Geezer Butler Praises Metallica’s ’Black Album’: ’I Couldn’t Relate to Their Earlier Stuff’

Black Sabbath bassist and absolute metal legend Geezer Butler shared his opinion on Metallica’s career-defining self-titled album, also known as the “Black Album.” In his recent chat with Loudwire, Geezer reflected on the album and said how he felt that it was “more appealing” to him compared to Metallica’s previous stuff.

Geezer was asked to elaborate more on one section of his new autobiographical book “Into the Void” where he said he didn’t get into Metallica’s 1986 album “Master of Puppets” despite its popularity. But it was with the “Black Album” that he really got into Metallica. Geezer commented on it:

“I thought the riffs were great, great riffs. I always thought, ‘God, I wish I had written that.’ It’s just really good riffs and something I could relate to. I couldn’t really relate to their earlier stuff. I mean, a lot of people think the earlier stuff is the true Metallica, but it didn’t really appeal much to me. But when the ‘Black Album’ came out, it felt more appealing to my taste.”

Metallica: Enter Sandman (Official Music Video)

He also added:

[It was] one of the few metal albums I could listen to from beginning to end. I really enjoyed listening to it. There are very few albums of any genre that I can listen to from track one to the end. It’s one of those albums that I could listen to the whole thing and I’m really impressed with it.”

Metallica released their self-titled album in 1991, making it their fifth full-length record. Co-produced with Bob Rock, the so-called “Black Album” was their major breakthrough into the mainstream, selling almost 600,000 copies in the first week after its release and topping the Billboard 200 chart. As of 2012, the record was certified 16x platinum in the United States.

Metallica: Nothing Else Matters (Official Music Video)

Elsewhere during the chat, Geezer also spoke up on the decision to write his memoir and share his side of the story:

“When my parents died, years after they died, I always thought I don’t hardly know anything about their early lives or anything. I’ve got five grandkids now and I thought, I’m gonna write a memoir for them to read and pass onto their families.”

“I wrote it while the lockdown was going on in the pandemic and my wife Gloria read it and she said it’s really good and you should turn it into a book.”

Metallica - The Unforgiven (Official Music Video)

He also added:

“The things I was nervous about aren’t in the book, the publisher deleted them. There’s a lot of it that the publisher took out, they said I couldn’t mention that.”

Another topic that he touched upon was Black Sabbath’s 1978 album “Never Say Die!” which was the band’s last one to feature Ozzy Osbourne on vocals before their final record “13” in 2013. Since Geezer openly admitted his disappointment with “Never Say Die!” in his book, he explained in the Loudwire interview:

“It was like the end of the original version of Sabbath. I could feel that the band…something had to go in the band, and that turned out to be Ozzy. I just wish we had somebody there to get us together and give us more confidence in what we were doing. Like a good producer, for instance.”

“But we didn’t have that. Not having somebody from the outside saying, ‘Yeah, this is a good album, but I think you can do better’—not having that put yet another nail in the coffin of the original band.'”

Air Dance (2009 - Remaster)

In an interview published earlier this year, Geezer also opened up on his feelings about this record, calling it “easily the worst” record that he did with the band. Reflecting on the creative differences within the original lineup in the 1970s, he said:

“Ozzy always wanted to still sound like the old version of Sabbath, while Tony and I wanted to expand musically. Looking back, Ozzy was probably right because our expansion caused us to lose what Sabbath was supposed to be about.“

When further asked how he views the late-1970s Sabbath albums today, he responded:

“Definitely not in the same way I view the earlier records. And I will say that ‘Never Say Die!‘ is easily the worst album we did. The reason for that is we tried to manage ourselves and produce the record ourselves. We wanted to do it on our own, but in truth, not one of us had a single clue about what to do.“

Johnny Blade (2009 - Remaster)

“By that point, we were spending more time with lawyers and in court rather than being in the studio writing. It was just too much pressure on us, and the writing suffered.“

Photos: Stefan Brending (2019 RiP Deadland Ritual – Geezer Butler – by 2eight – 8SC9916), Kreepin Deth (James Hetfield live in Amesterdam 29 April 2023)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.

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