Sunday, November 29, 2009 at 8:45 PM

Title: Metallica Craze (A series of 4 potraits and 6 album covers)
Medium: Computer Graphics (Microsoft Paintbrush)
Artist: Johan Ishak
Time/Date: {Date and time not recorded}, 1993
Place of creation: South Yarra, Australia

URING the summer of 1993, between the end of the First Year 2nd Semester and the flight back to Malaysia, I was a young punk working late nights at a Pizza Parlour in Prahran trying to save enough money to pay for the air ticket as well as for my very first electric guitar (Daion). There wasn't much to do when I'd completed my daily routine of work other than sleeping or watching cricket test matches between the West Indies and the Aussies. So, I explored computer graphics - None of those complicated Auto CADs or Corel Draw - It was simply Microsoft Paintbrush!

What do I draw? well, I was wearing a Metallica T-Shirt with the images of the band members James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Jason Newstead,.... and was listening to Metallica CDs. Naturally, that became my first experimental material. So, I did it, bitmap by bitmap for each of these images appearing on this blog - each took around 8 hours or so. That sort of occupied my summer, in between working hours and cricket test matches. So I discovered my ability in Computer Graphics - well its not that hard really, just zoom in and work on it like a graph net with X and Y axis - you just need patience. (Note: the way, please give me my due recognition! I can already hear people saying "this must have been done via scanners". I kid you not, I actually plagarised every bitmap. It took me approximately 8 hours for each piece ok!)

Just to give a bit of a background on these images; this one right here is the album cover for Metallica's first album "Kill 'Em All", a debut which was quite controversial because they kicked out their guitarist, Dave Mustaine, and replaced him with Kirk Hammett, a padawan to a guitar legend, Joe Satriani. Dave subsequently found Megadeth.

The next image above is their 2nd album "Ride the Lightning". Now this put Metallica way at the top of Heavy Metal list with its dramatic and magnificent "Fade to Black". The entire transformation from the speed metal type Kill 'Em All album to a more melodramatic heavy metal that emphasises Metal not in speed form was apparent in Ride the Lightning but perfected in the 3rd album "Master of Puppets".

I actually started my graphics attempt with the cover for Master of Puppets, which is my favourite heavy metal album of all time and of course, my favourite song is and will always be Master of Puppets. I think this album is the legacy of Cliff Burton before he departed to hell - a truly influential dude on Metallica's music landscape. Not to mention, the album cover is superb - image right at the top - have chosen this image to lead the saga in this particular blog as it was my first computer graphics attemp and I must say, one of the most difficult one!

The last album which really continued the Metallica traits is the above "...and Justice for All". But this one made it possible for the band members to be regarded as the most respectable and skillful heavy metalists around with Lars kicking double paddles like the speed of tongue vibrating and Hetfield's crunchy single repeated strokes of rhythms complemented by Hammett's mature solo and blending of bass by Newstead linking the beat, rhythm and melody.

In my opinion, the Black Album (above) and whatever subsequent to that are totally off tangent (referring to the Black Album, Load, Reload & St. Anger) from the mainstream Metallica traditional traits; except for, the latest "Death Magnetic" which sort of resurrected the old Metallica spirit with its new basist re-living the Cliff Burton era.

I didn't really got the time to continue the graphics for the rest of the album subsequent to the Black Album - as you can see, my attempt on the cover for Load is far from complete - I stopped there as it was time for me to leave university and I had no access to computers for a very long time......


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