At this juncture, thanks to all the clamoring in the blogosphere, here and elsewhere (plus early anti-buzz here under the brilliant, jealously-inducing headline, "Pasture of Muppets"), I feel redundant weighing in on the final evaluation. However, I'm the one that bit this all off, so I must continue... (parts one and two of this series can be found here and here):
After the Black album, I signed off, and signed up with No Means No, the Clash, the Cult, the Circle Jerks, and anything else that took me far away from the willing self-neutering Metallica had undergone. I even snuck back into the Dave Mustaine camp briefly, simply because the guy that had gotten kicked out of Metallica in the early years now sounded more authentic to me. Ah, how times had changed.
"Holy Wars" by Megadeth
Really, the only time Metallica caught my attention even briefly after that was when they did a hideous cover version of Bob Seger's "Turn the Page"... and that was just because I always had a soft spot for porn star Ginger Lynn, who had a painfully cliched and utterly depressing starring role in the video:
Needless to say, nearly two full decades passed, and I had zero interest in hearing what would happen next. They weren't even remotely the same band; it was like comparing new Aerosmith and old Aerosmith. I had records by the Sword and Torche to keep me company. Metallica was a distant memory, and the idea that professional resurrector Rick Rubin was gonna fix what broke somewhere at the end of the first Bush administration seemed preposterous to me.