Commonly referred to as the ‘black album’, Metallica is one of the albums that really brought the metal to the masses. Metallica had .Already shown their dominance of the thrash metal scene with their 1986 masterpiece, Master of Puppets. They won the very first Best Metal Performance Grammy Award with their single “One” from their next release, 1988’s …And Justice For All. You’d think this would be enough, but Metallica weren’t done yet, and it would be The Black Album that really put them on the global map. It was a surprise to fans and critics alike, seeing the band depart from the signature fast-paced thrash for a slower, more deliberately crushing template. Album tracks like “Of Wolf And Man”, “Sad But True” and “The God That Failed” were simultaneously more accessible and heavier than anything Metallica had done before, and set the standard for stomping, rhythm driven riffs. “Wherever I May Roam” and “The Unforgiven” brought more progressive influences and experimentation with instruments (there aren’t many places you’ll hear a sitar in metal even today). They even wrote their first love song in the hugely successful single “Nothing Else Matters”. But the song that started it all is the one that would go on to be one of the most widely recognised metal tracks of all time: “Enter Sandman”. Released as a single prior to the release of the full album, this was the worlds first exposure to Metallica’s new, slower sound, and one.
Skid Row-Slave To The Grind
Slave to the Grind is the second studio album by US heavy rock band Skid Row, released by Atlantic Records on 11th June 1991. The band had evolved to a harder, faster, heavier sound on this album, with lyrics that avoided the rock cliches that were evident in their first album. It’s a little known fact that two different versions of the album were released: the original and a clean version, in which “Get the Fuck Out” is replaced with the less offensive “Beggar’s Day”. This was to be the first heavy rock album to chart at number one on the Billboard 200 selling 134,000 copies in its opening week. The album was certified 2 x Platinum by the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA) in 1998 for selling two million copies in America. The band released 5 tracks as singles: “Monkey Business”, “Slave To the Grind”, “Wasted Time”, “In a Darkened Room” and “Quicksand Jesus” and they promoted the album opening for Guns N Roses in 1991, with a headline tour the following year. Skid Row wrote most of Slave to the Grind in a New Jersey studio with Producer Michael Wagener, who also produced their first album, at New River in Fort Lauderdale and Scream in California. Their line up had remained unchanged from the first album with Sebastian Bach on vocals, Rachel Bolan on bass and backing vocals, Dave ‘Snake’ Sabo and Scotti Hill on Guitars and backing vocals and Rob Affuso on drums. Sebastian Bach’s father painted the cover art, which is actually a long mural, continued inside the album’s booklet. It is set in the medieval era, but depicts people using modern technology and gadgets. The cover was inspired by Caravaggio’s Burial of St Lucy from 1608 and you can also see John F Kennedy in the crowd. Slave to the Grind received mixed reviews from critics. Spin’s Daina Darzin said the album had integrity and passion, and reminded her of early Motley Crue and Judas Priest. AllMusic’s Steve Huey said Slave to the Grind was more aggressive than its predecessor and called it one of the best examples of mainstream heavy metal and Janiss Garza of the Entertainment Weekly praised the lyrical depth of the ballads and the fury of “Riot Act” and the title track, but predicted the album would not age well. How wrong she would be!