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This is the song that gave Metallica the MTV exposure they desperately needed especially after churning out three quality albums of pure adrenalin. The low budget black and white video not only got heavily played but also brought the band within striking distance of achieving mainstream success. Being a part of the big 4 cadre of thrash, Metallica had do something big to maintain their pedestal level, especially after losing a gifted bass guitarist post the release of what many consider to be their magnum opus, i.e. Master of Puppets.
Millions of people consider this a defining thrash classic, but my take on it is slightly unforgiving. Agreed, this song has got some great hooks and riffs that keep it going, but I’ve always found something missing here. And no, I’m not referring to the inaudibility of the bass (this argument would just go on and on till eternity). Vocally Hetfield hits the right notes, so no complaints there. My biggest complaint here is that puny Dane behind the drums, Lars Ulrich who somehow just comes across as someone for whom terms such as proficiency and technical execution never seem familiar. For the most part, his fills and the so called progressive tendencies are annoying to the core. The only time he justifies his abilities and surprisingly even includes some double bass thuds are when the band hits top gear in the middle. Take the whole bay area thrash fraternity into consideration he stands nowhere near the likes of Paul Bostaph(Forbidden), Darren Minter(Heathen), Tom Hunting(Exodus) or even the young and ferocious Filipino drum machine Andy Galeon(Death Angel). Aside this, I’ve always found this song running short of lyrical content and all through its seven plus minute length, which in itself is another factor that has showed my indifference towards it.
Now that I’ve pointed out the negatives, the positive aspect here is that the song is still truly thrash metal with a good clean intro, heavy riffs and decent solos. The only reason why I would listen to this track is just for that “Darkness, Imprisoning me” part, easily one of the best things Metallica’s ever put out. If it weren't for those factors, I'd have given this "One" a good high rating.