One of heavy metal’s most beloved and revered albums may not be what you think it is. According to musical forgery expert Dr. Elmer Hory from the Lillehammer Institute of Ersatz Studies (LIES), the version of Metallica’s first album owned by most people is actually an impeccable forgery created by a group of Metallica impersonators. “Almost every copy out there is not the real album Metallica recorded, but rather an incredibly detailed copy,” claimed Hory in his soon to be released book “Fake Hearers: The History of Heavy Metal Forgery”.
Hory listened to the original studio tapes of the album and compared them to an actual copy of the album bought last year at his local Sam Goody music store. While nearly everything on both versions sounds exactly the same, there is one point in the middle of the song ‘Phantom Lord’ where the original has a barely audible guitar note that is not heard in the fake “Kill’em All”. Hory was only able to pick up the note after listening to the record over 800 times in a two week period, but he is certain that there is a difference.
Upon researching the roots of the album and following up on some rumors he had heard, Hory discovered Neil and Cliff Irving, two struggling musicians from Southern California who heard the record days after it was released and claim to have copied it nearly perfectly.
“We had seen Metallica at clubs for years and loved the record. We wanted to see if we could make a perfect copy of the album and sell it and make a few bucks to buy prairie dogs to feed to Neil’s pet python. The copy we made was identical down to the sloppy drumming. “
“We omitted one guitar note in “Phantom Lord” to let our friends know it was us. From there, I’m not sure how it happened, but all the copies that are out today are without a doubt the version we recorded,” said Cliff Irving, now a mattress salesman in Rancho Cucamonga, California, who moonlights as a Neil Diamond impersonator at children’s birthday parties.
While both Hory and the Irving brothers are uncertain as to how the phony album came to be known as the real one, it is clear that even the most devout metalhead is unable to tell the difference between real and fake metal. Last week, Hory played both versions for a target group of lifelong, die-hard metalheads between the ages 35 and 60 all of whom claimed to have hung out with James Hetfield “before the band got big” and everyone in the room believed he had simply played the same album twice.
If this revelation is true, it raises troubling questions about whether there is any truth in heavy metal at all. Even though Metallica created “Kill’em All”, is it not the Irving Brothers, whose version almost everyone is familiar with, that should get credit for the record’s popularity? After all, just about no one has really ever even heard Metallica’s actual recording. Just how is “real” determined in music? Elvis Presley re-recorded strikingly similar versions of Otis Blackwell’s “All Shook Up” and “Don’t Be Cruel” and those are known by just about everyone as “real” Elvis songs.
More importantly, if Metallica copied Dave Mustaine’s song “The Mechanix” and changed it to “The Four Horseman” only to have their copy copied by The Irving Brothers who were then copied by Mustaine when he re-recorded “Mechanix” on “Killing is My Business…And Business is Good”, whose song is the “real” song and which version is the “fake”?
Does it make a difference who recorded the album? If Metallica fans never read this article and never come into contact with Dr. Hory’s research, they would still believe “Kill’em All” was a Metallica album. Nothing would change.
If this article is simply some moronic joke made up some crackpot writer who can’t figure out if he wants to publish satire or armchair philosophy, but the reader thinks it’s real because they only read the title and fail to grasp the fact that the Internet is largest hi-tech illusion machine ever created, will it change the experience of the album for them? The songs certainly won’t sound any different.
Does it even matter?
Any of it?