Ranking the Discography: Metallica Part V: self-titled (aka “The Black Album”) (1991)

Metallica debuted at #1 in ten countries, including the United States. This was my first exposure to the band. It marked a change in both their look and sound, becoming slower and heavier. The album had 5 singles, and is their best-selling album, at 16 times Platinum in the United States.


James Hetfield: Vocals, rhythm guitar

Kirk Hammett: Lead guitar

Jason Newsted: Bass

Lars Ulrich: Drums

The Tracks:

  1. “Enter Sandman “: This song and its video depict nightmarish imagery. It has an excellent bassline and pounding rhythm. Appropriately, it’s the entrance music for infamous ECW wrestler The Sandman. It’s the perfect opening song, as it shows the change in the band’s sound right at the start.
  2. “Sad but True “: This song is about the dark nature we try our best to hide from others. I love this one’s complex lyrics and rhythm.
  3. ” Holier Than Thou “: Hetfield considers this one of the band’s sillier songs, but I like it. It mocks the arrogance seen in hypocritical Christianity.
  4. “The Unforgiven”: This song is the start of a trilogy of songs. Parts 2 and 3 are on Reload and Death Magnetic. The trilogy is about a man who has suffered through religious subjugation. It’s my favorite song on the album.
  5. “Wherever I May Roam”: This ballad is about being on tour. While it’s the song I like the least, I still like it.
  6. “Don’t Tread On Me” : This song mocks the nationalistic attitude of right-wing America. I have to wonder how many people get the wrong idea about it.
  7. “Through the Never”: This song is about mankind’s never-ending appetite for greed and power. It has great drumming.
  8. ” Nothing Else Matters”: This ballad is my second favorite song. It’s a much better song than their previous ballad, “Fade to Black” .
  9. “Of Wolf and Man” : Thus song is about our primal natures. I probably rank this one slightly above “Wherever” .
  10. “The God Who Failed”: This song attacks Christian Science, the cult that is infamous for its members’ refusal of medical treatment, especially for life-threatening diseases. Hetfield’s mother was a member of the cult, and died of cancer as a result.
  11. “My Friend of Misery” : This was supposed to be the instrumental track on the album, similar to “Orion” on Master of Puppets. The song has a self-pitying feel to it, and it’s not one I like much.
  12. “The Struggle Within” : This song’s is about depression. It’s the shortest song on the album, and it has a great bassline.

Final Verdict: To many Metallica fans, this is where the band starts to go downhill, as it’s their most commercial album. I don’t hate it at all. I actually think it’s one of Metallic’s strongest albums, and the change in direction helped them adapt to the 90’s change in attitude towards metal.

Grade: B

Author: rocklobsterjwt

I am a Christian and an anime fan. My blog will cover anime reviews and maybe an occasional story

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