Still, it was for its time. There was no other record in 1986 that sounded like this, or be my guest and point me towards one. I don't mean like massively innovative either, like Hendrix or something, but it was still innovative. I mean, "The Thing That Should Not Be" sounds like a Black Album track to me, five years before that album even came out. It's intro is reminiscent to that of Nirvana's "Come As You Are" as well. My point is, this album was a mid-80's album, and it sure doesn't sound typically 80's to my ears, unlike Kill 'Em All and Ride The Lightning that both sound very 80's NWoBHM-thrash. This album is so much more than NWoBHM-wanking thrash. Cliff's classical bass-playing style and writing really shows for it if nothing else.
Likewise. Maybe you should revisit Ride The Lightning one more time. You and I obviously have a lot of different tastes in music. We cannot possibly compare a band/album/song from the same mindset. You are welcome to have your opinion, but I stand behind my own.
Innovative? LOL There is nothing even remotely innovative about this album. Polished, watered down and repetitive thrash metal with some balladic and atmospheric parts thrown in to make it seem deep and eclectic. Sabbath already did that 10 years before. Including the heaviness of "Thing". Just listen to something like Symptom of the Universe and imagine a more modern, heavier production. If you want innovative, listen to a band like Watchtower or Voivod. Metallica didn't do anything new that they didn't already do on Ride the Lightning, in fact MOP is pretty much a bland ripoff of that album. If you think this is innovative or anything special, you haven't heard much at all.
I've always thought of this as a masterpiece since I became a headbanger 13 years ago. It might not be anything special by today's standards and technical progression in metal music, but I want to think that it really was special for its time. Think about it, this was released in early '86, recorded in '85 already. It was heavy, clean, fast and agressive for its time, and it came out when thrash basically broke into metal mainstream. I've personally heard pretty much every band there was in the 80's, and no other band sounded as innovative or (almost) "futuristic" as Metallica. There was probably nothing heavier than "The Thing That Should Not Be" in 1986 apart from itself, whose intro kinda sounds like Nirvana's "Come As You Are", and Cliff's bass playing was really innovative and progressive as well. I'm not meaning to sound like a Metallica fanboy, I'm not, but as a music listener I can't really think of any other album sounding like this in 1986. I think they we're ahead of time.
I'm just going to say it. True fans of Metallica think this is a perfect album. This is Metallica at their most varied. You have the highly technical thrash sound of the title track, the hard, edgy, aggressive sound of "The Thing," break-neck speed thrash songs in "Disposable Heroes," and "Damage Inc.," the complex instrumental "Orion," and not to mention the opening track is pretty much beloved by Metallica fans far and wide. As for me, I like the album because all of the tracks have fantastic riffs, and are fun to sing or air guitar to. Any of Metallica’s first four albums are incredibly varied, but this one takes the cake for the most varied. It’s insane that some of these songs are by the same band.