Corey Taylor details how Metallica evolved on the Black Album and challenged fans to accept change - Knotfest
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Corey Taylor details how Metallica evolved on the Black Album and challenged fans to accept change

Posted by Ramon Gonzales in Culture on September 15, 2021

In the final segment of the four part interview, Taylor shares his favorite Black Album tracks and likens Metallica to his generation’s Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and The Beatles all rolled into one.

For the final segment of the four-part interview with Corey Taylor discussing his participation in Metallica’s Blacklist compilation, the venerated vocalist and songwriter offered his thoughts on the pivotal Black Album era of Metallica and how the record changed landscape of rock music forever.

Taylor recalled the kind of anticipation that was everywhere prior to the album’s release – remembering that he prepped a cassette tape to record “Enter Sandman” off of the radio, which was played on his town’s biggest radio station despite the fact that it was an Oldies frequency. That was how ubiquitous Metallica was even back then.

Speaking frankly, Taylor said that while the single was on repeat for him so much that the cassette tape was worn out, the expectation of the next ...And Justice for All meant that the Black Album left something to be be desired – in retrospect. Now however, Taylor confides that the album’s strength of songwriting has grown on him such that he ranks it up there with the band’s first four albums.

Citing the growing popularity of Metallica and their stylistic evolution on the Black Album, Taylor says that the combination of factors forced the band’s diehard fans to confront change and it was initially met with resistance. The band were evolving as songwriters and in that process, became the biggest band on the planet – for the people that championed Metallica through the first four albums – THEIR band suddenly felt like they no longer belonged to them anymore. That kind of shock forced fans to understand that their beloved band was just too good to be kept secret.

Taylor also referenced some of the songs that are the standouts for him on the record listing the song he covered for the Blacklist compilation as his absolute favorite, “Holier Than Thou”. Aside from the singles that remain fixtures in the lexicon of rock music, songs like “The Struggle Within” and “Of Wolf and Man” remain some of the entries that still resonate. He explains that those songs were indicators of not only the band’s stylistic evolution but their overall trajectory and to see them now – it all makes sense.

The conversation between Taylor and journalist Ryan J. Downey arrived at the conclusion that Metallica’s strength has always been in staying ahead of the curve and ultimately challenging their fans to take the next step musically. The Black Album challenged the hardcore Metallica fan to explore new terrain and the band would continue that MO throughout the nineties. The guys even discussed how it was such a big deal when Metallica cut their hair – but that is how devoted the fans were to the identity of Metallica. Yet while fans bickered about what the band used to be, they were continuing to establish new benchmarks of everything they would become.

Getting into the Blacklist project and his involvement with such a comprehensive project, Taylor discussed the specifics of what it was like keeping things quiet – no small feat considering the album features some 53 various artists. Taylor talked about the kind of feeling he got being included on such an eclectic roster of artists and the kind of pride he took in being able to pay homage to one of his truest influences.

Putting Metallica’s legacy and universal reach into perspective, Taylor revisited a tour memory some 19 year ago when he was out with Stone Sour on a show that Metallica was headlining. He recalled that wile hanging out backstage, Xzibit, the the host of MTV’s Pimp My Ride, saw that it was Metallica and was floored. Taylor said then that he realized just how vital Metallica was in how they resonated with so many people from so many different backgrounds. Taylor called Metallica his generation’s Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and The Beatles all rolled into one… punctuating his thought by reminding everyone, “and we were lucky enough to have them. And still have them.”

Stream the fourth and final segment of the Blacklist Interview with Ryan J Downey and Corey Taylor below.


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