To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of Metallica‘s Black Album, Spin magazine asked musicians their opinion on the Thrash Metal band and the classic album. One of the musicians interviewed was Ex-Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing, who talked about the group and the record.
The guitarist is now the leader of KK’s Priest, band he formed with ex-Judas Priest singer Tim “Ripper” Owens.
“I think every band have had hallmark albums throughout their careers. Not to say that the others are not credible and great as well, some of them just jumped out and they’re just undeniable. I would certainly say that the Black Album is not something that you can “make” happen. It automatically happens because everybody is just drawn to it and love it.”
“It’s a collection of songs and great melodies that’s undeniable. That’s the album people look to for their interpretations or renditions. Like if an orchestra wants to do a song or a fan on YouTube wants to do an interpretation with a strange instrument or a piano version.”
“These wonderful melodies lend themselves from this album. Then the songs become even more famous because of all of these interpretations from people all over the world in all of these different countries. With so many great melodies and all of these great songs, that is going to automatically make this album stand out in the catalog of Metallica.”
“I think it took the diehard fans a bit to acclimatize the fact that [the album] wasn’t that rawness they were used to. But with the test of time, when they’ve seen the band play these songs many times, it fits right in with the early songs.”
Released on August 12, 1991, by Elektra Records, the album is commonly referred to as The Black Album because of its packaging design that was meant to replicate AC/DC’s “Back In Black” idea, that paid tribute to the death of singer Bon Scott, since Metallica had lost bassist Cliff Burton in a tragic accident.
Its recording took place at One on One Studios in Los Angeles over an eight-month span. Which frequently found Metallica at odds with their new producer Bob Rock. The album marked a change in the band’s music from the thrash metal style of their previous four albums to a slower, heavier, and more refined sound.
It debuted at number one in ten countries and spent four consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard 200, making it Metallica’s first album to top the album charts. Also is one of the best-selling albums worldwide.
I am a Brazilian journalist, a Classic Rock and Heavy Metal lover. Music has always been part of my life, helped me through tough moments and was with me to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After college I did a postgraduate degree in digital communication. This has helped me to make the website better and bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG