Thursday, September 25, 2008

Metallica=Big Business: 1. Wall Street Journal reports about new albums sucking. 2. Metallica rebrands itself

Metallica is big business, and not just because of the recent release of these amazingly comfortable "Master of Puppets" underpants.

1. Wall Street Journal reports on quality of new album:
With all the upheaval in the financial markets, is there one financial institution that is still making money and may still be worth reporting on? Why yes, there's always Metallica. I know, I know...Metallica are not a metal band and no longer matter at all. I get it. Still, if you're my age or remember a time when they mattered very much. As such, imagine my surprise when I opened the Wall Street Journal to check on my extensive and diverse stock portfolio (Earache Records, Blue Grape Merchandise, Axxis Drum Pedals, EMG Pickups) and found news about Metallica's new album instead. As it turns out, the new album sucks balls, and not just for the usual reasons (lack of musical ability, lack of songwriting skills, lack of a drummer etc). If you thought St. Anger's mix was bad, Death Magnetic has some issues as well, and it has nothing to do with Trujillo's crabwalking. Fans are signing petitions to have the album remixed, and album's mastering engineer agrees, saying:
"Believe me, I'm not proud to be associated with this one."
Those are exactly the words of every single person that has been involved with every Metallica project after And Justice For ALl. You can read the article here, or just look at this fancy graphic, courtesy of the WSJ. I don't want them to sue our asses, and I believe that by crediting them, we'll be just fine. I took one class about law in a Community College once. I'm an expert.

2. Metallica hires Turner Duckworth to rebrand itself
What should an ailing band that has not produced quality music in ages do in order to better itself? First you hire a psychiatrist (as we saw in Some Kind Of Monster), and then you hire a branding agency. Why? Metallica is a brand, you see, and as such it deserves the same treatment that the likes of Coke and have gotten from Turner Duckworth. Look, I'm not naive. I don't object to this on the basis that branding implies big business. I'm okay with that. I know that Metallica makes tons of money, and that they're a business with employees like any other type of company. My objection is based on the fact that Metallica bandmembers honestly think that this is even worth pursuing. Forgive me for using such an overused comparison, but this is like rearranging the deck furniture on the Titanic. Kerry King (out of all people) said it best. Metallica are a sinking ship. A huge, bloated ship. Read the story here.

One of the primary components of a brand is a logo. Turner Duckworth no doubt charged tons of money to the bloated monster known as Metallica to make their logo back into what it was during And Justice For All.


  1. Those boxer shorts are scary! It looks like James Hetfield's hands are going straight for your family jewels, or your ass if you're wearing them backwards...

  2. i'm under the assumption that most music these days is mixed the way it is solely for radio play. funny to this though in the WSJ.

  3. Some say that iPods are to blame. In the 80s, people started to mix for small bookshelf speakers. Hell, even Napalm Death mixed for car stereos (as we've shown in earlier posts) but this may be a bit of an extreme. In the end, I doubt we're missing any subtle sonic passages.

  4. Exactly! I think maybe they mixed it that way on purpose, so fans think they can't listen to the details, when actually there's no details to be heard. The songs that I heard sound pretty straightforward (and awful) to hide any details.
    Finally, before some metal inquisition readers begin complaining about why so much about metallica on this blog, if you are not in your 30s or more (or started to listen to metal after 1992), don't complain. Lucho phrased it perfectly with this statement:
    "I know, I know...Metallica are not a metal band and no longer matter at all. I get it. Still, if you're my age or remember a time when they mattered very much."
    and this is enough of a reason to post about them. End of the story.

  5. I've been a long time Metallica fan - since late 1989. I'm 34.

    My older brother liked Metallica before me. I'd hear him playing it all the time, but I wanted to stick with my Motley Crue. Then while my brother was away, I picked up Kill Em All and got hooked. Started to going to concerts, got the shirts, posters, the whole nine yards. I was 15.

    After the Black album I tuned out. Partially because I pretty much over did it with them, and partially because I was getting into more death metal and hardcore - and digging going to underground shows with crowds of 500 or less - not 20,000 like Metallica. Although I didn't buy any Metallica stuff from Black album to St. Anger, I kind of always watched what they were doing. They hold a special place for me. A soft spot.

    I liked the sound of St. Anger. It is fucking heavy, but I thought those songs just went 2-3 repetitive choruses too long.

    But for Death Magnetic, I was fully waiting to hear what they had for us. I was expecting the worse - especially the way this blog and other sites rip Metallica as shells of their former selves.

    I think the new album is really, really good. Very strong. And although the songs are long, they move from point A to B - opposed to St. Anger which went from A to B, A to B, A to B all in the same repetitive song.

    I was expecting the worst and am completely back on board with Metallica. I think many people want their new stuff to be bad, and like to close their ears to only selectively hear it as such.

    But who gives a shit anyways what people think? I like it. Nobody gives a shit that I like it. You have a problem with them. I say, forget about it. Don't like it. Move on. And rock out to Master of Puppets - or better yet go see a young death metal act.

  6. sweet Rick Rubin painting in that article. very Jesus-like! and JESUS IS MY FRIEND! ZAP!

  7. nice reference to the Jesus video!

  8. turner duckworth does some great work

  9. On a completely unrelated subject--I think it's high time for M.I. to write a definitive piece on "beard metal." I'm interested to see the label "beardo" applied to it's followers and practitioners.

  10. sellin' out, the the napster noise, shopping sprees, and now this? I hope karma comes back on 'em. I think its working on 'em already.

  11. I think the new album is really, really good. Very strong. And although the songs are long, they move from point A to B - opposed to St. Anger which went from A to B, A to B, A to B all in the same repetitive song.

    What's the world coming to that we congratulate a band on their 'really, really good' album because they managed the compositional equivalent of putting one foot in front of the other in order to walk. That's like patting a retard on the back for not swallowing their tongue for another day. It takes a lot more than A to B to make a really really good album, but I guess people expected so little out of Metallica these days they're happy to see them even play songs that are in tune.

  12. well, time for the unwanted two cents... um, are you fucking kidding me? They actually paid money to have their logo redesigned to THAT?

    I know logos are somewhat important to a business, but, as no doubt owners of the brand, couldn't they just have said: "Well, gee. Maybe if we want to use our past logo, to further our own sucking of satan's cock, shouldn't we go back to the one that made people go 'Metallica!' without feeling like us(that is, with a cock jammed in their mouths)?"

    Now, I won't pretend I was a fan back in 1986. I was only 2 back then. But I remember being 8 in 1992... and when I listened to Black Album, it was sometyhing akin to "damn, this sounds different than 'Cri-cri'"; and when a friend of mine showed me his older brother's Metal's collection, a few months later, I was hooked.

    ... And Justice For All is still my favorite Metallica record. And while the new record is not THAT bad, it's true the old adage of 'too little, too late'. And while this may make me wildly unpopular among my good denizens here at MI, I must get something out of the way:

    Testament was way better. Of course, they never made it as big as Metallica or Slayer, but neither did Dark Angel(and they were far more ass-kicking). Suck it.

  13. but look at all those TREMENDOUS differences in the NEW metallica logo. It's clearly lying on a flatter plane now and the typeface has been updated to get rid of all those silly 80s edges. And OMG, look at the NEW AND IMPROVED letter A! I think Turner did a kickass job on this one and he deserves every penny they paid him, which you know had be nearing about $5k for that rebrand.

    Puke. As a graphic designer, I am pretty grossed out, but at the same time, I'm kinda impressed that you can do so little and make so much money in the process. I think I am going to change my focus and start wooing old man bands as new clients.

  14. Metallica: When Mediocrity Is Improvement.

  15. 5K for that? I honestly think its more in the order of 75-100k for the whole rebrand, and that may be conservative.

  16. if i was writing the proposal, i would stipulate that the bid is only good on the condition that Lars can't be involved in the project in any way, shape or form. the second he lays eyes on it, there's an automatic $100K fee, because i imagine he would be the most nightmarish client on the planet.

  17. JESUS LADS, it is about the music not what Metallica put on their album covers! I am loosing heart with the people at large here, they look at everything else, accept what is staring them in the bloody face.....


    Play it loud and be proud, that we have a band that is selling more than the piss filtered METAL crap that is out there.

    |,,| Peace

  18. death magnetic is a plain piece of plainess... plain plain plain

    compare it to given to the rising or obzen (from an objective standpoint) and one realise how truley irrelevant they are and have been for over 20 years...

    corporate shills anyone?

  19. Metallica Tour starts late October 2008 and goes through February 2009. Full Concert Date Info at and don't forget to get your tickets early.

  20. Fuck Shitallica.
    Testament is way better than them.
    Gay overrated Metallica sucks a lot of penises.