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107 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Album
Here we have Metallica's breakthrough album, the Black album. This is what put Metallica into the mainstream, and it is indeed a masterpeice. Every song on this on is a classic. The talent is all there. The production is crystal clear. Everything about this album is epic. A lot of people complain that this is all a little too mainstream, but I disagree. I believe...
Published on September 6, 2004 by Rebecca Lyle

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mainstream Metallica.... Beginning Of The End !
Don't get me wrong I love Metallica, and I am really into them as a band. I also, like the "Black Ablum", which shows a lighter side of Metallica....will I ever love it NO! The "Black Ablum" is obviously the most popular and is loved by millions of people around the world. Yet, in an esscence it just doesn't seem like Metallica as it was back in the early Thrash Metal...
Published on February 25, 2006 by Shadow Warrior


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107 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Album, September 6, 2004
By 
Rebecca Lyle (Garland, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Metallica (Audio CD)
Here we have Metallica's breakthrough album, the Black album. This is what put Metallica into the mainstream, and it is indeed a masterpeice. Every song on this on is a classic. The talent is all there. The production is crystal clear. Everything about this album is epic. A lot of people complain that this is all a little too mainstream, but I disagree. I believe the boys to be in top performance, just because it's a little more accessible, doesn't mean that the talent is gone. Kirk plays some of his greatest solos on this album. I believe that everyone is in top form. Jason Newsted also gets a chance to prove himself on this one. As a bassist, I believe his basslines on the slower songs to showcase his talent the most. He packs a lot of emotion, especially in Nothing Else Matters. Overall, this is just a fun and enjoyable cd with talented musicians and songwriting. Highly recommended!
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187 of 228 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated Masterpiece!, August 2, 2001
This review is from: Metallica (Audio CD)
It seems that many Metallica "fans" seem to enjoy putting this album down, for some reason. They claim that, with this album, Metallica lost their edge and sold out. Listening to this album, I'm wondering if we heard the same one. This album may not be quite as epic or technical as previous releases, but it's every bit as thrashy, heavy, and good. This album was my introduction to Metallica a few years back, and I've never stopped loving it. The songs are full of crunch and vitriol, and the two ballads ("Unforgiven", "Nothing Else Matters") are very emotional and melodic. There are still a lot of great solos, and Lars still dishes out some pretty impressive drumwork (especially on "The Struggle Within"). The production quality is excellent (probably the best of all their albums), so every instrument is distinct and hard-hitting. There are no bad songs, but if you want to hear a great one, check out "The Unforgiven". This is one of the best ballads ever, with very emotional lyrics and a great vocal performance from James Hetfield. If you love heavy metal and do not love this album, there is probably something wrong with you. I rank this album third, behind "Ride the Lightning" and "Master of Puppets", and one of my top 20 favorite albums. It's better than "And Justice for All" mainly because of the production quality, and better than "Kill Em All" because that album is too repetitive and rough around the edges (but still very good, mind you), and well, do I even need to explain why it's better than "Load" and "Reload"? The simple fact of the matter is that Metallica was still a great band at this time, and did not sell out with this album. This album was much heavier and better than anything else that was popular at the time (except for Pantera's "Cowboys from Hell"). "Load" and "Reload" were the ones where the music changed for the worse, but even those albums weren't so bad. If Metallica ever did sell out, it wasn't until the awful "I Disappear". If they ever get another bass player, and Hetfield ever gets out of rehab, let's hope they stop doing that kind of stuff and go back to the basics. Megadeth and Iron Maiden already made incredible returns to form with "The World Needs a Hero" and "Brave New World", if Metallica does another album like this, then metal is officially back. Otherwise, they may as well just call it quits. Anyway, buy this album, it is one of the best.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best presentation of the Black Album available, March 6, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Love it or hate it, this is modern Metallica. For many, the "Black Album" (as it's been come to be known thanks to the... black album cover), is their first taste of Metallica.

For anyone wondering about the presentation here, the 4 LP vinyl collection, 8 sides worth of Metallica goodness (or badness if you hate what they became with this album)is presented in as pristine and accurate aural presentation available. Mastered by Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs, known to be notoriously picky about the material they will master, using their 1/2 speed mastering process using virgin 180 Gram Vinyl, allows for deeper grooves and manages to capture subtle nuances in the recorded performance not found in other formats (CD being one). Vinyl, being an analog format isn't hindered by a sample rate.

For many, the CD will sound good enough. They did a great job with the CD. For those that want to hear everything that can be possibly replicated at home will want to pick up the vinyl remasters. On middle range setups this still sounds amazing; on a high end system it can only be astounding.

This album may not be the Metallica you love; if this is the case, don't buy it. If you hate it on CD you will still hate the tracks on vinyl, so rebuying would be pointless.

In the end, I'm glad I bought the vinyl remasters.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You have to admit..., January 25, 2004
This review is from: Metallica (Audio CD)
This is one intense album. Yes, it's been played to death (so was "Stairway to Heaven," does that make Led Zeppelin a sellout? What about "Start Me Up?" "Free Fallin'?"), but does that make Metallica a sellout? No it doesn't. The word "sellout" just doesn't apply to Metallica.
The songs were not like their usual thrash-style, nor was the sound, or the lyrics, or the song structure, or the production. Does that make this a bad album full of bad songs? No. Does the album lack musicality? No. Does it lack the attitude that metal projects constantly? No.
People forget that this album houses one of THE most heavy songs ever written - Sad But True. Some hardcore losers might come out and say, "What about Morbid Angel's 'Nothing is Not?' Or Six Feet Under's 'Blood of the Insane?' or Samael's 'Shining Kingdom?' Huh? Huh? Huh?" And then call Metallica p@$$y sellouts. I don't think so. Yes bands like Slayer, Samael, Impaled Nazarene, Deicide (Children of the Underworld), Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel (James Murphy-era) might write songs that are far and away heavier than a lot of Metallica's songs, but you can't deny that "Sad But True" is a benchmark of metal heaviness and raises some serious hairs on the back of your brain. Keep in mind the other thing about Metallica that this album demonstrates, no matter how crappy the music gets, no one can match their power.
Then there are those that howl about "Nothing Else Matters." Once again, we hear moaning about how it was popular, teenie girls liked it, it's not heavy, it's not metal, it's not real, it's a sellout song, it's stupid, it's not Slayer, blah blah blah. Does this mean it's a bad song? No.
Some people talk about this album being the "beginning of the end of Metallica." The argument is that, again, it's not metal. Most of those people are metal heads who have never heard of another genre, and are exactly the close-minded, unintelligent saps that they claim they are because of their "different" musical tastes (It doesn't work that way. A lot of people listen to metal, death, black, grindcore, thrash, etc., and it doesn't make you unique just because you listen to metal.) The thing is, "Nothing Else Matters" was unlike any other metal song we had heard, and this close-mindedness was not the kind of audience the song needed, even though it found an audience elsewhere. What happens is that those people miss out on a great song and a great album. That's essentially the problem; it's not the band, it's the ears listening to it.
Imagine if this album had been released by a brand new band; they would be instant metal gods. But no, Metallica "betrayed" us. No they didn't. They made their music. If you don't like it, go back to Cannibal Corpse, but don't open your mouth and claim to know good music because all you listen to is a "unique" style of music called metal.
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53 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unarguably the greatest Metallica album..., April 24, 2000
This review is from: Metallica (Audio CD)
...And arguably the greatest album ever.
This album is simply mesmerizing.Stunning.
Pros:
*Quite simply,the greatest Metallica album of all time.
*The songs are AWESOME!Here's a quick take:
-"Enter Sandman":the biggest Metallica song.Listen to it and you'll know why.Hot Hammett solo.Scary rhythm guitars.
-"Sad But True":pure power stomp.The instruments are so powerful,that you might get disoriented when you turn on the volume to a high level!
-"Holier Than Thou":one word:AGGRESSIVE!You know what,make it two words:AGGRESSIVE AND POWERFUL!
Fast,furious,powerful,punishing,with hot solos.I don't know why I have this strong feeling that it's aimed at music critics.
-"The Unforgiven":a new kind of song for Metallica,since they used orchestral instruments for the first time,if I'm correctly informed.Heart-breaking song.Hammett's solo makes it even sadder.A great display of James' song-writing abilities.
-"Wherever I May Roam":an instant classic,this is one of Metallica's finest songs.Cool opening,excellent lyrics,burning solos(one of Hammett's hottest solos),this song is pure art.
-"Don't Tread on Me":not one of my favorites(yes,you guessed right:I still listen to this album every single day),but didn't Metallica have a different point of view about this issue in "...And Justice For All"?
-"Through The Never":powerful song.Excellent lyrics,cool guitars(especially James'),strong ending.This one song everyone will love.
-"Nothing Else Matters":is it just me,or is Metallica very close to writing a love song(I hope not!)?You'll know what I mean when you hear this song.James' voice was warm,the instruments were amazing(Michael Kamen,the maestro behind the current Metallica S&M album,worked with them on this song).
-"Of Wolf and Man":probably the most powerful Metallica song.It's the perfect Metallica song.The opening has to be the most powerful opening you'll ever hear.This is what this song is all about:pure power.
Great opening,great instruments,great lyrics,great vocals,great ending and great solos.Everything is great about this song.Sometimes,I find my self singing the four first guitars,and then continuing with the drums,by stomping the ground or by punching the noisiest thing around,like a table or something!That's how obsessed I am with this song.It's virtually that powerful.
-"My Friend of Misery":mediocre.
-"The Struggle Within":old-style-Metallica.
*Metallica changed their style to a better one.
Cons:
Musically,I can't think of anything.
Bottom line:unless you've been living under a rock for the last ten years,you already have this album,right?
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26 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not their best but excellent, May 26, 2000
This review is from: Metallica (Audio CD)
Regardless of their commercial intent, Metallica had to make The Black Album. Their previous album "And Justice For All" had many brilliant moments, but it also edged toward excess. It's important to keep in mind that many of Metallica's influences wrote punchy 3-4 minute songs with a killer riff and solo. And their Garage Revisted album demonstrated their love to do something like that. But, they hadn't really done that since their early days, and they had gotten so far away from that by the time of "And Justice For All." As a result, The Black Album was an artistic, as well as commercial, commitment. Keep it simple; keep it memorable; keep it real.

No doubt, the craft paid off; Metallica's singles (Enter Sandman, Wherever I May Roam, Sad But True, Nothing Else Matters, Unforgiven) have become hard rock classics. Each song has killer hooks; they groove even, and the latter ballad is as powerful and moving as any song they've ever done. Sure, Bob Rock's production is a bit too smooth, but listen to the demos and realize that The Black Album is still thrash. Dismiss its difficult, then, consider that similar efforts by thrash outfits like Megadeth, Testament, and Anthrax were much, much less successful.

If there's any substantial flaw to The Black Album, it's that it reveals what true metal aficionados already know -- Metallica is an average thrash band with world-class compositions, The Beatles of the long-form composition. When you compare The Black Album with Pantera's "Vulgar Display Of Power." Where The Black Album waters down thrash's edge (relentlessly midtempo, simpler rhythms, production), "Vulgar Display of Power" distills it, retaining the creativity, craft, yet making it even more vicious. And compare it to Metallica's older work, and you miss out on the richness, dynamics and depth.

As a whole, though, The Black Album is a great kick-a** album. As close to the perfect mainstream heavy metal album anybody has ever gotten to. It also suggested that if Metallica could combine The Black Album's discipline with their 80s richness, their best work would lay in the future. Boy were we wrong . . .
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mainstream Metallica.... Beginning Of The End !, February 25, 2006
This review is from: Metallica (Audio CD)
Don't get me wrong I love Metallica, and I am really into them as a band. I also, like the "Black Ablum", which shows a lighter side of Metallica....will I ever love it NO! The "Black Ablum" is obviously the most popular and is loved by millions of people around the world. Yet, in an esscence it just doesn't seem like Metallica as it was back in the early Thrash Metal days,... tearing it up with ablums like "Kill em' All", "Master of Puppets", "Ride The Lightning", and "...And Justice For All",.. the golden years of Metallica.

The "Black Ablum" as some people call it is a masterpiece in it's own way,... Metallica is and always is Metallica no matter what they do...but in this ablum they play focused more on song writing, production fundumentals, and being more mature than less raw. So basically they traded in one style to try out another. True they did become a bunch or corprate basket cases,...sueing fans and possibly changing their style to be more popular, but past that its a good piece of work a little soft fo my and alot of metal fans tastes, but I love sheer craftsmanship of the ablum and how nicely it flows.

The highlights of the ablum include the super smash hits "Enter Sandman","Sad But True", and "Wherever I May Roam"... with the masterful ballads "The Unforgiven" and "Nothing Else Matters". I also admire the song "The God That Failed" which was a pretty good jam with a nice solo. The rest is around and mostly above average. They could have done more with some of the songs, but overall it's a rather strong "Hard Rock" ablum.

Yeah, folks I said "Hard Rock"...true Metallica are mostly known as "The Metal Gods"...which refers to their early stuff... "The Black Ablum" is an hard rock ablum... just compare one of their earlier thing to this. They do go back to metal with the release of "Load" which in fact was a very good ablum, not old school, but still great.

This record in general is bittersweet, the "Beginning of The End", being the first major milestone... which led to the abomination "St. Anger" which was a mess. Yet, some of their stuff like "Load", "Reload", and "Garage Inc." weren't totally bad, but "St. Anger just popped in the mix and screwed it all up. No mattter what your opinion this ablum changed Metallica forever,...whether for the better or for the worse. It's all opion based, yet all reviews are I'm just telling you the facts...!

Overall, I give this a 3/5 good ablum, yet just not the same as the Metallica I know.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars WTF is going on with this remastering job ??, May 2, 2009
By 
Just picked this up, finally, after weeks of wondering about quality. Plus weeks of not wanting to drop $50 on a LP version of a CD I already own. But I love the warm analog sound some vinyl has, and this was remastered with TLC, so I went for it.

Played "Nothing Else Matters" 1st, my favorite slow Metallica song, and the high end sounds very shrill and over-recorded. I can't believe it !!! I tried 3 different cartridges/styli. All with the same results, WTF

The rest of the songs sound fine , but Nothing Else Matters was a disaster, especially during the first half.

Favorites with best overall sound quality are "The Unforgiven," "Wherever I May Roam," "Enter Sandman," {which sounds great of course, especially done up analog}. The vinyl here is powerful, especially on a high-end system with the right cartridge. I'm playing this back with a Stanton 680 HP cartridge. (If you can still find one, grab it)

Please leave a comment if you personally had audio problems with "Nothing Else Matters" --- something you noticed as well. Thanks.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to metal, not much more, August 26, 2002
By 
Wheelchair Assassin (The Great Concavity) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Metallica (Audio CD)
Back in 1992, when I was just a wee lad of 13, the Black Album was, as I'm sure it was for many others, my introduction to metal. And through most of the 1990's, Metallica was the only metal band I ever really bothered to listen to. But after buying "S & M" upon its release and gaining my first exposure to songs from "Ride the Lightning" and "Master of Puppets," I decided to explore Metallica's 1980's catalogue and the floodgates were opened. I now listen almost exclusively to metal, and I enjoy pretty much any style lf metal you can think of, and I must say that for all its commercial success the Black Album is far from the pinnacle of the metal genre, or even of Metallica's career.
The Black Album was, of course, the album that garnered Metallica massive record sales and radio and MTV exposure. And it's easy to see why: the songs on this album are shorter, simpler, less heavy, less lyrically oppressive, and typically slower than on previous outings. Of course, many (myself included) would say that this isn't necessarily a good thing. While I don't want to get into the whole "sellout" debate, that's sort of beside the point. What is the point is that what's good for the radio is not good for the serious metal fan. By streamlining their sound, Metallica lost a great deal of what had made them so compelling in the first place.
That's not to say there aren't good points(I did give three stars, after all). Although not as ambitious as previous efforts, this is still a pretty heavy album. There are some excellent riffs and solid solos, and James's vocals are in fine form. Songs like "Sad But True," "Enter Sandman," and "The God that Failed" even had some of the bite of Metallica's older work; "Sad But True," in particular remains one of my favorite Metallica songs. But really, did any of Metallica's '80's albums contain so many mediocre songs like "The Unforgiven," "My Friend of Misery," and "Through the Never"? Nothing on here is really definable as bad, but there's way too much that's just forgettable.
Now, this certainly isn't a bad album to have. It's a good pickup for those who are new to the metal genre, as I was a decade ago. Still, I think the black album's main value is as a stepping stone on the way to bigger and better things. Now (shameless plug coming up), I would feel remiss if I didn't mention some of these bigger and better things in this space, so here goes: '80's Metallica (duh), Megadeth, Anthrax, Morbid Angel, Death, Amon Amarth, The Crown, Opeth, Testament, Emperor, and the Forsaken. This is just a short list though; there's a lot more out there for those who are willing to look.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag..., April 27, 2002
By 
"jigglybooch" (The pits of hell) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Metallica (Audio CD)
Sometimes, I don't know what to think of this album. Don't get me wrong, it's a very good album, but it's far from Metallica's best. If you were expecting the menacing prog-thrash of old, this album will disappoint. Not a hint of their thrash roots is to be heard. All of the songs are much slower and the music is much less complex. The riffs, however, are quite memorable, and the lyrics are excellent. But something about this album is lacking. Truth be told, this was the first Metallica album I bought, way back when I was still pretty young. A few years later, though, I discovered their 80's albums, and I was absolutely blown away. And the more I got into those early albums, the less impressed I started to become with the black album. As I said before, it's not a bad album by any means, but it can't touch Master Of Puppets. It seems almost lazy in comparison to their earlier work, and that's why I can't honestly say that this is one of their best albums. While it's leaps and bounds beyond Load and Re-load, the first 4 records are in a league of their own, and even the black album can't touch them.
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