Into the Black: The Inside Story of Metallica 1991 - 2014, by Paul Brannigan and Ian Winwood (Da Capo Press, 2014)

Paul Brannigan and Ian Winwood had an insider's look into Metallica's most transformative years. The two journalists traveled with the group during their ascent from heavy metal heroes to mainstream music behemoths in the early '90s, gathering over 75 hours of interview material during that period.

Into the Black: The Inside Story of Metallica 1991 - 2014 starts off on the eve of the "Black Album," the game-changing record that featured future classic rock staples such as "Enter Sandman," "The Unforgiven," and "Sad But True." The book then offers up an exclusive look inside Metallica's career in the last three decades, through the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted group's soaring highs and crushing lows.

Even if you've followed Metallica closely since the early '90s, Into the Black delivers the kind of insider knowledge only members of their inner-circle would normally be privy to. Whether it's their infamous battle with Napster in 2000, or Jason Newsted's split from the band a year later, Brannigan and Winwood handle each milestone in Metallica's career with exhaustive detail.

In fact, the book includes a handful of potentially embarrassing stories starring the thrash pioneers, not unlike the group therapy footage found in the excellent Some Kind of Monster documentary from 2005. The stuff in the book about Metallica's brave yet critically and publicly panned 2011 collaborative album with Lou Reed, Lulu, was particularly insightful.

A perfect companion to Brannigan and Winwood's Birth School Metallica Death book that covered the band's formative years, Into the Black is a must-own for any hardcore fan of the masters of puppets.

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