Metallica Biography

Metallica is the most consistently innovative metal band of the late 80s and 90s. This music group was formed in 1981 in California, USA, by Lars Ulrich (b. 26 December 1963, Copenhagen, Denmark; drums) and James Alan Hetfield (b. 3 August 1963, USA; guitar/vocals) after each separately advertised for fellow musicians in the classified section of American publication The Recycler. Set about in 1981 when the teen Lars put an advertisement in a paper searching for like-minded musicians to create a band, James immediately responded to the ad, and shortly the two began lived their music with Lars played drumes and made musical suggestions, while James covered all guitar parts (rhythm, lead, and bass,) as well as singing. Both of them got the name Metallica when Lars was helping San Francisco-area metal promoter Ron Quintana to pick out a name for a new magazine to promote metal and the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) bands. Quintana came up with a suggestion "Metallica," but Lars quickly suggested another and decided to use that name for the band he and James Hetfield had just started.

Early in 1982, the now-becoming Metallica recorded "Hit the Lights" for the first Metal Massacre compilation. In the sake of the work, guitarist Lloyd Grant was brought in to do the lead guitar solos on the track but was never a full member of the band. Longing for a full-time lead guitarist, Lars posted an advertisement in the local newspapers and here came Dave Mustaine, a guitarist from the band Panic who seemed interested and upon arrival started a sound check. Surprisingly, Lars and James were so impressed with Dave's soundcheck that they immediately asked him to join. Few months after Dave joining Metallica, the band recorded a full demo "No Life Till Leather" which quickly drew attention on the underground tape trading circuit. From this point on, joined also the trio bassist Cliff Burton, who exited from his band Trauma in exchange for the other members of Metallica relocating to the San Francisco area. This replacement was the beginning of all the band great music work. Approvingly, both San Fransisco and New York gave Metallica their biggest success early on as they were accepted by Elektra.

After the sign, Metallica released their 1st album titled "Kill 'Em All" that prominently featuring the heavy vocals and rhythm guitar of James Hetfield. This album indeed signals the band first beginning before they in the later future rock the music world with their many other hits. Following their first album, the guys promoted it through tours and gained a strong fan base in their early days. One year later, in early 1984 Metallica released their 2nd album "Ride the Lightning" which depicted greater musical depth than their debut album. Even more, this album had expanded and improved the band music style, which was indicated through longer songs that featured both instrumental pyrotechnics and lyrics which rose above some of the more puerile songs on Kill 'Em All. The most prominent song of this album perhaps the inclusion of "Fade to Black," a slower, more interior song that mused on the thoughts of someone contemplating suicide, written after a series of band setbacks including the 1984 theft of the equipment used to record Kill 'Em All. In fact, "Fade to Black" is the first such song in a tradition of these kinds of songs that would come to include "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" and the band's first single to receive a video, "One."

To complete their success, Metallica decided to recruit Flemming Rasmussen as their producer, who kept staying on for their 3 other albums. After more touring, in February 1986, the band released "Master of Puppets" which was their 3rd album and Cliff's last, regarded by many of their fans as their best work. Unfortunately that at the time Metallica was on their European leg of shows, bassist Cliff Burton was killed in a tour bus accident in Ljungby, Sweden. This mishap left the group members devastated, but they had to in anyway defense against the potentially debilitating grief. After Cliff's death, they gained Jason Newsted as their new bassist, and finished out their Puppets tour with him. Soon after, Metallica released "The $5.98 EP: Garage Days Re-Revisited" as a preliminary effort with their new member. This album carried on the band's interest in recording abstruse songs by relatively abstruse (2 American audiences) British metal & hardcore bands. When it came to the year of 1988, Metallica recorded ".....And Justice for All," an album full of some of the band's most structurally complex music. This new released album showed their mourn of Cliff's death which could obviously be seen in the songs like "To Live is To Die," which originally written by Cliff, and "Shortest Straw," which refered to the shortest straw that Cliff pulled that fateful night.

Pointed to the lyrics on the album, many critics perceived this album as a milestone in the history of metal, noting its intense focus on topics related to personal control and independence. Aside, many writers applauded this album for the way it appeared to sever hard rock from the blues in ways bands such as Mötley Crüe or Poison resisted. Supported by a video for the anti-war anthem entitled "One," the album "And Justice for All" turned out to be a turning point for Metallica that they soon touring with Ozzy Osbourne and were becoming recognized on the streets by many people. In 1991, Metallica outed their self-titled album "Metallica," popularly known as "The Black Album," which was co-produced with Bob Rock, whose resume included work on albums by such pop-metal acts as Bon Jovi and Motley Crue, in an attempt to create a more commercially viable product. This album, which had broadened the band's horizon again, featured a black cover that evoked humorous comparisons to Spinal Tap and the hits "Enter Sandman", which exemplified the radically pared-down style of songwriting across the album, and "Nothing Else Matters", a more plaintive, acoustic ballad that outraged some of their more hardcore fans. "Metallica" had become very success and was a massive crossover hit, bringing Metallica firmly into the mainstream. As faith would have it, it was with this album the band first encountered significant admiration of having "sold out."

Ensuing the album success, the band toured for 24 months after its release. Burnt out from almost three years of touring upon the success of Black Album, Metallica took a break until late 1995, when they came back into their studio, Metallica HQ in San Rafael, with a new enthusiasm for recording "Load" (1996) and soon followed with "Reload" (1997) which explored Metallica's musicianship more than ever before and represented a significant musical change for Metallica. Despite the changes, many listeners tend to judge Load and Reload as the band's turning point. It was reasonable because with this album Metallica also reinvented their visual image which was proven with the CD booklet for Load that contained many controversial photographs of the band, taken by Anton Corbijn. As people saw in the photograph, the band members who currently cut their hair were depicted wearing pimp suits, smoking cigars, sipping brandy, and sometimes wearing heavy makeup. Apart from those changes, Load and ReLoad spawned an excess of radio hits, including "Fuel," "Until it Sleeps," and "The Memory Remains." In 1998, Metallica returned briefly to its role as a cover band and compiled a double CD called "Garage Inc.."The first CD contained newly recorded tracks, ranging from obvious Metallica influences such as Danzig, Thin Lizzy and Sabbath to more unexpected choices such as Bob Seger and Nick Cave, while the second CD got together previously released covers, including the complete Garage Days Re-Revisited EP, which had at that point become a scarce collectors' item, as well as a collection of b-sides going as far back as 1984.

On April 21-22, 1999, Metallica recorded two performances with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, after which they were conducted by Michael Kamen, the person who had previously worked with the band on "Nothing Else Matters" from The Black Album. At that time Kamen thought of pairing Metallica's music with a symphony orchestra, in which his staff composed additional orchestral material for a number of Metallica songs and the concerts featured a collection of tracks dating as far back as Ride the Lightning. In addition, Metallica also wrote two brand new songs for the event, "No Leaf Clover" and "- Human." The recording was eventually released as the album "S&M" in November 1999 on CD, VHS, and DVD.

In 2000, Metallica got caught up in "Napster Catastrophe," an incident that marked the band's song "I Disappear" leak across the Napster file-sharing network. Before long, they, too, discovered that their entire catalogue was also freely available. Due to that fact, the band immediately sued Napster and in the process asked that 300,000 Napster users found to be trading Metallica songs be kicked off the network. One year later, in 2001, Metallica and Napster agreed to an out-of-court settlement, and the band never actually sued any fans for copyright infringement. That same year, just before the band went into the studio to record their next album, Jason Newsted left the band apparently because of the physical damage he had done to himself over the years while playing the music he loved. Soon after, in July 2001 James Hetfield entered alcohol rehab due to "alcoholism and other addictions" , which utterly devastated Metallica. This huge blow had indeed made the future of the band, after an exsisting time for 20 years, very unpromising.

After Hetfield's return, slowly and cautiously Metallica continued as an incomplete 3-piece throughout the writing and recording of their next album. Realizing the band fade, Bob Rock covered bass duties while the trio maintained their old positions in the band, and so they worked on their rawest album to date, titled "St. Anger," which pushed Metallica's 20 year-old sound to new planes of existence. In early 2003, shortly after recording the album, they recruited their new member, bassist Robert Trujillo, who was Suicidal Tendencies' ex and was then playing with Ozzy Osbourne's band. Happened by chance, Jason Newsted, who had joined Canadian heavy metal band Voivod, filled Rob's position playing bass for Ozzy during the Ozzfest 2003 tour. After the recruitment, in June that year Metallica released their eighth full-length studio album "St. Anger," which was debuted at number one on the album charts, heralded as the band's most aggressive album in over a decade. The release of this album amazed the band fans everywhere that Metallica was finally a full band again, and looked forward to the coming tours. As an appreciation to their music success, Metallica was named the MTV Icon of the year (2003), and won a Grammy in 2004 for "St. Anger," which happened to be the band's sixth such award.

In 2007 the band announced that ninth studio album was baked in the studio and the process itself has taken place since end of 2006. The members admitted to get 'sick' of the studio walls and therefore took sometime off the studio to hit the road in a tour dubbed "Sick of the Studio '07".