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About Metallica

The members of Metallica didn’t just help invent heavy metal; they evolved with it. Formed in 1981 when a “dorky, disenfranchised” teenager in Southern California—Lars Ulrich, in his own words—placed a classified ad name-checking Iron Maiden and Diamond Head, the band debuted in 1983 with Kill ’Em All and pioneered the blinding synthesis of punk and New Wave of British Heavy Metal we now call thrash. Having moved to the Bay Area in the early ’80s to court bassist Cliff Burton, the group—Ulrich, guitarist Kirk Hammett, guitarist-vocalist James Hetfield, and Burton—went on to fashion metal into a kind of art form, eschewing the glammy appeal of hair metal for ultra-serious, progressively complex song-suites that explored subjects like suicide, political corruption, and the psychological horror of war. Burton was killed in a bus accident in late 1986 and replaced by Jason Newsted for 1988’s epochal … And Justice for All. Even as the band became a global phenomenon in the wake of its 1991 self-titled album, Metallica remained defiantly on its own path, dabbling in Southern rock (1996’s Load), high-concept dirges (2011’s divisive Lou Reed collaboration, Lulu), stripped-down hardcore (2003’s St. Anger), and orchestral live albums (1999’s S&M). This path also circles back to the roots. After 2008’s Death Magnetic updated early Metallica angst for the thrash revival of the 2000s, the Duffer Brothers’ use of “Master of Puppets” in Season 4 of Stranger Things made the ’80s anthem go viral in 2022. This set the stage for the following year’s 72 Seasons, an epic song cycle about youth that reinvents the rawness of the NWOBHM that had initially inspired Metallica. Thus, its story is, in essence, the story of metal itself: a push-pull of simplicity and complexity that continually challenges our understanding of fast and loud.

Los Angeles, CA, United States
October 28, 1981
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