• Axl Rosenberg

metallica_back.jpgOne of the greatest gifts Metallica has given the world is the concept of the soft-intro. You know: the soft, soothing acoustic guitar bit before the first brutal notes on an album, which Metallica first introduced on Master of Puppets, or, better still, the less melodious, more foreboding slow-rise of the electric guitar that Metallica did on …And Justice For All.

At this point, this trope has been so done to death it’s past the point of cliché and moving steadily towards self-parody; but I really can’t bring myself to care. It’s such a perfect way to aurually express the clouds gathering before the storm; it just gets my blood pumping too fast every time for me to have any real objections to its continued usage in the metal world.

My favorite one, of the past few years at least, remains the intro to God Forbid’s IV: A Constitution of Treason, but recent releases by Machine Head (The Blackening) and Omnium Gatherum (Stuck Here on Snake’s Way) do a pretty sweet job with it, too. Shadows Fall’s The War Within has a pretty good one, too – although it borrows so heavily from Puppets that the Shads should have to pay Hetfield and Ulrich royalty checks.

Personally, I’d love to hear Metallica try it again on their forthcoming album, and maybe see if, twenty-one years after Puppets, they can once again set the standard. In the documentary Some Kind of Monster, we get to hear a little bit of a proposed-intro before Lars Ulrich’s daddy, a dead ringer for Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, nixes it as sounding too cheesy. In hindsight, though, it’s the only cool thing Metallica recorded for that insipid album. Take my advice, Lars: next time give another go ’round, and keep your pops outta the studio.


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