Sunday, January 20, 2013
The other day I was shopping and I was in the mood for some new concert DVD's to help get me through the long Canadian winter. Nothing like a cold beer or two and a blazing HD rock concert to take the chill out of the air. Not quite as good as a real show, but for geeks like myself, it can give you time to analyze and over analyze the performance. Last week I picked up the new Metallica DVD entitled Metallica - Quebec Magnetic.
So let me rewind a bit to understand just where I stand as a Metallica fan. Back in the golden years as I like to call them (1983-1988) I was head first in the deep end of the hard rock/heavy metal pool. Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Kiss, L.A. Guns, and the ilk. I preferred my metal with lots of melody and somewhere in the mid eighties came the rumblings of the "thrash scene" up to the Great White North. I really don't remember the first Metallica song I ever heard but I remember it did nothing to win me over. The thrash bands of the day started getting airplay and video play and I didn't "get it". It sounded so brutal and void of melody that I quickly painted all those bands with the same brush and proceeded to ignore them for years. Funny thing happened though, I suppose it's like wine, when I was younger wine had zero appeal to me, pass me a cold beer please. As time goes along tastes change and develop and now I find myself more often opening a nice bottle of Cab. Metallica and "thrash" in general was very similar.
I have to laugh because I just listened to an episode of another fine podcast called Dropping the Needle with Decibel Geek friend Mitch Lafon and Michael Brandvold and on it they discussed the exact same issue. I suppose it took some time for our ears to adjust to the "new" sounds we were hearing. Do yourself a favor and check out their podcast it's killer stuff with great guests and most definitely Decibel Geek approved. http://www.facebook.com/DroppingTheNeedle/app_162891010412392
So it wasn't until much after the release of "And Justice For All" that my buddy Andrew finally cracked through and got me to open my mind and my ears to the glory of Metallica. At least I can say that I did not jump on board after the release of the Black album with the next huge wave of Metallica acceptance. I suppose that gives me a wee bit of "street cred", maybe? My friend Andrew certainly gets the nod and salute for jumping on the Metallica bus from the beginning.
Now there was an advantage to coming to the party late. I suddenly had four metal masterpieces to consume and devour all at once. "Seeing the light" of thrash was amazing and it opened me up to many other bands that I enjoy to this day, Megadeth, Anthrax, Testament, Pantera, the list goes on and on. That said, there still has to be some melody in my metal and the total cookie monster vocals will still be found in my delete bin. Slayer is right on the line, some stuff works for me and some falls over the melody line.
So while Metallica were hard at work recording what would be the "Black" album, I was at home dissecting each album, track by track and loving every moment. Creeping Death becoming my all time favorite "Tallica" tune. Really, what more can be said about Metallica's first four albums that hasn't already been covered. They are brilliant and like Motley Crue before them they led the way for an entire "genre" of music.
From there I loved the Black album and strongly defended them when the "die hards" screamed sell out! Yes it was more "commercial" but the songs were strong and the production was perfect. It deserved to sell the millions it did. They became kings and ruled the world, but it was not to last for me anyway.
Load and Reload is where I kinda fell out of sorts with the band. I just didn't "feel" the fire anymore and it seemed to me that they were suddenly chasing trends and not being true to Metallica. Something fans were already screaming when they released the Black album. I have often said I feel the nineties were a horrible decade for music and I stand by that. Sure there were some great bands and some great music but grunge for the most part bored me and nu-metal seemed somewhat lifeless to my ears. Although I wouldn't say Metallica tried to be grunge but the "art" rock direction didn't do them any good in my opinion and for a few years they disappeared off my radar completely.
I think I am one of the only people that I talk to that actually loves "Some Kind Of Monster"! The documentary of the same name is brilliant and although the production is somewhat strange (ok it does sound like Lars is playing pots and pans) and harsh, I really enjoyed the songs on SKOM. They recaptured the anger and emotion that was missed on the Load and Reload. "Shoot Me Again" is one of my favorite songs and "Frantic" is fucking killer! Metallica was back and I was too.
"Death Magnetic" to me sounds much like a sister album to "And Justice" and there ain't nothing wrong with that! The concert tour for this album seems to be endless and thus far I hadn't even though of heading out to a show. My last time seeing them was years ago and had preferred to remember them that way, I had heard good things about this Quebec Magnetic DVD and for a very reasonable price I brought it home and threw it into my player.
HOLY SHIT! is all I have to say. This is quite possibly THE BEST concert DVD I have ever seen. Wayne Isham is not stranger to making rock videos and he has outdone himself here. The footage, editing and sound on this is just so good. You totally feel like you are there with the audience and I found myself more than once screaming YEAH! and raising the horns to the TV. Yes my wife thinks I am crazy and yeah she is probably right but this DVD puts you inside this concert like nothing I have ever experienced, it was actually fun to watch.
The stage in the round takes up almost the entire floor of the arena and the band uses every square inch of it. Truly Metallica know how to put on a show and age has not slowed these guys at all. At this point of their career Metallica fans are multi-generational and the audience seems to have as just as many teenagers as it does grisly old grey haired rockers (myself included!). The set list for the show is a perfect blend of new and old and it flows perfectly, never letting the energy dip. Most importantly it really seems that the guys are still having an absolute blast performing live. That alone has me wanting to see them once again. So next time they roll into Toronto I think I will be busy that night as one of the "grisly old rock guys" \m/!