The Record That Changed My Life: Ben Bruce of Asking Alexandria Discusses Metallica's 'Black Album'

Metallica (The Black Album (1991)

“This was the album that turned me on to heavy music. I grew up listening to a lot of blues stuff, and then pop-punk, like Blink-182. The first time I heard Metallica was during art class in school when I was around 12 years old. Our art teacher was really cool and he’d let people bring in CDs for everyone to listen to. My friend brought in Metallica’s Master of Puppets. I wasn’t really familiar with them, but I remember hearing it in the background when I was painting pictures of skateboarders or whatever, and thinking it was really cool. So I waited until the weekend when I could get my pocket money. I went straight to the CD store to buy a Metallica record. But there were, like, a million of them, and at the time I didn’t know which Metallica album we were listening to in art class. So I just picked the one with the black cover.

“I took it home and went into my bedroom, and I did that thing where you go through and listen to the first few seconds of every track just to get a feel for it. When that guitar riff from "Through the Never" came on, I remember turning into this little bitch of a kid and jumping up and down on my bed. It was the same feeling as when Christmas was coming around and I knew I’d be getting presents. I had that giddy feeling going through my whole body.

“And since then, The Black Album hasn’t left my CD player. It’s a staple, go-to album. It’s so simple and effective. The songs were structured kinda like pop songs, but it was so heavy. At that point I’d already been playing guitar for about a year—lots of "Smoke on the Water," Nirvana, Papa Roach and Blink-182…just all those cool, nice easy riffs. But when I heard The Black Album it was game over!”

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