I'm a big Metallica fan, but I wouldn't be if it weren't for this album. I saw the video to Until It Sleeps while in Spain as a 17-year old and I was captivated by the arresting images and the music which stayed with you hours after hearing it. I didn't really like heavy metal, Nirvana was as heavy as I would go, but this felt different; it had, well, soul. A couple of days later I went down to the local music store, bought the album and then listened to it everyday, sometimes more than once, for the next three or four months.
I still like "Until It Sleeps", but it's been overtaken in my affections by "Mama Said", "The Outlaw Torn" and, especially, "2x4" - there are times when I'm walking along the street listening to this song on my Mp3 player and I feel like I'm stepping a little bit taller. An irrepressible blues groove played by a metal band: it's just dynamite.
After twelve years, what really stands out for me now about this album is how well crafted it is. You might look at these guys and be scared to meet them down a dark alley, but they are real musicians. A lot of thought has gone into each song. After several listens, each one reveals an element you hadn't thought about; even on a song like "the Cure", which isn't one of my favourites, you listen again to the vocals and hear the overlaid tracks of Hetfield singing in two different ways, accompanied by the thumping bass line, and, with the effect that creates, you think, wow, that's clever...
I'll never tire of listening to it.