Alternate Reality, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Unsung Heroes

Chapter 4

I finally got around to watching the “Through The Never” movie last night and there was a question nagging at me throughout the whole experience;

“How can James Hetfield think that this is good?”

Lars just wants to be front and centre on everything so any outlet that can put him there, he will agree with. Kirk and Rob will just follow what Lars and James do? But James Hetfield to me is the quality behind the band. He can have a different drummer, guitarist and bassist backing him up and it will still be Metallica.

And if he thinks that the movie was good and that Lulu was good and that the new live song “Lords Of Summer” is good, then I am hoping that all bad things come in threes. Because if they don’t then it is not looking good.

Anyway, I am still having fun with my so-called story based around Metallica songs and themes so here is Chapter 4.

–1978–The Armerous

Blackened Hetfield makes his way to the meeting place. Along the forest track, bodies are suspended along the trees. As he gets closer to his destination, winding his way up a steep mountain pass, the trail is littered by a series of pikes with severed heads on top. These are the people who just got in the way of the grand design.

There is a generic road sign on one of the pikes that states “No Trespassing”. A thick fog is beginning to descend. Everything is feeling and looking creepy like something imminent is about to happen.

Hetfield enters a partially destroyed Buddhist temple. The outside decay of the building masks a perfect and sterile environment inside.

In the wide room there is a table with a chair. The person sitting on the chair is not facing the door way. Instead the person is looking into something else. Flanked on each table are two Red Guards, clothed like Samurai but Samurai they are not. Next to the Red Guards are two more guards; however these ones wear black colours instead of red.

The colours are a rite of passage. All of the black colour guards/warriors have a first name of Blackened. The ones in red have a first name of Crimson.

Hetfield sits down on the leather chair that he normally sits on.“Lord Slither we have a new enemy”.

“So it is true”, responds a man that we assume is Lord Slither. It is a strange relationship as Hetfield has never seen Lord Slithers face, however he swears a loyalty to him that is broken only in death.

“Yes, the books of knowledge have a new keeper”, continues Hetfield. “It seems that The Phantom Lord managed the transfer before we got to him”.

“How did we not foresee this failure Blackened Hetfield?”

“I am unable to answer that my Lord. My failure is mine to own. The consequences are mine to suffer.”

“Not this time Blackened Hetfield. Your suffering will not be from me”. This was ominous and sinister from Lord Slither. Hetfield has been failing his master a lot recently.

“Are the new agents ready?” questions Lord Slither.

“No Lord Slither, the indoctrination process is taken longer than expected.” This is another failure from Hetfield.

“How is the child of “The Judas Kiss” tracking along?

Hetfield doesn’t let his hesitation show as the child of “The Judas Kiss” is also his child. “He is far exceeding our expectations in all disciplines.”

“And what about the one known as “Cyanide”. It has been seventeen years since he came into our possession.”

“He is almost ready. By far one of our best”.

“Unleash him. Send out to the “Creeping Death”.

“As you wish, Lord Slither”.

“It’s time to begin the whipping dance of the dead and colour their world blackened.”

–1976–The City Of Devils Dance

Two years post E.B’s tour of duty, the Vietnam War was lost.

Meanwhile back at home E.B had used the financial resources of his father, Cyprian Breadfan to establish the Unknown Five and the Metal Militia. One as a secret society and the other one as a public face.

It was then that E.B encountered the one known as “Prince Charming”.

His real name is Terence Blinks. The definition of the word corrupt in the dictionary doesn’t define Prince Charming in any way. He is in a class of corruption all on his own. He is equally known for his catch phrase of “the shortest straw has been pulled for you.”

Devils Dance is defined by the power struggle between the two wealthiest families. On one side you have the Breadfan’s who stand for fairness and justice and on the other you have the Blinks who stand for power and wealth.

“Fairness and Justice is a fool’s errand”, said Prince Charming in one of the many hostile arguments he had with E.B’s father.

The city citizens are either on the payroll of the Blinks or on the run from the Blinks. But then the Metal Militia was born and they became an equalizer to the situation.

The constant shop fronts shaken down by corrupt officials and forced to pay private levies suddenly had new protectors in the Metal Militia.

And Prince Charming didn’t like it.

–Current Day–The City of Devils Dance

The Metal Militia has a roll of honour on one of their walls, sort of like a Hall Of Fame. The list is broken into Immortals and Lifers.
Listed as IMMORTALS are E.B and St Anger. Listed as LIFERS are Frantic Frank, Stone D.F Clover, Nole A.F Clover, Dyers Eve and Lowman Lyric. The NOMAD list shows The Outlaw Torn and Wim Roam.

Then there is another list for the current membership status of the organisation.

Currently, Motorbreath is the President. His lady, ItsElektra is the Secretary. The Vice President is Overkill and the Sargent in Arms is Damage Inc. The Treasurer is Whiplash. Together they form the executive arm of the Metal Militia.

Orion is a sworn in member of the Metal Militia along with Two-by-four, Loverman and Astronomy.

Right now Orion is waiting outside the chapel, the meeting room of the Militia. Stone D.F has been inside for a long time with the Militia Executive. IMMORTALS and LIFERS are held in high regard. They have done so much and sacrificed so much that they don’t need to hold a rank anymore. Instead they are elevated to a status normally reserved for Gods. So if any living IMMORTAL or LIFER requests a meeting with the Executive, the Executive must adhere and be present.

And Stone D.F is the only one of the hall of fame list that is still alive.

Eventually after what seemed like days which was in essence about four hours, Stone D.F emerges from the chapel.

“What was all that about?” asks Orion

“Nothing that important”, answers Stone D.F.

“Not important. It was the longest meeting I have witnessed.”

“When you have a club that does what we do, meetings do seem to go on a touch too long. I suppose that is democracy at work,” counters Stone D.F.

“So it had nothing to do with the phone call I got”, continues Orion.

“That was mentioned as was our journey to the City of Beholder.”

“So what was said about it?” questions Orion.

“It was just a heads up to them that we will be out-of-town. So are you ready to depart” responds Stone D.F. There is no way that Stone D.F is going to let Orion take this trip alone, especially due to the mysterious circumstances of the phone call.

–Current Day–The City of the Beholder–

The City Of Beholder is a Bible belt mining town and it is only fitting that the reason why the town is known is also the reason why it is slowly tearing itself apart. An underground fire has been burning from one of the mine shafts for over a decade and it is slowly swallowing parts of the town.

A lot of people have abandoned the town. In its heyday it had over 200,000 people. Now it is lucky to have 40,000. Houses are levelled and areas are fenced off.

The High School is partially submerged into the ground. Orion glances at it and so does Stone D.F. Weeds, grass, trees and other forms of fauna are growing over it, around it and in between it. Looking at it reminds Orion of a dystopian future that he has seen in comic books and movies.

Orion notices a sign on the water tower.

“What is that sign?” asks Orion.

“It’s the symbol for corruption and capitalism,” answers Stone D.F. “It’s another business from Prince Charming”.

“Does Charming own all of this?”

“As soon as he can get rid of the Metal Militia” answers Stone DF.

“What do we have to do with it?”

“The Militia is the complete opposite of what Prince Charming is. Before the Militia, the people that Charming and his cronies intimidated had no one to fight back for them.”

A partially destroyed Buddhist temple in the distance grabs Orion’s attention. But with the speed they are travelling it vanishes as quickly as it came into view.

–3rd January 1966–

“Do you feel the disturbance?” asks an elder looking person that looks like a Buddhist monk.

“Yes” replies another, that could be a monk in training.

“Something’s changed.”

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, Piracy, Stupidity

James Hetfield – Semi Obscure Metallica Songs – What Do You Mean I Don’t Write Good Lyrics

Metallica have done a lot of work to try and restore their battered image since the Metallica vs. Napster debacle circa 1999/2000. While people see this court case as Metallica taking up arms against their fans and innovation, I saw it as a case where Metallica tried unsuccessfully to get back control as to how their music is distributed and consumed. In the end, the whole debacle was handled poorly by Lars Ulrich.

So in 2003, they started Metallicavault.com, an online site, controlled by the band. It could be accessed by purchasing the terrible St Anger CD. Each CD came with a unique code. The band had live mp3’s and videos available for fans to download. It was nothing spectacular and the promise that more content would be uploaded weekly never came to be.

In 2006, Metallica joined iTunes and finally made their music available digitally in a legal sense. Prior to that, to get Metallica mp3’s you had to either rip your own CD or download illegally. This was done on their own terms and on a separate payment arrangement than other artists. At first it was just in the US and Canada as their overseas label wanted a bigger slice of the pie than they deserved. They basically controlled the negotiations as iTunes wanted them.

Then in 2008 they launched Mission : Metallica. The band advertised that any users that signed up to the Platinum package, will be allowed to download live shows, the new album (plus a physical copy of it), along with the normal membership of watching (heavily edited) footage of the band in the studio. Again this was all controlled by the band.

In 2012, they finally joined Spotify and the streaming revolution, again under their own terms and rules.

Anyway, the reason for this post is to highlight some Metallica tracks that could be classed as obscure.

Leper Messiah

It’s written by James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich. It’s worth noting that Dave Mustaine claimed he wrote the song’s main riff and was not given credit by Metallica.

For all of those haters that said Metallica had sold out with the black album obviously didn’t know that Metallica had similar style songs on their earlier albums. Leper Messiah from the Master of Puppets album is one of those songs.

The best part comes in around the 30 second mark. Cliff’s trademark bass lines just rumble along while James lays down staccato power chords.

The messiah refers the ministers or evangelists and the lepers refers to the lowly people who give their money believing whatever they are told.

Send me money, send me green
Heaven you will meet
Make a contribution
And you’ll get a better seat
Bow to leper messiah

Phantom Lord

It’s written by Dave Mustaine, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich and it was released on Kill Em All. Mustaine even used the Phantom Lord progression from about 2.30 to 3.10 in the Megadeth song, This Is My Life from the Countdown To Extinction album.

Overall the song is very influenced by Ace of Spades from Motörhead.

Hear the cry of war
Louder than before
With his sword in hand
To control the land

When metal music came out screaming in the Eighties, every band had a song about the movement. Twisted Sister called it Rock N Roll whereas Metallica called it Metal. The sword in hand is the instrument of choice.

Escape

Kirk Hammet gets a credit on this song on top of the usual Hetfield / Ulrich combination.

That intro. It’s brilliant. The song is more rock than metal. Like Leper Messiah, this song would not be out of place on the Black Album and it was released on Ride The Lightning. Lars wanted a more commercial sounding song.

The song is about escaping from the prison that is someone else’s reality for you. You can call it another anthem for living the way you want to. It’s the first of a string of songs that references James childhood. The prison mentioned is his home.

Rape my mind and destroy my feelings
Don’t tell me what to do

Take note of a theme in this song that will appear again on later Metallica albums.

Feed my brain with your so called standards
Who says that I ain’t right

This theme of control and manipulation will come up again in Dyers Eve and The Unforgiven.

Dyers Eve

It’s written by Hetfield, Ulrich and Hammett and it closes the ..And Justice For All album.

The song lyrics are one of struggle. In this case, James is struggling against the efforts of the ones who want to control him. The theme was used again for The Unforgiven.

“Pushed onto Me What’s Wrong or Right” can be replaced by “They dedicate their lives to running all of his.”
“Hidden from this Thing That They Call Life” can be replaced by “With time the child draws in, this whipping boy done wrong.”
“Always Censoring My Every Move” can be replaced by “Deprived of all his thoughts.”
“Cannot Face the Fact I Think for Me” can be replaced by “What I’ve felt, what I’ve known, never shined through in what I’ve shown.”
“Clipped My Wings Before I Learnt to Fly” can be replaced by “New blood joins this earth and quickly he’s subdued.”

The Unforgiven III

The Unforgiven from the Black album set a new standard for the modern power ballad. It has been imitated by a thousand bands. Even Metallica referenced themselves with The Unforgiven II, however The Unforgiven III was unique and powerful enough to grab my attention. From all the other songs on Death Magnetic, you can say that The Unforgiven III has slipped into obscurity.

The piano intro that references Ennio Morricone sets the sadness and it is a different take to the acoustic intro of The Unforgiven (which borrowed from Ennio Morricone as well).

These days drift on inside a fog
Its thick and suffocating
This seeking life outside is hell
Inside intoxicating

James is documenting his battles with alcohol.

How can I blame you when it’s me I can’t forgive?

Reflection and hindsight. How can a person learn forgiveness if they cannot forgive themselves?

Holier Than Thou

It’s a Hetfield, Ulrich composition. It was supposed to be the leadoff single to the Black album, however Lars had different ideas.

It’s not who you are it’s who you know
Others lives are the basis of your own
Burn your bridges build them back with wealth
Judge not lest ye be judged yourself

The theme continues on from the corrupted justice themes of money buys immunity from persecution. Just like Leper Messiah and Escape would not be out of place on the Black album, Holier Than Thou would not be out of place on any of the earlier Metallica albums.

The God That Failed

The most saddest song on the Black Album is also the most grooviest. The God That Failed deals with Hetfield’s mother’s death from cancer and her Christian Science beliefs which kept her from seeking medical treatment. It’s another Hetfield/Ulrich composition, however I am sure this one is all Hetfield.

I see faith in your eyes
Never you hear the discouraging lies
I hear faith in your cries
Broken is the promise betrayal
The healing hand held back by the deepened nail
Follow the god that failed

Prince Charming

Prince Charming is written by Heltfield and Ulrich and it appeared on the Reload album. It is on this list for a few reasons. The most important one for me, is that James Hetfield breaks out his Ride The Lightning era voice in the verses. That melodic Ride The Lightning bark comes in at 1.13 to 1.23 (lyrics below). It continues during the Chorus and then appears again at 2.13 to 2.23 (lyrics below).

I’m the suit and tie that bleeds the street and still wants more
I’m the 45 that’s in your mouth in a dirty Texan whore

I’m a nothing face that plants the bomb and strolls away
I’m the one who doesn’t look quite right as children play

The song structure of Prince Charming is no different to the Kill Em All song structures. It’s based on the NWOBM style. The only difference is that the tempo is slower and the drumming is more rock driven then metal driven. Otherwise, you add those two elements to Prince Charming and you have a song that would not be out of place on Kill Em All.

The Outlaw Torn

Its written by Hetfield and Ulrich.

This song is heavy as hell. The F to E intro groove is super heavy (pay special attention to when Newsted does it during the solo breaks – it’s the swampy delta blues clashing with a heavy groove) and when the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath riff kicks in at the 30 second mark, it makes me feel like I want to break stuff.

Hear me
And if I close my mind in fear
Please pry it open
See me
And if my face becomes sincere
Beware
Hold me
And when I start to come undone
Stitch me together
Save me
And when you see me strut
Remind me of what left this outlaw torn

Don’t Tread On Me

With all the other classic songs on the Black album, this is just another song that was easily overlooked. This is classic Metallica, in the vein of For Whom The Bells Toll and The Thing That Should Not Be.

Liberty or death, what we so proudly hail
Once you provoke her, rattling of her tail
Never begins it, never, but once engaged..
Never surrenders, showing the fangs of rage

I like the lyrics, democracy never begins war, but once you engage it, prepare for its wrath. James said that after putting down the U.S for so long, he wanted to write a positive song for America, sort of a “no place like home.”

To secure peace is to prepare for war

It’s doublethink like the classic 1984 novel.

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