The Metallica Release That Helped Inspire Metalocalypse

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James Hetfield: Kreepin Deth, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en, Wikimedia Commons / Warner Bros. Television Distribution/ Production companies: Titmouse, Inc., Williams Street / Adult Swim
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Metalocalypse creator Brendon Small recently revealed that a specific release from Metallica played an “important part” in inspiring the beloved heavy metal cartoon. During a new chat on Knotfest’s Nu Pod podcast, Small talked about a variety of things related to Metalocalypse; among those various things, Small brought up the 2004 Metallica documentary Some Kind of Monster.

The film follows the band from 2001 to 2003 as they are working on what would be their record, St. Anger. During that time, James Hetfield entered rehab for alcoholism and bassist Jason Newsted would end up leaving the band; he was eventually replaced by current Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo.

Some Kind of Monster made a tremendous impression on Small. While talking about the Metallica documentary, he shares how fascinating it was to see the band persevere through so much chaos in their lives, and how they pushed themselves and ultimately worked together to create a new record. Regarding his experience watching Some Kind of Monster and the impact it had on him, Small shares (as transcribed by Loudwire):

“That documentary was an important part of the genesis of Metalocalypse because it came out around the time when we were developing it anyway, and heavy metal was seeing this kind of major resurgence, or at least I was seeing it from where I was sitting. That movie showed something that was really important.

“By the way, preparing to make a show like ‘Metalocalypse’ – I tried to do as much research as I could. I tried to find every rock ‘n’ roll/heavy metal documentary about creativity and musicians. I think that’s one of the best ones, and you get to see how [‘St. Anger’] — love it or hate it — was made and what the trajectory was and what the crazy maze of logic that got us to this place. And you also got to see a band that was incredibly famous, and it’s hard to have a reason to make a record, I think, even after your first one.”

Small goes on to add: “Like, how do you – like, you’ve got enough material for your first one, and the rest of ’em is, like, ‘What are we gonna do now? How are we gonna make any of this stuff work?’ And you got to see Metallica go through all that stuff and have to audition a new way of communicating with their own band. Or, they were all gonna lose each other, because [former bassist] Jason Newsted walked out and they were a little confining and – I’d say – jealous of, like, any other projects. But they came back and they’re still together and they found Robert Trujillo, and Robert Trujillo is a monster. And Jason Newsted gave so much to Metallica as well. It’s brutally honest, and I think that takes guts — just crazy guts.”

Small continues to speak to his admiration for Metallica, sharing how the band has been a “huge influence” for both Dethklok and Metalocalypse: “Metallica is such a monumental band to me because they were inventing their own genre as they went, and when I think about the ultimate Metallica, [I think of] ‘Master Of Puppets’ and ‘…And Justice for All’ because that’s the age that I was when I was discovering heavy metal.

“‘…And Justice’ just came out, and so I could not believe this, like, through-composed, non-repeating kind of maze of riffs that were just all one compelling idea or ideology of one riff to an iteration of another, to another, to another, to another. And that, to me, is some of the coolest – and such creative and melodic and brutal and, you know, tumultuous thrash/epic metal all in one place. And then the ‘Black Album’ comes out, and [it’s] like, ‘Okay, let’s bring this to everybody.’ So, Metallica, without a doubt, is like a huge influence to the sheer notion of Dethklok and ‘Metalocalypse.'”

Brendon Small interview