Questions only abound the new Metallica album, only questions. What happened with this album? Is it finished now? Why did it take so long to complete? Why should it take two years to make a studio album, when all reports are that it's going to be a retro retread of their 1980's thrash sound? Is there still any band chemsitry five years after the implosion documented by Some Kind of Monster? Is the creativity still there? Has the band finally run out of ideas? Have they simply grown too old, too comfortable, to even care anymore? Has Metallica finally become a touring nostalgia act. Have they finally become the Rolling Stones?
Questions, questions. Yet no answers. Until I read a small line on their website, promising a vinyl album release containing five LPs. My mind races at the thought of some enormous surprise, another grand explosion of music, another pair of double albums just like in the '90s. Metallica has been releasing, essentially, double albums ever since ...And Justice For All.
I have to admit, there's a certain romanticism to the idea of Metallica swooping down the valley - shocking a music world that has long since left them for dead, for parody, for the state fair circuit with all their other 1980s peers - and unveiling a quintupple album. C'mon, admit it. Even if you've hated Metallica for years, this idea would rock.
But is it really going to happen? I don't know. My cynicism says no, we're just going to get another standard-length album, which for Metallica means somewhere around 75 minutes of music and a dozen songs. Am I spoiled to want more? To expect more? From a band that only bothers with studio recordings once every five years?
Still....I'll be crossing my fingers and hoping that Metallica ain't finished yet. They need to do something big, something grand. This album will decide whether they continue to stay relevent or not.