In the aftermath of the sudden success of their eponymous album Metallica, the band suffered from what-now-itis. Five years later they made this album, with the same producer, Bob Rock. Because of the clear change in style, it was not received well by the fans.
Drummer Lars Ulrich didn’t care: the minute you stop exploring, then just sit down and fucking die. And exploring they did. They left their thrash metal roots and found a more bluesy sound. Personally, I think they never found their strength after the so called black album. There are some good songs on this record, sure, but it fails to reach the quality of any of the albums before.
Yes, the cover of the record show a mix of semen with blood. It is an artwork by Andres Serrano, and he used his own semen mixed with bovine blood. He is known for artworks featuring bodily fluids. The inside of this gatefold LP shows what was put in the CD booklet. In my opinion it shows that it was designed for CD: it is a series of square shaped images.
This record also marks my first acquisition from a beloved shop in Amsterdam: Fame. The shop doesn’t exist anymore, but the legacy remains.