"Once we re-surfaced on Tuesday after a few weeks on tour in Europe, we were informed that someone at Q Prime (our managers) had made the error of asking a few publications to take down reviews of the rough mixes from the new record that were posted on their sites," they wrote. "Our response was 'WHY?!!! Why take down mostly positive reviews of the new material and prevent people from getting psyched about the next record... that makes no sense to us!'"
And if something "makes no sense" to Metallica, there's a pretty good chance it's not a real coherent idea. So, after a good "ear spank" of its management, the band posted links to the reviews in question.
The Quietus, a new music blog that had initially covered the album, was pleased by the news. "Because of their magnanimous behaviour we'd like to apologize for suggesting that they were insane and for claiming that they hadn't done a good album since the tragic death of Cliff Burton—arrant nonsense by anyone's standards, let alone our own."
Given all that Metallica has done, said, and been through in the last 20 years, what could they still do that would lead bloggers to ask, "What the hell is wrong with Metallica?" In this case, the answer is fairly pedestrian but still dumb: censor bloggers.
Here's the scenario: internationally known heavy metal band with long history in the business invites music critics in London to listen to six tracks off the band's forthcoming album. Those critics then write reviews based on what they've heard. Despite the total lack of any non-disclosure agreements and the fact that the band must have known what it was doing, its management then contacted the blogs in question and asked them to take down the reviews.
Actually, "asked" may be a polite way of putting it. The music blog Blinded by the Hype contacted The Quietus, one of the blogs that had run a review, wondering what had happened to the piece. The answer, from editor Luke Turner, was clear. "The Quietus kept our article up the longest and, as no nondisclosure agreement had been signed," he wrote, "[we were] not prepared to remove it merely due to the demands of Metallica's management. We only removed the article earlier today to protect the professional interests of the writer concerned."
Metallica's management and PR team knew who the (anonymous) writer of the piece was, as they invited him; if they chose to do so, they could probably make his livelihood more difficult to earn in the future. The Quietus decided to pull the review and replace it with a cheeky note and an old interview with the band. Wired's Listening Post blog, which has followed the story, notes that this isn't just about being jerks; management claims that the tracks in question were a rough mix that weren't ready for prime time, which perfectly explains why they invited journalists to come hear them.
Metallica has acquired a reputation for hating the Internet, which isn't really true—the band does have a website and it did finally come to iTunes—but the band invited derision from fans with its stance against Napster back in the day. (As a metal band, Metallica of course has long stood up for the principles of fair play, buying your music at retail prices, and not being a rebel.)
Surely, the band's handlers know that these sorts of things have long shelf lives, as evidenced in the new press coverage (Metallica's stance against Napster was mentioned every time), so it's pretty mysterious why they would continue to perpetuate the image of Metallica as the cranky curmudgeons of pre-Internet rock.
...unless this is all a genius move to keep Metallica's name in the news and drum up buzz for a new album that I, for one, had no idea was even in the works.Original here