Can you consider making history? Rather not. In 1968, the Beatles released their double album for the first time, known as the “white album” and simply named after their own band’s name, on their own label and launched into great success. The success: considerable, but not exceptional. Twelve years later, the Ramones wanted to hit it big …
Can you consider making history? Rather not. In 1968, the Beatles released their double album for the first time, known as the “white album” and simply named after their own band’s name, on their own label and launched into great success. The success: considerable, but not exceptional. Twelve years later, the Ramones wanted to strike a blow and, with the help of bombastic producer Phil Spector, usher in the “End of the Century” with an album of the same name, also with moderate success.
When Metallica released their eponymous fifth album in plain black again eleven years later, exactly 30 years ago, on Thursday August 12, 1991, it included nearly a year of studio work, a good million dollars in debt and three divorces among the members of the group. But this time the plan should work: The “Black Album” becomes the most successful metal record of all time, one of the most successful albums in the world, and finally promotes the Four Men of the West Coast of the States. -United to the rank of international superstars. By way of comparison: out of a total of about 110 million records sold by Metallica, just under a third, about 28 million, goes to the “Black Album”, as many units as the hits “… And Justice for All ”and“ Load ”and“ Reload, ”which cemented worldwide success, together, all several platinum albums.
The success is flanked by another institution which, like Metallica, emerged in 1981 and shaped it enduringly in terms of pop culture: the music channel MTV became a global brand in the late 1980s and also supported the success of Metallica. , who had hitherto been rather shy when it comes to audiovisual clips. Music videos were produced for the album’s five singles, which were broadcast widely on MTV and opened up new audiences for the heavy metal band.
But even if today anyone who is even remotely interested in saturated guitars recognizes the riff of “Enter Sandman” in his sleep or the metal ballad “Nothing Else Matters” is the pathetic kitsch anthem of countless couples: Among the purists metal, the road to success was complete The musical direction of Metallica is quite controversial. The group had already given a new direction to the scene in the 1980s, which they now threatened to abandon again. As a self-taught euphoric project of Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield, who still lead the band today, they quickly took the stage, precisely because they gave the dominant power metal of the time a lot of glamor. , pathos and hairspray one of the more aggressive, faster and also hardcore and punk influences that don’t oppose the downpour variety. This concoction was called Thrash and Speedmetal and Metallica, along with Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer, was soon one of the “Big Four” of the genre. Still decisive for the sound, however, they left behind a few metallic shots from album number two and at the latest with “… And Justice for All” made it clear that in addition to the volume and aggressiveness , the signs were always for success.
Because despite all the musical euphoria, MM. Ulrich and Hetfield quickly saw through business glasses. Even though they are now much more musically attached to the Thrashbucks of the 1980s, the “Black Album” opened the mainstream door to millions of hits and superlatives, which have not been closed since. Records they even surpassed the Beatles with, multi-million dollar fees as standard, and concerts across all seven continents probably wouldn’t have been possible without the eye-catching works behind the simple black cover.