Saturday, January 9, 2016

Metallica - 'Mama Said' from Load (1996)

Continuing in a series of examining Metallica's Load-era video singles, this one might actually be my favorite. Let it not be said that Metallica for lacked bravery, creativity or drive in the 1990's. Adapting 'Fade To Black'/Black Album - style melancholy balladry to straight-up country/metal hybridity in a song addressed to James Hetfield's mother who died from cancer when he was 16 years old, and having to live in the void left by her early death is an incredible thing to do, and certainly not the kind of thing which anyone would do to achieve chart success or mass popularity. In some ways, it could be argued that Metallica did stop making metal even with the Black Album and never returned, instead making music that only Metallica could make, and which only Metallica ever has made. Lots of people have made some really awesome thrash albums, but no one has ever made another run of albums that sound remotely like 90's Metallica (except for maybe Paradise Lost, but I think that is more a case of temporary parallel evolution rather than direct influence), nor lit out for similar territories, but instead, I think that what Metallica did was to broaden what metal could be, what it could do, who it could speak to and how, and they were in a unique position to even be capable of this, and the fact that they went ahead and did so, knowing full well that this would be misunderstood and potentially reviled in many quarters, at least for a very long time, is eminently deserving of hails and respect. It has taken me 20 years to really grasp what Metallica were up to with Load/Reload and for this, I feel both like an idiot and kind of sorry I haven't had these songs as intimate companions during that whole time the way I have with say, And Justice For All or my beloved 1984-issue cassette of Ride The Lightning. Hail To Thee, Metallica!!! Hail!!!

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