Metallica Band: Thrash/Speed Metal

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Metallica Band: Thrash/Speed Metal
Metallica Band: Biography
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Lars Ulrich | James Hetfield | Robert Trujillo | Kirk Hammett

Metallica Band: Biography

Metallica's January 2004 single, 'The Unnamed Feeling', featured a whole crop of classic tracks recorded in Paris the year before. The band, unveiling a lengthy second run of North American dates, won a prestigious Grammy Award in the "Best Metal Performance" category for 'St. Anger' at the 46th annual show held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Meantime, Rolling Stone magazine would place METALLICA as the fifth highest Rock n' Roll earner in North America for 2003, reckoning their 'Summer Sanitarium' tour had grossed close to $50 million. Behind the scenes, the band would benefit from a shake up of the Warner Bros. recording stable, shifting from long term imprint Elektra over to Warner Bros. for future product.

North American touring in the first half of 2004 had the band packaged with support band GODSMACK, these dates grossing a cool $22 million. As the world tour rolled into Europe and Scandinavia the band not only sustained but strengthened their appeal. Quite incredibly, METALLICA's concert at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, Finland on 28th May was attended by 46,000 people, close to 1 percent of the country's 5.5-million population. This huge wave of support was translated to the national Finnish album charts where no less than six METALLICA albums occupied the top forty -'Metallica' at no. 4, 'Master Of Puppets' no. 7, '...And Justice For All' no. 11, 'Ride The Lightning' no. 14, 'Kill 'Em All' no. 10 and 'St. Anger' at no. 28.

METALLICA fared even better in Sweden where the band's gig in Gothenburg on 30th May propelled their back catalogue into the official national album listings again with 'Metallica' re-entering at no. 9, 'Master Of Puppets' at no. 14, '...and Justice For All' at no. 20, 'Ride The Lightning' at no. 23, 'Kill 'em All' at no. 28, 'St. Anger' at no. 31, 'Load' at no. 47, 'Reload' at no. 48, 'S&M' at no. 54 and 'Garage Inc.' at no. 60.

The group's 4th June 'Rock In Rio' festival performance in Lisbon, Portugal would broadcast live to more than 45 countries via several television channels.

Lars Ulrich was hospitalized just upfront of the band's headlining slot at the mammoth 'Download' festival in England on 6th June. Apparently the drummer had been taken ill while travelling in a private plane between Lisbon in Portugal and the UK, the decision being made to divert to Germany where an ambulance took Ulrich to hospital. Quickfire replacements were sought in the backstage area of the show with Hetfield, Hammett and Trujillo jamming with MACHINE HEAD's Dave McClain, HATEBREED's Matt Byrne and LIFE OF AGONY's Sal Abruscato among others. However, for a truncated nine song METALLICA employed Dave Lombardo of SLAYER playing 'Battery' and 'The Four Horsemen', Joey Jordison of SLIPKNOT covering 'For Whom The Bell Tolls', 'Creeping Death' and 'Creeping Death' and drum tech Fleming Larsen taking on 'Fade to Black'. Jordison returned for 'Wherever I May Roam', 'Last Caress', 'Sad But True' 'Nothing Else Matters' and 'Enter Sandman'. Lars Ulrich would be back in his rightful place for the band's next scheduled gig in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

Meantime further acknowledgement of the band's standing poured in as Kirk Hammett was honored with the 'Outstanding Guitarist' award at the California Music Awards held on 6th June and the following day METALLICA scooped the 'Best International Act' award at the second annual Metal Hammer awards in London.

A new single, 'Some Kind Of Monster', would be launched in July to capitalise on the release of the Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky directed documentary of the same name. This EP, limited editions coming with a free T shirt, hosted live renditions of 'The Four Horsemen', 'Damage, Inc.', 'Leper Messiah', 'Motorbreath', 'Ride The Lightning' and 'Hit The Lights', recorded in Paris on June 11, 2003. Selling just shy of 30,000 copies in its debut week, 'Some Kind Of Monster' hit no. 37 on the US Billboard charts.

One setback came in Croatia, a 27th June appearance at Gradski Stadion in Zagreb being cancelled due to "insurmountable technical difficulties". METALLICA's show at Prague's T-Mobile Park on 1st July proved unusual too, the group taking to the stage an hour early to allow fans to watch their national soccer team play against Greece in the Euro 2004 semifinal.

Another METALLICA tribute would be in the air too as Mexican acoustic duo Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero, former members of Heavy Metal band members of TIERRA ACIDA, revealed plans for a METALLICA covers EP. Their 2004 album 'Live Manchester and Dublin', recorded in Dublin's Christ Church Cathedral and the Manchester Academy, included a segue of 'One' interwoven with the Dave Brubek Jazz standard 'Take 5'. Also on the METALLICA covers front, acts such as MOTORHEAD, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, DEATH ANGEL and DARK ANGEL all contributed to the latest tribute album 'Metallic Assault'.

METALLICA's North American 'Madly In Anger With The World' campaign re-commenced in St. Paul, Minnesota on 16th August. This show would also mark the launch of METALLICA's official biographry 'So What: The Good, The Mad, and The Ugly' through Broadway Books. Fans pre-purchasing the 1000 page tome and picking up a special wristband would be eligible for a meet and greet with the band on the day of the concert. Subsequent gigs saw a shift in song content as the track 'Some Kind Of Monster' was debuted at a Peoria, Illinois on the 24th. During this show the band also performed 'Trapped Under Ice', an exceptionally rare outing for this song. METALLICA closed out the first leg with a show in Lubbock, Texas, notable for a set list containing a first time ever live rendition of 'Sweet Amber'.

The second leg of the tour maintained the momentum of the first, illustrated by the fact that tickets for the Montreal Bell Centre concert on 4th October sold out of its 19,000 tickets in less than three hours. A further night was duly added to the itinerary. Canada also scored with the addition of a second Quebec City Colisée Pepsi concert, this show added as a fundraiser for CHOI 98.1 FM radio station, threatened by closure by the CRTC. The first Quebec show sold all 13,000 tickets in under three hours.

In October METALLICA provided more fodder for die hard US collectors with the issue of 'Vinyl Box' which comprised special editions of its first four studio albums, as well as the 'Garage Days Re-Revisited' EP and the European 'Creeping Death' picture disc. Restricted to just 5,000 hand numbered copies 'Vinyl Box' saw the albums 'Kill 'Em All', 'Ride The Lightning', 'Master Of Puppets' and '...And Justice For All' expanded to double-vinyl sets on 180-gramme audiophile vinyl with new gatefold jackets.

On 7th September James Hetfield performed a "metal version" of WAYLON JENNINGS Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out of Hand' during the 'CMT Outlaws' concert taping at Nashville's Gaylord Entertainment Center. Meanwhile, back on the METALLICA tour the band maintained their interest in keeping the live set fluid by performing 'Wasting My Hate' breaking a seven year break for that song in Quebec and then performing 'The God That Failed' for the first time in ten years at the 17th October Washington, D.C. MCI Center gig. By the time the band had wrapped up the 'Madly in Anger with the World' tour it had grossed a reported $53.8 million in box office reciepts.

In December the METALLICA track 'Some Kind Of Monster' would be nominated in the 'Best Hard Rock Performance' category for the 47th annual Grammy Awards. May of 2005 saw an announcement that Kirk Hammett had contributed guest guitar to SANTANA's 'All That I Am' album. That same month the Recording Industry Association of America revealed METALLICA had sold over 57 million albums in the USA, with only LED ZEPPELIN, AC/DC and AEROSMITH ranking above them in terms of Hard Rock sales.

METALLICA returned to the live stage playing two shows opening up for the ROLLING STONES in their home city of San Francisco at the SBC Pacbell Park on 13th and 15th November.

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Lars Ulrich | James Hetfield | Robert Trujillo | Kirk Hammett