Metallica
St. Anger


4.5
superb

Review

by jybt USER (24 Reviews)
March 17th, 2009 | 107 replies | 6,388 views


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Metallica roar back from a period of laziness to create one of the heaviest and most polarizing albums in the history of metal. St. Anger is so inaccessible that many will abhor it, and many do, but the truth is in there.

9 of 19 thought this review was well written

When St. Anger came out, nobody was really expecting what was going to be seen inside this record sleeve, or what they were going to hear. For better or for worse, Metallica's eighth studio album knocked them to pieces, with some crying that Metallica were back and many crying that they're officially dead.

This album is usually misunderstood, but understanding it is very difficult because we have here an album that is unlike any other in existence. Through Silver in Blood and Enemy of the Sun in the similar albums list is about as close as I can come, because it's just...different. There are many listeners that will never understand this record.

St. Anger is a 75-minute journey into the nakedest depths of Metallica, good and bad: a band who had lost two bassists, who had became the most criticized metal band in history for "selling out" and the infamous Napster incident, and had so much anger in their heads that they could barely sit in the same room together. It's a cathartic judgment period for James Hetfield, the unquestionable star of the album.

While James does not give a perfectly clean performance, the record would have fallen flat otherwise. There's such a thing as overproduction. In this case, the intense instrumentation, almost misanthropic lyrics, and gritty, unpolished production and vocal delivery fits perfectly with the intended mood: James is stuck in a web, and he is trying to escape.

While I would generally shy away from discussing any of the tracks themselves, I will mention one as an example here: Invisible Kid. This song is even lower-key than the others, and it feels strangely disconnected from the listener. Read the lyrics, however, and you'll find it matches right up. It's about a young child, possibly a young Hetfield, who is completely disconnected from the world. What a coincidence! Meanwhile, the chorus is delivered softly and almost without emotion, continuing this mood, and the very central bridge shows Hetfield drowning in his own despair.

If this doesn't make sense to you, remember one of the insightful comments made somewhere else: "Anger is not polished -- it doesn't always make sense."

This anger turns itself into musical form, as the "trash-can snare" has so much reverb that it's almost like a guitar noise, and the resultant triple hammer of Hetfield, Hammett and Ulrich can go from angry to angrier to flat-out feral. Being able to arrange to meet the music is a talent most bands lack, and is the reason Metallica were good in the first place.

One other thing worth mentioning in Metallica's bag of tricks here is the whammy pedal. Yes, the whammy pedal. It's all over the record, and it adds a specific touch where additional pulses of feeling and emotion are necessary. Try doing that with a regular guitar. More proof that Metallica knows how to think outside the box.

All of these new ideas and old ideas that make new things turn St. Anger from another Metallica album into perhaps their most intense and experimental work to date. St. Anger takes metal in a completely new direction, with even the simplest ideas raised to an art form and the most intense emotions distilled in even the simplest arrangements. At its worst, some of the sections in a couple pieces are out of place, and some experiments didn't work too well.

This can only happen if you're willing to break the code. Buy St. Anger and concentrate really hard on it. You might just discover a world where the conventions of music are turned upside down and a new type of metal emerges. You may not like it at all, but an avant-garde record like this deserves at least one chance.



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user ratings (4512)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Essence
March 17th 2009



3583 Comments


...lol?


quote: St. Anger is impossible to rate because it is completely subjective to its listener.

That summarizes how dumb you sound.This Message Edited On 03.17.09

RandyfromPennywise
March 17th 2009



752 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Your review kind of falls apart with the "my views" idea. You should try to integrate your ideas in to full paragraphs. That's what writing a review is about: writing your views. And saying that your rating is completely subjective is not necessary - all of your ratings should be entirely subjective.

Saying that it is up to the listener is, well, completely ridiculous. The purpose of a review is to give your opinions, your impressions and your views. People don't read reviews to find out what they think about an album. They read reviews to find out what other people think about albums. Reviews are supposed to be completely subjective. It is, after all, music.

Be assertive and assured in your opinions. Don't be afraid to offend anyone. Say what you think. Be subjective.

I hope that this is some constructive criticism that you take on board and don't take offence at.

.This Message Edited On 03.17.09

gaslightanthem
March 17th 2009



5209 Comments


nakedest depths of metallica had so much anger in their heads




"This is a journey into the barest depths of Metallica, who have perhaps suffered more than any other band in history."

no fucking way do you actually believe that?

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
March 17th 2009



8328 Comments


There is that "something" in this review that I like. Sure here are some grammar errors and the last paragraph is a bit pointless but all in all this review is pretty good.This Message Edited On 03.17.09

jingledeath
March 17th 2009



7104 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

What the....This is awesome...I've never read anything like this!

jybt
March 17th 2009



342 Comments


Randy, I've understood what you're trying to say, but "my" view is that I can't convince anyone as to how good or bad the album is. That's just what I think of this album after listening to it over five years.

But yes, I will go back over it a bit.

lauriej
March 17th 2009



1711 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

lol
why did you have to remind me that this exists? why would you do that?

Digging: Robin Trower - Bridge of Sighs

ninjuice
March 17th 2009



6760 Comments


Randy has the best advice so far.
Please don't submit more than one review so soon after the other as well, because people prefer theirs to stay on the front page for a while.

Phrike
March 17th 2009



1691 Comments


Good review, but the album still remains as shitty as ever

thebhoy
Emeritus
March 17th 2009



4459 Comments


of course your review is subject. There is no so thing as an objective critical review of anything. An album is not impossible to rate because it is merely subjective... ALL MUSIC IS SUBJECTIVE. Review is a fail.

jybt
March 17th 2009



342 Comments


All right, I've gone ahead and rewritten a lot of the sections. (And see, I told you not everyone would agree with me.)

RandyfromPennywise
March 17th 2009



752 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

jybt, I think the key is that you shouldn't 'try to convince' anyone; you should try to give your opinion of the album. Your goal when writing a review should be to say what your thoughts about the album are, on a personal level. It shouldn't aim to effect anyone else's thoughts or opinions, it should purely be you and your opinion. If others decide to take it on board, agree with it, disagree with it, disregard it, or otherwise, is completely irrelevant.

If you think that it is 4.5, say why, and don't worry about what others who haven't heard it might think - these are the ones who are reading a review to see if they might like it - or what others who have a different opinion to you think - they have a place to voice their opinions, and your review is the place to voice yours.

gaslightanthem
March 17th 2009



5209 Comments


had so much anger in their heads that they could barely sit in the same room together. I've never heard an album that had been put together under such circumstances.


the beatles had 'so much anger in their heads that they could barely sit in the room together' and rather than putting out one of the worst albums ever (this), they made arguably the best of the career.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
March 17th 2009



7326 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's fine that you love the album (I personally think it gets way too much shit), but the review doesn't justify a 4.5. You would have been better off writing about why you think it's great rather than worrying about what other people think. They aren't the reviewers.

Hyperbore
March 17th 2009



856 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

This review is completely useless. I don't need to hear a music review tell me that my opinion of an album is up to me, I already know that. Even the most amateur reviews have a goal in mind of making the reader interested in hearing the album, at bare minimum. Telling someone "maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't, who knows, lol" doesn't accomplish that.

It shouldn't aim to effect anyone else's thoughts or opinions, it should purely be you and your opinion.

...No? A good review has the potential of making you realize something about the album that you didn't realize on your own. What's the point of stating your opinion, on anything, if you don't think your opinion is correct? And if you think it's correct, why wouldn't you want other people to be in agreement? If you're stating opinions without purpose, it's just meaningless noise that changes nothing because it convinces nobody of anything.This Message Edited On 03.17.09

RandyfromPennywise
March 17th 2009



752 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

^ Yeah, that's right, but you've missed my point. It shouldn't be the aim of the review. Your aim should be to get your point across. 'Your point' as in what this reviewer didn't do. IF someone checks some album out that you reviewed positively, then that's great, but you shouldn't write your reviews with that as the purpose. If you like it a lot, and write as such, then it will be as though you are writing to sell the album to other people, and that's fine, as long as you are writing your own opinions with the purpose of saying what you think about the album. You just shouldn't set out with "I am going to make someone like this album!".

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
March 17th 2009



8328 Comments


pure and simple:
review's goal is to express how you(the reviewer) feel about that specific band/album. By making a review you are also informating the readers about that album, so you should bring out the main points which are bad and which are good about that album and why is it worth listening to/not worth listening to.

conclusion: a review should basically be a writing that expresses your feelings about a specific album while informating the readers about it

gaslightanthem
March 17th 2009



5209 Comments


i'm dangling my testicles on the computer screen that's how good this review is

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
March 17th 2009



8328 Comments


really huh? Gettin me all sweatty here

MassiveAttack
March 17th 2009



2688 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

ouch anthem that is a sweet indication though.



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