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Metallica-Hard Rock Pioneers

Updated on May 16, 2020
Mark O Richardson profile image

Mark loves listening to music and has hundreds of CDs. His favorite bands are Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, and Stereophonics.

Metallica-Current Lineup

Current band: Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hemmett, Robert Trujillo, James Hetfield
Current band: Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hemmett, Robert Trujillo, James Hetfield | Source


Drummer Lars Ulrich and singer/guitarist James Hetfield, from the west coast, founded this hard rock band in 1981. Lars Ulrich has said that he is a big fan of other rock groups. Ulrich’s father played professional tennis, but Lars decided to go the music route. Cliff Burton was their early bassist. James Hetfield was a huge Black Sabbath fan. Hetfield and Ulrich both loved the band AC/DC. He had said that when he writes music lyrics, he likes to write about writing about what is going on inside himself instead of writing about politics or things in the news. He also enjoys hunting and fishing. Part of their initial lineup was Dave Mustaine, who later went on to found Megadeth. There has been some conflict between Mustaine and Metallica in the years since. Metallica was described early on as “fast-speed non-glam thrash band”. Kirk Hammett later became their lead guitarist.


Their first full album, Kill Em All, was released in 1983. Much of the lyrics were influenced by horror writer HP Lovecraft. Their next album was ‘Ride the Lightning’ in 1984. ‘Master of Puppets’ was released in 1986. They toured with Ozzy Osbourne (formerly of Black Sabbath) as part of this tour. September 27, 1986, their tour bus lost control and Cliff Burton died when the bus went into a ditch and Cliff Burton was crushed by the bus. At that point, Ulrich took charge of the band. A new bassist was chosen: Jason Newsted, who was the brunt of jokes from the rest of the band, which would come back to bite them later. They released an EP in 1987: ‘Garage Days Revisited’, which had covers that were tributes to bands that had influenced them during their early years. ‘…And Justice for All” was their next album, released in 1988, many of the songs being more than 5 minutes. Their fifth, self-titled album is when they started to get more success. Many call it the black album. With this album, they started to do more music videos. It is said that the song: ‘The God that Failed’ had to do with Hetfield’s parents forcing their Christian Science religion on him as he was growing up. They clashed with Guns N Roses on this tour.

Thoughts on their Recent Activity

The band received a lot of publicity during the mid-nineties when they refused to allow Napster to share their music, especially by Ulrich. Jason Newsted later left the band around 1999, saying he never felt accepted and the rest of the band would often tease him. Bassist Robert Trujillo, formerly of the band 'Suicidal Tendencies' replaced him.

Metallica has known and toured with many other rock bands. They have gone from indie to mainstream as they have gained popularity. In my opinion, they have gone back to their metal roots with their recent albums, which I am not as much of a fan of. My favorites in order are Load, Reload, …And Justice for All. One of my favorite songs of all time is ‘No Leaf Clover’ which is from ‘S&M’, which is a collaboration for a live album with the San Francisco Symphony. Normally I am not a fan of live music, but the symphony and unique song make me like it.


Metallica, a tear-out photo book by Oliver Books.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Mark Richardson


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