There is no doubt is that Metallica is the biggest heavy metal band of all time (Yes not Black Sabbath or Iron Maiden or Judas Priest) and they have sold more than 100 million albums. People in the metal industry wonder aloud who “the next Metallica” will be. Always Metallica, never any other band. I’ve heard managers say this, even guys in bands. It comes up all the time in casual conversation. “Who’s the next big band that’s going to be next Metallica?”
Metallica’s popularity brings in new fans to the genre. Thousands upon thousands kept going, diving deeper and deeper into metal and spending tons of money on it. The harsh reality is that there is never going to be another metal band as big as Metallica. Not even close.
Let’s take a look at what Metallica has achieved-
They are the most commercially successful band of all time
They have sold more than 100 million records which only few bands have been able to do.
They have made 5 masterpiece albums (Yes, I consider The Black Album as masterpiece).
Their Black Album is the most selling album by any artist during the soundscan era and recently it has crossed 16 million sales in USA and 30 million sales worldwide.
They have 5 back to back number one albums on BillBoard (Metallica, Load, ReLoad, St. Anger, and Death Magnetic) which is a record by any band and hopefully their new albums will follow this tradition.
Here’s why there’s never going to be a band as big as Metallica:
1- There isn’t another James HetField.
Believe it or not, James HetField is the reason why Metallica became the biggest heavy Metal band of all time. This guy is amazing. He has the best voice when it comes to thrash metal. HetField is one of the best Rhythm guitarists of all time. His guitar playing skills are better than anyone else. His guitar playing and solos are soulful and can bring tears in your eyes. Listen to Nothing else matters or Master of Puppets solo, HetField does both the jobs vocals and rhythm guitar for Metallica. This is not an easy task considering the fact that you must have a chilling scream and perfect fast riffs all the time (Dave Mustaine does the same thing but his vocals suck). And the 50 years old HetField does it without any problem.
James is a one man army. He sings, He plays rhythm guitar and he writes all the songs with great lyrics which are inspired by his life. So all in all, Hetfield is the best frontman in Metal world.
2-There isn’t another Kirk Hammett.
Some people say Kirk has become sloppy over the years And I agree up to some extent but guys he is more than 50 now. And don’t forget who gave you those chilling fast solos on Blackened, Master of Puppets, and that heavy riff on Enter Sandman etc. He is fast as hell and collaborates in song writing also. He is on 11th place in the list of 100 greatest guitarists if all time (Rollingstone magazine) and it’s not a Joke. Kirk is known for his ability to play lightning fast solos. He also uses Wah-Wah pedal like no one else.
3-There isn’t another Cliff Burton and will Never be
How can you bring another Cliff Burton in this world? He was born to be in Metallica. Unfortunately he died at an age of 24 years. Had he been alive today, Metallica would have been the greatest band of all time in all genres.
Cliff is known as Lord of Bass Guitar. Just listen to for whom the bell tolls and anesthesia (pulling teeth). He invented and popularized the style of finger picking on bass guitar. RIP Cliff-The Lord of Bass.
4- No other band has made 4 or 5 Masterpieces.
This is true. Metallica’s first 5 albums were masterpieces – Kill Em All, Ride the Lightening, Master of Puppets, And Justice for All, The Black Album. No other band has been able to produce 5 masterpieces which are considered as best metal albums of all time except The Black Album. Master of Puppets is and will always be the greatest metal album of all time.
5. There are too many bands
There are too many metal bands out there, plain and simple, pulling metal fans in a million directions at once. The days of the universally loved metal band are gone (except for Agalloch). It’s not a bad thing that there are so many bands… not at all. In fact, it’s wonderful: never has metal been more diverse and artistically rich than right now. But the fact that there are so many bands — and choices — means that every metal fan has a lot more options when it comes to selecting their favorite one, or favorite few, to pay attention to and to spend money on.
6. The Internet
This one is two-fold. Yes, file-sharing has made it harder for musicians to make a living, that’s obvious. But in this context I bring up the Internet as the ultimate narrow cast experience: any music fan can find a band that’s suited EXACTLY to their tastes. No longer are music fans beholden to the broad cast experience — being given a limited menu at the record store or on the radio and being forced to choose their favorite. Whatever you want, it’s out there. Spazz-crunk-techno-core? There’s a band for that. Space-fusion-post-pop? You betcha. There are no common denominators anymore simply because we don’t need them to find music we like. Think of music on the Internet like a giant dating site: if your fetish is Asian girls with big boobs, blond hair and shaved hoo-has, all you really have to do is click a few check-boxes and you’re on your way to getting laid tonight.
7. Rock radio won’t support metal
The rock radio format, against all odds and common sense, has not changed one iota in the past 15 years. I’ve spent plenty of time talking about this subject in the past so I won’t harp on it here. But if there’s going to be a metal band that hits the mainstream it seems pretty damn important that radio — the ultimate broadcast medium that big fat dumb America listens to in their soul-sucking cars — gets on board. Unfortunately, rock radio in 2014 won’t take any chances whatsoever. Oh, I know, Sirius Liquid Metal plays metal, but it’s a pay service and it just doesn’t cast a wide enough net; it’s too specialized, and it’s even billed that way. For a metal band to hit the mainstream they have to be played on mainstream radio… crossover, as they say. This is becoming increasingly difficult because…
8. Music doesn’t matter as much as it used to
I’m sorry guys, it’s just the world we live in. It doesn’t. “Kids these days” have a million other ways to spend their time: Facebook, Instagram, video games, sex, drugs, etc. And, to be honest, it’s not just “kids” (I hate that expression when used by industry folk): it’s you and me, too. When was the last time you sat in front of your stereo (if you even have a proper one not in your car!) and listened to an album start to finish? Be honest. That time when you passed out to Dark Side of the Moon after your BBQ doesn’t count. Music has been relegated to background status now for all but a select few die-hards. It is no longer the main activity. So, with apologies, that’s reality: there is never going to be another metal band as big as or even close to as big as Metallica.
“Take a Look at the Sky just before you die, it’s the last time you will – For Whom the Bell Tolls”
“Chop your breakfast on a mirror – Master of Puppets”
“Justice is lost, Justice is raped, Justice is gone. Pulling your strings, Justice is done – And Justice for All”