When über metal band Metallica came out strong against file sharing services like Napster, fans turned on them in a big way. Sure, they understood the band’s complaint in principle, but they reasoned most people were still buying albums. Why go after little kids grabbing tracks from LimeWire?
The back and forth got ugly, turning Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich into a villain figure who became the butt of endless jokes on the net and even on popular animated TV shows.
But now the baddest band on the planet may have just erased any nascent negative feelings in a single act of targeted charity.
Metallica recorded a live album at the Bataclan, the same venue targeted by Muslim terrorists back in 2015. The band’s representatives say proceeds from the album “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite, Metallica! – Live at Le Bataclan” will be donated to victims of the attack.
The planned release date for the album is April 16 coinciding with Record Store Day, which promotes indie music shops. Proceeds for the nine-track live platter will go to Give For France, a subsidiary of Fondation de France, a group raising funds for survivors of the attack and the families of those who were killed.
After the attacks last November, Metallica made a point to lead the pack in resisting fear through music. The band played three gigs in smaller clubs in Paris in a single night, a direct challenge to those who had tried to instill terror in the French through the unprovoked attacks that killed more than 100 people.
Tribute albums are nothing new in music, but they are more commonly seen in the pop genre, full of easily-digested mainstream music. Metallica is decidedly not that. The heavy metal mainstays are popular not just among fans of their genre but also anyone who appreciates melodic aggression.
Unrepentant trendsetters, expect Metallica to be only one among other harder rock bands to take up the charity gauntlet typically reserved for bands like U2 and Springsteen’s E Street Band. Their music may be angry, but these guys have heart.