The InsiderOne Daily Report

  Tuesday, May 15, 2001

New Fucked-Up Jams

InsiderOne's Michael Goldberg writes: Even Napster-hating mega-rock trio Metallica are taking notice of Iceland's Sigur Rós. The New Musical Express reported May 14 that Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich checked out the group's recent San Francisco performance and dug the band so much he wrote them this note: "Thank you, thank you, thank you! We are in the studio right now struggling to make some sort of album. I'm going to go back after this completely inspired." Laugh if you will, but bands, even huge bands that sell in the millions, need inspiration. If John Lennon could look to such rock legends as Elvis and Chuck Berry for continued inspiration, and Nirvana could find it in bands as diverse as the Pixies, the Ramones and the Vasalines, what's wrong with Metallica getting amped by Sigur Rós? That a group this far along in their career is looking (and listening to) such experimental sounds as those made by Sigur Rós is a good sign. Think what you will, Metallica is quite an album, and although a lot of people dissed Load, I thought it was damn good (and the cover art was exceptional). Actually, listening to Ágaetis Byrjun,I find it almost a natural that Metallica would dig them. Sigur Rós make their own kind of progressive rock, which is exactly what Metallica do at times, only Metallica rock hard while Sigur Rós go all trippy on us. Both, at their best, capture huge landscapes in their music — it's just that Metallica tend to focus on hell, while Sigur Rós give us a glimpse of heaven. I guess the real problem is just that Lars is so completely uncool. No one likes blatantly arrogant rock stars, which is how Lars comes across sometimes. And he managed to alienate a lot of people by going after Napster. Certainly musicians are justified in not wanting their music "stolen," but plenty of big bands managed to keep their cool while Lars went after Napster like some kind of rock 'n' roll Don Quixote. Did it do any good? Probably not. Did it make Metallica and Lars the laughingstock(s) of American youth? Yep. Those "Metallica good. Napster bad" animations are now a part of pop-culture history. I'm just happy to hear that the group is back in the studio with Bob Rock working on a new album. And who can help but smile, hearing that, according to Lars, the sessions have thus far resulted in some "sick, ugly new fucked-up jams." I guess that means they liked 'em. Anyway, I figure Lars saw the cover of Ágaetis Byrjun, which is black (you know, like the cover of Metallica), thought that umbilical cord was a snake (you know, like the cover of Metallica) and recognized a kindred spirit. Now if they'd just give unwound's Leaves Turn Inside You a listen. That one has a black cover too.

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Michael Goldberg is the president of He founded Addicted To Noise in 1994.

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