Introduction When I was an impressionable ninth grader, an older kid told me that I should listen to Megadeth rather than Metallica because, as he put it, “Megadeth [was] like Metallica but without that ‘Fade to Black’ shit.” That incident occurred in 1985 when my interest in Metallica’s music was still new, having really begun about a year earlier. In addition to Metallica, during the mid-1980s when heavy metal’s popularity was increasing, bands such as Mötley Crüe, Ratt, Iron Maiden, and Dio spent considerable time on my cassette boombox. Metallica, then, formed only a part of

the listening habits I shared with my (white, suburban) friends. Of course Metallica’s music differed significantly from the sounds of my other favorite groups and, importantly, all the so-called bad kids touted them, along with other bands associated with the nascent thrash metal genre, as the newest best thing. The speed and sonic aggression displayed on Metallica’s first two albums, Kill ’Em All and Ride the Lightning, were certainly extreme and definitely pushed the envelope of noisy transgression in ways that the faux-Satanism of Mötley Crüe’s Shout at the Devil and the gory sexuality of W.A.S.P. did not. Musically, thrash metal was outside stuff, and you made a statement by listening to bands like Metallica.