Sunday, August 3, 2008

Guest Blogger : Alok



The name evokes a wide range of responses:
Huh?”
Noise.”
Metallica is God!”
The best Metal band.”
Satanic.”
Innovators of Thrash Metal.”
Sellouts.”
Not even close to Megadeth.”
Metallica is dead.”
Hell Yeah!”

But that does not even ruffle a hair up James Hetfield’s... nose. Not even a bit. Nor does the rest of Metallica care about what you or anybody else has to say about what they do. That is the spirit behind Metallica’s music. They don’t make music to please your ears and make you dance happily. They make music that shares their own expression, that lives their spirit. They make music they want to make. If you can associate, they’re happy to share. If you cannot, you can as well go please yourself.

If at this point you’re wondering, “What is Metallica?”, or, “Ah, Metallica! Those guys that play I Disappear”, the rest of the post isn’t for you. You’d probably be interested in the Wikipedia page for Metallica or maybe hearing a few of their albums. Search for them through your internet connection. Or ask a friend having one.

My goal here is not to discuss Metallica, their make-outs, their break-ups or who they’re having sex with. My goal here is to recount an experience, a journey through Metallica’s music. To describe what their music makes me go through. If you’ve been through such a ride, hop in!

My first encounter with Metallica’s music would be “Nothing Else Matters”. Hearing that song being played on a nearby computer, I found myself wandering along a path inside my own self, through a journey of deep emotion: Sincerity and earnest longing in the simple E minor arpeggio the song begins with, pain and suffering in the chorus and refrain, the intense peak in the guitar solo, acceptance and withdrawal in the end. Few songs I had heard before could make me feel that way. .

It would be some time before I would experience the complete Metallica. I didn’t have a computer of my own, and hardly any access to music, let alone Metallica. During the summer, from the random stuff I’d collected from people, I found another gem: “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, which remains to be the best song I’ve ever heard. Through it I arrived on the album “100 Greatest Guitar Solos”. Hence began my journey into the deep and beautiful world of Rock and Metal music.

The album featured three songs from Metallica: “One”, “Fade to Black”, “Master of Puppets”. It was “Fade to Black” that caught my attention first. There was pain, sadness and depression in the arpeggiated chord progression the song began with. The feeling of helplessness enhanced with Hetfield’s vocals joining in. Something new awaited me further down the song: Metallica’s riffs. It was my first encounter with the real Metallica sound: Loud, Heavy, Electric and Powerful. I found myself swaying under their influence, banging my head and tapping my foot. But what took it away was the guitar solo at the end. I had never heard anything as fast, beautiful and intense before.

One” was a different experience. Not as light as “Fade to Black”, this song begins with series of riffs interspersed with brilliant melodic lines on clean guitars, with angst filled vocals. However, it is when the song picks up its pace and begins its journey into the mind blowing riff and the angry and intense chorus, that I felt, yet again, the sheer force and power in Metallica’s music, banging my head fiercely in submission. But wait, that isn’t the end. With Kirk Hammett’s blazing solo that shreds you apart in its speed and ferocity, the song ravishes me every time.

Master of Puppets” is one of the best compositions I’ve ever heard. Beginning with extremely dissonant and “evil” riffs, the song caught me on early. The rhythmic brilliance in the work, the way the riffs switch from one to another and the intensity in the vocals succeeds in building a tension, which is relieved by the interlude: a beautiful twin guitar harmony riding over an arpeggiated sequence of chords. Following its relief is a surge of angry riffs topped by a shredding solo, leading its way back to the tense riffs that began the song. With three different phases to the journey this song leads you through, this song is one talented piece of work.

As I progressed further into Rock and Metal, I moved on from individual songs to hearing complete albums, which is a completely different experience altogether. To a music junkie like me, it’s like reading a novel or watching a movie. Most importantly it’s the picture of emotions, rhythms and peaks that each song paints and the way it blends into that painted by the next song that makes it an experience worth having. Each of Metallica’s albums is a different journey:

Kill 'em All
This album features the raw, early Metallica sound. The songs have less of structure and more of craziness. But that is what makes this album enjoyable. With crazy, energetic compositions like “The Four Horsemen”, “Seek and Destroy”, “Jump in the Fire”, and “Whiplash”, the album is an insane head banging ride.

Ride the Lighting
Featuring a more sophisticated sound, this album is a focused experience. Each song is a distinct experience in itself. Sharp, gloomy, doom-oriented, and dark, the album takes you through a unique journey of fast tempo riffs and expressive composition. The compositions are heavy and fast paced with many structural elements.

Masters of Puppets
Labelled by many as the best Metal album of all time, this album is a dark experience, filled to the brim with heavy rhythms that make your head bang. The songs progress seamlessly into each other, producing a smooth flow of music that is the primary trait of this album. “Master of Puppets” features a very refined sound, but never fails to be heavy. Anger, power, aggression, control and helplessness are the themes that the music explores. But it is the constant heaviness and intensity in sound that makes it a great listening experience.

And Justice for All
Technically Metallica’s most sound album, featuring a different approach than the previous two albums. Metallica’s sound, the core of Metallica’s initial music, remains intact. The album does not provide as involving a journey as the previous two albums do, but has its own features including ultra fast paced drumming and rhythms, odd time signatures and progressive melodies. A very musically strong album if listened to properly.

Metallica 'The Black Album'
The album is titled “Metallica”, but is more popularly known as “The Black Album”. It features a lot of musical directions from Metallica apart from Thrash Metal: songs like “Nothing Else Matters”, “Enter Sandman”, “The God That Failed”, “The Unforgiven”, “Wherever I May Roam” and “My Friend of Misery”. It is the musical variety in this album and the beauty in every song that makes it Metallica’s best-selling album to date.

Load and Reload

Load” and “Reload” display Metallica’s further exploration into the depths of Music, away from their roots, towards a more “alternative” sound. The songs are compositionally simpler than the previous albums, the song structures follow a more catchy approach, and there is a conspicuous absence of the intense riffs and heavy rhythms that characterized their earlier sound.

St. Anger
St. Anger” is yet another completely new approach to music from Metallica. Featuring a very raw, intense and basic sound, the songs focus more on rhythm and pace than melody. The characteristics of aggression and raw power are easily perceptible from the song structures. The album does not feature guitar solos, and melodies in the songs are structured in a raw, simple fashion.



Death Magnetic
"Death Magnetic” is the title of Metallica’s latest album, set to be released this September. It is said to feature a more “Old School” and “Progressive” approach. Hell, I can’t wait any longer!

Metallica’s music originates from a very strong sense of rebelliousness, talent, individuality and originality. Whatever they might appear to be, Metallica are musicians first. And it is their Love for Music that is apparent from endeavors like S&M (Symphony and Metallica, which features a beautiful mix of their music played along with the San Francisco Symphony). This Love for music is in abundance in all of their work. The unique, dissonant riffs and chromatic melodic lines, the strange beat structures, the non adherence to musical conventions while still sounding good is proof. And that is what makes Metallica one of the best bands in the history of Rock and Metal music.


This is where he head bangs :P
Life at IITB

36 comments:

Aditi ''Jiggs'' said...

Well Metallica is one of the bands which I am highly possessive abt, u did complete justice to it.

thanks a ton for doing this post.

my personal Metallica fav. are

Nothing Else Matters
Fade to Black
Turn the Page
Unforgiven 2
One

\m/

Soham Chakraborty said...

My personal favourites are:-

Fade to black
Nothing else matters
One
Seek and destroy ( recently added :P)

Soham Chakraborty said...

ohh shit !! how can i forget " wherever i may roam and for whom the bell tongs "
add them before seek and destroy... :P

Alok said...

Aditi,

I'm glad you liked the post.
Metallica features in my personal favourites too.

Soham,

It's "For Whom the Bell Tolls". Tongs reminds me of a mandir! x(

Vikrant said...

nice n such a detailed post.fundo Im possessive abt metallica for sure! my personal favourites are,
Fadte to black
Nothing else matters,
Carpe Diem, Memory remains, one, unforgiven, unforgiven(2), fuel, until it sleeps, enter sandman, fot whom the bell tolls, turn the page, orion, I disapper, hero of the day, ronnie, aint my bitch, master of puppets. i love them!

Express said...

This is Jiggs's blog? huh? yeh kya ho gaya :-P

But genuinely, one of the best posts ive read in a very long time about music. For me Metallica is my beginnings to metal, and the journey has been amazing.

Yes, nothing else matters ws the first song I heard too. But, hey, Fade to black ws teh 2nd song I heard. And yes, very similar impact I must say.

AJFA is the most under-rated album.
And, Black Album is good, but too over-rated.
And dude, rtl is the best! It has every shade thr is, of metal.

I can talk on this for making another post. Shutting up and declaring my favories. *in that order*

Wherever I may roam
One
Fade to Black
Sad but True
Master of Puppets
King Nothing
Untill it sleeps
Unforgiven II
Fuel
Turn The Page

Gr8 post guys, could absolutely relate! Thank-u, made my day!

P.S. Tried so hard to restrict to 5 :-P genuinely!

Aditi ''Jiggs'' said...

abey vikrant thank alok for it.

n yes i need to thank express for this too, without whom this post wouldn't have been possible :P

plus adding 'sad but true' to my list :D

Express said...

Yea, would'nt ve been possible if u chose 2 overcome stupid "phobias" :-P

neway, adding orion and the call of kutulu 2 my list...

and that is it :-D


\m/

Aditi ''Jiggs'' said...

u know me,
dont u :P

joke tha yaar :P

Alok said...

The post comes on a very special day for Metallica. Yes, 3rd of August is James Hetfield's Birthday.

Happy birthday to a great frontman!

Alok said...

Vikrant,

Thank you.
I'm glad you could relate!

Express,

Thank you!
I'm glad you could relate while reading it.

I agree that AJFA is underrated. As I mentioned in the post, it's a very musically strong album.

The Black album is a very diverse and wide spectrum of music with the intensity of Metallica. That is the reaso why it is their best selling album: a wider audience can appreciate it.

P.S. I didn't mention this in the post, but I Love "The Call of the Ktulu" and "Orion". Each of them transports me to a different place. I feel alive when I'm there.

d SINNER!!! said...

http://confessedsinner.blogspot.com/
2008/08/aaah-books-p.html

umm Aditi-uve been tagged!

Alok--lotta info here...

some of the best songs and this one looks well researched...

Endevourme said...

nice template :D
cheers!

Renovatio said...

Want to hear a Metallica joke?

-St. Anger.

The Paratrooper said...

aditi is a mad girl

The Paratrooper said...

mad mad girl

metal-militant said...

Nice post yaar Alok.BRILLIANT!!!!!!

I used to listen to ALL of Metallica's albums (barring St Anger,which I heard just ONCE) religiously for the past 4 years.But now I've started feeling partial towards the 1st 4 and some of the 5th.But yes,I do like hearing Fuel and King Nothing occasionally.And yes,I STILL hate it when people rip on Metallica,and I especially love bashing people who say Slayer did a better job than thrash Metallica.
For me,no matter how many new bands I start patronizing,Metallica will ALWAYS be my all-time favourites.Can't wait for Death Magnetic (even though the cover looks a bit like a hairy vagina).

As for my favourites,well I used to consider 'One' as their best song,but now I believe its 'Welcome Home(Sanitarium)'.That song is defiance,submission,belief,despair,hope,anger ALL put in one.And the intro portion is PURE GOLD.As far as a list is concerned,here's mine:

1. Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
2. Metal Militia
3. For Whom the Bell Tolls
4. Master of Puppets
5. Creeping Death
6. Blackened
7. One
8. Wherever I May Roam
9. Whiplash
10. The Call of Ktulu

Akshay said...

yesss...

Alok said...

Renovatio,

Hahahahah. That was funny!

Metal-Militant,

Hey thanks man!
I'm glad you liked the post.

My personal favourite song remains to be "One". The way the guitar solo rips it apart...

Apart from that, I absolutely Love "The Call of the Ktulu" and "Orion".

Akshay,

My precioussssss

Alok said...

Metal-Militant,

Now that you mention it, the album cover Does look like a hairy vulva.

Now that's one sexy album cover! };^P

Aditi ''Jiggs'' said...

@ metal-militant, alok

wt kinda brain do u guys have haa :x

the album's name is Death Magnetic
so to me it appears like a Coffin symbolizing - 'death' and the a 'magnetic field' ard it.

i am over possessive ard metallic n i cant tolerate any trash abt it

:x

Express said...

The discussion having violent shades here I see, hmm..

Well, ishaan's list is saxxyyy!!!
Sanitarium!
Blackened!
Whiplash!
\m/

and as far as death magnetics's cover is concerned, it does nice justice 2 the name of the album, [acc 2 me]. People, how juvenile!

metal-militant said...

Yes I KNOW why the cover is like that,but it DOES look like a hairy vag.

Anyway,I'd like to make a change:replace 'Wherever I May Roam' with 'Fight Fire With Fire'

Alok said...

Abey Aditi we all know that.

But as Ishaan says, it does look like a hairy vulva.

My brain. My interpretation.

So, yes, Phbbbbbbbbt. P:

:D

Alok said...

"Death Magnetic" sounds extremely vague to me... I mean it is okay to join two completely unrelated things to create new ideas, for example I've heard of spicy mist, painted seas, and cold stares.

But Death Magnetic, sounds, uh, incomplete. I mean, ending a title with an adjective?

Anyway, awaiting the music. I kinda like Cyanide. What about you guys?

Aditi ''Jiggs'' said...

ending a title with an adjective?

dude its no eng grammar test :P
its just the name of an album
n u do u even care abt the name of the album ???
it is said that 'never judge a book by its cover' same goes for a music album too
Cynaide was awesome, cant wait for the release .

i am just shocked that u guys call urself metal heads who worship metallica n make such stupendous interpretations

Alok said...

Bwahahahhhha
ROTFL

OMG just reading your comment makes me laugh so hard.

And well, "Death Magnetic" sounds incomplete to me, I just gave the reason why. Personal opinion.

metal-militant said...

Well Cyanide was OK.It had more of a 'Load/Reload' feel to it.And judging by how interviews were pointing towards Metallica going back to the RTL/MOP sound,I didn't enjoy it that much.I just HOPE the others are much better.

And yes,we ARE metalheads,Metallica ARE 1 of our favourite bands,but you also need to be able to criticize what you like.Look at both sides of it.Just blind worship doesn't make sense.

Alok said...

I love the way the song begins. Also the riffs are pretty good (though not exactly thrash). The vocals are Okay.

Only place where the song falls in intensity is the mellow sounding structure just before the solo. Even the solo didn't sound as livening.

Aditi ''Jiggs'' said...

i guess vll get to know the actual version of the song wn the album comes out.

n as for criticisms
acc to me the remarks wh u guys made on the album cover were trashy.
again a personal opinion
:P

Express said...

:-)

actually, aditi don kill me 4 this, but it does look like that! :-D

but still!!!
making such vulgar comments on a public blog! shiv shiv... :-P

cyanide comes across as okayish composition, wanted to check the entire album together, now lets see......

:-)

Aditi ''Jiggs'' said...

:x

Aditi ''Jiggs'' said...

n ill wait for the album to come out b4 makin any remarks on it

Jadis said...

The Four Horsemen, Master of Puppets, Ride The Lightning, Whiplash, One, The Memory Remains, Wherever I May Roam, The Call of the Ktulu and The Outlaw Torn remain my favs. 'Tallica so rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Papa Hetfield is God.

Jesus said...

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http://rs565.rapidshare.com/files/142191509/By_RaZieL_Metallica_DeathMagnetic.rar

There's it...the last one...

Death Magnetic Rules!!!

Bye

Rick Dangerous said...

Best songs for me are:
Metal militia
The four horsemen
whiplash
Welcome home sanitarium
Master of puppets
Ride the lightning

i like it a bit brutal :p