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7 p.m. Sun., Nov. 23
New Orleans Arena, 1501 Girod St., 587-3663

With almost 30 years under its studded leather belt, Metallica has gone through multiple incarnations that have kept fans arguing. Imagine my dismay on learning that there are legions of die-hard supporters who believe that 1991's self-titled "Black Album," my own entry point as a teenage fan, was nothing more than radio-friendly dreck and the beginning of the end for the thrash-monsters of rock. Wherever you jumped in on the timeline, an abbreviated version of its career goes something like this: First, it ushered in a blacker, more aggressive counterpoint to the fluffy-hair metal of the early '80s; then, the band fired future Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine, who still seems sad about it; then, bassist Cliff Burton died and the first heavy-metal Grammy went to Jethro Tull; then, Metallica went multiplatinum with 10-minute-plus songs about death, war and the failure of the justice system and put out the (some say) sell-out Black Album . Members got haircuts, fought with Napster and put out an unfortunately intimate film (2004's Some Kind of Monster ) chronicling group therapy as a band. Its latest album, Death Magnetic (the first in five years), establishes the group as the first act ever to debut five albums in a row at No. 1 on the Billboard charts and is being hailed as an epic return to form. Down and the Sword open. Tickets $55.50. — Fensterstock

click to enlarge ANTON CORBIJN
  • Anton Corbijn
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