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When Metallica Ruled The Earth

When I was a teenager Metallica ruled the earth. Well, they ruled my earth anyway. They consumed my thoughts, and I was always in relentless pursuit of more. Not much has really changed in the 30 years since.

These days we have a plethora of Metallica available, especially when it comes to live shows. Practically every show played since 2004 is available to purchase or stream from livemetallica.com. Back in the 80s it wasn't like that. The mere whisper that someone may have a recording by the almighty metal gods that I hadn't heard would cause me to almost explode. When I did finally hear what was being whispered of it was usually a bootleg, and more often that not it was on vinyl.

Bootlegs were always bittersweet in those days. They were extremely hard to come by down under, and when you finally did hear them they were usually very sub-par quality - but it didn't stop me from trying to hear them just the same.

Metallica in 1989

Below is a scan of 6 pages from a long forgotten magazine of the period (Metal Hammer Special... THRASH No.2 - Metallica / Sepultura) that not only detailed the holiest of holy's - a full discography of Metallica - but also documented an extensive bootleg discography. I mulled over these 6 pages for hours on end, taking notes and asking people for any info they may have of a sighting of these items. I did manage to find a couple of these sacred boots - and was usually disappointed by the dreadful quality when I did - but now that I am older I understand it is also the thrill of the chase that made these items so desirable. Keep in mind that this is pre 1991's black album, so the Metallica army was still relatively small at this point.

Contextually these lo-fi recordings mean so much more when heard today, as I can place when they were recorded into the larger timeline of the band's rise to power. For example the recordings on the 'Phantom Lord' album are the very same sounds as those found on the legendary 'Metal Up Your Ass' cassette that was heard by Johnny Z in New Jersey, inspiring him to mortgage his home to pay for the recording of 'Kill 'Em All' - or that the show featured on 'The Unstoppable Force' was the final show of the turbulent 'Damage, Inc Tour' that had seen them tragically lose Cliff Burton.

These days I have many of these items in some format, mostly either CD or digital, and I will no doubt over time find more.

I have included the full pages below. Click on each page to see an enlarged version.

29 April 2020

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