Oddly enough, only a few days after I posted my unboxing video in which the first record I received from my Relapse Records 10 LP grab bag was Opprobrium’s “Serpent Temptation”, Opprobrium’s label, Brutal Records, released a statement saying that they believe Metallica ripped off Opprobrium’s “Hunger For Power” in their song “Moth Into Flame”. The label then went on to issue a cease and desist letter to both Metallica and their attorney.
According to Brutal Records, the similarities between “Moth Into Flame” and “Hunger For Power” are too close, and because of this the label believes that Metallica copied and “ripped off” the track featured on the 1988 death metal album, “Serpent Temptation”. Brutal Records announced this cease and desist letter via their Twitter page and have since unrelentingly tweeted out statements about the alleged copyright.
Apparently, the person behind these tweets is actually related to the two brothers who were in Incubus (named changed to Opprobrium in 1999 due to the more widely known Incubus copyrighting their band name) as their uncle and godfather and claims to have produced “Serpent Temptation” and “owns the publisher and copyrights for the master recording”. The link to the label’s recent tweets about the cease and desist letter and the official cease and desist statement towards Metallica and their legal team are attached below for you to scroll through and read. Honestly, the tweets seem fairly deranged and lack enough credible proof to truly show Metallica’s guilt without reasonable doubt. These were the only statements about the cease and desist letter from any parties involved until Opprobrium themselves commented on the news story days later…
Brutal Records’ Cease and Desist Statement to Metallica and their legal parties:
As you have not sought or requested permission/authorization to use, nor to make and/or distribute, sell, lend or lease my copyrighted work entitled Hunger for Power, you are hereby notified to CEASE AND DESIST any and all further unlawful acts of copyright infringement with regards to your actions and/or statements relating to this matter.
Failure to comply with this notice will confirm your complicity and leave me no other alternative but to proceed to file a civil action suit seeking monetary damages and compensation for court and attorney’s fees incurred as a direct result of your unlawful actions of copyright infringement. It is not my wish to seek legal recourse; however, I will vehemently do all that is necessary to protect my work, Hunger for Power, and interests. Please note that this letter will be the only warning I will provide.
THEREFORE, you are hereby requested to immediately CEASE AND DESIST any further acts of copyright infringement and within 10 business days return the signed written assurance below affirming that you will refrain from any further acts of copyright infringement. (via Exclaim! Music)
On April 8th, two days after the story of Metallica’s alleged “ripping off” of death metal band Incubus’s track “Hunger For Power” broke, Incubus released a statement via Facebook about the cease and desist letter (this was through the Opprobrium Facebook account, since Opprobrium recently rereleased a rerecorded version of “Serpent Temptation” through Relapse Records). Apparently, Opprobrium themselves never released the cease and desist letter, or even knew of its existence before the story broke. Opprobrium then went on to say that they are fans and love the band and that they would never do anything of the sort to the thrash metal legends themselves. What’s most shocking is their response to the individual at Brutal Records claiming he owns the rights to “Hunger For Power” and the rest of “Serpent Temptation”. Opprobrium stated that this is not true at all and that the death metal band themselves holds all of the rights to their songs. Their statement via Facebook is attached below. Also, it appears that “Spit Out The Bone”, another Metallica track off their latest album, “Hardwired… To Self-Destruct”, is also in question now of “ripping off” “Hunger For Power”.
This news story has been a combination of both fascinating and extremely odd, in my opinion. The label, Brutal Records, refuses to let up on the accusations of Metallica’s alleged copyright, and Incubus (Opprobrium) continue to state that they do not approve of or want to issue this cease and desist towards Metallica. The bay area thrash legends have yet to release a statement on the issue at hand.
Personally, I don’t hear the resemblance that Brutal Records is claiming. Are both of the riffs heard in the sections at question, fast chugging riffs? Yes, but they are in no way illegally similar, especially since they are written in two completely different metal sub genres. I will say though this has brought significant attention to Opprobrium, who deserves more traffic as their album, “Serpent Temptation” is fantastic! This recent attention however, made me initially question if this was just a publicity stunt, with the end goal of receiving more album sales of “Serpent Temptation”. However, I quickly realized that Incubus’s release of “Serpent Temptation” has been out of print for decades now and the only copy of “Serpent Temptation” you can still buy today is the repress sold through Relapse Records, which features the new band name, Opprobrium. If album sales were to increase from this possible publicity stunt it would benefit Opprobrium, but would not benefit Brutal Records, as Relapse Records would earn profits from the repress sales. Although, if Brutal Records does repress “Serpent Temptation” in the near future I would easily draw the conclusion that this whole scenario was designed in order to profit off a classic death metal album. For now, based on the little information given, it appears that someone with access to the Brutal Records Twitter page is attempting to acquire some royalties from Metallica that are not owed to them in any way. Of course we will keep you updated as more information about this news story unfolds, so stay tuned! Also, listen to “Hunger For Power”, “Spit Out The Bone”, and “Moth Into Flame” below and let us know if you think Metallica copied the death metal band Incubus or not. Lastly, while you’re at it, check out the full albums for “Serpent Temptation” and “Hardwired… To Self-Destruct”, as both of these albums are classics and should not be warped or diminished by this odd news story.
“Hunger For Power”:
“Moth Into Flame”:
“Spit Out The Bone”:
“Hardwired… To Self Destruct”: