The History of the Four Horsemen


Written by: spiritofvengence
Published: 17.05.2010


At the dawn of the twenty-first century, I knew nothing about metal or even rock for that matter. The only hard bands I was able to get hold of were Linkin Park and Disturbed. Then one day, after watching Mission: Impossible 2 on DVD, I saw a music video for a song "I Disappear" by Metallica. I thought it was "Take A Look Around" by Limp Bizkit (their remixed version of the MI theme song - because I didn't know what it was called), so I clicked it. And what happened?

Well, just the loudest, heaviest, hardest eargasm I'd ever had! It was so loud that I feared I'd get caught because it was so loud (which I wasn't). It was harder and heavier than anything I'd ever heard before, and I was strangely both repelled and drawn towards it.

Little did I know that this was only the beginning...

At first Metallica was just sort of "over there" and my music tastes remained outside the realm of rock or metal. But then, about six or five years ago, I was drastically reintroduced to Metallica. My brother opened the door to a whole new world of music, starting with Metallica. ReLoad, ...And Justice For All and Ride the Lightning came first, with the Black Album, St. Anger, Garage Inc. and S&M later, finished off with Master of Puppets, Load, Kill 'Em All and Death Magnetic. Eventually I was getting hooked on this band. But my fandom did not mature just yet.

Originally, I, like many of you, discarded St. Anger without a second thought - just because everyone else hated it - and liked the old stuff (RTL). However, after hearing songs from the album bit-by-bit, it slowly dawned upon me that there was no real
reason for not-liking it other than the word of the crowd. Therefore I gave the album a second chance and haven't looked back for a moment.

Obviously, I am a new-comer to the world of metal, but it seems that I was also a new-comer to the fandom of Metallica. Apparently I didn't and still don't know all the rules and "hidden curriculum" of Metallica-fandom. For instance, it is apparently a rule to hate them entirely, to rip on all the members save for Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted, to like only their old material (KEA through MOP), and it is also a rule that they must always be called sell-outs no matter what they do.

It's somewhat hypocritical. Other bands have changed their sound (Bathory), or played slower (Motörhead) or gone through numerous line-up changes (Black Sabbath), or have mainstream success (Iron Maiden) and yet are revered and defended without question. So why is it that makes Metallica the scape-goat for your ire?

To start with, let us look at the history of the band...



Metallica: c. 1983. Line-up from l. to r. - James Hetfield, Dave Mustaine, Lars Ulrich, Ron McGovney


Inspired by the new wave of British heavy metal as well as various punk groups, a native Dane named Lars Ulrich contacted Californian James Hetfield about starting a band sometime in the early 80s. Shortly thereafter, they were joined by guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist Ron McGovney. They played several gigs and recorded several demos and singles, such as the "No Life 'Till Leather" demo and the "Jump In The Fire" and "Whiplash" single. Shortly thereafter, they were given a name - Metallica.

Tensions within the band mounted as Dave constantly bullied Ron about being an incompetent bassist. One of the most infamous incidents involved a drunk Dave pouring beer into the pick-ups of Ron's bass, electrocuting Ron in the process. These and other incidents caused Lars and James to seriously reconsider Dave's place in the band. In interviews, Lars has said that they did not see the band going very far with Dave at that time. It was also during this time that they found a new bassist following McGovney's departure. Clifford Lee Burton filled his shoes and the band then made their way east to begin recording their first album: "Metal Up Your Ass." Upon arrival, Dave was unceremoniously awakened by the other band members and promptly told to gather his things and head back to San Francisco - he was out of the band.

Recording of the first studio album, renamed "Kill 'Em All" took place later that year, with former Exodus guitarist Kirk Hammett as the new lead guitarist: Dave Mustaine was credited for all of the songs which he had a hand in writing during their pre-album years ("The Mechanix" - renamed and rewritten as "The Four Horsemen," "Jump In The Fire" among others). A year later saw the release of "Ride the Lightning" a second album which many saw as a departure from the old "bay area thrash sound" with songs with acoustic, melodic introductions such as "Fight Fire With Fire" and the almost entirely acoustic "Fade to Black." Though he had been gone for almost a year and was beginning work on his own band Megadeth, Dave Mustaine was given credit for the title track and the instrumental "Call of Ktulu." 1986 saw the release of "Master of Puppets," which catapulted Metallica into mainstream success, as well as opening for Ozzy Osbourne during a tour of the US.


Metallica line-up between 1983 and 1986. Cliff Burton far left and Kirk Hammett far right.


Though 1986 was a good year for Metallica-fans in that it saw the release of the ever-popular Master of Puppets album, it was a drastic turning point for the band. September 27th, during the European portion of the Damage Inc. tour, the band's bus slid on "black ice." Cliff Burton was crushed by the bus and died thereby. It would be one of the defining moments of Metallica history.

Feeling that Cliff would not have wanted them to call it quits on his account, the band began taking auditions for the bass role to continue their tour. Jason Newsted of Floatsam and Jetsam, and a big Metallica-fan, was the chosen replacement. Little did he know what he was getting himself into. The band took their grief over the loss of Cliff out on Jason, and he became known derogatorily as "Jason Newkid."

With the release of the "Garage Days Re-Revisted" EP in 1987, Metallica recorded "...And Justice For All" the following year. This has received criticism by most fans because of the low-end production quality and the over-all absence of Jason's bass-line, part of the hazing he endured. Another high/low point of this album is "One," the song based on the novel "Johnny Got His Gun" about an injured war-soldier trapped in living death. This was also the first Metallica song to have a music video made of it, which made many accuse the band of selling out once again.


Metallica c. early 90s. Jason Newsted far left.


Those who thought Metallica sold out with RTL and "One" were not ready for the 90s at all. 1991 saw the release of the aptly named "Black Album," which catapulted the band out of underground thrash metal into the wider, heavy metal/hard rock scene. With music videos of "Enter Sandman," "The Unforgiven," "Nothing Else Matters," mainstream recognition, spots on MTV and a much wider fan-base, many believed the band had sold out.

Two other incidents in the early nineties would leave an indelible mark on the band. James Hetfield broke his voice while recording a cover of "So What" by the Anti-Nowhere League and had to take singing lessons. Many saw this as selling out, since he no longer performed the growling, screamed vocals of the 80s which are considered a thrash-metal standard. Secondly, though more serious, was the incident of August 8th 1992. During the climax of the intro to "Fade to Black", James stepped in front of a twelve-foot-tall pyrotechnics pillar, causing severe burns. He would survive the incident (much to the dismay of those who have hated Metallica).


The Infamous 90s...and short-cuts for all?


1996 saw the release of Load, the beginning of an experimental stage of Metallica's discography. Instead of mind-numbing thrash, more blues/early rock-based songs. Though Load received much mainstream success, the metal community has mostly looked down upon this album and its successor ReLoad as instances of Metallica selling out. In addition to the new sound was the new look, which one magazine entitled as "...And Short-Cuts For All?". Considered low points are "Mama Said" from Load and "The Memory Remains" from ReLoad, mostly because of Marianne Faithfull as a guest vocalist.

Later 90s ventures included the re-re-release of the covers from the Garage Days EP, the Creeping Death EP, various others from the singles of "Harvester of Sorrows," "Enter Sandman," "The Unforgiven" and "Hero of the Day" as well as several new recordings for the "Garage Inc." compilation. This has received mostly negative reception from metal fans who consider it another point of selling out. Another late-90s venture was the live performance in San Francisco with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, entitled "S&M." This was later released on a CD, which has received mixed reception from metal fans.

The darkest times of Metallica were just ahead. With James and Lars starting families of their own which took more time from the band, Jason Newsted began side-project Echobrain. James Hetfield confronted Jason about this, stating that he could not be in Metallica and Echobrain at the same time since he saw it as taking away from the band's energy - even though he had appeared as a guest vocalist on Corossion of Conformity's "Man Or Ash" and on the South Park film's song "Kenny Goes To Hell."

The year 2000 saw the release of "I Disappear" for the film Mission: Impossible 2, as well as a music video for the song. During recording of the song, Lars Ulrich discovered their entire discography available for free file-sharing download on Napster. In an act of narcissistic control similar to James-vs-Jason, Lars joined the campaign against Napster along with many other artists, which resulted in an even greater loss of fans and continued accusations of selling out. But harder blows were in for the band later, as after a live performance of "Fade to Black" in 2001, Jason Newsted abruptly left the band.

With pressure for another studio album, James, Lars and Kirk hired therapist Phil Towle as a consultant while working with former producer Bob Rock on bass, they rented a military barracks at the Presidio Military base to act as a recording studio. After a heated debate over Lars' unorthodox drumming and James' "stock" guitar riffs, an angry James stormed out of the room. He later checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation group, telling Kirk over the phone that he was technically "not in the band." December 4th saw his return and the completion of the album shortly thereafter. Ozzy Osbourne bassist Robert Trujillo was offered $1 million after auditioning for the role, which he accepted.


Metallica: 2003 onward


The new album, St. Anger, was released in 2003. Though it received some level of critical acclaim, every metal-fan who stuck with them through the 90s abandoned them now after the album featured not Master-of-Puppets-2 but a 70+ minute work filled with strained vocals, long, down-tuned songs with no guitar solos, little or no evidence of bass, low-end production quality, introverted lyrical content and simplistic rhyme structure. The album and its related singles and EPs have been labelled "nu metal" - though it bears no resemblance to early Disturbed, early Linkin Park, KoRn, P.O.D., System Of A Down or early Slipknot - and the band criticized as being "over-the-hill" and "washed up," with the largest drop in popularity since Napster.

Five years later saw the release of Death Magnetic, something that, like Megadeth's "The World Needs A Hero," was a sell-out reaction to the negative fan-reaction of the previous album. Sacrificing uniqueness and experimentation for acceptance, Metallica tried to make a master-of-puppets-2, but instead made something the "fans" still love to hate for being "too loud."

What does the future have in store for the Four Horsemen? Well, hopefully they will release a new album soon (Dave harks only on the same old subject over and over and over again - it gets boring), but if they do, it will be to your hatred. Unfortunately, the inevitability will come and one of them will die. If any of the three original members do, then it will be Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan all over again (ie. disrespecting the dead just because you hated them in life and show no respect for anyone even after they're gone), and I doubt anyone will miss Trujillo that much (except for Ozzy, but you hate him, too).

God, it feels like it only rains on me.



 


Guest article disclaimer:
This is a guest article, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 49   Visited by: 293 users
19.05.2010 - 16:07
Hermann Langke
Brahmastra Corps
Don't lose heart bro.
Don't give a fuck to other's opinions.You have done your job.
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19.05.2010 - 18:32
Brogkul
You gotta have some nerve to post stupid comments on the Dio threads and then come up with this bullshit article. Burst the bubble already, go listen to Dio and cleanse your foul soul!
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"The Sly One"
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19.05.2010 - 20:01
Zombie
Thrash'tillDeath
TL;DR
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None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free
Johann Wolfgang van Goethe 1749-1832
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20.05.2010 - 10:29
Doc Godin
Obnoxious
Written by DayFly on 19.05.2010 at 12:24

Can somebody tell me why this was published?

Possibly because in the secret editing corner of the website (invisible to most of you jerks), the "delete" button is right next to the "publish" button, so mistakes can happen when your doing edits drunk/sleep-deprived/cracked out.

Or, another great possibility is comparable to that of Private Pyle from Full Metal Jacket. In the words of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: "Every time Pyle fucks up, I will not punish him, I will punish all of you!" In other words, whomever accepted this garbage may have known full well it was garbage, and perhaps the author will consider putting more thought into their next articles after receiving all this wonderful feedback (which has been as constructive as it is insulting).

Written by skrätte on 19.05.2010 at 02:02

Damn it... with a little more meat, this topic could potentially make it into the Drama category for next year's MS Awards.

Let's hope it continues. In the meantime, I hope that you all take the opportunity to plagiarize Wikipedia articles for bands you know nothing about, while simultaneously removing relevant facts and injecting your own opinion. I've been hard at work on my article which is entitled "The History of Sepultura: So, Apparently There Were Albums Before the Black Guy".

This is exciting, no?

If I could send you a medal...or an oreo or something I would. Your last few posts have been pure win. Actually, I'm writing a similar article to this, except it's about my girlfriend threatening to leave me because I still play with my x-men action figures.
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"I got a lot of really good ideas, problem is, most of them suck."
- George Carlin
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20.05.2010 - 12:21
Acolyt#1
Written by BitterCOld on 18.05.2010 at 23:05

The problem is that his "passion" is misguided in assigning bullshit motives to people that may or may not exist.

the problem is that he talks about things he doesn't particularly understand.


agreed, I hope it's a lesson learned for all those out there who were about to post some similar article !
we deserve better quality

Next time write about an unknown band who did an epic gig and died right at the end of the show in a glorious freak accident!!
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20.05.2010 - 18:28
Warman
Erotic Stains
Written by Roro on 18.05.2010 at 16:09

Fight ... fight... fight!

Yeah I love this, I skipped the article and went for the comments right away!
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20.05.2010 - 21:54
Valentin B
Iconoclast
Written by skrätte on 19.05.2010 at 02:02

"The History of Sepultura: So, Apparently There Were Albums Before the Black Guy".

i think you should be more fit to write an article than this guy
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Sing me a song, you're a singer
Do me a wrong, you're a bringer of evil.
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22.05.2010 - 03:11
Richard
Written by skrätte on 18.05.2010 at 05:44

Go to bed, Spotty.


Sorry to be off-topic, but is this a quote from The Young Ones?
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23.05.2010 - 00:59
skrätte
I Hate You
Written by Richard on 22.05.2010 at 03:11

Written by skrätte on 18.05.2010 at 05:44

Go to bed, Spotty.


Sorry to be off-topic, but is this a quote from The Young Ones?


Ding ding ding ding!

Your cookie will be mailed, post-haste, sir!
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23.05.2010 - 01:18
Fat & Sassy!
Nomcat
The Young Ones? I didn't even catch that reference. I think that qualifies your post for Post of the Year! XD
----
"Information is not knowledge
Knowledge is not wisdom
Wisdom is not truth
Truth is not beauty
Beauty is not love
Love is not music
Music is THE BEST..." ____Frank Zappa
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26.05.2010 - 09:33
Hermann Langke
Brahmastra Corps
Written by Winterthrone on 18.05.2010 at 04:22

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 18.05.2010 at 02:45

Written by Ellrohir on 18.05.2010 at 01:28

Written by Winterthrone on 17.05.2010 at 18:50

Written by spiritofvengence on 17.05.2010 at 02:29

@Marcel Hubregste...GO TO HELL BEFORE I SEND YOU THERE MYSELF!!!

In my country this could be taken as Death Threats punishable by jail-time. Lucky for you, you did this on the internet and not in the streets.


regardless the circumstances here - your country must be quite sad place to live, if this is punishable act...pity for your nation, man


I doubt that what Spiritofvengence shouted at me is considered a death threat, or a punishable act, in Canada. Or in any country in the world. If that were the case there wouldn't be any columnists around or many other writers for that matter. Not saying that spiritofvengence is a writer though. I don't what to call his so-called articles... but funny they certainly are.

Maybe there was a little exageration here...but no Saying your gonna send someone to hell is pretty much saying your gonna kill him...and that's a death threat. And this article sucks balls..again. And I don't know any serious columnist that publishes death threats...When you can't attack the ideas you attack the person...My two cents.

Cool down guys.This is not a place to fight.
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27.05.2010 - 11:38
Hamird
HIV+
Written by Fat & Sassy! on 23.05.2010 at 01:18

The Young Ones? I didn't even catch that reference. I think that qualifies your post for Post of the Year! XD


I think they're talking about the British sitcom...

By the way I think it'd better to write this under the article,

Guest article disclaimer:
This is a guest article, which means it particularly does not represent the point of view of the MS Staff. No way...
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27.05.2010 - 17:37
Fat & Sassy!
Nomcat
Written by Hamird on 27.05.2010 at 11:38

Written by Fat & Sassy! on 23.05.2010 at 01:18

The Young Ones? I didn't even catch that reference. I think that qualifies your post for Post of the Year! XD


I think they're talking about the British sitcom...


Yup! I know.
----
"Information is not knowledge
Knowledge is not wisdom
Wisdom is not truth
Truth is not beauty
Beauty is not love
Love is not music
Music is THE BEST..." ____Frank Zappa
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03.06.2010 - 14:28
hridesh7raj
Thought it was some history about the song.:nono:
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06.01.2012 - 04:45
psykometal
A staff guy...
Tl:dr...but the comments are hilarious...
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~Zep, Database and Forum Moderation~

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06.01.2012 - 14:54
corrupt
With a lowercase c
Written by psykometal on 06.01.2012 at 04:45

Tl:dr...but the comments are hilarious...

And they tell you all you need to know about the article. So NNTR (no need to read) too
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Schwarzmetall!
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06.01.2012 - 18:19
vezzy
Stallmanite
Damn, I'm glad I'm not this guy. But being a 13-year old kid who's been on message boards since he was 8, I've done plenty of other stupid shit that might make me an internet celebrity against my will some day. In fact, I already am becoming one because of some site, but I'm damn proud of it.
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Licensed under the GPLv3.
Relinquish proprietary software for a greater GNU/America.
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07.01.2012 - 12:26
psykometal
A staff guy...
Written by corrupt on 06.01.2012 at 14:54

And they tell you all you need to know about the article. So NNTR (no need to read) too

Exactly...
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~Zep, Database and Forum Moderation~

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25.06.2012 - 19:44
Cuca Beludo
Account deleted
Damn long to read...
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