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6 Reasons Why Metallica is the Greatest US Heavy Metal Band of All Time

Updated on February 4, 2018

This Article is Like a Tribute to Metallica

This article was originally planned so that there would be a review of the first disk of the compilation album of cover songs called Garage Inc. But before we discuss the albums for Garage Inc. it is necessary to give perspective on the reasons why Metallica is the greatest US heavy metal band of all time. Why is Metallica the greatest US metal band of all time?

A band Photo of Metallica in 1985


First Four Reasons

  1. They have had VERY good power ballads such as Fade to Black and even great softer long songs such as Mama Said and Low Man’s Lyric.
  2. They have had three of the best heavy metal instrumental songs ever in the history of the genre. These are The Call of Ktulu, Orion, and To Live is to Die.
  3. The solid two CD set called Garage Inc. that saw the band experiment and put their own musical approach to these cover songs.
  4. Albums such as Death Magnetic and Hardwired to Self-Destruct show that even in the modern era after 35 years of playing heavy metal, they can still redeem themselves if they even needed to and write quality songs while going back to their roots.

The 6 Major Reasons of Metallica's Greatness Extend With Early Solid Thrash Metal

Their early 1980’s thrash metal style albums with the raw, staccato type riffs defined the angst, anger, and aggressiveness of that era and really defined what Metallica was about.

Whiplash 1983

Who are the Bassists that Metallica has Had in Their Career?

Ron Mcgovney: he was the bassist in the band's very early days.

Clifford Lee "Cliff" Burton 1962-1986 Note: he died in a bus accident in Sweden during the band's tour promoting their 3rd studio album Master of Puppets.

Jason Newsted- bassist for Metallica from 1987 through 2001

Robert Trujillo-he has been Metallica's bassist since 2003.

Garage Inc. Disk #1 Review

Garage Inc. is a two disk album of cover songs performed by American heavy metal band Metallica. I will only be reviewing the first disk which has songs that were written and performed by artists such as Discharge, Diamond Head, Black Sabbath, Bob Seger, Misfits, Blue Oyster Cult, and Thin Lizzy. This was a good idea by Metallica to do this because they had to do something different that was like a break from their traditional recording and writing process. Lars Ulrich mentioned that the band needed to do something different after three albums which were called serious by the band. These albums were 1991’s Black album, Load and Re-Load. This would make sense because these guys toured the world at a hectic pace to promote their 1991 album, the album which took them to superstar status. They had to deal with James Hetfield’s pyrotechnics accident in Montreal and I guess they were just really worn out after all that touring. This album shows the diversity of Metallica’s musical approach and it is also a way that the band “saved” my life though not in the literal sense. Their hard work and no-nonsense approach to writing GOOD quality heavy metal since 1982 has gotten them to superstar status. This is the only US based heavy metal band in which all of their albums are at least good other than Testament that I can think of.The first song called Free Speech for the Dumb is just two and a half minutes of repeating the song’s title. It’s Electric is a song about someone that is convinced that he will become a rock star making millions of dollars even if he has to encounter dangers along the way.

This first disk has a few of my favorites that are great cover performances by Metallica. These favorites are Die, Die My Darling, Whiskey in the Jar, Astronomy, and Loverman which was originally performed by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Die, Die My Darling is performed in a really aggressive way by Metallica and the vocals of James Hetfield are just perfect. Loverman is also very well performed as the song is about doing what we can to avoid the influence of the devil that may be lurking nearby. Loverman is spelled out in individual letters creating one of the most interesting songs in recent memory. True will exist even if empires fall and the world somehow ends. As I write this, I recall reading about the fact that James Hetfield’s mother Cynthia died of cancer when he was just 16. If she had lived long enough to see him reach the level of success that he has gotten to, she would have been very proud of him. Astronomy is a song written by Blue Oyster Cult and James Hetfield delivers his best ballad like performance that I have heard. Yes, James Hetfield does not have a high falsetto style of singing but he is a decent vocalist and in this song, he does VERY well! Next comes the Thin Lizzy song called Whiskey in the Jar which is my favorite cover song done by Metallica in this first disk or set of songs.

A List of Metallica's Full Length Albums Since 1983

Year Released
Album Title
Kill Em' All
Flemming Rasmussen
Ride the Lightning
Flemming Rasmussen
Master of Puppets
Flemming Rasmussen
And Justice for All
Flemming Rasmussen
Metallica the black album
Bob Rock
Bob Rock
Bob Rock
St. Anger
Bob Rock
Death Magnetic
Rick Rubin
Hardwired...To Self-Destruct
Rick Rubin
Note: this list does not include Garage Inc.

The Song Called Dyers Eve

And Justice for All Album Cover

And Justice for All is another one of the band's best albums in spite of the fact that the bass guitars were tuned down.
And Justice for All is another one of the band's best albums in spite of the fact that the bass guitars were tuned down. | Source

Last Great Reason is That Metallica Has Had no Sub-par Studio Albums

Metallica has NO studio releases that are even considered sub-par. How many US based heavy metal bands can say that? My guess is not too many of them. Metallica is just a group of guys that started to play heavy metal a long time ago and they have continued to do so even after the tragic death of Cliff Burton in 1986.

Final Thoughts about Metallica's Greatness Part 1

We could certainly list more than six solid reasons that Metallica is the greatest US heavy metal band ever but this is just a start to get fans to be super thankful that we have had a band like this in the history of music. Metallica basically saved the life of this writer on Thanksgiving night when he had been angry and had trouble hanging in there. So far, things are going on the right track and Metallica should be on a list of the Top 10 or 20 greatest heavy metal bands of all time if they are not on such a list.

Hardwired Music Video

The Song Mama Said

Thoughts about Metallica's Greatness Part 2

Metallica excels at writing heavy songs, they can write great ballads and their instrumental work in the 1980’s is nothing short of spectacular. Metallica’s lighter and trendier albums like Load and Re-Load are good in their own way for the more open-minded listener who can see that there is good in these changes. Metallica was already popular even more popular when those two albums were released so it was not like they were trying to sell out. They were just trying a different musical approach and it has certainly worked out very well for them. Let’s give James Hetfield and Metallica the proper credit and tribute that they deserve as the band has now been active for 36 years. They are clearly the greatest American heavy metal band ever as of 2017.

My Apocalypse

Favorite Metallica Studio Album

What is your favorite Metallica album?

See results

Whiskey in the Jar

© 2017 Ara Vahanian


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