The Parade College Writing Workshop – Ethan Power: The history of Metallica


Photo: wikicommons



By Ethan Power


Metallica is one of the biggest h3avy metal bands in the world.


They formed in 1981, through drummer Lars Ulrich’s ad in a newspaper. Lars managed to find James Hetfield, who recruited his roommate Ron McGovney to play bass, while Dave Mustaine (currently in Megadeath) was brought in to play lead guitar. They claimed their name from a suggestion by their friend Ron Quintana.


Their rise in the metal scene seemed to come pretty quickly, due to the sheer determination of every member. Not only this, but they all had a rare musical chemistry. They soon recorded their first demo ‘No Life ‘Til Leather’. After well received gigs in the Bay Area, they convinced bassist Cliff Burton to join the band and replace McGovney. Shortly after arriving in New York, the band replaced Dave Mustaine for Exodus shredder Kirk Hammett. Soon after this change of line-up, they hit the studio to record their first album. This resulted in “Kill `Em All” (an amazingly thrashy album). Some of their best songs on their album are ‘The Four Horsemen’, ‘Whiplash’ and ‘Seek and Destroy’. These songs are hailed as classics. This acceptance into the rock scene allowed them to record their second album, ‘Ride the Lighting’. This amazing chemistry nurtured songs such as ‘For Whom the Bells Tolls’ and ‘Fade to Black’.


The band’s third album is probably their most iconic – ‘Master of Puppets’. This album featured classics such as ‘Battery’, ‘Orion’ and ‘Master of Puppets’. It was at this point that people realised the true potential of Metallica. However, with all this success comes tragedy.


While on tour in Sweden, the band’s tour bus skidded out of control and flipped. This ended up killing legendary bassist, Cliff Burton. The band later recruited Jason Newsted to fill in Cliff’s shoes. They soon got back on their feet to record an EP, ‘Garage Days Re-Revisited’. This album is unlike any other as it was recorded in Lars’ garage.


Many albums later, Jason Newsted departed the band in 2001. While the three remaining members recorded with producer Bob Ross, James hit a crossroad in his life. His alcohol and drug habits got the better of him, and he had no other choice but to go into rehab. Once he was out and got the band back on track, they recorded ‘St Anger’, the first album at their new HQ. Once they released their new tour dates, they got back on the road with new bassist Robert Trujillo. They later released ‘Hardwired to Self-Destruct’ in 2017.


Metallica has played a big part in my life and music growth. ‘Enter Sandman’ was one of the first songs I learnt on drums. At the time, I was around seven or eight years old and I didn’t quite rely on music as much as I do now. Metallica is one of the first metal bands I really started listening to. In more recent times, music has been something I fall back on when I’m stressed, studying or just bored. Music (whether listening to or playing it) is the best backdoor from the real world I have found. Hours can go by with me just writing a single song. Metallica has strongly influenced my writing and playing style, for both drums and guitar. You can bet the next time they come to Melbourne, I’m going.




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  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Thanks for filling me in on Metallica, now I know a lot me about them. Are you in a band Ethan?

  2. Thanks for this, Ethan.
    Heavy metal is not really my bag, but I don’t mind Metallica. For me, “Enter Sandman” is a true rock classic, as is “Nothing Else Matters”.
    I remember being enthralled when I watched the Metallica documentary “Some Kind Of Monster”.
    It is interesting to note that the band has cancelled some US concert dates due to Hetfield’s continued mental health battles (which could well be related to his addiction issues).

  3. Mrs Pritchard says

    What a wonderfully interesting history Metallica has Ethan – very informative! I really appreciate your love for music as I too find listening to music very relaxing. What a special moment – learning ‘Enter Sandman’ on drums as one of your first songs! Very cool! Lots of inspiration coming from such a talented band!

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