Metallica's anti-internet war is over (for now) and it now appears to be more of a misunderstanding.It's been a funny ol' week in the Drowned in Sound offices, which are shared with new sites that we're developing, theLipster.com , theQuietus.com and ThrashHits.com. Funny but not funny ha-ha. Last week the latter two sites ran fairly positive reviews of material from the forthcoming Metallica album BUT within a few hours the phone did its ringing thing and it was a call from their people (the lovely folks at Mercenary PR, as it happens, who also do the press for DiS Records' Youthmovies) asking for the reviews to be removed asapthankyoupleasebye...
We rubbed our brows, as at no point were any of the people invited to hear the new material asked not to write about it nor asked to sign any legal documents like non-disclosure agreements. We carried on rubbing thinking why on earth would a band who got so much flack for St Anger being a sack of damp turkey would want warm praise for their new material taken down. Over a quick cuppa we questioned whether we wanted to fall out with one of the biggest press companies in the UK and potentially face legal action from Warner Music Group and/or the bands management Q Prime, and decided to swallow our stubbornness and take the reviews down.
Later that day the web lit up with bloggers enraged that the band who waged war on Napster, who seemed to be turning a corner with their Mission:Metallica online community project, seemed to get the modern world quite so wrong.
However, this morning, we laughed Coco Pops up our nostrils when we were alerted to the following post on Metallica.com:
"While we occasionally enjoy reading the various comments, rumors, speculation, reviews, gossip and all the good that the internet brings, rarely do we feel the desire/need to respond to the "blogosphere" . . . hey, everyone is entitled to have their thoughts and opinions, right? However, 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. 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!”" So after a few rounds of managerial ear spank and sentencing everyone at Q Prime to 20 push-ups each, we figured why not take matters into our own hands and just post the links here on our site. Kerrang, Metal Hammer, The Quietus.
"You see, we have maintained an "in the press" section here on Metallica.com for many years now, posting links to reviews of shows, album and DVD releases, and various other tidbits we've come across while surfing around. Some good, some not so good, but we put 'em all up . . . sort of the same way we treat our message boards on this site . . . welcoming all feedback."So in the spirit of keeping this section current, we've put as many of the reviews of the rough mixes of the new record up here as we could find. If we missed any, let us know . . . and in the meantime, we're always adding, so peruse at your leisure."
Editor of The Quietus, John Doran says: “This announcement is a bit more like the Metallica we know and love instead of a pasture of muppets. Q Prime were obviously only doing what they thought was best for the band but sometimes you just have to step away from the espresso machine, take a deep breath and realise that you can’t stage manage the entire world-wide media. Music fans everywhere (including us) are *willing* Metallica to release another classic album and behind the scenes skull-duggery just puts strain on this expectation. It’s also good to see the quartet tentatively getting their collective heads round the internet. After all, as they said themselves: time marches on.” For the full press release click here.
Anyway, fire up www.theQuietus.com to read the offending review, which we've now put back up with Metallica's public blessing.
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