Before thrash was a widespread term, Metallica gave metal a real kick in the ass.
Even though the band was taking their cues from Motorhead, this was the beginning of the thrash movement, taking punk and metal and mixing them together. Despite the numerous Metallica faithful rocking out to ‘Seek and Destroy,’ there’s a good chance that James Hetfield is cringing somewhere.
Although James says that he is proud of the work that he did back then, he is not a fan of his vocal delivery on the first three Metallica albums, saying:
“We go and watch the San Jose Sharks [hockey team] and they have ‘Seek and Destroy’ as their entrance music and I’m like ‘Are you kidding me? This is so horrible. It sounds terrible. Get a remixed version. I understand why it’s been chosen but when I hear my voice I’m like ‘Oh, god.’”
When talking about the early era of Metallica, James was never a fan of his voice, saying that he rarely listens to the original album if he can help it.
“I have to listen to them on the radio. I don’t particularly put on the first three records but if we’re doing a show and there’s a song we haven’t played for a long time, I’ll go back and listen to it. I was like 19 years old. I think I’ve matured a little bit since then.”
Despite having some of the best thrash of all time under his belt, James talked about whipping his voice into shape on The Black Album saying,
“I went to this guy who was a cantor for a church or synagogue. He built my voice back into shape and helped build my confidence. I didn’t end up singing like an opera singer. Even if I wanted to I can’t do it.”
Nowadays, James seems to be taking the sound of his voice day by day saying,
“It’s all singing. It’s all me. That’s where I was. That’s as good as I could do back then and this is as good as I can do now.”
Even if James wasn’t trying to be Freddie Mercury, his singing style has been a staple of thrash ever since Kill Em All.