While it may actually be self-titled, music fans and metal lovers around the world have always referred to the fifth album from Metallica as The Black Album. And for those of us that were around when the opening riff to lead single Enter Sandman played on radios, it’s hard to believe that its been 25 years since The Black Album’s release in August of 1991.
The band had already been circling the mainstream thank to the video for ‘One’, a single from …And Justice For All which actually managed to get airplay on MTV back at the end of the 80’s. The world was eager to see if and how Metallica (singer/guitarist James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist/backing vocalist Jason Newstead) would cement their standing as metal’s leading lights. They did so by working with Canadian producer Bob Rock and streamlining their approach to songwriting. The band was still heavy, to be sure, but the songs were shorter. Surprisingly, The Black Album would also contain two ballads, ‘The Unforgiven’ and ‘Nothing Else Matters’ that, while perplexing longtime fans who only wanted Metallica at their hardest, managed to become huge anthem and gain the band an even larger audience.
The Black Album would debut at number one on the Billboard charts and go one to sell 30 million copies around the world. Meanwhile, its songs have become staples of channels including Ozzy’s Boneyard, Liquid Metal, Octane and Faction.