Their roots lie in the heavy rock of 70s groups like Deep Purple. The music they played, heavy metal mixed with punk attitude, became its own genre: thrash. Their bassist died and they survived to became the biggest-selling band in the world. As grunge threatened to overtake them, they reinvented themselves. Then their singer went into rehab and they almost fell apart. They are Metallica, the most influential heavy metal band of the last thirty years.
As Led Zeppelin was for hard rock and the Sex Pistols were for punk, Metallica became the band that defined the look and sound of 1980s heavy metal. Inventors of thrash metal, Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth followed, it was always Metallica who led the way, who pushed to another level, who became the last of the superstar rockers.
Metallica is the fifth-largest selling artist of all time, with 100 million records sold worldwide. Their music has extended its reach beyond rock and metal, and into the pop mainstream, as they went from speed metal to MTV with their hit single Enter Sandman
To many fans, the band Metallica died on September 27, 1986, when bassist and iconoclast Cliff Burton was killed in a tour bus accident. Wisely, Wall (When Giants Walked the Earth: A Biography of Led Zeppelin) starts his biography at the band's darkest moment and illustrates how long and at what costs it took them to become the biggest metal band of all time. Free from the fanboy perspective that dulls previous Metallica books, this one paints a full-color portrait of the boys in black via insider and outsider interviews. Focusing on the mostly unexamined early years (another wise choice), Wall defies the 21st-century Metallica mythology to remind readers what the band was-a group of pimply, smelly misfits who couldn't play their instruments. He stares down rumors, and his portraits of peer jealousy show us the monsters these metal messiahs really were. VERDICT While Wall bravely exposes the band's scars, he doesn't join the chorus of latter-day Metallica critics but reveals a vanguard act pushing boundaries few artists can. For the fans of the band, or simply of music, this balanced book is a dream.-Robert Morast, Fargo, ND (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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St. Martin's Press
May 09, 2011
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