In the Beginning

Magnus Henriksson (Bazillion Points Books) on Metallica

Metallica, 'Metallica' (Elektra, 1991)

I'm not alone about this, I'm sure: The first album I bought with money out of my very own Spider-Man wallet was Metallica's self-titled album. I was 11. Up until that point I had been forced to rely on recording music off of the radio or copying my brother's records to cassette in order to get my metal fix. But a newly instituted tiny allowance supported by an envelope stuffed with cash received for my birthday had finally enabled me to enter a record store with true independence. Not that this freedom of choice mattered much.

No band was bigger than Metallica in Västerås, Sweden during the summer of 1991. Even Guns N' Roses' ambitious Use Your Illusion effort couldn't change that fact. Arriving home from the store, I quickly realized that the album was even better than the "Enter Sandman" single had foreshadowed. From that day, I listened to Metallica every day for at least a year. My record collection slowly grew, but that album was always on top of the stack of records next to my stereo. I didn't care about the dramatic departure from their earlier sound, and I didn't know about the groovy rock 'n' roll attempts that would come just a few years later. In the fall of 1991, Metallica was not only the only record I had, but the only one I needed.