Phil Labonte Compares Metallica to Nickelback; Internet Loses Its Sh*t
Usually when All That Remains frontman Phil Labonte gets people online all riled up, it’s because he expressed some right wing political view about guns or women’s rights or the LGBTQ community or something like that. But every now and then, he gets into hot water over comments about music, which must feel like a nice change of pace for him.
This is one of those times.
So what happened is this: during a recent appearance on the Breaking the Ice podcast, Labonte compared Load-era Metallica to Nickelback. Said the vocalist:
“I wanna point one thing out about Nickelback that I think a lot of people know but they don’t realize they know it. Nickelback records are Metallica’s ‘Load’ and ‘Reload’ sonically. If you listen to Nickelback records and you listen to Metallica’s ‘Load’ and ‘Reload,’ almost any of the Nickelback songs could go on ‘Load’ or ‘Reload,’ and almost any of the songs on ‘Load’ or ‘Reload’ could go on a Nickelback record. And just get James Hetfield to sing the stuff on a Nickelback record or vice versa, and you would not know the difference. And THAT IS NOT A CRITICISM — that is not a criticism.
“I have put a lot of thought into this. Sonically, those records are very, very close. The tones that they select, the kick drums, the drum tones… And listerally, at the time at least, they were the pinnacle of audio quality when it comes to production; there’s not records that sound better than those that came out in the same era. And the songs are all phenomenally crafted songs. So me saying that is not me shitting on ‘Load’ and ‘Reload’ or Nickelback. I just think that they literally have so many similarities that most of the songs — maybe there’s a couple that wouldn’t work, but the vast majority of them would be interchangeable and you’d be okay with it if you had James Hetfield singing [the Nickelback material].”
“Nickelback could ABSOLUTELY do ‘Fuel’ on any Nickelback record and people would be, like, ‘Fuck yeah!’ They would still be jamming along, bobbing their head, being like, ‘Yeah, I kind of dig this song. I like it.’ They’re good songs, and they’re very close. I’m telling you. I fully believe this.”
Now, I don’t quite agree with what Labonte is saying here — as far as I can tell, every Nickelback song sounds more or less the same, whereas there is at least some musical variety on the Loads, and “Fuel” (or “Ain’t My Bitch” or “King Nothing,” for that matter) would probably seem noticeably too “metal” for Nickelback. But I also don’t find Labonte’s assertion all that offensive.
For one thing, as much as I loathe Nickelback, I’m not much a Load fan, either (I mean, given the choice of listening exclusively to Nickelback for the rest of my life or listening exclusively to the Loads for the rest of my life, I’d choose the Loads, but only because it’s the lesser of two evils).
For another thing, Labonte specifically says — twice! — that he’s not criticizing either band. And it’s not like he’s expressing ignorant views. Fans might take him seriously when he says it’s okay to use slurs against homosexuals, or that there is no inequality between the sexes in America. If he convinces from teenager that “Photograph” and “The Unforgiven II” are kinda similar, no big whoop.
Still, needless to say, the Internet was not happy with Labonte’s comments.
It’s pretty clear that these people all read the headline but didn’t read Phil’s actual quote. Which is unfortunate, because it puts MetalSucks in the position of having to defend Phil Labonte for the second time in four days. If this shit happens again before Friday I’m taking a handful of Xanax and going to bed.