Today is basically a Metallica day. Not only is their movie being released today, but today is also the anniversary of Cliff Burton’s death. It’s only fitting I post my book review today, right? Sure.
I had a surprisingly difficult time getting through this book. The first half went swimmingly, but Mick Wall’s writing style began to wear on me. His tone was continually down and he painted a picture of Metallica using mostly the bad highlights. This is no glamorous rock story. This is someone trying to give you the underbelly of rock, but succeeds mostly with delivering the more depressing points of Metallica’s history. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t looking for a book that only praised them. I just didn’t expect to feel so jaded by the end.
I enjoyed reading about Cliff as I didn’t know much about him. I think I almost avoided learning about him, sure it would get me down because he’s no longer with us. I was right, in a way. He sounded like a remarkable person who was loved and who is missed. He sounded well balanced and happy. I made sure I was at home before I read about the accident, knowing I’d be a slight mess. It was also interesting to read about their lives before the band and I enjoyed that Wall went into the histories behind most of the important people around them (Bob Rock, etc).
I wish he’d gone further into their careers after Cliff — over half the book took place before 1986, but perhaps it just wasn’t as interesting a story to tell. Wall asked several times in the book what Cliff would’ve thought of the band as they changed over time. It felt unfair to question their lives this way, though. To judge them in retrospect. They had to make decisions for themselves. There was no “What would Cliff think of us?” Only “How do we keep going without him?” and that’s okay. I’d like to think Cliff would be proud of who they are today. Maybe not with all the roads they went down to get here, but with who they have become as people. I’d hope Cliff would have also stuck to the bell bottoms and creepy ‘stache as well. That would be amazing.
I feel like I now need to see Some Kind of Monster as a follow up to the book. To see for myself how that episode of their lives played out. I want to read another book by Mick Wall, but I’m honestly nervous I won’t be able to get through it.