Thursday, June 12, 2008

Metallica Vs. The Internet, Round Two

Hmm. Looks like Metallica found themselves in another spat over the internet, this time involving early press previews of their upcoming ninth album. And once again they appear hopelessly out of step and a good decade behind the times. Sigh.

What happened is that a number of press were invited to a listening session of the new Metallica album, which by all accounts is a return to the prog-rock thash style of ...And Justice For All, multiple time signatures, endless riffs and segments, yadda yadda. If that's your favorite Metallica period, chances are you'll be in the clouds. And the early media reports have been very positive; at least, it's all positive for now. I remember the "metal" and music press heaping glowing praise on all of the band's CD's, only to throw childish tantrums later down the road. But what do you expect from heavy metal in 2008? The genre's been creatively dead since the early '90s, and it's been a cartoonish fanboy joke ever since.

Ah, who am I kidding? Heavy metal has almost always been a cartoonish fanboy joke. That's why we designate the term "hard rock" for the heavy bands we respect. See: Led Zeppelin, The Who, Deep Purple, and, yeah, Metallica.

Anyway, I'm rambling. The music press came away happy and starting blogging as soon as they could. Then Metallica's management swooped in and tried to shut everyone up, and pushed to have the blog posts removed from their sites. Another triumph for the dying music industry, kids.

Fortunately, there's a happy ending to this story. Metallica has today reversed itself, claiming innocence in the matter ("it's all management's fault"), and encouraging the media to write, write, write away. Some of us cynics would call that damage control, but not me, no. I wouldn't think of it.

That's just the sort of thing an aging rock band like Metallica needs right now. They're still carrying the stain of the Napster saga and came away looking like a pack of greedy, obsolete dinosaurs, caught hopelessly behind the times. Now this. This is why you need to emerge from your rock star mansion more than once every five years. Sigh, again.

As to the album itself, I should mention that it's expected to be ten songs and run around 75 minutes in length. All but one are in the long, epic, eight, nine minutes. So, unless there are any surprises, the 5-disk vinyl album will contain two songs on each side.

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