September 29, 2008

Marketing Metallica

Posted in Music tagged , , , , , at 10:30 pm by Andrew McMillen

I stated that I’d write more about Metallica’s new release – so, let’s go.

I like Death Magnetic. It’s very listenable. There’s some kind of guilty, schoolboy pleasure attached to getting to know these songs. Hetfield’s jagged riffs and stupid lyrics. Hammett’s busted fax machine wah-pedal solos. Ulrich’s ever-interesting drum fills. Trujillo’s.. well, who?

Just kidding. Hey, he actually gets a few moments to himself on this record! There’s now a lawsuit going on between some bass guitar manufacturers over Trujillo’s image, but unfortunately not over his hilarious onstage stance.

And then there’s the whole scandal about the album’s compression. I read that and downloaded the Guitar Hero III version, which sounds better, I guess. I didn’t pay for it – what do I care?

I’ll pay to see the band when they next tour Australia, and I’ll enjoy the experience.

That’s what the entire Death Magnetic release was – an experience. Holy shit, people still get excited en masse about album launches! This probably happened earlier in the year when Coldplay’s album dropped, but I don’t listen to them.

Its release was to music what The Dark Knight was to film – an event. It got people talking. It piqued interest on a large scale. And that’s a pretty fucking cool achievement for a bunch of mid-40 year old men.

The Metallica marketing angle that I find endlessly amusing, though, is how they continue to portray themselves in promotional photo shoots. So fucking brutal! Smile? Impossible! We’re in the biggest god damned metal band the world has ever seen, we can’t compromise our hard-motherfucker image!

Witness the hilarity of their facial expressions and hand gestures in the selected promo photos below. I realise that some of these are five years old, but they’re too good to resist.

Metallica Death Magnetic Promo Photo

Hetfield’s being dragged in by a big-game fisherman. Trujillo, what the fuck are you doing with your arms? Seriously, dude. 

Lars points. Hetfield raises eyebrow. Trujillo scratches chin. Hammett itches elbow. So fucking metal!

Lars points. At me. For downloading his music without paying. I kick the ground bashfully and avert eye contact.

Hetfield throws his hands in the air like he just don’t care. Hetfield looks like a douchebag.

This is the quintessential promo shot that’s been attached to every Death Magnetic story I’ve read in the past three months – both online and in print – and yet it took me fifteen minutes to find. I think I’m overqualified to make fun of Metallica since I just spent fifteen minutes finding a photo to make fun of Metallica.

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3 Comments

  1. Meg said,

    I was unaware of the pointing issue until this post.

    Two things.

    1) I believe you just elicited a “lol” from me. “irl”.
    2) I had not considered the ‘event’ aspect of the release, and I find it quite endearing. Tool have the same effect.

  2. This Devil's Workday said,

    Nothing’s better than the anticipation of a new album, or a massive movie like the Dark Knight. There seems to be less and less of these event albums these days, unless it’s just because my own taste in music has changed.

    I like the new album, I don’t love it, but it sure as hell beats everything since Black.

  3. John Pana said,

    Singles sounded quite good from iTunes. Then bought the CD and played it in my CD Player and the guitars ARE compressed as fuck. It makes my ears hurt.

    Regardless, the songs are pretty fun to listen to. I mean, it’s Metallica right? But the solo’s may be back, the riffage is faster than Black, but I feel like Hetfield’s lyrics blow goats right now. I thought it would be fixed now that the lyrics are no longer collaborated, but they suck. What happened to cool Stories he wrote?

    Oh, Lars still hates us all for downloading his music.


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