Apparently, the Orlando Sentinel had a contest trying to define something we've all known for 15 years.
The results are in and boy does Metallica suck.
Psst… Jason, far be it from me to criticize, but just between you and me, you're really going after some low-hanging fruit here. Pointing out that Metallica sucks in 2006 is like writing a scathing critique of Punky Brewster.
Furthermore, they have continued to suck AND swallow by jacking up the prices of their tickets and merchandise. It seems the more their music rolls downhill into a pit of "alternative" dogshit, the more they think they're worth. Plain and simple, a band that is more hardcore about their image and record sales than their depleting fanbase is … Metallica.
I don't know. There are other bands that play big arena shows that cost lots of money and I still respect them. There's something to the Metallica ouevre, the body of work, the whole thing, that turns off people who were once fans. It isn't just the sellout factor, although that's a part of it.
I also don't think I could reasonably call their music a downward slide toward alternative. There was nothing "alternative" about St. Anger, except as an alternative to music. If anything, their career arc since the 1980s jumps in and out of genre in an ever-changing attempt to redefine itself as whatever is most popular at the time. An example would be the LOADs, both of which are just all over the map stylistically throughout, seemingly trying to shit out every possible style of music in one 70 minute record. If Metallica had actually progressed and developed a sound that had mellowed into something you could reasonably call "alternative", I don't think most of their fans would have had a huge problem with it. That's what bands do when they hit 30-35. But instead, their music "progressed" into an unintelligible, identity-less, chaotic mess.
In the larger sense I think the article misses the point. There's no denying that Metallica sucks, but to try to sum it up into a paragraph, a sonnet or a haiku is impossible. It just "is". For me, Metallica's suckitude is just something you take in stride as a fan. They suck or have sucked in every possible way a band can suck at some point. And still I have begrudging respect for the bastards. In a way, it's admirable — a band has never maintained such a huge fanbase while simultaneously being comepletely tone-deaf to what their fans want and the music scene in general. And you have to remind yourself that somewhere inside of these cocksuckers are the musical geniuses that once lived at the top of their consciousness.
It's like the metalhead's version of being a Michael Jackson fan. Yeah, he embarrasses himself deeper and deeper into a hole every time he appears in public. But like Metallica, he had a run of four straight albums that were so groundbreaking and amazing at the beginning of his career, that some small part of you overlooks every embarrassing debacle, one after the other, and still maintains some hope in you that the 1980s version will magically return one day. Even though that artist hasn't existed for almost twenty years.
In the logical part of your brain, you know that the Metallica that wrote Whiplash and Creeping Death is deader than roadkill, buried by nearly two decades of soul-selling, New Age therapy and a lifestyle that keeps getting further and further away from that of the people who used to buy their albums. But you still give everything they produce a listen, on faith, just to prove to yourself that they're still completely and hopelessly out of touch, and didn't morph back into geniuses. That's what a few great albums back to back at the beginning of any career will do for any artist.