In Print: Assessing Metallica After 30 Years and Four Nights at the Fillmore, and More

Categories: In Print

From SF Weekly's latest print music section:

Metallica at the Fillmore
Metallica at 30: Text messages like the one I got from a friend before the third Metallica show last week -- "You are dead to me" -- were exactly the reason I decided to go to all four of the Bay Area metal band's 30th anniversary concerts at the Fillmore. Spending some 12 hours with Metallica in San Francisco's best rock venue might be an Elysium for its fans, but most people I know would rather hang out for a day with Michelle Bachmann, or a dental drill. Going to all four shows would be crazy, torturous, character-tarnishing, and possibly dangerous. "I can't believe you're doing it," I kept hearing, as if I might walk out onto Geary Boulevard on Sunday morning 20 years older, wearing a goatee, and ride off on a Harley with some leather-clad metal vixen. (Or, worse, appreciate St. Anger.)

Whatever -- I enjoy Metallica, or at least I used to. Somehow I needed to understand how the teen who listened to Master of Puppets for two years straight grew up to be an adult who sings along to Taylor Swift. And I wanted to know whether the Bay Area's biggest rock export in three decades still matters, if this Napster-hating, Lou Reed-collaborating, shrink-visiting foursome has anything important left to give to the world... [continue reading]

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With complete respect to the author, I absolutely disagree with the assessments made in this article. The article, while extremely well-written, claims that Metallica - both their music and themselves as people - believe in emotional immaturity and internalizing your feelings.  Not so. The author should listen to Bleeding Me (again) and consider listening to Fade to Black. These two songs, in addition to many of Metallica's songs, are an expression of emotion, which therefore serves to externalize negative emotions in a positive way. Listening to Metallica is a cathartic experience that gets those feelings out and reassures its listeners of their emotional integrity and that they are not alone in whatever struggle they face.  In fact, the mere action of listening to, playing, headbanging to a Metallica song - or most metal songs (arguably, any music) - is by definition externalizing emotions. Hetfield himself has contended several times that music is his therapy, and I can certainly relate to that opinion. Just because a song is about negative things, this does not make it any less emotionally mature. I would argue that the opposite is true - playing music, getting out your potentially negative emotions in a positive way is one of the greatest, healthiest ways to express yourself.  I know this is an opinion that not only I share. I have heard testimonies from hundreds of individuals who have claimed that Metallica's music saved their lives. To me, that's not emotional immaturity; it's the opposite.  Metallica is one of the most emotionally "in touch" metal bands out there. A band that allows the release of the Some Kind of Monster documentary (which I find beautifully honest) is not an emotionally immature one. It's a band that embraces its emotions, scars and all.

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