The Day Metallica Went Mainstream (Top Story)

12/27/2010
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The Day Metallica Went Mainstream was a top story in August. Here it is again as we recap 2010: On August 31, 1991 Metallica started their four-week run at the top of the U.S. album chart with their self-titled album, better known to fans as the Black Album. To mark the anniversary, Gibson takes an in-depth look at the album:

In the fall of 1990, guitarist/vocalist Hetfield, guitarist Kirk Hammett, drummer Lars Ulrich and bassist Jason Newsted went into the One on One studio in North Hollywood to start on what would be Metallica's fifth album. Partially inspired by the success of "One," the band went to work on a set of concise, radio-friendly songs that would bridge the gap between thrash and mainstream metal.

Impressed with his work on Mφtley Crόe's Dr. Feelgood, Metallica enlisted producer Bob Rock to help in this vein, although they initially only wanted him to mix the album. They eventually changed their minds, and let Rock helm the whole process. "We felt that we still had our best record in us and Bob Rock could help us make it," Ulrich once said. The sessions for Metallica were as tense and angry as any that the band had experienced at that time. The members blamed Rock for this, largely because he changed their usual working schedule and forced them out of their comfort zones. For instance, he encouraged the band to play together, rather than record their parts separately, as they had become accustomed to doing. (Despite swearing never to work with the producer again, Metallica and Rock continued to collaborate for more than a decade.) Multiple takes, months of recording and no less than three different mixes resulted in the final album costing more than $1 million. - more on this story

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