For his first solo album, Chilean vocalist Ronnie Romero took the easy route and put together a covers album. To be fair, it’s not like he had anything to prove; in the year before its recording, he’d already recorded well-received albums with both Lords of Black and The Ferrymen. He wasn’t about to spend much time coasting along recycling other peoples’ classic rock works either, since he then released an album with his other band Sunstorm, which hit the shelves barely four months later.
In the summer of 2019, massive gigs were commonplace, to the point of almost being taken for granted. Aside from the scientists who’d warned that a global pandemic might be a possibility in the near future – a warning that fell on governments’ deaf ears – people weren’t concerned about any health related disasters.
Metallica had reached the British Isles on the European leg of their ‘Hardwired’ tour and were delivering their typically lengthy set. Various shows were filmed for posterity, but their stopover in Ireland is potentially the most interesting, with the band surrounded by the historic grounds of Slane Castle.
With Metallica having announced ‘S&M Volume II’ in July 2020, we revisited the first recording from 1999 and it was just about as terrible as we remembered. A second volume of Metallica tunes bolstered by a symphony orchestra isn’t necessarily going to appeal to an audience beyond the die hard fans, but then, it’s those die hards who’ve helped keep the band afloat through good and bad over several decades.
On the eve of a new album that’s bound to split opinion, Real Gone takes a look back at the times Metallica missed the mark.
With the decade coming towards its end, 1988 was a genuine mixed bag. Pet Shop Boys released some of their best ever work; Elton John’s ‘Reg Strikes Back’ album marked somewhat of a comeback for the megastar after five years of intermittently enjoyable material and Jane Wiedlin hit the UK singles chart with ‘Rush Hour’, arguably one of the decade’s greatest pop singles.
At an unspecific point in 1979, my dad arrived home from work carrying a long playing record. It turned out to be the new Police album. At this point, ‘Message In a Bottle’ had been all over the radio and I knew I liked this new music. My mum, on the other hand did not have quite the same enthusiasm; she’s a bit put out that this does not have ‘Roxanne’ on it. Presumably, the album – like others – had been purchased at Barnaby’s, a record shop (no longer there) very near my dad’s then place of employment; a giant tin shed in which he worked with dangerous acidic chemicals and little regard for health and safety. That Police album (‘Reggatta De Blanc’) got played a lot. If I think hard, I can still see Dad sitting by his Fidelity stereo system lifting the needle onto the record and playing the title track over and over and I remember thinking how fitting it was that the word emblazoned on the front looked a bit like the word fiddle. That piece of music must have spoken to him: decades later, he would still attract my attention by calling my name to the tune of that track.
The sight of my dad coming home with new music in this way was not entirely uncommon.