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The last decade or two have not been kind to Metallica. Ever since they released the ''Black'' album in 1990, they''ve been on a downward spiral to becoming an easy target for ridicule in the rock community. ''Load'' and ''Reload'' albums sold well but didn''t impress, as they were overly bloated and their new sound failed to impress new and old fans alike. Then Lars Ulrich discovered Napster and had a massive tantrum about illegal file sharing, and they came across as petty and money obsessed. 2003 was the time for them to take stock and deliver a powerful metal record.
Oh dear. It didn''t happen and we got St. Anger instead. When I first heard it, the thought that lingered was ''why did Lars Ulrich swap his drumkit for a load of dustbin lids''? I wasn''t the only one to notice. This record has the most dreadful sounds to it. Of course heavy metal isn''t supposed to sound like the Beach Boys, but this sounds abysmal. Oh and what''s the point of having one of the best lead guitarists in the genre if he''s not even going to bother turning up to the sessions? Overly indulgent solos are bad, but a total absence of melodic guitar parts is just a nonsense. I guess they were going for a harsh, ''nu'' sound, but it doesn''t work.
For more information on the implosion of the biggest metal band on the planet, see ''Some Kind of Monster'', the film released at the same time that shows the band in a very poor light. This album is just as dim
"St. Anger" is the 8th studio album by American heavy metal band, Metallica. It was released in 2003 on Elektra Records and produced by Bob Rock. The line-up for the album was James Hetfield (vocals/guitar), Kirk Hammett (guitar), Bob Rock (bass) and Lars Ulrich (drums).
This was the first Metallica album to be released since the departure of Jason Newsted in January of 2001, with producer Bob Rock filling in on bass. The road to recording was a long and often unstable one, and one which was detailed in the documentary film which was made about the band, "Some Kind of Monster". There were inner struggles within the band, especially between Hetfield and Ulrich, with the former entering rehab for alcoholism, and that may or may not have led to recording a poor album. Is it any good? Let's find out!
"Frantic" kicks off the album and what's instantly noticeable is the drum sound. It's just plain awful and sounds like Lars is hitting the skins in the bath tub or something. Don't get me wrong, I like Lars' drumming style but here the sound is ridiculously bad, and it gets worse when the intro is over and James' vocals begin the first verse. There's no harmony at all to his singing and it's done so angrily that you can't help but wonder if he's under the influence of alcohol or if Bob Rock couldn't be bothered and said "Yup, that'll do it" after one take and canned the song as tracked. Now the unfortunate thing is that this is probably one of the best songs on the album, so maybe I should stop the review right here and say "Job done. It's abysmal and that's all you need to know", right? Maybe, but we'll carry on regardless. It's a song about the struggles within the band at the time of recording, especially Hetfield's much-publicised alcohol problems. It's really not a good start at all.
The title track is up next, and "St. Anger" is about as good as the album's going to get. There is a really fast and thrashy intro with some energetic double bass from Lars, but I just can't look beyond the sound once more. It once again sounds like he's purpose-built a gigantic toilet and drummed in that and as far as I'm concerned, that's where it should have stayed. James' singing is warbly on the verses and the chorus isn't much better either. But hooray, there's a good part! No, it's not the end of the song, but I sometimes think that. There is some good melody when James is shouting "I'm madly in anger with you" near the end and I like the guitar playing which accompanies it. It's a song which again shows the dark side of thoughts going around their heads. It's saying that no matter how much you love someone, you still hate them all the same.
"Some Kind of Monster" is a song written by the band about the band. It deals with the encumbrance of being famous and going through life in one of the world's biggest bands which has become some kind of monster. The song is lengthy at over 8 minutes long and contains a 2-minute intro which isn't very good. It's generic heard-it-all-before stuff and you'd expect more from a band of this stature. Musically, it is some kind of monster indeed. It's a rough and ready, two-headed beast which is on a rampage to destroy anything which was once good. And by that I mean the band itself. It's another example of Metallica trying to be what Metallica once was and failing miserably. There's nothing new here, I'm afraid, and I know I keep coming back to the same old story with Metallica, but it's just not very good at all.
"Dirty Window" is the fourth song on the album and it gets off to a good start. I instantly like the Motörhead tones in the rhythm but as soon as Hetfield starts singing all that is forgotten, and what we get is more of those tedious drums and strained, warbling vocals. I really don't understand Metallica at this point. It seems that it's all about the Lars and the James effect, and it's destroying what might be a good song. There's a part where it slows down and James sings "I'm judge and I'm jury and I'm executioner too", and to my ears which listen to a lot of metal, I instantly recognise some System of a Down in the guitar harmony. This isn't the first time Metallica has stolen riffs and passages, as their former guitar player and now Megadeth's Dave Mustaine will testify. This is a song which I liken to a puppy that's done its business on the kitchen floor. I'd like to rub the nose of "Dirty Window" into its own puddle and say "Don't do that again" in the hope that it will learn.
"Invisible Kid" is next up and it's another track which is over 8 minutes in length, and after I listened to it I felt it was probably 8 minutes too long. The lyrics are just plain confusing and the guitar riff is completely monotone, monotonous and very dull. I so badly want to skip to the summary of the review, but I will persevere. Or I'm masochistic. Or both. I've obviously heard the album before - I have owned it since it was released - but I had forgotten just how bad some of the tracks were, this included. The problem is, Lars' drums are so in-your-face that you can barely hear the down tuned guitars and that has to be down to the production yet again. It's another poor song on what is becoming a very poor album.
We're at the halfway point with "My World" and while it begins with a pretty heavy riff, as soon as Lars starts playing the drums it's almost as if he's over-complicating things. There is a roll in there which has an extra kick or tom hit that doesn't make sense, musically, or it could be that he's missed what he was supposed to be hitting to complete the roll. Either way, it's another dull record that should have been cut and thrown onto the studio floor as bad rubbish. The lyrics are plain awful and when you have a chorus which goes like this:
"It's my world
You can't have it
It's my world
it's my world
It's my world
Then you know there's a problem. It's plain lazy on Metallica's part and I think they're only out to con the fans with this album the more and more I listen to each song on it. Anyway, let's move on. It's probably not going to get any better but we can always try to see the positives. I've yet to work out what they are, but my summary might shed some light!
"Shoot Me Again" is Metallica's attempt at being a mix of Godsmack and Korn and, yet again, it doesn't work and it really doesn't help the album's cause any. I've completely lost the will to carry on playing the album now but I can't quit and force myself to continue. Even where it sounds almost good (Lars' drums are quieter here), the lyrics force me to think otherwise and I find myself cringing at what was once the best thrash metal band in the world. The song is apparently aimed at people like me. People like me that loved the old Metallica and didn't like the new Metallica. James is telling us that no matter how many times we slate him for what he's become, he will keep coming back at us, churning out awful and almost nu-metal songs.
"Sweet Amber" is next. There are finally some pretty decent parts here in the guitar playing, but it's too much like the band has taken a back step and decided that it'll do just fine as it is. The boundaries haven't even been touched, let alone pushed. It's another song about alcoholism and James' battles with the demon drink over the years. It's slightly ironic, because Dave Mustaine was kicked out of the band because of his love of the bottle and I wonder if they look back on this album and then look to what Megadeth has consistently done and thought "Hmm, we might have more money, but did we make better records consistently?" The answer, in my view, is no.
The next song is "The Unnamed Feeling", and without boring you too much, it's 7 minutes and more of utter drivel. Next to "Frantic", this track has probably the worst production on the album and some of the most atrocious arrangement I've ever heard in a song. I'm actually convinced that James has brought in a huge bottle and passed it around before saying "Let's just play what we like and record it at the same time. It'll sound great!" Well great it doesn't sound but then I think everyone who has listened to the album that isn't a staunchly loyal fan will agree.
"Purify" is just an extension of the previous track, if I'm honest. Not that it sounds anything like it, just that it's another jumbled mess with no real idea of what to do. As with a lot of songs on this album, James' vocal harmony is shot to pieces. He's trying too hard but getting nowhere at the same time, which just makes it sound like one big mess. The only good thing going for it is that the bridge sounds almost bearable with some big and fat heavy notes, but again it's probably something any band could come up with just jamming along in band practice.
Ah, the last track of the album, "All Within My Hands". By now, I've poured myself a large glass of some quite expensive bourbon whiskey I got for Christmas and I'm already contemplating pouring another glass just to celebrate finishing listening to an album I've decided to either throw in the bin, give away, or put on eBay once I'm done. This is new Metallica trying ever so hard to be old Metallica - the Metallica that I grew up with and loved... and failing miserably. I know I keep coming back to the production sound, but this time it's good and it's bad - in different parts. The legendary Bob Rock has trashed the album to the point of no return and to say it took almost a year to record it all, I'm shocked.
In summary, this should have been an album that transitioned the band from one era to another, yet it seems it's a complete disaster. It's another song that sounds rushed with the production, and you have to wonder if Bob Rock took too much on his plate when he picked up the bass as well as twiddling the knobs. I'm sure that if they'd have taken more time and listened to the album properly with clean minds, they may have thought "Hang on a minute, this is bad. This isn't what's expected from one of the biggest metal bands in the world. Let's scrap it and get something new done with a new bass player." But in hindsight, it took them 5 years to put out its follow up, "Death Magnetic", and that wasn't much better, either. Imagine if this was an unknown band putting out a demo CD to major record labels. Imagine those people that listen to it and reject it one by one because it's lacklustre, unpolished and boring. Then imagine that just because it's Metallica, there's a given right to put it out for the masses, regardless of how it sounds. Yup, who's kidding who? I know there are people out there who like this album but those that do cannot possibly understand music.
The critics were of mixed opinion for the album, and I lean towards favouring with those that slated it.
NME: "The true masters have finally awakened from their slumber."
All Music Guide: "St. Anger looks inward with a hard eye, and while it finds some grinning demons in that pit, it also unearths some of the sickest grooves of Metallica's 20+ year lifespan."
Playlouder: "While there's no denying that Metallica have produced a huge - and welcome - blast from the past, it also represents a monolithic slab of noise that stretched over 11 songs and 75 minutes is just too dense and daunting to be truly enjoyable."
Pitchfork: "What an utter mess."
CultureDose.net: "The production [on the album] is abysmal"
2. St. Anger
3. Some Kind of Monster
4. Dirty Window
5. Invisible Kid
6. My World
7. Shoot Me Again
8. Sweet Amber
9. The Unnamed Thing
11. All Within My Hands
My rating: 1/10
Metallica are that band that almost everybody knows. They formed in '81 and in a way have become the face of metal in America. I'm kind of annoyed about this for a number of reasons, for a band that started American Metal off so well, they've just fallen on their faces and people just keep expecting them to put out oldschool thrash. Well, what happened? What has happened to the "timeless" monsters of metal?
This song opens up and sounds absolutley nothing like Metallica. If you played this to somebody who grew up in the 80's they wouldn't have a clue what band it was. The opens with one riff that is played abuot 100 times in this song (I'm serious that's not exagerating). Lars comes in with his new snare sound that just alienated all Metallica fans. They've clearly just looked at what is making it in the mainstream metal business and said, "let's do that". It's a shame really.. I must say it's nice to see many fans still supporting them and kind of turning a blind eye to this album. It may have the odd good bit, but it ain't Metallica. James's voice has lost the edge it used to have thanks to his "helpful singing lessons". His voice was perfect! Now he's gone and ruined it. Anyway. First time I listened to this I was listening out for some of Kirk's solos but it just didn't come! No solo? Really? James also sounds like a chicken at the last chorus his voice goes so high...
Another drop tuned riff that get's repeated about 10,000 times in the song. Lars comes in with those annoying pounding drums. I kind of feel sorry for Robb (their new bassist) He's a really good bassist and suits the old Metallica style and unfortunately often gets blamed for the changing style of music. People don't realise, it was actually Bob Rock that wrote and recorded the bass for this album. James includes a ton of swearing in this song which is just not needed really. Ok the music I listen to has it's fair share of swearing, but Metallica have always sort of stayed away from that which is kind of admirable. Anyway this song is pretty generic. No solos either. I guess some parts are OK and listenable but you just have to forget that it's Metallica you're listening to.
Some Kind of Monster
This song opens with another riff that you know will just be repeated over and over. It's probably the best riff on the album mind you and I would say this song is one of the best. Now I guess I have given this album quite a lot of flak, but I guess I could take those comments back if I was only listening to this in the background and forgetting that it wasn't the Metallica that I grew up with. I was pretty annoyed to see that Metallica seem to have gained the lower string disease where they make riffs using almost only the bottom string (which is drop tuned to B I think?) As for the lyrics, they're pretty awful and just make no sense at all. They talk about being the god that is not pure, then suddenly starts saying "Are we the people?", then jumps to "some kind of monsterrrrr!". It makes no sense?
The intro of this album sounds like some kid is bashing on a tin can. The riff also sounds really like Some Kind of Monster. This is probably the thrashiest song on the whole album, and would have potential if that snare was turned down.
I'm trying to listen to it to write this review and honestly all I can hear is the snare. I can't even make out they lyrics?!
After that painfull first set of verses and awful lyrics they break down to a generic acoustic style verse with more awful lyrics that were chosen for no reason but to rhyme. After this features some of the worst vocals on the entire album. They just don't seem to know how to harmonies vocals at all, and there's a random laugh in the middle of it that makes no sense.... This has got to be one of the worst songs on the album and that's saying something.
More extremely bad editing here... everything has been so processed it sounds sounds like a mess of Bass and that annoying snare. You have no idea how difficult it is to actually make out what's happening with that snare ringing through the entire thing. I wonder if lars listened to Chris Adler or something and liked his snappy snare so decided to copy it (badly). This snare could work if they just turned it down! Please! The lyrics are awful in this song again, riffs are used over and over and consist of pretty much nothing but the bottom string. Actually it just occured to me this sounds kind of like a Slipknot song? But worse.
Another intro pretty much identical to the rest on the album. One or two of these would be ok but... you get the picture. We're STILL missing guitar solo's from this album and sorry to break it, but that's not going to change. I can't quite work out what this song is about (once again) But it seems to be able people getting into his head? Dancing devils and angels way? What does that mean?! More pointless swearing trying to sound "big" and "badass" rather than just a good thrash band (like they used to be). The end of the song ends with more catchy phrases that makes no sense with the rest of the song or album. I don't get how "it feels like it only rains on me" fits in with the theme of people being in his head. And with random a "sucker!!" in the middle of it... it's just comical. The last words of this song sums up the album. "enough is enough (x100)"
Shoot me Again
Hmm.. this is what I'm thinking right now having to listen to this. Anyway the introduction of this song is just like the other ones. Drop tuned riffs with annoying drums pounding in the background. How did Kirk agree to this anyway? He's basically given up his entire job in the band for this album. The vocal harmonies are pretty good in the first verse and show potential, until it goes back to an annoying riff again... The bridge leading up to the chorus is unbearable! It's just James screaming "shoot me again shoot me again!" to an annoying riff. The chorus itself is alright I guess. Right now I just want to give up on this review but I guess I'll have to keep going... This is just not my style of Metal.
Probably the best song on the album! The riff in this one is actually remotely Metallica. It's pretty difficult to listen to a band that I grew up with play this... music... but I guess some parts are acceptable. The lyrics are once again just rubbish and consists of catch phrases that do not tie together at all. "wash your back so you don't stab mine". Really? Sounds like something my first band would write. And we were 12!
The Unnamed feeling
That intoductory riff sounds like something KoRn would write... Kind of funny this groundbreaking thrash band is now sounding like Nu Metal. This slow to start song is pretty much just like the rest. Consists of 3 riffs that are used over and over again in the song. And they're all written on the bottom string of course... Where is the lead dudes! This is so disappointing. James sounds like a country singer or something in this song, not the legendary metal singer that I grew up listening to! One listen to Master of Puppets after listening to this is heartbreaking. Around 5:55 I actually thought we were getting a solo! But nope... just back to a generic riff and a generic variation of the chorus to top this song off.
Just after I thought these guys had exhausted every single riff they could use in these introductions they pull another one out from the darkest reaches of their songwriting capabilities. More rediculously annoying drums and awful lyrics. You have to listen to the chorus (if you could call it that) just to get an idea of how bad it is. Thankfully we're approaching the end of the album much to my relief. Of course lars is pounding on with that 4/4 beat that seems to be the only thing he's capable of.
All Within My Hands
This song kind of sums up the entire album. It starts with the drums JUST doing that 4/4 beat on that annoying snare. Ahhhhh!! I don't know what they were thinking. The song starts off with more drop tuned riffs. I can almost picture Kirk just sitting in a corner somewhere bored out of his head whilst James and Lars try to satisfy their egotistical motives and the desire to make more money. You would make money if you just made a new thrash album guys! There's nothing special about the entire middle of this song (or the intro) however, the ending is just the straw the breaks the donkeys back. It consists of about 2 minutes or James just saying "Kill kill kill kill kill!! Killllll kill kill" I just kind of sat in amazement at how awful this was! It's completely out of time too! The only thing that makes the kill kill kill worst is that there's that fricking 4/4 beat behind it. Ahhh! This album makes me want to kill my collection of Metallica CD's.
To sum this album up... well... it's different... very different... and in my eyes it's just awful. Boring riffs, lyrics that make no sense. The most annoying snare in the history of music. Awful vocal harmonies and just an atempt at becoming mainstream that fell flat on it's face. Sorry Metallica, I really don't like this. The only slightly saving grace is that the band has started to get heavier in comparison to Load and Re-Load but they're not out of the fire yet.
2003 was marked with the reappearance of a Metallica studio album after 6 years wait from the previous album Reload. Now as you can expect like any good fan I winged my little way down to the record store on the day of release to pick up my copy and rushed home to see just how loud my new stereo could play this album without causing any major damage to it, me, or the surrounding area. Even though the familiar Metallica sound didn't burst out at me straight away certainly I could still hear a lot of potential in the opening track and as the album progressed I found myself more initially liking the album rather than outright loving it, but then again the same could be said with the way I felt about the "Black" album and the "Load" album as well. A few listens later though and the album was starting to really grow into a winner in my books.
The one thing that any Metallica fan will straight away notice about this album is the lack of guitar solos on any of the tracks, reportedly this is due to the inclusion of solos in any of the tracks during their recordings just sounding overdubbed and un-keeping with the overall feel and sound of the album, which was more just a group of guys jamming in a garage (all be it a million dollar garage.)
Despite a large majority of Metallica fans citing this album as their worst the album did really well both in the media with masses of rave reviews, in the charts where it recorded 9 number one chart positions through out the world, and even winning the Grammy for best metal performance for the title track to the album for a fifth time.
There are no two ways about it the title says exactly what this song is all about as the pace and unrelenting rush of sound comes bursting out at you from the word go. This song is the only one off of this album to feature on the game Guitar Hero: Metallica and is fantastic to play along to, I just need to master the 'Hard' difficulty setting now. This track is also the second single to be released.
2. St. Anger
Not to be outdone by the previous track it remains at an absolute breakneck speed with only room for breath being given by the offbeat sounding verse sections to this song. This is the first single from the album and is accompanied by a fantastic video of the guys playing the song in the middle of a real life prison in amongst the prisoners and it managed to pick the guys up a Grammy at the 2004 awards.
3. Some Kind of Monster
The song starts off with a much calmer feeling yet there is something in the intro that still gives it a dark and threatening attitude behind it. As we progress the song builds up to a really strong and powerful track, in fact this is pretty much my favourite track on the album. Oh and by the way this is only track to contain sort of Kirk solo work all be it for a few seconds right at the end. This song was also released as the bands fourth single of off the album.
4. Dirty Window
If you need speed then this song puts us back on track as it literally sprints along as if the devil was chasing it. The guitar work though is not highly complex but it still sounds really good and makes the song really easy to sing along to.
5. Invisible Kid
Just so that you don't get time to breath this song cranks straight up and doesn't stop for the next 8 minutes and 30 seconds but don't worry you will hardly notice where the time goes. In comparison to some of their last few albums the guitar sound on this track is very dirty and unfinished; this gives the song a quality that suits the overall style of the song really well.
6. My World
Whereas the rest of the tracks on the album contain very little in the way of swearing James seems to have saved it all up for this song as he really lets fly with his singing on this track. Some fantastic drum work coupled with some stunning guitar riffs make this song a must listen to off of this album. I especially like the part in this song where James singing in the middle of the song where he will quietly say a few lines and then rip into the next couple to then come straight back down to a quietened voice.
7. Shoot Me Again
The pace dies off to gives a really laid back feel to this track, however just like most of their other songs throughout the years a lack of pace does not mean a loss in aggression as the song has it in bucket loads.
8. Sweet Amber
So the speedometer goes straight back by to top speed as this song blisters along as Lars literally pounds those drums into submission. Though a good song this is probably my least favourite on the album as it just sounds a little too repetitive for my liking.
9. The Unnamed Feeling
This track became the bands third single from this album and like the songs content which is all about of anxiety and loosing control the overall sound of the song and especially James's singing throughout really do a good job of driving this feeling straight home.
This track has a really offbeat and intense sound to it which really motors along at some pace, with only the occasional break for breath. Halfway through the song takes a slight change in pace and intensity but then soon returns to the breakneck pace once again.
11.All Within My Hands
Rounding off the album James, Lars, and Kirk certainly don't leave you wanting as the pure anger and aggression of the album is brought together perfectly in this final track from the album. Despite having a relaxed beginning to the song the power and franticness of the track soon come into view.
Despite the major lack of solos and the rawer feel to the overall production of this album personally I still found it to be a worth while addition to my album collection. I think that the reason why so many people dislike this album is more to do with the album not being a clone of the "Black" album or "Master of Puppets" rather than it being a bad album itself. Bearing in mind that during the writing and recording of this album the band lost its bass player Jason Newsted who wished to concentrate on his side project band, plus James going through rehab after a bout of alcohol addiction the album turned out pretty decent mainly down to the sheer determinism of the band plus a little help from Bob Rock their long time record producer who provided the bass for the album. I would certainly go as far as to recommend this album to all that have an interest in rock music in generally and especially to those Metallica fans that are still reluctant to listen to it. The real highlights of the album would have to be the four singles from the album; Frantic for its breakneck speed and raw strength, St. Anger for its wonderful overall sound and classic video to accompany it, Some Kind of Monster for some absolutely great guitar riffs throughout it, and The Unnamed Feeling for just being such a great yet evil menacing song.
Now this might not be the best album in Metallica's discography but there is no way that it should be considered to be rubbish as at the end of the day its still Metallica and that's what really counts. Now I am sure that a few of you are going to give me some lovely comments about how wrong I am and how this is absolute garbage but then again I'll probably only get the usual "Great Review" or "Thanks for sharing" that always do the rounds.
Metallica formed back in 1981 and have to date released a grand total of eight studio albums. 'St. Anger' is the latest of which and was given its release upon the world in June 2003. It took them from May 2002 until April 2003 to record, and all I can say of this matter is that it took them far too long to record such a disappointing album in my opinion. You'd think that James Hetfield would have been able to put down much better vocals in a year than this.
Starting with 'Frantic', Metallica don't exactly make the best of first impressions here. The track is in fact really quite awful, and containing lyrics of 'Frantic tick tick, tick tick tick tock' it isn't exactly the most intelligent of tracks in the world. For an album that starts so wrong footed, it is hardly surprising then that as the album continues it fails to impress. To the front of the album is a sticker that states '11 New Songs; Over 75 minutes of music' and I have to tell you that over an hour of music as atrocious as this really isn't my idea of a pleasant listening experience.
Title track 'St. Anger' was the one reason I bought this album and the track provides the release with its one moment of glory. It's not exactly my favourite of songs in the world and yet it obviously did enough to capture my interest substantially enough to lead me to purchase this album. It contains some strong guitar work, excellent vocals, and some truly quite phenomenal drum beats. Although it's good, alone it certainly doesn't warrant the purchase of the 'St. Anger' album but would definitely be a worthwhile download. In its full 7 minute glory though, even this track drags on eventually and becomes rather tiresome.
The main complaint I have with this album is that the tracks are just too long. The shortest on the album is over 5 minutes, and the longest verges upon 9 minutes; I like my music short and sharp and this album just doesn't provide for my musical needs and requirements. I admittedly have an extremely short attention span, and to listen to this album in its entirety is therefore a huge chore for me. This said, it's not as though I'm not a fan of any albums with lengthy tracks and it can therefore not be considered that it is this factor alone that leads me to dislike the 'St. Anger' album. I just feel that the band do very little in order to keep you entertained as you listen to this album and it is therefore extremely easy to drift off whilst listening.
One positive that can be drawn from this album is the strength with which the band smash out the guitar riffs. The track 'Some Kind of Monster' for example begins with an almighty guitar solo, it is over two minutes before the vocals kick in and towards the end of this time the drums come pummelling through with real power. I can't find any fault with the guitar and drum work on this track or in fact at all in the album as a whole. It is the vocals that let this album down, James Hetfield just lacks passion in his vocal approach and fails to ignite with his performance. There are few times on this album when the man truly sounds like he believes in what he is singing about, the vocals lack life and are at times extremely painful to listen to. No one wants to listen to vocals that lack life, it just doesn't make for an interesting listening experience and never does anything but disappoint.
Throughout the entirety of this album the instrumental section impresses as the bass, guitars and drums come blasting through. The album comes to its climax with 'All Within My Hands' and this track certainly doesn't buck that trend. The guitars are at the forefront of the sound and are the driving force as the band power through one final track to end the 'St. Anger' album. It closes the album on a high, never can I fault the sounds that the guitars produce here. Were this purely an instrumental album then I'd no doubt appreciate it more than I do. The vocals ruin this release for me, and in this final track they provide no exception. James Hetfield lacks bite and his vocals on this album just sound incredibly weak and emotionless.
In terms of the guitar and drum utilisation I'd probably give this album a 9 out of 10, for vocals however it would be more along the lines of a 2 or a 3. James Hetfield fails to impress me here, and while the rest of the band seem to be putting in their best efforts on this album and coming out triumphant with a superb sound; the vocals often disappoint and rarely do they show any signs of strength. With a more passionate and effective vocal approach the 'St. Anger' album could have been something really rather special, as it stands however it is extremely disappointing and in fact rather lacklustre and dull. Metallica are at current back to the drawing board and look set to release their ninth studio album at some stage in 2008. Amidst fears of the album being leaked illegally on file sharing programs, it would seem here that James Hetfield forgot the importance of a powerful vocal approach here and as such laid down some truly uninspiring vocals. It could so easily have been an excellent release and yet the vocals let this album down so much so that it is rendered nearly unlistenable. Give this album a miss, but perhaps give the title track a listen if you feel so inclined.
OK forget all the bad reviews about this album, this album is brilliant ok, it doesn't have the solos that we are used to hearing from Metallica but apart from that its a great album, songs like 'Frantic' and 'Dirty Window' are fast and ferocious and 'St. Anger' and 'Some kind of monster' have great intros, also Lars Ulrich's drumming is immense.4 out of 5 stars due to lack of guitar solos
8 mins like songs, no eyeliner in sight, could this be a much eagerly waited return to Metal?. Unfortunately St Anger sees Metallica trying too hard to be heavy, over indulging in endless Metal jamming and pro-tools addiction and losing all sense of song writing abilities.
No riffs (The hallmark to there sound) sound memorable, the production is stodgy. Lars's much discussed 'pots and pan drum' sound is painful to the ears. There decision to abandon guitar solos means nothing is there to break up the dirge like momentum: as they alter the timing yet again, pile in more snare and turgid riffing this is a good example of a band locked in the studio FAR too long and going through something of a mid-life crisis. A tremendous amount of blame has to go to Producer Bob Rock. In a bass players absence he has donned the mantle and co-writing. Because he is now a contributor to the madness and therefore not offering the cautious, detached role a producer has, that may explain why this is Metallica at there most self indulgent, freed from any constraint of criticism.
It sees them trying to uncomfortably place garage punk sensibility alongside ''and justice for all'' style arranging and failing at both.
The occasional melodic verse's which is the only relief from the skullheaded rifferage sounds disturbingly Staind like in character, Hetfield throws his voice off key and whines like he is Jonathan Davis cue more regurgitated bland riffing, off key barking and clanking drumming.
Hetfields angry lyrics though quite good offer no relief or variation. This is a depressing album but unfortunately we can't relate to it.
Metallica' s rhetoric is ''we have to change, and be experimental''
That's all fine and well but the songs have to be good.
Why the 2 stars?
Well it has its moments...
Some Kind Of Monster opens with probably the albums only Bona Fide Hetfield cruncher.
The Unnamed Feeling has a good epic melody.
With better production, 1/3 of the album edited (making the songs approx. 4-5 mins in length), arranging the songs accordingly and a few solo's to break up all the songs this could have nestled above Reload as a subpar but recommendable Thrashathron., either way Metallica have defiantly not risen to the challenge.
That could as well be the most ignored album in the history of Metallica, and it's no wonder. With a lot of controversy surrounding the band and rumours of splitting up as depicted in the well known documentary, it seems to me that the band wanted to do something totally different and original. So they decided to totally change their sound even comparing to the "mellower" Load-Reload albums towards something heavier but less typical-heavy-metal resembling heavy/stoner rock bands like Kyuss. The production by Bob Rock here is in an old school spirit reminding of a rehearsal sound: while the idea in itself was interesting the materialazation wasn't as good, the snare drum sounds like a 20$ one and the guitars haven't got enough gain. The songs are mostly 6-8 minutes long and without many sound or style changes, as a consequence some get kind of boring. HOWEVER, there are a LOT of killer riffs here and this is something people don't usually hear in this release, possibly dismayed by the unprofessional sound. I personally like it a lot, definitely not as other metallica albums but 2-3 songs in it could be in my playlist everyday. For non Metallica fans I recommend listening before buying.
Now, I'm a Metallica fan, as I'm sure a number of you are. But who here who are fans of great metal albums like 'Ride The Lightning' and 'Master of Puppets' geniunely enjoyed 'St. Anger'? Now, don't let me spoil the surprise, read on....
I often like to review albums I enjoyed (feel free to check my other reviews please! *hint!!*), but I thought I'd have a go at one I didn't particular enjoy....
The troubles within the band a couple of years before the album release were well documented - Jason Newstead leaving, James Hetfield suffering drink problems - all these troublesome times, could in theory, produce some excellent metal music, full of thought and emotion, but it appears it's struggle to do that even though Hetfield described this album as a 'great expression'.
The ardent Metallica fan would say they 'sold out' with the release of 'Load' and 'Re-Load', or even as far back as when they produced the video for 'One'. I wasn't too fussed with those albums, but this one has 'fussed' me!
Opener 'Frantic' sets a trend throughout the album - low tuned guitars and garbage bin-like snare beats from the often reliable Lars Ullrich. Lyrically, there is an obvious biographical nature by Hetfield, which suggests he has let out many of his emotions over what he and the band had gone though, but I fear this head-pounding doesn't suit them one bit and just shows there's a lot of pent up frustration.
The opening guitar riff to title track 'St.Anger' is quite good I must admit - so I have found a plus now!! - it is arguably the best track off the album. But when the free-fall of crashing drums and shredded guitars hits, it instantly dilutes what Metallica were. Yes, the speed is impressive, very impressive in fact, but this isn't 'speed' metal... The harmonies in the verses and choruses do help enhance the song and give it strength however.
'Some Kind of Monster' is an 8-and-a-half medley of music - similar to how many of their songs used to be, which is again another plus to pull out from this ever growing concern.
'Dirty Window', I feel, is a hybrid of what Metallica were and have now turned to. For example, after about two minutes when the tempo slows and it becomes clean - a great example of their melodic skills, only to explode into the kind of sound you associate with the likes of Slipknot for example - it's always good to have speed and pace, but when it tries to out-run itself it becomes almost 'ugly music'.
'Invisible Kid' - listen to the verses of this, and note how there's almost a 'techno' beat to it. I'm not saying it's good or bad, just a very interesting style....
By the time 'My World' arrives, it has become clear that these songs are sounding awfully similar most of the time. The quick guitar riff meets rampant drumming.
'Shoot me Again' is vaguely different - a little slower at times, but it interlude of 'shoot me again I ain't dead yet' is painful to listen to if you know the early music of Metallica, and you know it's them playing it.
'Sweet Amber' fills the same old formula this album is showcasing that I've mentioned enough....
'The Unnamed Feeling' does resist the temptation of racing away with itself - which I must give credit for, but by now a lot of people will have switched off their attention, or just taken the CD out off their player anyway.
'Purify' has another pacey introduction. Don't get me wrong, this music is good by bands like Hatebreed, at times, but not when it's meant to be Metallica.
'All Within my Hands' will not get heard by many because they'll have switched off. There's a couple of 'nice' harmonies here, but it would need a miracle to salvage enough pride from many of the other tracks.
Now, I have reviewed the DVD version, and the DVD showcases these songs in a live performance. At least that still remains - Metallica's very good live shows - I was thoroughly impressed at Reading Festival '03.
New people to Metallica may enjoy this record as it's a style they may enjoy, but the fans out there who were expecting something big and 'back to the old school' with this album have been let down. And may I ask one thing - where on earth was there a guitar solo from Kirk Hammett??? Disappointing.
In the summer of 2003, one of the world?s most successful and well-known rock bands released their much-anticipated St. Anger, their first original studio release in six years. Sales were not as high as the band would have hoped, however their constant re-writing and re-awakened camaraderie ensured that this would be an album they hold dear much more than some of their previous releases. Besides, they?re obviously loaded by now anyway, and it?s great to see them continuing to make music they love. BACKGROUND Metallica?s current line-up has remained almost identical since the release of their first album ?Kill ?Em All? in 1983, with the exception of their bass player. The original bassist Cliff Burton died in a road accident during the band?s 1986 tour, and the replacement Jason Newsted was never considered by many fans to be a worthy replacement, especially with the band?s increasing popularity. Disillusionment with Metallica?s changing musical styles, as well as health problems caused by his heavy choices of bass, led to Jason?s amicable departure from the band in 2001. The years following ?Reload? and their successful hit ?I Disappear? recorded for the Mission: Impossible 2 soundtrack saw vocalist James Hetfield admitting his problems and entering rehabilitation, drummer Lars Ulrich taking on the internet music world of Napster and guitarist Kirk Hammett spending more time on his beloved outdoor sport pursuits. In 2002, the three-part backbone of Metallica decided to collaborate again, and bought themselves a brand new studio for a fresh start. Friend and producer Bob Rock filled in on bass guitar as the band undertook in a lengthy and wholly positive approach to coming up with literally dozens of songs, forming the eventual St. Anger. T
;owards the end of production the band decided the time was right for a new bass player, which ended up being ex-Suicidal Tendencies bassist Robert Trujillo, a man whose presence Metallica had noticed when the band had toured with them in the past, and who was now working with Ozzy Osbourne. The four horsemen released their album on 9th June 2003. James Hetfield ? rhythm guitar, vocals Kirk Hammett ? lead guitar, backing vocals Lars Ulrich ? drums Note: Despite being present in the album?s photo shoots and artwork, Rob Trujillo does not appear on this album; bass was handled by Bob Rock. Rob can be seen in the St. Anger bonus DVD, where his true bass proficiency on tracks such as ?Some Kind of Monster? can be appreciated. Or failing that, see the band live. STYLE St. Anger has a very distinctive playing style that runs throughout the entire album. It is certainly very heavy, with pounding and potentially headache-inducing snare drums punctuating dark and over-distorted guitars, James Hetfield?s vocals being the only immediately recognisable Metallica trait to the unconditioned eardrum. I always find that there is an element of fun carrying through on the album, from James? sing-song vocals in places and the catchier sections of songs such as ?Invisible Kid?; despite the focus on negative emotions and feelings such as loneliness, worry, fear and especially angrrr (as they like to spell it in the booklet). There are differences in speed and tone to all the songs, but there are no equivalents of the ballads and acoustic tracks that have been popular or infamous aspects of the band?s previous work, depending on the listener?s viewpoint. I am very glad that I saw the documentaries and interviews cond
ucted prior to this album?s release, as without the background knowledge of the band?s contentedness and newfound sense of enjoyment I could have found myself listening to something that sounded largely depressing and full of hatred. As for those who have branded this album as ?Nu-Metal,? a genre led by such angry personalities as Korn and Limp Bizkit, the messages are certainly similar, but the Metallica style can still be detected in the guitar playing, but the traditional guitar solos have now been replaced by expanding riffs and repeated chorus and verse sections. TRACKS There are eleven tracks coming in at a huge 75 minutes. Unlike their more recent albums, the band are back to writing long songs, the shortest being over five minutes in length and the longest approaching nine minutes. 1. FRANTIC Possible my favourite on the album, I rank this among Metallica?s classic album openers ?Battery? and ?Blackened,? and there are elements of that latter song here. The song has been released as a single, but it does not betray the album?s style; from the opening machine gun-style pounding of drums and the hardest riff Metallica have played in over ten years, the song?s main sections begin with some great use of a quiet guitar section exploding into the main riff that sums up the song?s title. James? frantic screaming towards the end of the song is also a great touch, and this is definite crowd-pleaser material. ?If I could have my wasted days back, would I use them to get back on track?? 2. ST. ANGER The first song released off this album, it left many people disappointed. Fairly lengthy and a little repetitive, I really like this song?s layered approach that make it sound as if there are far more instruments taking pa
rt than the listener has been told. Very angry, fast-paced, heavy and profane, this was the first Metallica song to include more than two uses of a swear word. A lot more. ?Medallion noose, I hang myself, St. Anger round my neck.? 3. SOME KIND OF MONSTER In comparison to the previous songs, this is very slow, dark and hulking, and I love it. The song does drag on to an unnecessary eight and a half minutes, but there are enough changes in pace and riffs to keep it interesting. There always seem to be unrecognised gems on Metallica albums, and this is one of them. ?This is the God that is not pure, this is the voice of silence no more.? 4. DIRTY WINDOW Not really filler, but not too impressive, this is enjoyably short and has some very drastic changes for the chorus sections. These very light and almost whispered sections do make the song stand out more than it otherwise would, and act in a similar way to the low-key, quiet sections of the title track, contrasting perfectly with everything around them. ?I drink from the cup of denial, I?m judging the world from my throne.? 5. INVISIBLE KID My other favourite song on the album, Invisible Kid has a very catchy and upbeat riff and the lyrics and title remind me of earlier songs by other rock bands dealing with similar issues, Pearl Jam?s ?Jeremy? being the most notable example. Despite this element of unoriginality, this is a song to look forward to that serves to brighten up the album, and has great vocal work from Hetfield. ?He looks so calm floating ?round and around in himself.? 6. MY WORLD A little lacki
ng in anything special, this is still a good song that doesn?t overstay its welcome. There are some big changes towards the end which are among the angriest parts of the whole album, and this doesn?t let the album down in any way. James sounds refreshingly different in the chorus. ?Who?s in charge of my head today, dancing devils in angels? way.? 7. SHOOT ME AGAIN This would be a contender for my favourite track if it didn?t last far too long, there is a quieter section half-way through that used to deceive me into thinking I was hearing a different track before the repetitive chorus began again. Great guitars and vocal decisions by Hetfield that I find very amusing (the spoken word taunting of ?shoot me agin, I ?in?t dead yet?) make this track stand out, but it gets a little annoying. The same is true of a number of the other tracks, although as with most of them this does redeem itself a little through nice changes in tempo and rhythm in the second half. They?re not making epics, but they are making them long. ?All the shots I take, I spit back at you. All the sh*t you fake, comes back to haunt you.? 8. SWEET AMBER Possibly a song about alcohol, which seems a little absurd given Hetfield?s recent problems, this is often highly regarded but is my least favourite track. I don?t particularly like Hetfield?s decisions with the whiny vocals, despite finding him a great and fitting vocalist who has really excelled himself in most of the tracks, and the riff gets on my nerves a little. But it?s not a bad song, and not one of the over-long ones; the lyrics are a little too vague though. ?Live your life so you won?t see mine, drape your back so you won?t shine.? 9. THE UNNAMED FE
;ELING One of the most musically complex on the album, this is the slowest song and also the one with the most emotion; as I said earlier there is no equivalent of ?Nothing Else Matters? or ?Fade to Black? on this album, but this comes the closest in terms of dealing with feelings in a sombre mood. Great lyrics and very good use of heaviness balanced with high guitar notes, this was recently released as the album?s third single and seems to be most peoples? favourite track. Personally, I don?t think you can beat the all-out chaos of ?Frantic.? ?Cross my heart hope not to die, swallow evil, ride the sky. I lose myself in a crowded room- you fool, you fool, it?ll be here soon.? 10. PURIFY Not too impressive, but something about this song makes me love it. James? backing screams of ?Purifyyy? make the song work for me, and it?s one of the better songs out of the shorter tracks. Heavy and with a recognisable and catchy riff, perhaps it?s the inclusion of this lyric that makes me like it so much: ?I ain?t dancing with your skeletons.? 11. ALL WITHIN MY HANDS An interesting track to end the album on, this takes an enjoyable amount of time to get started, presumably affording the listener some time to recuperate. James very softly sings near the start, before the drums and guitars kick back in and the song begins in earnest. Not great, but not a disappointment either, this was certainly the best track to go out on. The end of the track makes it all worthwhile as well, hearing James Hetfield shouting ?kill kill kill kill, kill? to different, improvised tunes; it?s not Shakespeare, but metal rarely is, it?s far better than that boring dead man. ?Love is control, I?ll die if I let
go.? VERDICT Producer and temporary bass player Bob Rock has explained his love for this album as seeing Metallica return to long, progressive songs, and in some cases this is true, however as stated in the track overviews I feel many songs could have been considerably shortened to keep the listener?s interest and reduce the album to a more manageable size. I actually have great respect and love for St. Anger; in truth I would have hoped for something more akin to the band?s glory days of the mid-80s, but judging by their decisions here it would have been a less enjoyable experience for all concerned and this would show through on the recordings. St. Anger is not an album that should be listened to in full, although I have done this on several occasions. The similarity in style does become annoying towards the end, and I have found myself resenting the length of the album in these instances. The quality is pretty consistent throughout, and I much prefer taking it in small doses, lest the metallic drums give me an undesired headache, or lest I start resenting Metallica for bringing out eleven songs that are essentially about their previous problems. Now the band are back in the limelight, it will be interesting to see what decisions are taken with their next album; I?m just glad they seem to have left their tired blues era far behind them. ~~~~Metallica Discography~~~ St. Anger (2003) ? Aggressive and powerful, a heavier and more dedicated Metallica for the new millennium. S&M (1999) ? The band?s only official live album, accompanied by the San Francisco Symphony. A very interesting take on a number of the band?s songs. Garage Inc. (1998) ? Largely unimpressive album of covers, recorded between 1984 and 1998.
Reload (1997) ? Essentially a second half to Load, it begins with some promising rock songs before descending into uninteresting blues-rock filler. Load (1996) ? Not as bad as some people would have you believe, this is certainly not Metallica at their most impressive, but it is a strong album for fans of more traditional rock. Metallica (1991) ? aka ?The Black Album,? Metallica?s first commercial success. Shorter songs retaining the Metallica energy, this is deservedly hailed as a rock classic. ?And Justice For All (1988) ? Signalling the end of Metallica?s thrashier albums, this suffers due to the loss of Cliff Burton?s influence on the songwriting. Some of the band?s best fast tracks however. Master of Puppets (1986) ? Most Metallica and metal fans will hail this as their classic album. Eight long tracks with great lyrics and excellent and inventive playing all round. Ride the Lightning (1984) ? The precursor to ?Puppets,? this includes many of the band?s finest tracks. The style has improved considerably from ?Kill ?Em All? to include classically-inspired guitar sections. Kill ?Em All (1983) ? Not to my tastes, this is Metallica?s thrash debut. Very fast and powerful, but suffering form bad production, the songs on here are not as memorable as on later releases. ~~~~~~~~~~~~
I?ve been a Metallica fan for pretty much half my life. The first band that ever really mattered to me when I reached my teens were these four black clad men. Infact they still do matter, but in minimal doses these days. Metallica?s eponymous black album is the ?coffee table? record that nearly every household has: Immediately accessible, but by no means an un-metal album. It remains to date one of the more modern great hard rock records, and is one of Metallica?s two peaks, the other being Master Of Puppets five years previously. Since then Metallica ?lost the plot?, or so it seems. In detail, Metallica?s experiments with a more dirty blues rock and country could?ve been predicted, what with ballad experimentation as early as their second album, and of course the dark blues leanings that emerged in the latter half of the 80?s. But, older fans, and those magnetised by the black album (including me) were hoping that the follow up would be at least in a similar sort of vein to the black album, or a tread back from the stadium limelight. Not, so. Smothered by the radio friendly production efforts of Bob Rock (and kudos to his ability in that field - whose instantly recognisable clients include Bon Jovi and Brian Adams), the black clad men returned in sharp suits with an album that featured semen and animal blood on the cover. Maybe it seemed like the logical progression for Metallica, but for nearly all the fans it seemed like a jaw dropping u-turn. The keyword being ?sell out?. And sell out they did. They continued to build upon their black album megastar status and kept on packing out stadiums. Whether they sold out musically is highly debatable as there?s still a selective appeal to those mid 90?s records. To ensure that Load was no blip, Reload came out as it?s delayed and
unnecessary twin. And then there was the flirtation with an orchestral live album, a covers album and a song for the soundtrack to Mission Impossible 2. And then Jason Newsted left. The decade in which Metallica realised their pomp rock dreams was over. So where now for the street band that survived the short spell of grunge and other disposable rock??Rehab for James Hetfield and a near split. But the men of three were still alive. The quickly conceived and delivered St. Anger seemed to be very promising. The press before the release were hailing this as a return to form, their best record ever, and perhaps a signal for change in modern rock. To quote Slayer?s Kerry King though ?what record were they listening to??. The album art, the song titles and the general riffage are all the classic signs of metal syndrome, but bizarrely Bob Rock is still pushing the faders, minimally. Infact the album doesn?t sound as if it?s produced, yet that ill fitting glossy radio rock sound is nestled uncosily in there, amongst a cast iron snare and overly muddy guitars - 75mins of it, across 11 songs, which mostly seem to loop a couple of times, with goofy (but simplistically real) recitations of lyrics that seem mostly a soapbox for James? rehab stint. I?ve heard something like this before?Oh yeah, nu-metal. And so, this time fans scratch their head again, but more slowly. Drummer Lars Ulrich sees his friends and contemporaries as people like Fred Dust, Linkin Park and other commercial rap rock titans, which seems as odd as your Dad trying to hang out with your friends. Sure Metallica are a big league band now, but these people once ran, and will most fondly be associated with names like Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth and other well named original thrash metal bands.
St. Anger sounds like a desperate album. For, in parts you realise that they have it in them to unleash some degree of familiar Metallica rage, but diluting this with alternate radio friendliness makes you wonder are they just pandering to nu-metal kids, their old fan base somewhat, and the chart caring? Former Ozzy Osbourne/Suicidal Tendencies Robert Trujillo?s addition to the band comes as somewhat of a saviour. Live and probably in presence, he is the most ?metal? member of the band, who sometimes looks out of place. I hope that, should there be another album, that his contribution will steer Metallica in the right direction; an embracement of the past, and a look to the future with discard for fashion. Thus, the accompanying DVD, seems almost a redeeming necessity. In a live environment the songs aren?t too bad, some of them sound great when you hear them live in person. It?s almost as if you bought the DVD and got the CD for free. Metallica were, and considering their first decade?s catalogue, are still an important hard rock band. They have reached a point now though where they will have to deliver something of real value if they wish to not fade away. The general sales figures for St. Anger confirm this. In favour of the album, Metallica still excel over their peers in that they?ve remained noteworthy in their adoption of slightly different styles. Bands like Slayer are great, but just how many times have they peddled that mindless thrash? Then there?s Megadeth, who though great in their own right, seemed like a Metallica silhouette right to their very end. And also, it is of grace that Metallica ever got to make this album at all. Despite their success which has set them for life, and near bump-off, the band could?ve called it a day ages ago, but they l
ove what they do, and continue to do some because of the energy supplied by their immense fan base, which bizarrely continues to grow. And it?s this relationship that will be explored in a new film soon. Let?s just hope that there is a next album and that it resets their standards again. Grunge is floored, nu-metal is dead (waiting for the final head shot), it?s time to revive the beast again. They mightn?t be firey eyed youngsters anymore, but judging by today?s youngsters that?s perhaps a good thing. Matureness has it?s own grace.
My oh my, it has been 6 years in the waiting, has involved the loss of Jason Newstead, the induction of Bob Rock as the 5th horseman, albeit temporarily, and has just recently seen ex Suicidal Tendencies, and Ozzy’s band’s bassist Robert Trujillo drafted into the band as Newstead’s replacement, and is finally here, ST Anger was unexpectedly unleashed on music stores around the globe on the earlier than originally planned date of June 5th 2003, a day that I feel will remain memorable for a good few years to come, for one, it is the first Metallica album in 6 years to be released, and for 2, in many ways I suppose it is the first “true” Metallica album to be released since the Black album. I say true album, because yes Load and Reload were decent albums in their own right, however, in many aspects, they lost a hell of a lot of the emotions that made them Metallica in the first place! For the last decade many many Metallicites have been desperate to see the real Metallica come out of the deep sleep they seem to have been in, and quite frankly (sorry for this Dooyoo, please don’t ban the op) Fu***n rock (like I said, apologies Dooyoo). Well, I feel that that long wait over the last decade, has finally come to a close, and the aptly named ST Anger, has finally arrived. Even the Pushead artwork of the covers, lost by Load/Reload, has returned. I have been away from Dooyoo for a few months now, it’s not that I got bored with it, or that I couldn’t be bothered writing anymore, it was more a case of I have had a hectic last few months, changing job, and doing various other things, but now it seems I am back and have a few things to write about, this album being the first, and possibly to me the most important! For the sake of this review I am going to go through the song list one by one, I feel that the album has so much to offer in all respects, when I first listened to it, I thought Metallica had not only lo
st the guitar solos, they had also lost some depth, but however, after listening to this album constantly for the last few months, I have realised there are hidden depths to the album, it just takes a little more listening than some of their previous work! As I have already mentioned, this album is completely different to anything that the boys have done in the last 20 years or so, yes it is indeed heavy, VERY heavy, but it doesn’t seem as studio orientated as their other albums, it has a sort of ruggedness about it, almost as if they have gone truly back to the old school days were they were a garage band in San Francisco, young rough, unproven, but with shed loads of potential. That is almost what this album has about it, it is almost like Metallica, the 7th biggest band of all time in America, the pretty much undisputed kings of metal, are trying to prove that they are indeed still alive, and that oh hell yes they can still kick it with the heavy stuff. The whole album represents a total change in the mood of Metallica, they have even gone on record and said themselves that at one time this type of stuff felt old to them, hence the load and reload albums, but now they have come full circle, and it is the more bluesy sound of their later music that feels old to them, and they have returned to once again do what they do best, KICK A**. Anyways, enough of the background information that goes with the album, you can get that sort of thing on their web site if it tickles your fancy!! Track by track, here we go: 1/ FRANTIC. Put it this way, this song makes one hell of an opening to the album, sets the pace tremendously, real thrash metal in a modern day era, I never thought I would see those days again. The repetition within the song, the power of Hetfield’s voice, the almost desperation in his voice as he cries “FRANTIC TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK TOCK” over and over, without pausing for breath, it is
almost just a means of unleashing aggression! Frantic is the second track to be released off the album as a single, and is a perfect follow up for the albums title track, ST Anger. Fast, heavy, full of aggression, top of the pops won’t know what has hit it! 2/ ST ANGER. The album’s title track and first single. The video shot in the hard hitting maximum security San Quentin prison, was the perfect setting for this song, the song itself is about the depression that anger can cause, the way it almost sends a person insane “I’ll tie a noose, I’ll hang myself, ST Anger round my neck”. That lyric to me, as obvious as it may look, defines so many months of Metallica in the last 2 years or so, all the anger to do with Jason, his reasons for leaving the band partly being him seemingly being excluded from the main trio of Lars, James and Kirk. It also goes a long way to defining the emotions of both Kirk and Lars when they received a call from James, letting them know he was going into rehab and that the band was just going to have to wait for him. Like I say, if you look into the songs a little more, there is a lot of depth, the album this time though isn’t based around other people’s feelings and emotions, this time it is almost like the band are opening up to the world and saying “this is how we feel, this is how we have felt for a long time, think what you like we don’t really care anyway”. 3/ SOME KIND OF MONSTER. Again this could interpret the atmosphere that the album creates, the key word being monster, the reflection of the album is considerable, a wild, rugged, untamed beast that Metallica have unleashed on the world. Hetfield’s voice returns truly to its old school splendour, as he makes up for the loss of Jason Newstead’s grunt on his own, let alone adding in Kirk and Robert as backing vocals. Heavy bass chords from James and Kirk, accompanied by Bob Rock who absolutel
y pounds the bass guitar for this track, although Robert’s rendition on the live DVD that comes with the album is superior, but then he is a professional bassist and not a music producer like Bob Rock. The first three tracks on this album are all very highly rated in my personal opinion, I do feel that they are three of the strongest tracks on the album, although in fairness, I do feel that the album as a whole is excellent anyway. The song itself starts really slow with bass chords being played, then the rest of the band kick into this almighty riff, gradually building in speed, yet never losing the depth of the bass chords. Excellent song. 4/ DIRTY WINDOW. This one starts off with a fairly high tempo, again the bass line shows through strong, although not as strong as “Some Kind Of Monster”. Again there is real depth to the song, and very possibly a reflection of the time James spent in rehab, asking questions like “Am I who I think I am?” This being a well documented factor of his reasoning for going into rehab, he has said that he just couldn’t think of who he was, and needed guidance in re-finding who he was beyond “James Hetfield, Metallica Frontman”. I do like this song, again repetition comes into the fray, adding emphasis onto particular words that everyone becomes at some point when they look at themselves closely: “Projector Protector Rejector Infector” When we look at ourselves, we look at how we project ourselves, we try and defend things about ourselves that people criticise us for. We tend as a race to reject parts of ourselves, or to try and at least hide parts of us that we either don’t feel confident about, or we simply do not like about ourselves, but in fairness, someone please feel free to enlighten me on the infector bit, as I haven’t the foggiest what Hetfield means by that one! 5/ INVISIBLE KID. Starts fast, stays fast, very catchy as
well. The title of the song seems really obvious, and in many respects it is. The song revolves around someone who just wants to be alone, just wants to escape people, yet doesn’t want to be so far away that they get forgotten about or left behind in people’s lives. Lars Ulrich’s drumming in this gets really, and is typical of many songs on the album whereby the sound of the drum has a real snare/tin sound to it. Simple yet effective. Again I do like the song, but not enough to go into as much detail as some of the others. 6/ MY WORLD. Excellently catchy guitar based intro to this one, Heavy riff right from the word go, and then an opening line that states “The motherfu**ers got in my head”. The language and riff combine to give a poignant intro to a song that is basically saying, this is who I am, noone can change that, get out of my head, you have been there too long, now get the hell out and leave me the f**k alone, or as the song itself says “It’s my world you can’t have it!” This to me is the rebellion inside the band escaping, the part of the band that almost stood up and said yes, we have gone through a rough stage in our lives and our careers, but now it’s time to go back to what we are, go back to what made us what we are today, and that means getting rid of everything that won’t help us, only hinder us, and doing things OUR way. Like I say, this whole album has rawness about it that you really would not expect from a band that has been going for over 20 years, and I feel that this song epitomises that perfectly. 7/ SHOOT ME AGAIN. This really is the perfect follow up track to “My World”, as it is basically about the band has been shot down, slated, gone through hell and back, and is still coming back for more. The layout of this album almost tells the story of the last 2 years in their careers, starting with the anger, the pain and desperation that they went thr
ough with Frantic, ST Anger and some kind of monster, and then it moves into the hope and the rebellion that is the band moving forwards, and refusing to give up where most band would and have already given up and called it a day. As the lyric says “all the shots I take, I spit back at you, all the sh*t you fake, comes back to haunt you”, the chorus (previous quote) really sums up the attitude of the song. In fairness, a song with this kind of theme would be expected to be pretty heavy, with a fast/aggressive pace, however, Hetfield’s voice seems quite smooth, for want of a better word, with some more melodic parts where he almost seems quite calm considering the song itself is challenging those who oppose the band, although towards the end of the song it does build and get heavier. 8/ SWEET AMBER. This is another fairly easy flowing song, I feel there are several possibilities to what the lyrics of it could mean. One explanation could well be that it is about the “other substances” that James went into rehab for, and how he was used by people who fed him what he wanted in order to use him for their own personal gain. Another interpretation could be that it is part of the realisation process that the band at some point must have gone through at some time or other in order to produce this album. The realisation process that must have told them that they had too many hangers on, too many people trying to tell them what to do, and where they should be going with their music. These are the people that have damaged them over the last 10 years, as they are the people who haven’t been in it to help Metallica, they are the people that have been in it just to make money from the band. 9/ THE UNNAMED FEELING. This is my favourite song on the album, it starts with a sort of nu metal screeching from Hetfield, although not enough to become irritating. The song itself is a deep song, describing the feelings people get that can
’t really be described as anything, they are not love, they are not hate, they are just feelings that alive inside of us. There is a lyric within this song, that as soon as I heard it, just hit me, and is very possibly on my list of favourite quotes, it goes “cross my heart, hope not to die, swallow evil, ride the sky”, I love the whole thought of breaking free of shackles, of evil, and totally escaping anything holding me back in life. This whole song is the next stage in the album, they have gone though the depression, then through the rebellion, and this is were they have almost won the war against those that oppose them, and have broken free of the shackles that held them back. 10/ PURIFY. This is a faster paced song, starting with a reasonably heavy riff, leading into a very heavy medley with the whole band present. The song itself is kind of the after effects of Metallica’s struggle over the last couple of years, it is almost like it is them saying right we have come this far, now let’s finish the job we started, lets get ready, let’s purify ourselves as a band, and let’s make use of what we have finally got in our hands after all this time, that being freedom to rock however they want to rock. 11/ ALL WITHIN MY HANDS. This song reflects the current mood that the band seems to be in, from the interviews I have seen with them of late, they seem to realise that they have a gift, and only they have the power to use it properly. As the title says, they really do have it “All within my hands”. They are stating that they are now in control, something they haven’t been for many a year now. There is a slightly more laid back tone to the song, it does get heavy, but it is far from the power of say “Some Kind Of Monster”, or “Frantic”. It has a fast pace to the song, almost a reflection of the band themselves, after seeing their set lists of late, they are playing thei
r music faster, louder and far far prouder than they have done in at least 10 years, they seem to be on a train at the moment, and the only 2 gears seem to be fast, and stop, I just hope they don’t run out of fuel because if this album is an indication of what is to come, then I think Metallica fans are seriously in for a treat in the coming months and years. So there we have it, hope this hasn’t been too boring for you, I am a bit rusty on the old review writing, been a while hehe. Like I say, I am an avid Metallica fan (as you will have obviously guessed by now), they are a unique band, but this album has done something I haven’t seen any of their others do, and that is to paint a picture of the last couple of years in the lives of Metallica. The album itself as an album rocks in a big big way. But the hidden depths that it possesses are far greater than initial impressions would dare to consider. Thanks for reading the op, please go easy on me, it’s been a while like I say.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 St. Anger
3 Some Kind Of Monster
4 Dirty Window
5 Invisible Kid
6 My World
7 Shoot Me Again
8 Sweet Amber
9 The Unnamed Feeling
11 All Within My Hands