Adam Wood hosts a show called Flux Observer that features one of my favorite podcast concepts: Wood reviews a cultural artifact from years ago to determine how his relationship to it has changed over the years. I’ve always wanted to do something like this, though I never considered doing it via a podcast. For years I’ve talked about revisiting albums that I appreciated years ago to write about how well they hold up.
The latest episode of Flux Observer is an examination of Metallica’s S/T record from 1991 (also known as “The Black Album).
“The Black Album” was a huge commercial success, but I always dismissed it as a product from a band past their prime. I had been into the earlier output from Metallica when I was going through a bit of a thrash phase and grouped them with Anthrax and even D.R.I. Master of Puppets was my jam, Metallica at their most potent. By the time the black album came out, it felt like time to move on (and indeed I did). I remember an almost sleepless night at my cousin Andy’s house, seeing “Enter Sandman” played multiple times on MTV and just wanting to escape it.
Wood’s enthusiasm for Metallica comes through in his vivid memories but the years that mark his distance from the work allow him to dissect some of the more complex themes, as when he goes into the meaning of “The God That Failed” and what Stephen King refers to as “dark Christianity.” I’d urge a listen, even if you don’t love this particular album, just to appreciate the experiences and insights that another person retrospectively analyzing one of their their treasured pieces of art can yield.
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