Friday, March 17, 2017

LET THEM EAT METAL #11: Ride the Lightning by Metallica

Warning: This review is not for the easily offended.  This review was written by a guy who’s been a Metallica fan since high school, even if their music has been underwhelming in the recent years, and reflects my love of the band and bizarre humor.  If you do not feel comfortable with sexual themes, dark themes, dark imagery, sexual imagery, loud, fast and aggressive music, angry themes, thrash metal, extreme metal, rule 63, gender bending, nuclear war, electrocution, war, suicide, cryostasis, rebellion and escape, Biblical themes, Lovecraftian themes, memes, coincidental subliminal movie promoting, movies with remakes that have been revealed to have blatant LGBT moments, Gaston jokes, anime references that aren’t Dragon Ball Z, One Piece (maybe one), Naruto, and Bleach, and long diatribes about how awesome heavy metal is, I do recommend checking this out at your own discretion.  What I don’t recommend is hateful comments.  This is the internet, not an Xbox Live or Playstation Network lobby.  I don’t want that crap on here.  Anyway, off to the review.

In the days of yore, when pop music meant something, it was filled with nourishing musical ideas and showed the tides of progress.  But then something happened, the ability for it to fill our soul has nearly vanished, and the masses are starved on good music.  There’s the occasional quality track that stays good after multiple spins, but it has gotten to the moment where even good pop music gets stale.  We live in a white-bread world in mainstream music.  However, there’s salvation from the drek that the masses need to know about.  In the words of Marie Antoinette, or more accurately The Rods quoting her: “LET THEM EAT METAL!”

Hello degenerates, heathens, weirdos, and deviants.  I am the Rock Otaku, and I’m here to show you worlds such as hard rock, metal, punk, alternative rock, movies, TV, anime, video games, and anything that makes us scream, shout, and fight fire with fire.

This series is dedicated to the best that heavy metal can offer.  As you will read, I will take you on a journey though the annals of heavy metal’s storied history from its beginning in early 70s, its crystallization in the late 70s and early 80s, its breakthrough into mainstream conscience in the early to mid-80s, its maturation in the late 80s and 90s, its dominance (sort of) in the 2000s and even today, and the rare moments that very few talk about unless in the company of like-minded fans.  Not in that order, but I’ll be looking at the footnotes of metal history in the order I desire.  In short, this series is about metal, plain and simple.

And now we get to probably the most revered subgenre and movement of heavy metal to have ever existed:
Yes, thrash metal.  A genre built around anger, ostracization, brotherhood, manliness, and lots of alcohol abuse.  As a result, you get fast, aggressive songs dealing with the dark underbelly of society, themes of politics, religion, manliness, the heavy metal lifestyle, and alcoholism, loss of control, death, and occasionally sex.  All of which is punctuated by fast riffs, thick bass, double-kick drums, shouted vocals (with some singing), shredding solos, and some of the darkest melodies in metal before death metal and black metal came around and incorporated more melodic influences (see Children of Bodom and Cradle of Filth for examples of that respectively).  So what you’re going to get is some of the fastest, meanest, and darkest songs to have been covered on this series.  And the best part?  They are from the band that is considered to not just codify thrash, but to turn it into a force to be reckoned with in 80s-style metal, alongside heavy metal, speed metal, and power metal, leading to its mainstream takeover of glam metal (until grunge came in).  And that band is:

Yes, that Metallica.  The same Metallica that are mainstream darlings.  The same Metallica that released the Black Album, the embodiment of mainstream heavy metal that redefined metal in the 90s, considering what happened to it by then.  The same Metallica that arguably sold out with Load and Reload, then went against Napster.  The same Metallica that released a top-selling album last November.  LAST NOVEMBER!  And if you don’t know why they’re considered rock ‘n’ roll royalty alongside AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Foo Fighters while being metal gods with Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Accept, Slayer, Motörhead, Pantera, Megadeth, Anthrax, Saxon, and Helloween, it’s because of their work BEFORE the Black Album.

Kill ‘Em All, Master of Puppets, …And Justice for All, and this album, Ride the Lightning, are all metal classics.  The collective sound of these albums were revolutionary.  The attitude was a much needed alternative from the overdone sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll of the glam scene (a scene they almost started in before moving to San Francisco for their NWOBHM worship).  The mix of NWOBHM’s epic nature, hardcore punk ethos, and speed metal themes and musicianship gave Metallica a step above most other bands in the heavy metal underground in the 1980s.  James Hetfield’s rhythm guitar playing and gruff vocals, Lars Ulrich’s drum technique, Kirk Hammett’s shredding, blues-inspired leads, and Cliff Burton’s virtuoso bass playing (then Jason Newsted’s traditional bass playing and Robert Trujillo’s funky bass sounds) all combined into a metallic force to be reckoned with, and would inspire genres like death metal, black metal, groove metal, metalcore, and progressive metal.  In short, Metallica are a band that did their own thing, leading metal into darker, scarier, and more relatable directions than girls and dragons, and became kings of the genre (until they started playing dad rock).

Can they top these legendary works?  And what are my personal thoughts?  As for my introduction to Metallica, that was probably at the time when I was starting to get into the Guitar Hero franchise.  Due to the type of music and their name, once I learned of the Metallica song that will be in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, “One,” I decided to check out the video, and that started something when it came to my love for Metallica, that snowballed into listening to more songs by them, and later, after realizing that I really liked 80s metal, I checked out the latest Metallica album and bought it.  At the time, that album was Death Magnetic, their valiant attempt at returning to their thrash metal roots, which was ruined by production by Rick Rubin, whose production style fits bands whose style are more straightforward and stripped down like Slayer or Danzig instead of bands who like to play longer songs.  But I did give it a shot, I remember liking it, and then, after I got Guitar Hero Metallica and was enjoying the songs they made in the 80s, I bought this album, Master of Puppets, and …And Justice For All alongside Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast in that story I’ve told in the second entry in this series:  And yes, I did enjoy those albums more than Death Magnetic, and that helped me be more into metal than even what glam metal would have provided.  Yes, the mix of dark themes, aggressively fast and heavy music, and shredding solos manage to make an impact that would lead me to get The Black Album later (and having some appreciation), then Kill ‘Em All as a present from a teacher before I graduated high school, and then Hardwired… To Self-Destruct later last year.  So does this make me a strong Metallica fan?
Yes, I do feel extremely confident that I’ll bring something amazing to the table here.  If not, then you’ll love the use of humor here (it should).  That and this fan drawing of the band in the 80s:
And this is the band lineup that gave us these metallic jams (get it?):

1.         Fight Fire With Fire:
(Oh, and I’m going to link you the half-step down version for if you want to play these songs live ala. Metallica or in a set with Van Halen, Ratt, Slayer, Dokken, Alice In Chains, or X Japan)
Starting off with an acoustic intro (or maybe those are classical guitars), this song begins with a sense that things aren’t what they seem.  What I mean is that with its melodic, unplugged intro, in a genre that loves distortion and overdrive then as it does now (but with more down tuning), it creates a sense of misdirection, saying that Metallica might be more melodic, softer, more introspective, and nicer than their poodle-haired contemporaries.  And the nice, melodic acoustic guitars are played very well, with nice arpeggios and chords, creating a sense of serenity that can be seen in normal life.  So serene that you’d not expect nuclear holocaust.

And like the realization that Batman V Superman sucked and Zack Snyder doesn’t know what he’s doing with the DC characters, the song changes tone from serene to brutal with the expert use of electric guitars coming in for the kill with a brutal, proto-death metal, expert thrash riff that sets up the rest of the song as a tale of nuclear Armageddon.  And alongside James and Kirk’s guitar playing, Cliff on bass and Lars on drums come in to bring the thrashing rhythms to that riff, culminating in another riff that will serve as our pre-chorus riff later in the song.  And yes, that riff we were introduced to is our main verse riff, with James roaring about blowing up nukes at our enemies before turning the world into a radioactive wasteland to the light melody of the riff (which is more aggressive than it is nice).  And that’s before the chorus, with its aggressive hook making this song a guaranteed concert staple, continued aggression, and chords played in a Spider style.  But if things get too punk, you get a guitar solo that shows Kirk at some of his most shred-based (those lessons from Joe Satriani must have payed off) while dealing with his Wah-pedal moé.  And that guitar lick after the solo.  That is so melodic and melancholic that is raises my spirit and crushes it.  Way to go Metallica.  And the song end with a nuclear explosion.  Fighting fire with fire indeed.
Hey Gaston, what are you doing here?  Go to your pub!  Lucky Star and Azumanga Daioh are on.
2.         Ride the Lightning:
(Eb version):
And now for one of the two songs that Dave Mustaine wrote on this album before he was fired.  And you can tell that there are some Megadeth-esque elements to the song, from the riff style, the opening, and some of the solo (despite it being a Kirk Hammett solo).  And yes, thanks to James Hetfield’s singing style on this mid-tempo thrasher, you can make a million alcohol jokes while singing to this song about the thoughts of a man on the electric chair about to be executed.  Yeah, enjoy singing about beer on this dark rocker.  That and jokes about how James apparently says “fingers” in the second pre-chorus.
Robotnik: “Did someone say “pingas”?”
Tadakuni: “Are we seriously referencing this meme”
No, I said “fingers,” there is a difference.
Robotnik: “I give this to James Hetfield of rrrock band Metallica!”
Jeez, moving on.

And that’s not why this song kicks serious ass.  This song’s riffs are savage thanks to the songwriting of James and Dave, the lyrics are dark and disturbing, more disturbing than a manliness-measuring contest between Gaston and Guts, the bass and drums keep the rhythms in check and thrashing, the tempo-changes add to the thematic nature of the song, fit each part, and the solo is both shredding and tasteful (it’s amazing just how good of a guitarist Kirk is despite him not being Randy, Eddie, or Yngwie), and the singing by James is great, being shouting, growling, and melodic.  And the use of double bass drums in the section after the solo is a testament to Lars’ skill as a drummer during the 80s.  Hell, every riff is great, from the verse riff, the chorus riff, the bridge riff, the opening solo riff, and the outro riffs, ALL OF THEM.  They’re all guaranteed to have you wanting to ride the lightning (though you should not) throughout this song.
Damnit, I thought I told you to piss off!
3.         For Whom the Bell Tolls:
(Eb version):
But if there was a secret weapon to 80s Metallica (the first three albums in particular), it was Cliff Burton.  With the guitar-sounding notes in the song during the intro actually being bass guitar, it’s not hard to see why (check out “Amnastethia (Pulling Teeth)” and “Orion” if you’re still not convinced).  But that’s not just why the opening slays.  The opening bells give off a dark vibe similar to another rock institution doing the same thing: AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells.”  And like that song, this one is dark and menacing, but the guitars and drums come in after two rings of the bells rather than multiple like on the AC/DC classic, coming in like:
Natsuru: “Holy crap, my chest's grown!”
Natsuru: “And my hair?”
Natsuru: “Those bells made me a girl?”
Okay, who’s causing me to not review Metallica and reference a certain scenario from Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door?
UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH!  You again!  How did Belle dump you this time?!
Quasimodo: “Bitch, please.  I've been ringing bells since I've been a wee lad.”
Though I do wonder how those bells can cause a gender-bender that easily.  Frollo?
Of friggin’ course.
Natsuru: “Can you get back to the song already?  And do something about that old creep.”
Okay, okay, Gaston’s antics got me distracted.  But can you do something yourself?
Natsuru: "Irony Zauber!"

That takes care on one jackass.  But at least I didn’t overdo the One Piece gag I do, Zoro needs a break so he can focus on training and…
Alright!  Now where was I?  Oh, yeah, the intro.  That riff is menacing, then after the parts with Cliff’s virtuoso playing, the riff continues while Cliff plays a descending riff that is later punctuated by heavy chords by James and Kirk.  With the song leading into a melodic guitar line that serves as a way to placate the lack of a guitar solo here.  Yes, this is one of the few Metallica songs without a true guitar solo before St. Anger came around, and it kicks more ass.  The chords from that part are used in the verses, where James sings about the horrors of war, inspired by the Ernest Hemmingway book of the same name as this song.  And the song’s titular bells are a references to the figurative bells that toll when one dies in battle.  And the heavy chorus riff (which was also repeated before the opening) is the stuff of legends.  Then you also have the second melodic guitar lines that serves as another surrogate solo, before launching into the second and last chorus (this is still thrash metal, so don’t expect simple pop song structures here).  As for the outro, you get a heavy, doomy riff that’s arguably the most akin to doom metal Metallica has ever written, which is paired with a bass solo.  If this song proves anything, then Cliff Burton will be missed, even if the bells that tolled for him rang too early.  Now if I can get those bells to toll for Gaston.

4.         Fade to Black:
(Eb version):
Ladies and gentlemen, before Metallica went after Napster (though mostly Lars), before Metallica dumped a Load of dad rock on the 90s alternative scene, before they worked with Bob Rock of Mötley Crüe and The Cult fame (and who worked on Bon Jovi and Aerosmith), before they started doing music videos, before they were headliners based on their work ethos, Metallica recorded a power ballad.  And arguably, despite its controversial release, it is regarded as the first true thrash metal power ballad, like how Metallica are arguably the first west-coast thrash metal band.  And like thrash metal, this is not about breakups, relationships, crushes, or their beloved hit by a truck (unless they were trying to be funny).  This is about the sweet serenity of death and taking it into their own hands.  And the opening alludes to that idea while probably causing this gut reaction among the Crüe, Ratt, and Kix-hating thrash fan base:
If any angry hesher was voiced by Yui Horie.
Yes, with its acoustic guitars, you’d expect a song about a girl James dumped, lost, or makes him feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside, but then Kirk plays a melodic guitar solo alongside James’ acoustic guitars and Lars’ drums building up something grand.  Then after that, you get a soft acoustic riff that combines softness and melancholy, which sets up the point of the song: feeling like life isn’t worth it, having no will to fight on, thinking that their life if pointless, and contemplating suicide before saying goodbye to the world, ultimately taking one’s own life.  It’s a sad song, the combination of the elements all lead to a song that’s arguably one of the saddest Metallica songs ever, if not the saddest.  And the song is so depressing that the chorus is just a distorted guitar riff.  The person the song’s point of view is from is too depressed and suicidal to allow for a lyrical hook.  Then the song changes gear, with the riff, drum performance, and lyrics all building up into the protagonist ultimately ending his own life.  And before you can start crying or realizing that you relate, that there are others with thoughts of worthlessness, and that you are ultimately not alone in your depression (unless you already have, and the ending has you in tears), the riffs change focus from heavy to melodic and sad while Kirk Hammett plays probably one of his best guitar solos ever.  Not very technical, and not too simple, but melodic, in tune with the song’s themes, and gets progressively wilder and higher in its notes to reflect the emotional state of those around the protagonist shocked by his actions.  It’s almost as if the solo is representative of this:
Yes, this song is so sad (and so metal) that it can even drive happy people and thoughts to depression.  And vice versa, as this article mentions:  Yes, even from a SJW-driven joke of a website like, you can have retrospectives on how a song like this can turn a lonely, depressed individual into a metalhead for life and have a reason to live.  I do, and I’m sure that it’s also because this song does reflect my thoughts when I’m at my lowest.  It gives me the strength to carry on.  And not fade to Black.
Kyon: “You know that mean’s committing suicide, right Gaston?”
Gaston: “Well… No one does what you said like Gaston.”  *ring*
Kyonko: “Try it, you horny jackass!”
Gaston: “No one dies, screaming like a litlle girl like Gaston!” (KABOOM)
He’s dead?  FINALLY!  I don’t have to use that damn meme again.  Now to the next side.

5.         Trapped Under Ice:
(Eb version):

Alright, I can do this.  I’m sure that most of you have heard of this song from Guitar Hero World Tour.  If not, then I can hope that you can handle this onslaught of fast-tempo thrash metal.  With its heavy opening riff, furious drums, and thick bass, this kick starts a fast and furious song about a certain topic of death (yeah, death is a major theme across this album, which is why I’m sure that a lot of death metal bands cover the songs here).  But before you get James’ gruff singing, you get a fast guitar solo from Kirk that includes the main riff, song key, and, well, sense of entrapment in a certain scenario that will define this song.  That ends into James shouting about how being under the effects of cryostasis, possibly for eternity and in a death-like state, while still able to think (unlike Kars).  The burst of shock and terror leading into the main chorus, where James screams “Freezing/Can’t move at all/Screaming/Can’t hear my call/I am dying to live/Cry Out/I’m trapped under ice” in desperation.  For the first time, you get another guitar solo (there are more solos here than in the other songs, this is closer to thrash metal in the sense of MULTIPLE shredding solos), while the second time leads to the bridge, with a key change, a menacing riff, and a part where James sings “Scream from my soul/Fate, mystified/Hell, forever more,” reflecting on the fact that he’s screwed.  That all leads into the last solo, where the final verse and chorus (which is repeated), leads into the verse and solo riff before ending with a band.  And while I may have been beating around the bush around it, James really is screaming this:
It had to come to this, but at least this now gives me the idea of singing this thrasher in Christopher Lloyd’s voice.
In my mind, this is the thrash metal theme to that meme.  At least that’ll be the only meme here.
Gaston: “Hehe, no one gets saved by a bunch of fans like Gaston.”
Maul: “That’s how I survived!”
Gintoki: “But didn’t you explode at one point, Gaston?”
Gaston: “About that…” *ring*
Ginko: “Son of a…”
Odin: “Ice Giant?”

Ginko: “I meant “son of a bitch," you old fart.”
Odin: “Don’t be so ICY about your assets, Madam.”
Ginko: “Seriously?  Dad jokes?”
Krennic: “You should have heard what Lord Vader said to me.”
Moving on before Gaston makes anything silly again.

6.         Escape:
(Eb version):

Okay, now you’re just messing with me!
Death the Kid: “From what?”
Lefou: “Can you not question him?”
Death the Kid: “Why?”
Lefou: “Because I care about him!”
Gaston: “I-It d-d-depends.”

Fittingly, while I escape from Gaston’s lunacy, let’s talk about the closest song to an arena rock song Metallica has written in the 80s.  Seriously, that opening riff is the kind of rock that’d you expect from a band like Aerosmith, KISS, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Boston, Foreigner, Loverboy, or…
…Mötley Crüe, Quiet Riot, Dokken, and Ratt.  All with a darker twist.  And the rest of the song continues that style of party pop metal (with elements of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden), but with lyrics about breaking free from the oppressive system.  So yes, we get the thrash metal version of stadium rock, and the guitar tones, production, various riffs, and musical keys used add to that.  The riff is straightforward heavy metal that leads to a hard rock chorus about desiring freedom, and a bridge with a doomier passage.  All ending with a guitar solo by Kirk with some great melodies after a proggy part beforehand, and a heavy riff playing alongside pounding drums and bass, sirens wailing, and James singing “Life’s for my own to live my own way.”  As a sneaky tribute to the hard rock James is a fan of, it’s a surprisingly underrated one that doesn’t mess with the band’s ideals outside of experimenting with different musical ideas that they’re comfortable with.  And it also works as a concert anthem, despite the next song taking its spot as both a commercial single and a live staple.

7.         Creeping Death:
(Eb version):
Fun fact, when I was younger, and me and my family were traveling down to Disney World (and if Gaston shows up, I’m throwing him off a cliff), I couldn’t listen to what they were listening to, and I played this song on my iPod, and even sang along to this classic.  As a result, they misinterpreted my singing of this Old Testament-themed (specifically the book of Exodus) anthem as “Death to the Pharaoh” (all apologies to my one or two Egyptian followers) and proceeded to tease me about it.  And now for my comeback.  This is not about killing the Pharaoh, and he’s been dead for at least 3,000 years; this is about killing his first-born son through the power of God, who in the olden days was a no-nonsense, no-BS badass who appeared as fire.  And the song involves screwing with Ramses through the Ten Plagues and freeing the Hebrew slaves.  It’s from the point of view from Moses, then God when he goes on his Egyptian child-killing spree.  Nothing else but HEAVY METAL!!!!!

As for the song, the melodies take a more Middle Eastern, Egyptian style to reflect the tale of Exodus and its scarier stuff (inspired by Cecil DeMille’s classic feature The Ten Commandments and the Tenth Plague scene).  The opening riff builds up to a massive banger that leads to an Egyptian-tinged riff that wrote the book on Middle Eastern style riffing in thrash metal.  Then you have James sing from the point of view of God (or possibly the angels that are in charge of the killings) watching his people being enslaved by the Egyptians, serving the Pharaohs, and doing his dirty work, then sending Moses (who was once raised by the royal family before learning of his heritage) to warn them of his wrath.  You also have a heavy pre-chorus riff that leads into the chorus, with lyrics about the fate of Egypt’s first-born men, exotic melodies from the guitars and bass, and continued drum pounding.  And the solo to this song is some of Kirk’s best guitar work on this album, with a mix of shredding and exotic melodies.  And now for the bridge.  It slays, with its mid-tempo, catchy riff, chants of “Die” from James and the band in the background, dark lyrics, and steady rhythms, ensuring that headbanging occurs and mosh pits are created as the power of God comes to Egypt, thirsty for first-born blood, especially that of the first-born Pharaoh’s son.

Natsuru: “Aren’t you a first-born yourself?”
Gaston: “Oh no, NOT AGAIN! AAAHHHHHHH (screams like a little girl)” *explodes*
Natsuru: “See ya!”
Tadakuni: “Are we seriously continuing the Gaston meme?”
Now to finish this.  I really do like that the final verse mentions the lamb’s blood on the door of the Hebrews and how that helps them survive the night.  That and the final chorus has Cliff Burton growling in the background to give the chorus some added menace before the song ends with a melodic, Middle Eastern-tinged guitar lick, a tapping section, a repeat of the initial riff, and a big rock ending with an oriental scale played on the guitar.

8.         The Call of Ktulu:
(Eb version, pardon the slower opening):
And yes, they spelled Cthulhu wrong.  I know that!  Shut up, Lovecraft snobs!

And yet this is arguably one of the more interesting songs on the album due to the fact that it is A) and instrumental, B) written by Dave Mustaine, and C) mostly driven by guitar.  As for said guitars, they outright slay.  How?  When you have a song named after the legendary H.P. Lovecraft story, and you have no lyrics, you need to have the music match the sort of horrors that you feel when encountering the eldritch abomination that is The Ancient One.  And the guitars do that extremely well, with all the keys, riffs, licks, and solos, with elements of classical, jazz, and probably horror movie scores, giving off a vibe of meeting this right here:
You’d not expect seeing this guy here.
And this song is also over 8 minutes long. This is where the idea of Metallica instrumentals being long, progressive thrash metal epics comes from.  The horrors of Cthulhu would inspire this track which led to epics like “Orion” from Master of Puppets, “To Live Is To Die,” from …And Justice for All, the ultimate posthumous tribute to the late Cliff Burton, and “Suicide and Redemption” from Death Magnetic to name a few.  And this wouldn’t have happened if this song was boring or overlong, which it isn’t.  The concept would have been, but the added scary elements and disturbingly beautiful music makes this a song that will keep your eardrums attentive until the big ending.  All with interesting uses of every riff, lick, and arrangement composed for this monster track.  As a result, it may not be as well-received as “Orion,” but it’s about as amazing, and a true testament to the talent in Metallica.  For as anyone would notice about the Bay Area Thrash legend…
HOW.  ARE.  YOU.  STILL.  AROUND.  AFTER.  DYING.  TWICE!  Also, don't you mean Metallica?  Ugh, you're a pain!
Tadakuni: “And he had to come back from the dead again.”
Finally, someone who understands just how much of a pain in the ass Gaston is.
Gaston: “Actually, I’m a ghost.”
Not buying it.  And why are you suddenly trying to woo Jasmine?

Tadakuni: “What?”
Gaston: “But as I’ve shown to Belle, I’m a poltergeist.  I bet the anime dude can tell you why?”
No seriously, what?  I’m seriously thinking that you have extra lives stocked somewhere.  Also, I’m glad that you’re trying to get with Belle at this point, even if you’re screwing up your chances.
LeFou: “Aw, nuts!”
But which one are you talking about, Gaston?  Did you ring that bell again?
Gaston: “I did pull a fast one involving someone’s pants.”
Uh, huh?  What?
Tadakuni: “I can feel it.”
And somehow I just realized that Gaston isn’t a poltergeist.  He’s an attention-seeker.  And a lousy one.  Am I the only one not frustrated by this?
“NOOOOOOOO OOOOONEEEE hurts like Gaston/No one flirts like Gaston/No one gets a dude in a skirt like Gaston.”
Gaston: “I’m even scare Ragna the Bloodedge/By acting like a ghost.”
Looks like I'm the only sane man here.
Ragna: “Gaston, you’re an ass.  And you’re not even rhyming.”
Belle: “Agreed.”
Now for how to get Gaston out of here before giving my final thoughts.
Gaston: “Do you seriously think that I will use –desu at the end of my sentences?!”
Yeah, that’s going nowhere, I wonder if Beast would do anything about him.
Gaston: “With my last life, I just killed the Beast.  TACO BELL IS MINE!”
Wait, did you knock Gaston off Beast, Tadakuni?
Gaston: “And I was about to order Chalupaaaas...” *explodes*
And that is why you don’t hang on the side of a castle, kids.  Thank God someone got rid of him for good (though it’s weird he died the same way three times, but with different ways to get there).  And I just found what Gaston was using for his mischief:
And this is why I have been eating at Del Taco.
And now for the rest of the review.

This album is arguably one of the best albums Metallica has ever put out, with the best being for another time if I have more fans.  Not just that, it’s arguably one of the best metal albums PERIOD.  It not just helped change what heavy metal was capable of, but it took it into darker places than ever, upped the ante of how to play, and did all of this with an attitude that came from the city rather than Fantasyland.  The rhythm guitar playing by James Hetfield is stellar, provides some serious rhythms, and this is where some of his mannerisms started to surface as a singer while also not relying on them (such as the “Yeah, Yeah” vocals you’d associate with him), giving him a distinctive voice that was rooted in punk, hard rock, hardcore and the NWOBHM.  Lars Ulrich is arguably strong here, playing drum parts that helped shape thrash drumming and are at his apex of his abilities, which I’m not sure if he can even return to, even though he’s proven that he can play well and fast.  Kirk Hammett is a guitar hero for a reason, and his melodic, shredding leads are a testament to this, even if I’ve heard more impressive guitarists and their playing styles.  But for this album, and as a showcase in his skills post-Satriani lessons, it’s clear that he’s more than capable of keeping up and playing as fast as contemporary metal guitarists of advanced technical ability with his Hendrix-inspired sound.  And now for Cliff Burton, who’s arguably the best player here, being thick and chunky on the bass, distinctive in his technique, an influence to not just bass players but metal musicians for being metal without a traditional guitar, and able to prove that bass solos are something to admire and enjoy.  All combined together, with collectively dark, anti-authority, anti-war, terrifying, biblical, and contemplative lyrics, and you get metal mastery that may have reshaped heavy metal for the better.  Proving that traditional metal doesn’t have to rely on dragons and wizards, socially-relevant hard rock can have shredding solos, you can get even heavier than Priest, Maiden, and Accept while not having to conform to the L.A. glam metal scene for success, and being your own thing is a greater musical quality than being mainstream, Metallica put a stamp on metal so big that only Slayer, Megadeth, Dream Theater, Death, Mayhem, Helloween, Meshuggah, X Japan, and arguably Pantera was able to add to it in the following years of this album’s release.  Yes, modern metal owes it to Metallica, and this album was probably the genesis of extreme metal alongside their earlier effort Kill ‘Em All and Slayer’s Show No Mercy, with Anvil’s Metal on Metal, Exciter’s Heavy Metal Maniac, and Venom’s Black Metal giving them a boost.  So if you aren’t a metalhead, but you need a place to start understanding metal both at its best and today, then this album is perfect.  If you already are a metalhead, I’d recommend spinning this album at least once in your lifetime.  To me, there’s probably no bad songs, with “Escape” closest to the weakest and “Fade to Black,” “Fight Fire with Fire,” “Creeping Death,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and “The Call of Ktulu” being among the best on the album.  It’s an album with no bad songs, and all 8 are worth listening to, learning on guitar, bass, and drums, and examples of the merits of thrash metal.  I might be undistinctive and generic when I say this, but this album is a masterpiece, and nostalgia’s not a factor in why I say that.

Final Score: 10/10 (A true thrash classic).

And now if you excuse me, I need to get Kyonko and Ginko back to normal before anyone freaks out (I’m too much of a Sugita Tomokazu fanboy to keep them like this).  It’s not as if I have a genie somewhere.  Too bad he’s loaded with rules and limitations on wishes. 
Some kind of all-powerful genie, huh?  Looks like I’ll have to find something else that will turn them back…
Jeez, don’t be that aggressive.  I’ve also had to make sure that it’s okay to have it done right now.

Maybe not.  And you didn’t grant any wishes then, so I still have my three.
Okay, then.  You really don't have to make a fuss about it, though.
Can do, but I’ve got to reveal what’s next.

Next time on Let Them Eat Metal: Another nostalgia trip, but not as extreme.

And yes, I’m not going to reveal the album I’ll review next exactly from now on.  Instead, I’ll offer a clue that will be answered in a future blog.

RIP Cliff Burton (1962-1986).  You will be a star for bass players everywhere.

Until next time, this is the Rock Otaku.  Live Loud, Play Hard, and Eat Metal.

All used references are done under the rules of fair use and are owned by their original creators.

And special thanks to Jensiron2 for the Eb videos.

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