Well, I guess it was only a matter of time before I got around to writing about Metallica. In a way I'm glad they won the "thrash" poll, it forces me to work a Metallica review into my plans more quickly. Otherwise I might not have gotten around to it until their new CD is out.
It's no surprise that Metallica won the "Favorite Thrash Band" poll. One could even argue that the whole Thrash/Speed/Power Metal conglomerate would never have made it off the ground if it weren't for Metallica. Factor into the equation the fact that Dave Mustaine only formed Megadeth after being ousted from Metallica, and you might be looking at the history of Heavy Metal without 2 of the biggest titans in the Thrash genre. In short, we might owe more of metal's legacy to the existence of Metallica than we think!
During the early 80's the thrash metal bands formed in the wake of the influence of the (New) Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). [from this point on I'm dropping the "new"; I mean, come on, the late 70's & early 80's aren't "new" anymore, are they?] Thrash took many aspects of classic heavy metal to new heights. The speed, crunch, distortion, and overall intensity seemed to jump a couple notches each year from about 1982-1987. Metallica were at the forefront of this movement every step of the way. Their albums spread like wild-fire in the heavy metal underground. They stole the show repeatedly from Ozzy Osbourne when they opened for him on his '86 tour. And when they decided to film a music video for their song "One" to air on MTV, doors were blasted open for all of thrash metal.
When they recorded their self-titled "Black" album in 1991 they exhibited a significant phase-shift in their songwriting, as a few songs on the album were notably softer than most of their previous material. After years of touring in support of the "Black" album, Metallica took a thuroughly deserved hiatus, and wouldn't release a new recording until 1996. Thrash-metal as we knew it from Metallica had come to an end. The band has gone on to ever greater success since, but has continued to experiment and expand upon their sound over the years, leaving an ever-growing legacy that few heavy metal bands may ever equal.
Here's a very brief list of recommended songs by Metallica. Eventually I'll write a more in-depth review of their music and highlight my favorite songs album-by-album, so watch for that in the future. For now, try...
-(Welcome Home) Sanitarium
-Holier Than Thou
-Fight Fire With Fire
-Fade To Black
-No Leaf Clover
-Am I Evil?