Andrew Milner
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Why everyone goes through a Metal(lica) ...

Why everyone goes through a Metal(lica) phase

May 05, 2021

So I was in a bit of an empty space when it came down to today’s blog post so I did what any reasonable musician who occasionally likes to write about music does: I put on some Metallica.

Now it’s no secret that I love this band. Hell, half of my riffs end up sounding very similar to theirs (with the other half sounding similar to Avenged Sevenfold‘s riffs … my Rise Against senses are feeling left out at this point :)) ).

I remember a while back people were a bit pissy that Justin Bieber dared to wear a Metallica shirt. It was like years ago, but some metalheads were like: “ugh, he shouldn’t wear that” (for…whatever reason people would think that). And I remembered a video I saw on YouTube during that time where someone was like: “every teenager goes through a metal phase”.

And I started going down the high-school rabbit hole and remembered that yeah, most if not all of my classmates, pop lovers, house lovers, and of course rock lovers, went through such a phase.

Some chose heavier bands, others went through easier picks during that time such as Breaking Benjamin, Green Day, Linkin Park etc. I say easier not because their music was bad, but it was easier to get into. I should know, I listened to it all even though at first I was not a fan.

But one band was almost always universally listened to in such phases. And that band was…Metallica. And I was always wondering…why is that?

Is it because it is the most successful and widely known metal band? Those two are good factors to kick in. Whether or not you like’em or not, you know who Metallica are. Kind of like everyone knows who Queen are (except for a former work colleague of mine who never heard of Queen and had way too much power in that company for someone who doesn’t know who Queen is…seriously, HOW do you NOT KNOW who Queen is?!).

Right, Metallica and why teenagers love them. So, could those two be the only reasons? I mean sure, it’s a default choice and if you’re not an avid rock listener but want to fit in with people who do, going the Metallica route is a pretty safe choice.

But I think there’s another reason most of us aren’t really aware of when we’re that young. What’s the main thing you feel when you’re a teenager? It’s going to be some form of angst, with a bit of anger and sometimes rage added in because no one gets you, no one understands you and if you’re not from a popular group of people, you might even get ostracized for your choices. Yeah, sometimes teenagers don’t know any better.

What’s the main characteristic of 80s Metallica songs (and a bit on The Black Album as well)?. They are full of rage and anger and a bit of angst sometimes.

Seriously, go listen to Master of PuppetsWelcome Home (Sanitarium), One or just about any other song up until their Load and Reload phase. You can just hear the anger and hate in James’s voice and lyrics.

Does it go over to the cringe side with some of the teenagers? Yes, yes it does. I was guilty of this and I’m grateful Facebook and Instagram weren’t really a thing back then. I mean FB was just getting started. We had hi5 but…wasn’t really the same.

Of course the plight of having to do homework instead of playing doesn’t compare to the plight of mentally-ill people being kept in a sanitarium against their will. Of course you view the teacher as a master and you as a puppet and that view doesn’t compare with drugs taking control of your body and you becoming the puppet of the drugs.

But it doesn’t matter. Everybody feels rage and anger for the dumbest of things in that time. And yeah, when you grow older and look back you kinda laugh about how dumb you were. Each phase in life comes with its challenges and everyone’s experience is different in the end. And yeah, people handle them differently.

That being said, to me, there is nothing more soothing than hearing someone rage while playing impossible riffs singing about…whatever Metallica is singing in each song. It was therapeutic for me then and it still is now.

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