Saturday, June 24, 2006

One (1988) – Metallica

As depicted in the music video which included clips from a 1971 film, Johnny Got His Gun, “One” voices the suffering of a life-form that barely exists as a casualty of war: blind, deaf, mute—a stump of flesh with no limbs who sports a Chinese take-out box-like device to cover his nonexistent face. His—its—sensorial reality is nothingness. There is a black void, an interminable solitude, a spiritual abyss until he dies, perhaps many years from now. Although he wishes to suffocate himself, even respiration is beyond his control as a life support machine and feeding tubes inflict their daily sentence of torture upon him. In this hell, nothing or no one on earth can ever matter to him again. Why did he survive the landmine explosion? Why didn’t they have mercy on him when they found him severely mutilated in the fields? And, in sustaining his life, why do they continue to torment this piece of meat that lies before them, which can serve no purpose other than to rot slowly into a willing corpse?

James Hetfield bewails and snarls anguished grievances. Pure electric and acoustic guitars interweave their lament for this wretched mass by commemorating his former vivacity in their animated articulations and classical trills. Lars Ulrich’s kick drum is mic’d to capture the distinct sound of the beater striking the head like an erratic heartbeat, while his snare snaps like shots ringing out over a battlefield. The periodic spates of Mesa-Boogie amp bombination soon rupture in a deluge of distortion, midrange scooped down to the Ninth Circle of Hell. Oddly, phase cancellation nullifies Jason Newsted’s bass, rendering it a phantom limb throbbing subliminal impulses. Hetfield’s and Kirk Hammett’s guitars gnash in crunching, chugging, searing rhythm. Ulrich’s double bass pedal rolls mimic the convulsive guitar riffing with machine gun rapidity. Hammett’s frenetic solo and volant fretboard runs careen frantically as the band thrashes toward an abrupt euthanasic termination.

  • Listen to "One" and purchase from iTunes Music Store.
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