Every Time Metallica P-ssed Off Their Fans

Every album, almost.

Ultimate Guitar

Throughout the history of rock music, there hasn't been a band that fetched the excessive amount of passionate hate throughout their musical journey in a way that Metallica did.

Many of the steps they took saw the band going nowhere but up, pretty much every major decision kept them relevant, but also fetched massive loads of hate. Well, we'll sum those up in a brief rundown.

1984 - "Fade to Black" - Selling Out No. 1

It was only three years since Metallica was founded that the boys started receiving their very first sell-out accusations. Ballads, acoustic guitars and more fragile emotions were a big no-no for a significant portion of the fanbase, who were very eager to express their outrage over the whole matter.

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1988 - "One" Music Video - Selling Out No. 2

Ever sillier than the previous issue, the band faced heat from the fans when deciding to release their first music video in 1988. Metallica was supposedly very much against music videos and the fact that they dared to release one infuriated the fans. James Hetfield once noted that a fan supposedly spat in his face because of the video.

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1991 - "The Black Album" - Selling Out No. 3

With 1991's self-titled record, also known as the "Black Album," Metallica scored major success, but also changed their song format to more compact tunes based around a single massive riff rather than lengthy tracks featuring the interchange of dozens of various figures.

The band pointed out that they simply thought that "...And Justice for All" saw them driving their progressive side to its peak and that they needed a shift towards simplicity, but many fans dismissed it and went for the ole sell-out label.

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1996/1997 - "Load" + "Reload" - Selling Out No. 4+5

Cutting their hair, drastically changing the vibe, the image, the approach - the "Load" shift took some balls to carry through, and was met with severe sell-out accusations. At this point, the first three sell-out points have very much faded away, but the "Load" stance still stands strong among many fans.

It does seem like the trend is decreasing in time, and seeing that these are quality tunes we're talking about, our guess is that the "(Re)Load" hate will pretty much disappear in time as well, much like it should.

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1999 - "S&M" - Selling Out No. 6

The symphony experiment was bound to earn its share of haters too. Orchestral arrangements, a seated venue, and even that dreaded word known as autotune.

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2000 - Napster - Selling Out No. 7

Another big one. So much hate. But Lars was right in many ways, whether you like it or not.

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2003 - "St. Anger"

With the dawn of the new millennium came the new Metallica album, and once again disappointments of hardcore fans on all fronts, with two of the most prominent complaints being that snare drum sound and the fact that there are no solos.

When it comes to "St. Anger," the hate is still strong.

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2011 - "Lulu"

Finally, the hardest one to swallow - the infamous Lou Reed collaboration known as "Lulu." You could say that this was the bravest move of their entire career. Starting an album with "I would cut my legs and tits off / When I think of Boris Karloff and Kinski" line, the whole "I am the table" thing...

However, it does make you leave wondering about how people will react to "Lulu" in 20, 30 or 50 years - will it be more of the same bashing, kudos for bravery or even some praises of the music itself. Only time will tell...

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64 comments sorted by best / new / date

    If a band makes an album you don't like, they have sold out. This is the mantra by which so many people live. And it saddens me.
    Not sure how you can look at a band that went from complex, progessive-ish thrash metal on one record straight to radio rock darlings on the next three, right after getting the producer for Motley Crue and Bon Jovi, and not think to yourself "Hmmm,that's not really a natural progression. I wonder if there's not maybe a bit more to this". I can see the appeal of making such a move after spending 2 years playing some your most complex material, but it still doesn't really change the fact of the situation. For the record I enjoy Load.
    It's a big change for a band you would normally see as a thrash band, but not necessarily one I would associate with selling out. When I think of selling out, I think of a band making moves to appeal to a (potentially) larger audience and chucking aside your previous attributes as a band for money, which I don't think happened with (Re)Load. They appealed to a different audience for sure, but it wasn't really a larger one. I'm glad they made the move though, those albums were great.
    They obviosuly sold out on Kill 'Em All, when the clean guitar in Phantom Lord goes in.
    1983- Kill 'em all. "They should have kept Mustaine!!!"
    2008 - Death Magnetic: "WHAT COMPRESSION DID THEY USE, IT REALLY BLEW MY EARS OUT" edit: come to think of it, was there really a sell-out part surrounding that album?
    Nah, I think Death Magnetic was received relatively warmly overall, besides the very much correct complaints about the mix.
    It was a really good album (well I liked it) but it sounded awful. Not in a snooty audiophile way, like I'd play it through a normal hi fi and it'd pop so much.
    It sounds bad in my Car with Bose Speakers, bad in my old car with one dead speaker, bad on my computer with a decent sound card and Klipsh 2.1 speakers, my sennheiser headphones, phone with earbuds, the list goes on. Sounds pretty good on youtube when I search for the guitar hero version though, who'd have thought. I think good sound is very subjective and different prodcution can sometimes suit music better for one person and not another, but it's hard to find someone that prefers the album version of DM over the guitar hero counterparts.
    ..Which shows what the metallica fans are like. They seem to not understand what seeling out means. Personally, when I hear St. Anger, if I get over the snare sound.the songs are awesome. And the riffs are fantastic (Frantic, SKOM..) I can't wait until they change their mind about that, as they did with Fade To Black haha. But then, they release Death Magnetic which sees them returning to their older style of playing (including putting a semi ballad as track no.4) and it's received warmer. Even though it's basically giving the fans what they want...hem hem.
    to be fair, "they should have kept mustaine" came way after he made it big with megadeth and gained the megadeth vs metallica crowd. barely anyone outside of the bay area even knew mustaine was in Metallica before the internet happened.
    Metal fans can be so dumb and insecure
    Same for any genre. I'm a fan of metal and prog, and trust me, they are not as different as it seems in terms of fanbase, just the packaging is different...
    To me this looks like a band being creative and exploring new sounds, but having REALLY shitty fans
    They got heat for Lightning and Puppets too for being on a major label and touring bigger venues rather than clubs too
    I feel like the low amount of bass on And justice for all was more of a point of criticism than the video for One.
    These days yes, but back then only the popular pop bands put out music videos.
    Here is a question: If their motive is to try and make music people enjoy because they take pleasure from pleasing a crowd, does it count as selling out? Even if the music still pleases themselves? I'm not a Metallica fan really at all (aside from a couple of songs), but I doubt their main motive was just money. I personally think bands that just make music for themselves have a piss poor attitude. It's the entertainment industry, the point is to entertain (some still do of course even with this attitude). Albeit, most bands with this attitude don't get past playing in their Dad's garage.
    I'll quote Josh Homme, an artist I don't particularly care for myself but this quote is very true: "If you expect anything out of music, you're expecting too much." Of course, Metallica's main motive was not just money. In fact, Mustaine often said that they are making stuff they enjoy themselves, and that those who don't enjoy it can f-ck off. As I said, not a very big fan of Homme but he hit the hammer straight on the nail. No matter what music you do, there will always be people that don't like it. Knowing that it's a given 100% probability that some people won't like what you're doing, why would you make music with the sole purpose of entertaining others? Metallica started doing music for their enjoyment, and look how far they've made it. Same thing for Megadeth, they've become one of the biggest metal band. Look at Dave Grohl, who has been in not only one but TWO of the biggest bands of the world. He himself says that he goes around doing what the hell he wants to.
    Going around doing what you want to do isn't in question though if what you want to do is entertain. It's not about getting 100% of the world's population to like you either. It's about doing something that people (including yourself) enjoy, and creating great experiences for people through it.
    Who says musicians have to be entertaining? Sure, there are formulas that are proven to work, but if there weren't musicians willing to write what they wanted to write and take their sound in new directions, we'd still be listening to Gregorian Chant for f*ck's sake.
    No matter how successful you are, if you do it for the sake of fulfilling your ego by going around like "Hey, look at me! I'm trying to entertain you guys!", you're doing it for the wrong reasons. If you do what you love and show that you have passion for what you do, people will naturally be entertained by what you do.
    Rebel Scum
    Chuck D makes so much sense in that interview. Load/Reload should've been released as a double album with less songs. There's a lot of filler on those two albums.
    I love Chuck D, and I feel like his argument made a lot more sense than Lars' there, but actually in the present day I have more sympathy for Lars' position...
    I don't see how St. Anger was selling out but okay.
    They didn't say it was.
    Yeah. The article is not all about selling out. It is about pissing off the fans. Did Lulu sell out? It was also included on the list, and it was pretty much the opposite of selling out.
    I think St. Anger was Metallica trying to remain mainstream during a time when nu metal was a popular genre. Solos were not popular during the golden years of nu metal so I guess they took them out to be liked for the mainstream... I also remember James Hetfield trying to do some harsh/scream vocals on some songs (Frantic)
    I remember hearing somewhere that Kirk had solos and wanted to including them into the songs, but the powers to be didn't felt like solos would fit in the album.
    They literally sold out to all the trends of nu-metal at the time in terms of guitar, they even blatantly discuss it in Some Kind of Monster. -Switch to drop tuning -No solos -incredibly simplistic bar chord riffs (omfg Some Kind of Monster...) -crunchy, raw and reverb heavy tone sounds akin to Metallica jamming on Limp Bizkit's set-up in their garage.
    Garage-like tone/production was literally never a nu-metal trend, if something it was always paradoxically quite clearly produced. The riffs are not really any more simplistic than on the Black Album for example. And seriously, drop tunings have been used in metal since pretty much forever. 3/4 of death metal is in C# or lower.
    No solos is the biggest reason for the term sellout being thrown around. I love the album but the snare and no solos brings it down imo.
    Moltres Avianos
    A song/album doesn't have to have solos for it to be good.
    Very true, but I think it's safe to say one of the main reasons a lot of us got into Metallica in the first place was because of Kirk's solos. I wouldn't say that they sold out for writing an album without solos, but they did just so happen to write that album at a time when guitar solos were practically nonextistent in popular rock/metal
    I thought the opening line to Lulu was phenomenal - it is a really weird, attention-grabbing opener. It's just a shame the rest of the album, even the song itself, falls totally flat
    I actually kinda liked Lulu as an album, i hated it at first but once i listened to it as an arty Lou Reed album rather than a weird Metallica project, i got into it a lot more
    Second Rate
    The accusations of selling out in the pre self-titled era are not silly in the slightest. They are based on the words of the members of Metallica themselves.
    All of them was just close-minded fans bitching with no reason. All but Lulu. With that one I'm not sure..
    I think is as simple as, if you dont like it dont listen to it... no matter if it's metal song, pop song, R&B song, or even dubstep music.
    I can't take anybody who calls someone a sellout seriously. Name-calling and pouting at its finest. Honestly, I'm a bigger fan of their work during the 90s, after they changed their sound. I thought the sound change with the Black Album was them changing with the times, as that album came out when the entire spectrum of rock music was going through a major shift. I thought that was a smart thing to do. I can't stand the "St. Anger" album. I don't think they "sold out" with it; I just think they tried shifting gears and changing their sound. It's a good idea, but I don't like how it played out in execution. Logically, they're a business, and the goal of any business is to make money. At the end of the day, every band's goal is to sell out--and the bigger the venue you do it in, the better.
    link no1
    St.Anger and Lulu are probably the only two things from Metallica I really didn't like. I didn't think they were selling out though, I just thought they did something I didn't like.
    Metallica sells out? Nope. They just didn't stick to one genre/type of song for the entire career. I have been listening to them for the past 15 years. At different times of my life, i have enjoyed different albums and i think i did not really like about 10 songs in total. Hell, St.Anger, the album i hated the most and for the longest time, is now my go-to-Metallica album. I also love THIS cover of the album (as it kinda fixes the snare drum problem The covering singer is also very talented
    I would rather have them 'sell out' and make the music they want to make rather than listen to the same old format just to please stubborn fans.
    Dafuq? St Anger? Yeah, real mainstream album that... So radio friendly. Disconnecting the snare so it sounds like he's smashing a tin can on a serious of 6-8 minute long songs is about as FUK CONFORMITY, NORMALITY AND MAINSTREAM as it gets.
    You are right, but the article is not only talking about selling out. It never stated St. Anger was a sellout album. It was just an album that got a lot of hate because of the sounds and the fact that there were no guitar solos.
    That was a bit of a rant, I shouldn't have directed it at St anger, fact is Lulu and St Anger are fine examples of bands just doing what they want... People thought they sucked because they didn't make puppets 6 times over. Then a year or 2 back some St anger fanboy scene appeared and after all the years if crap I took for liking it and trying to get people to see the bigger picture... Its suddenly "a good album". All their stuff is good for what it is, the best thing is that thanks to bob rock and the willingness to allow change, its all mixed to nicely up until DM... Best thing about this band is variety. Who could hate that
    Basically every time something finitely good happened the fans would get angry.
    "James Hetfield once noted that a fan supposedly spat in his face because of the video." Lars, not James.
    Metallica obviously did everything right. Metallica is the biggest band in the world and they've inspired hundreds of bands and they keep metal music alive. Some might call'em sell outs but they did whatever the **** they wanted to do and you have to admire that.