Grand Theft Audio #1: Metallica
By: Andrew Gleason, Contributing Writer
Throw your babies in the air folks, it is time for the first installment of Grand Theft Audio, where we will discuss some of the alleged and confirmed rip-offs committed by high caliber bands. We here at Metal Mayhem Underground ALWAYS remain as unbiased as possible and these are simply observations made about certain songs with no known confirmation of theft or rights violations unless otherwise noted. If there is an interview or public information that confirms the theft of a riff or a song, then you can find the link to that information below.
Without further ado…we bring you the first article in the series focusing on the more-or-less identical metal songs and riffs in the world today. We start with:
Metallica is easily one of the biggest and most influential music groups of all time, of any genre, of any country. They have sold millions and millions of albums and there is a damn near infinite amount of information out there on just about anything they do. So it shouldn’t come to your surprise that they’ve been busted taking riffs. They have even admitted to blatantly taking shit from other bands.
How have they managed to figuratively and literally make massive successes out of other bands ideas you may ask? Well, the thing is that even when they openly admit it, they don’t exactly say who they’ve ripped off, what they took the idea from or when they took the idea in the first place. This leaves thousands of perhaps obscure metal and rock songs that must be sifted through for 30 seconds of stolen music.
This is the Internet. Things get done.
To get to an example, here is Metallica’s classic ode to insanity; “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” off of what you should already know is Master of Puppets.
I will assume that you took the time to listen to the whole thing because that song is fucking awesome. From the crushing power of the chorus to the unforgettable intro riff that –wait, who is this?
That would be Black House, a NWOBHM band from the UK who had a brief stint in the 80s and never really found success. They released 2 EPs, a live album, and a compilation album. Here is one of their songs, released in 1981:
If you couldn’t see what I did there in the first few seconds of that video then I question your sense of music.
This is not merely an accusation, though. James Hetfield even confirmed that the riff for “Welcome Home” was taken from another band, which James says, “Shall remain anonymous” in an interview with Guitar World.
I see no need to go into any accusations of not crediting you-know-who on the first three Metallica albums. That’s old news. Metallica have a long history of being accused of ripping off other bands however, and this recent uncovering doesn’t exactly help their case. But keep in mind this isn’t a slight against any of the bands in this series and Metallica obviously kick ass.