Kyle's Reviews > Enter Night: A Biography of Metallica

Enter Night by Mick Wall
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's review
May 20, 2011

really liked it

Wall's biography of the Boys in Black is well written and despite the fact that I'm a huge Metallica fan (just went to Indio, CA from OH to see the Big 4 show, my 10th Metallica concert) I learned quite a bit that I didn't know. For example, Wall makes the case that before Cliff Burton died, he and James Hetfield had discussed finding a replacement for Lars (specifically with Slayer's Dave Lombardo). How different would music history be if this had happened? Obviously compared to Burton (a sublime bass player), Hetfield (possibly the greatest rhythm guitar player of all time) and Hammett (an incredible lead guitar player, Lars's drum skills appeared lacking. However, Wall's book also makes it clear how Lars' drive, ambition, and business acumen were responsible for a large part of Metallica's success.

In fact I think the cover of the book does a great job portraying the essential elements of Metallica's success. The front cover shows Hetfield mid-vocal, and his emergence as the frontman of the band played a vital role in their success (I had no idea that it took as long as it did for James to embrace this role). The back cover has Lars, not playing the drums, but I swear you can almost see the wheels turning behind his dark shades. Finally, the motif of the cover (as well as the title of course) alludes to the Black album, Metallica's 5th album that catapulted them into the mainstream exposing millions of people (including me as I was just getting into music) to Metallica.

Wall does a great job of covering the band's career from its highpoints (Master of Puppets, the Black Album) to its lowpoints (Cliff's Death, the mistreatment of Jason Newsted, St. Anger). In the last pages he makes the case that bands such as Metallica are an endangered species in this day and age and Metallica might be the last one standing. Only 7 bands have sold more albums in the United States than Metallica (Beatles, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, the Eagles, Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones, and Van Halen). As Wall states, the first 3 are finished and the last 4 aren't really that relevant to creating new music and touring on a consistent basis. Metallica might just be the last of the giant rock bands.


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