June 4th, 1996 was the day Metallica officially called it quits. While the short hair, Woodstock appearance and looming mainstream acceptance were warning signs, sitting at home and hearing “Ain’t My Bitch” for the first time solidified it: Metallica was no longer what they once were.
As someone born in 1981, Metallica has sucked now for exactly half my life. Whatever musical wonder and awe that marked my first fifteen years was pissed on and slapped around for the last fifteen.
And while fans have struggled to defend the band’s multiple missteps (Lars’s snare will forever be in Kevin Stewart-Panko’s debt), they finally received a universal middle finger for the baffling, stone deaf Lulu.
But it doesn’t look like the band has any interest in stopping so we’re left with who knows what next (there is a passing mention of adding horns) and a group of men who only get older and richer and more irrelevant.
But when Metallica were good, they were the best.
Joined on stage by fellow legacy-ruiners Ozzy and Mustaine, this is not the band’s best performance, probably not in the top 1,000 (The music starts about 30 minutes in). And I still wish Ulrich ebola on his dick. But as much as I like to shoot the barrel fish that comprises fifty percent of their career, this final of four anniversary shows forces me to reflect on how important Metallica’s been not just to metal, but to music.
It will be a long time before someone is able to move the kind of mountains they did with their first three or four or maybe even five albums, and my thirty-year-old self would like to thank them with the same level of gratitude that my fifteen-year-old self thanked them.
Now go write another bullshit record, you fucking pricks.