now that people have had more time to digest it, what Reed and Metallica were aiming for may be more apparent. No less a source than David Bowie named it as Reed's best album and cited it as an influence on his own acclaimed final album, Blackstar.
    • Slightly inverted with Death Magnetic, which was praised by many as a return to form upon release but, over time, has come to be seen by a number of people as just a middle-of-the-road thrash album which fails to stack up to Metallica's first four records.
  • Win Back the Crowd: On the other hand, if you can get past the mixing / mastering, Death Magnetic did this to a certain extent after the divisive St. Anger. In respect to the album itself, the 2016 remaster largely fixed fans' Loudness War complaints. To a lesser extent, this also happened again with Beyond Magnetic after the even more divisive Lulu.


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