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Classic Albums: Metallica - The Black Album (2001)

The story of the making of this remarkable album is told here via exclusive interviews, archive footage and performance, with contributions from producer Bob Rock, band members James ... See full summary »

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Himself (Bassist) (as Metallica)
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The story of the making of this remarkable album is told here via exclusive interviews, archive footage and performance, with contributions from producer Bob Rock, band members James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Jason Newsted. We revisit the original multi-tracks of the album, as well as listen to previously unheard demo recordings. Featuring the five singles from the album, Enter Sandman, Sad But True, The Unforgiven, Wherever I May Roam and Nothing Else Matters, this is the compelling story of one of the biggest selling albums of all time, a true Classic Album. Written by Speerman

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11 June 2001 (USA)  »

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A great insight into a band that has had its fair share of ups and downs
4 May 2008 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Firstly, I must say that I saw Some Kind Of Monster before I saw this Classic Album doco, so my attachment to the inner workings of this band was already well established.

This doco it seems was made right before the implosion that was Some Kind Of Monster, and really works to capture the tension between the band, and the egotistical traits that they would try to rub out in the future. Many parts of this doco spell out the conflict that exists within the band, but there is also a genuine feel (especially from Lars and James) that they'll sort the problems out themselves. They always have......

The reality was something very different.

I think the character's body language and comments within this doco bring so much richness to the overall piece. From James, Lars, Kirk and Jason, to Bob Rock and Randy Staub (Engineer), I got a real sense of how difficult the recording of this album was for the six of them, its as though they find it just as difficult to revisit and talk about. There is definitely a lot to be read through Bob Rock's comments, and he becomes one of, if not the most integral character in this doco.

The doco provides brilliant insight into the Black Album. It delves deep into the technicalities of the recording and mixing. Looking at individual track developments and the problems that arose. The bonus features on the DVD are just as good as the doco itself, and I guess the only reason they weren't included was due to time limitations. Its almost like the bonus features are part 2 of the doco....excellent!

I believe this Classic Album doco differs from many of the others, and therefore gives it a much more emotional delivery. This doco looks at a band that is still actively recording, and by no means at the end of their career. In Metallica's case, when this doco was made, I guess it was right on the back of the Load/Reload and S&M backlash. It was a band that knew they had albums left in them, but had been hit with so much criticism, that going forward seemed all the more difficult.

So here, they are asked to feature in a doco on their 'classic album'. As much as I'm sure they appreciated the accolade, it would have brought up many questions in their heads about the point of pushing forward. If someone is telling you the album you made 10yrs ago is your classic album, then there is a definite belief that there is not much else left to come. I think this reflects through the band members in the doco. Its not a sense of remembering 'how good we are' (as it feels in many other 'Classic Album' docos, where the band has long since retired/disbanded), but more of a sense of revisiting 'how good we were'. And therefore begs the question what has gone wrong since.

I guess to summarise, this Classic Album doco for me was made at such a poignant time in the career of Metallica, that it is a must have for any serious fan, as it provides so much insight into the past, the present, and most powerfully, what was yet to come.

Long Live Metallica!


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