“No party music, no girl magnet ballads. Just brutal, attack-oriented, audio death”.
..and with that quote, it becomes impossible to really sum up Metallica better. I’ve been a big fan of these guys since I was 15 years old and finally welcomed the chance to read an official biography on the band. Although, while it’s true I did have preconceived notions that I knew as much about the band as I was ever going to learn, that quickly went out the window in the first few chapters.
As it turns out, I had known next to nothing. I especially didn’t realize that even as late as 1986 and following the release of their critically acclaimed album, Master of Puppets, the guys were still looking for a lead singer. It was revealed that Mr. Hetfield wasn’t all that comfortable being the front man and the face of the band. This totally blew my mind! James has since grown into a force of nature on stage and I can’t imagine anyone else bringing that kind of a presence to a live show.
The stories of the band’s origin were interesting. Everything from the selection of the name, to the troubles with future Megadeth front man Dave Mustaine to the lasting effect their original bassist Cliff Burton had on the group. In-fighting, stories of alcohol and drug-fueled debauchery as well as the madness that the band’s second bassist, Jason Newsted, had been subjected to were surprising and endlessly ridiculous.
While I did like this biography, it did take me quite a while to finish it. At times, it felt pretty anti-climatic especially since I had just watched “Some Kind of Monster” (the 2003 documentary chronicling the band) a few weeks prior. If this book assured me of anything, it’s that Dave Mustaine is a bitter jerk.