Hall Of Idols #16: James Hetfield

James Hetfield

Sixteenth installment in a series exploring very important people in my life.

Let me start explaining how this will work: I listed 65 idols of mine. Every Friday (with the exception of those reserved for the Rock Chain posts) I’ll draw one of the names (following a system that it’s really not important to be explained here) and talk about it.

Therefore, the order in which the names will appear doesn’t necessarily shows where they rank in my preference.

As a final introductory note, this is also not a biography article. I’ll just write how I feel about people represented in it, their talent and their importance in my life.

Who is the greatest Heavy Metal band of all time? Of course, the jury will be forever out on this one and at the end of the day it is a matter of personal opinion. I personally, think its Iron Maiden. However, looking strictly by the numbers, I don’t think there’s any discussion that Metallica takes home the trophy. Actually, even in Britain they agree with that. And to me, this fact was only possible due to one man.

James Alan Hetfield was born August 03, 1963, in Downey, California (USA). He formed Metallica with Lars Ulrich in late 1981 and went on to conquer the world.

James is a great singer (who actually invented a way of singing) and a great, great guitar player. And he manages to do that while fronting the band and commanding the audience with gigantic charisma. No easy feat, but he does it cool as the other side of the pillow.

As a young kid, I was always in doubt who I liked the most: James Hetfield or Bruce Dickinson. And I must admit, Bruce always won and after some mid-nineties mishaps I kinda forgot James for a while.

However, when I had the opportunity to watch Metallica live after 12 years, everything I felt positive about the band came back. And it was all due to James presence and talent. I’m sorry Lars, but Metallica IS James Hetfield.

He created the most famous riffs, wrote the best lyrics (“The Four Horsemen”, “Creeping Death”, “Master Of Puppets”, “The Thing That Should Not Be”, “Disposable Heroes”, “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”, “…And Justice For All”, “One”…) and delivers with unabated passion every night.

And this passion was never so evident when I had the honor of witnessing the Orion festival in 2012. As usual he stole the show, but this time the fire in his eyes and the perfection in every note were palpable. Talking with some other fans back at the hotel after only the first night, one thing was clear: “James is insanely good”.

When I first listed the idols that would be part of the Hall, I didn’t include James. There were so many people I thought that with only 65 to choose from there were no place for him. All it took it was my eighth Metallica concert in the beginning of the year to change my mind.

Just like in Sanitarium, here at the Hall of Idols no one leaves and no one will. Welcome, James Hetfield.

Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal”.

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

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