Safe heavy metal for the masses

Metallica stops in Ramat Gan.

311 Metallica (photo credit: Courtesy)
311 Metallica
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Now that the dust has cleared, the grassroots boycott campaign over the cost of ticket prices resolved and another Shavuot has gone by the boards, it’s time for… Metallica.
The hard rock giants, who last appeared in Israel back in 1999, are still riding on the wave of goodwill which that greeted their ninth album in 2007 – Death Magnetic – which fans saw as a return to their spunkier pre-millionaire rock star sound.
Well beyond the stage where they could put on a bad show, James Hatfield, Lars Ulrich and company are now consummate professionals, performing safe heavy metal for the masses. Nothing will be out of place, from the laser light show to the smoke screens, when the band takes the stage at Ramat Gan Stadium on Saturday night to play their 19 accumulated years of hits.
The World Magnetic Tour 2010 has already seen the superstars perform throughout Europe and Asia, and from Israel they’ll carry on back to the continent for a European invasion that will last into the summer.
While we all know what to expect from Metallica, what may make the show tomorrow night more interesting than seeing legends crank out the hits (a la Elton John and Rod Stewart) are the worthy opening acts – California power trio High on Fire and our own Middle Eastern progressive metal cooperative Orphaned Land.
Hand picked by Metallica to open the dates on their European tour, High On Fire has been called “one the best live bands you will ever see” by The Chicago Tribune, while The New York Times stated following the release of their latest album Snakes for the Divine, “It’s High on Fire’s moment – raise your flagons, please.”
Orphaned Land, formed back in 1981, is one of the few metal bands anywhere that combines Jewish piyyut and Arab folk music motifs within their sound. Their 2004 album Mabool depicted three sons (one for each Abrahamic religion) who try to warn of a coming flood, and incorporates Yemenite chants and quotes from biblical verses. Their latest album, this year’s acclaimed The Never Ending Way of ORWarriOR, features the Arabic Orchestra of Nazareth, traditional Middle Eastern instruments such as saz, santur, Arabian flutes, cumbus and bouzouki, and the keyboard and production talents of Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson.
Following their swirling musical onslaught, even the cool, collected Metallica may have to work up a sweat.