Metallica are seemingly one of the most frustrating bands currently making music. Yes they helped to define an era of music during the thrash movement and they have released some classic albums in their career, but lately it seems like all that may have been made irrelevant by years of questionable choices and poorly conceived albums.
As November has been dubbed ‘Thrash Month’ here on Call Upon The Author I had questioned whether or not I should include a review of the new Metallica album, admittedly they are a thrash band or at least they were, but this new album ‘Lulu’ a collaboration with Lou Reed is anything but a thrash album, in fact its barely even music.
If somebody had told me a few years ago that the band who released one of the greatest metal albums of all time (Ride The Lightning) would descend into almost self-parody and release a pompous, bloated ‘art’ project with that mumbling old git from the Velvet Undergound, I probably would have laughed in your face, stuck my middle finger up at you and shouted ‘Metal up your ass!’ and now I would probably be calling you up to apologize, so sorry about that.
I find it hard to believe that this was a band idea, but more that it spewed out of the brain of Lars Ulrich, a man who despite playing in the worldâ€™s biggest metal band seems almost embarrassed by Metallica and people’s opinions of them, such is the artsy fashionable circles with which he runs now.
But still it must be said that this album has been written and recorded as a band so as much as they may not have had the idea together, they collectively didn’t do anything to stop its inception.
The album is as awkward as you would expect it to be, Lou Reed is hardly the most charismatic and interesting singer in the world, in fact if Iâ€™m being brutally honest he is just a jabbering old geezer who mumbles so much that he makes Ozzy sound like a conversational wizard, then you have Metallica a band who have been on a steady decline for the last 15 years, who are essentially here playing backing band to Lou Reed, laying down dirgy low end riffs over lyrics about prostitution, jack the ripper and bizarrely enough â€œbeing the tableâ€.
You have to sit and think for a second what the Metallica of the 80’s would make of this album and if they ever saw themselves doing something like this, itâ€™s an interesting thing to ponder, because for as much as the band and Lou Reed have harped on about how great this album is and what a pleasure it was for them to make, not one of them seems to have given a good enough reason why this actually exists, which leads me to believe that quite simply there isn’t one.
When it was announced earlier this year that Metallica were working on a secret project, I had hoped that it would be a big four orientated jam album in much the vein of the roadrunner united sessions that the label put out in 2005, I mean what could be more perfect for thrash fans than an album where the four premier bands of the genre all get together and make an album full of songs with different members playing on each track, but instead we get the band further tarnishing their legacy by playing second rate riffs over the ramblings of a fool, all in the name of art. Make no mistake, I’m not being hard on this album just because Metallica are involved, I’m being hard on it because it is by and large insufferable dribble from a band that should know better.
Amidst all this it has come to light that Metallica are in fact working on a new album that will be more in keeping with what we are used to from them, time will only tell if they can deliver a new album worthy or both their name and legacy and put this misfire behind them, I mean they still like money right?