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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 8 July 2007
This review seems almost a pointless exercise as a) everyone probably owns this and b) most people say this is Metallicas finest work. Well I disagree with the latter reason. I love this album and gave it a truly deserved 5 (probably be a 9/10 if that was an option) but that is listening to it on its own merits, ie being adult about it. Listening in a little more childish manner this would be rated as a Metallica album and therefore compared to their other work. This album is far superior to St Anger, but then so was Take That's last effort I imagine. It is the best of the "new" more abbreviated Metallica which includes Load and Reload but it pales somewhat next to the previous 4 outings, especially master of Puppets which has to be the pinnacle for the band musically if not commercially. This album brought Metallica into the mainstream and found them lots of new fans but I will always remember this as the beginning of the end for the band. One reviewer compares this to Back in Black, I agree, that album is also excellent but not the bands (AC/DC) finest and also the start of something new and not altogether wonderful!
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on 2 September 2001
This album deserves no less than 5 stars, 100%, however you want to put it. It is a masterpiece, each song perfectly crafted with power, agression and emotion. When I first bought this i had high expectations of it, as it was a Metallica album after all. But i never thought it would be so good. The drummer (Lars Ulrich) astounds me in every song with the perfection of his strong drumming which i have never heard so good. James Hetfield (vocals/rhythm guitarist/co-song writer) is equally astounding with the amazing heavy and melodic riffs he wacks out and some of the most original and touching lyrics inside his powerful vocals. The fact he can do both at once is pure talent. Lead guitar is also great and fairly frequent, keeping each song nothing less than perfect. Metallica's black album is the real beast of heavy metal and no metal-head can call themselves by that name unless they have witnessed or own this 'brainwashingly' good album. Linkin Park sound like S Club 7 next to this, and i am not joking! Just buy it and you will see what i mean...
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VINE VOICEon 9 November 2007
At present I'm 31 years old and it's seems like just yesterday that this was released when in reality I was barely out of short trousers, a meagre 15 years old sitting at the back of the class watching fellow pupils carve "Metallica" or "Iron Maiden" into every school desk within sight. The truth is we had no interest in an education from those who appeared even less interest in being there than we did. Our education came from the records we bought, from the records we spent hours listening to, from the albums we obsessed over. This was the source of education for a post-nuclear pre-internet-information-overload slacker generation. The great thing about being 15 then was that it was all new and one hadn't time yet to develop a snobbish elitist attitude toward music, which of course brings me to the "Black Album" and it's reputation within the metal community.

In all honesty "The Black Album" was my introduction to Metallica and at the time I liked it a lot, and why not, "Enter Sandman", "Unforgiven", "Wherever I May Roam", "Through the Never" were and still are great songs. But saying that I can look back now and see why earlier Metallica fans would call it a sellout, I too would be shouting the same thing in 1996 when they released "Load". "The Black Album" for me now has the same stature as Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon", an album that is universally applauded by lazy and less ambitious critics and yet is by no means their best or important work. These albums have all the sharp edges nicely filed off so that it's safe for mass consumption. Listening to the "The Black Album" again for the purpose of this review one has to notice just how weak the guitar production really is in the mix, in some parts being virtually drowned out by the presence of the vocals and drums. That may have something to with the fact that the mids are complete drained out of the guitar tone leaving only bass and treble. The main reason though for the cries sellout was because the album measured virtually zero on the thrashometer and this is true but that fact remains that this album is and has always been a great rock record.

This album was a formative album for me and so I'll always look upon it with a certain amount of nostalgia but I personally seldom listen to this album now preferring their earlier thrash albums, especially "Ride the Lightning"(1984) but generally I tend to drift towards albums by lesser known / appreciated thrash metal bands. Slayer; Exodus; Death Angel; Nuclear Assault; Forbidden; Sepultura; Overkill; Destruction; Sodom; Sacred Reich; Carnivore; Voivod are all bands I'd rather listen to.

If you're new to Metal you could do a lot worse than buy the "Black Album" but the truth is that by 1991 Thrash Metal was dead and the year that Death Metal was becoming all the rage in the underground. By 1992 Alternative Rock would sweep the world but Metallica's days as the dominating factor in the underground were numbered anyway.
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on 1 December 2003
A brilliant album for this great metal band. This is one of those albums that you can listen to all the way through without stopping. Every song on this album is great but these are my faves.
Enter sandman: Spooky tune, perfect lyrics, sweet intro, and one of the greatest guitar solos in the history of metal.
The Unforgiven: Slower than what were used to, but thats not a bad thing. This is one of the most beatiful rock songs ever.
Nothing else matters: Slow and melodic. a beautiful piece of music. Even though the song is slow the band still manages to get a guitar solo in the song.
The struggle within: Old school, fast paced metal. classic Metallica, with a wicked intro.
Sad but true: Heavy with wicked lyrics, what more can I say?
Wherever I may roam: A cool tune and sweet lyrics and a somewhat egyptianized intro which is weird, but it suits the song good. So in short, a wicked song.
The Black album is the perfect album for Rock fans.
If you like this album you should check out "Master of Puppets"
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on 14 October 2003
This album shows Metallica's more commercial approach to metal music, and I think it was a turn for the better. All the tracks are simply brilliant, with all 4 members of the band coming into their own on the songs. Kirk Hammett's blinding solos, Hetfield's crunching rhythm guitar, Lars Ulrich's pulsating, powerful drums and Newstead's bass make this album the best of all Metallica's work. If you love this then buy Load aswell as it is similar, and for a different sound, get Master of Puppets. Both albums are classics.
Gone are the likes of 8 minute tracks played at breakneck speed, and they are replaced with shorter songs played at a slower tempo. This is great for anyone wanting a heavy metal band merging with a mainstream sound.
Overall, if you want to get into Metallica but think they might be to heavy for you, try this. It will be in your CD player for a long time afterwards!
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on 21 July 2006
depending on how far you'd come with the band by the time they released this commercial high point, this is either a sad denouement to the exhilarating first trio of albums and the patchy AJFA, or it's the reason you got into the band in the first place, and therefore beyond reasonable criticism.

let's face it, for all the familiarity the rock world now has with Jimbo, Lars and the Hamster, Metallica's soul was probably best embodied in Cliff Burton, the ill-fated bassist who seemingly underpinned the consecutive improvement of the first three albums.

having seen Metallica in all their glory on the Puppets tour only days before his sad demise, it was clear that Cliff was the "luke-warm water" (ref: another iconic rock bassist, Derek Smalls) element in the band, in-so-much-as he seemed to add some much needed feel into the band's otherwise technical sound.

while by no means a poor album, this is where I personally jumped off the Metallica bandwagon. the previous album, AJFA, seemed ponderous, felt like off-cuts from the Puppets album, and generally disappointed. change seemed inevitable, and the selection of Bob Rock as producer for the next album should have served as ample notice that things were gonna be different from here on in.

"Metallica" was released while I was visiting L.A. as part of a 4 month trip round the States, and it was a BIG DEAL. lots of brouhaha, heavy rotation on MTV, the usual marketing machinations swinging into gear for a band that had openly scorned such tactics only a few years earlier. it's easy to say "sell out" when a cherished band goes over-ground, but I for one definitely smelled a rat....

musically, it just didn't have the bite of RTL or MOP. the production sheen actually seemed to detract from a sound that seemed more suited to sparser surroundings. lead single 'Enter Sandman' had a decent hook and chorus, but otherwise there was nothing that stuck in my mind.

maybe it was a natural progression to move on from a band, and a scene, that I first embraced aged 15 in 1984. but for me this album represents a parting of ways in more ways than one.

if I had to give any advice when listening to ANY artist's back catalogue, it would be this: start at the beginning.
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on 25 January 2003
The "Black" album as it is known is a classic album. It was released in 1991, following up the progressive "And Justice For All". Through the 80s, Metallica had progressed from a Motorhead-meets-Diamondhead template (on '83's Kill 'Em All) to a more experimental metal band. Long instrumentals and progressive songs had reached a peak on their last album, and the band felt it was time to go back to basics. The result is a 12 track album without any instrumentals or epics. In addition to this, new producer Bob Rock had a large hand in giving the album a more commercial sound, as well as making it one of the finest and most sonically produced albums of the time.
The main reason why this album is such a fantastic album is that it is a commercial metal album that has all the credibility of any underground metal album. It gets away with this because all the ingredients are there, but they are laid out to appeal to all. There are powerful riffs, fantastic guitar solos, growling vocals, but the commercial hooks are there too. Consequently, this is probably one of the best albums for a newcomer to the genre to try.
The songs themselves are all excellent bar a couple in the later part of the disc. They also somehow manage to sound fresh even now, more than 10 years later, very much in the same way that Nirvana's "Nevermind" still does. Songs like "Enter Sandman", "The Unforgiven" and "Sad But True" sound so crisp, clear and new. Arguably, the album's centrepiece is Metallica's first proper ballad "Nothing Else Matters". This song, whilst being so simple, beautiful, and spine-tingelling is also totally lacking in the self-indulgance that so many rock ballads are full of.
The chances are, if you are a metal fan, you've heard all about this one. If you've not really heard much about this album, whilst it is an excellent gateway to the genre, it stands alone as a classic that really does have something for everyone.
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on 14 May 2003
This album is a masterpiece. The fact that they have created so many different types of song for this album justify my thoughts. Take 'Wherever I May Roam' for example. this song sounds completely different from the hard hitting 'The Unforgiven' but both are genuinely fantastic. Kirk does not flaunt his overwhelming guitar playing skills like he did in Justice, MOP and Ride, but he does create solos that really stay in your mind, and can be easily emulated by a learner guitarist. James has a low growl in the album, which contrasts to the high songs in Ride and MOP, but adds to the effect of the album. Basically, if you dont have this album and you like heavy metal, GET IT!!
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on 23 February 2016
Classic must listen - alongside Master of Puppets.
Now I have a wide range of favorite musical artists and styles in my collection, but certain records just keep hanging on to your shirt tails.
One of those albums you think you have had enough of - then 20 years later you realize you must have purchased it at least 5 times - means its so good it stays with you even after you think you might have heard enough.
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on 21 September 2007
Wow, this was the album that got me into Metallica. Often fairly simple but it works on a primal level. Enter Sandman is legendary, I need not say more.
Sad but true, simple, a repetitive beat and easy to pick up lyrics.
Holier than though picks up the pace a little, not the best here but a good song nonetheless.
Unforgiven. Classic.
Wherever I may roam. brooding and menacing. great stuff. slow versus building up to a powerful chorus.
Don't tread on me is a defiant track which thunders along.
Through the never. Again speeds along, before slowing for Hetfields vocals which he spits out with his usual ferocity. Not the greatest metallica track.
Nothing else matters. Classic rock ballad. Emotive guitar works, sedate drumming and genuinly good vocals that show hetfield isn't just a grunter.
Of wolf and men, comes thindering in after and states in no uncertain terms that metallica havent gone soft. The guitar riff is full of power and is unforgettable.
God that Failed, enters with drum and bass before guitars echo in building to a typically metallica riff.
my friend misery, begins with a haunting guitar, that is joined by the rest of the band soon after. Hetfields vocals are a little more subdued here, giving a potent effect.
struggle within, closes the album, beginning with a marching drum beat, before kicking into very fast vocals for the verses. Possibly the weakest track present.
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