Metallica
St. Anger


3.5
great

Review

by Pepe Silvia USER (15 Reviews)
July 27th, 2009 | 37 replies | 4,591 views


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


12 of 12 thought this review was well written

Ah, St. Anger. The consensus bastard child of all Metallica albums. Labeled by the masses as an album for completionists. I must admit, this is one of the few albums by any band I've listened to that, going in, I was expecting it to be terrible.

Well, it wasn't. I was actually pleasantly surprised.

In the typical metal fan's eye, St. Anger has four glaring weaknesses that make it little more than a mockery (again, to the typical metalhead) in the metal discussion: crappy production values (something the band claims intentional, but that's irrelevant), the length combined with the repetition, lack of guitar solos, and that god damned steely snare drum. I can understand anyone being turned off from this album because of any or all of those qualities. But for some reason, none of the above really bothered me.

The iron snares of death are barely noticeable after a while. At this point, its actually hard to imagine the songs not having this drum sound, because the bulk of the guitar work on this album consists of muddy, low-pitched riff work. The drums sort of break up the monotony of this, oddly. I don't like it or dislike it; I accept it as is.

The production is a product of the band wanting to focus the rage and tension they were feeling at the time; a raw sound will better portray their feelings. Thus, the record went largely unmastered. Hetfield's voice showcases both the album's anger and imperfections pretty effectively. Most of the time, he's okay, although his voice breaks occasionally due to trying to hit a higher note than he's capable of at this point. He's not as bad as he was on the Load albums, but obviously nothing close to his pre-Black Album days. Jaymz sounds sufficiently demonic and pissed off on cuts like 'Purify', 'My World', and the title track. On other tracks (please, Shoot Him Again so he'll shut up), he's pretty awful, whether due to the emotion just not being there enough, or him changing up his style to incorporate some... I don't know, tough talk? You'll know it when you hear it.

The lack of guitar solos (and length of the songs) is the definitely the biggest failure of the album. You can't have 7 minute songs, arranged in a verse-chorus structure (which these are), without some kind of breakup, somewhere along the way. Some songs do feature breaks of some kind (other than just reverting back to the opening riff midway through the song, which other tracks do), and those are some of the album's better songs.

As for the tracks themselves, they're all over the map. The only really awful song on here is 'Shoot Me Again'. Nothing intense or interesting happens in its 7 minute run time. Though Hetfield muttering 'c'mon shoot me again, I ain't dead yet' in his best Chad Kroeger voice is worth the price of admission. The 'Unnamed Feeling' and 'Invisible Kid' are subpar as well, the former because it simply tries to hard to create a twisted atmosphere, the latter because it’s just friggin boring (and 8 minutes 30 seconds long with no originality, yippee).

There's also some great stuff on here. 'Purify' is quickly becoming my favorite track on the album. The chorus is pretty catchy, and the lyrics are simple but effective (about Jaymz's experiences in rehab). It's Hetfield's strongest outing of the album, that's for sure. 'My World' is also very strong. It’s a churning, mid-tempo thrasher with some serious heaviness to it. Finally, 'All Within My Hands' is both the longest track on the album and, strangely, the least repetitive. It has a great main riff, and the occasional shifts between agitated and calm/almost mournful work well. The KILL KILL KILL KILL section at the end is kind of silly though, and has become a small internet meme.

This is obviously an album that Metallica poured their heart and soul into; that doesn't shield them from criticism of the final product, as Larsy would like to believe, but the emotions are palpable, and in my view are the primary reason that this band was able to forgo production, guitar solos, and conventional-sounding snare drums and still come up with a decent album... depending on who you ask.

Recommended tracks:
My World
Sweet Amber
Purify
All Within My Hands



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user ratings (4511)
Chart.
2
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
cvlts
July 27th 2009



8954 Comments


very good for a first review, glad to see you doin this Jesuslaves

Yazz_Flute
July 27th 2009



18770 Comments


Though Hetfield muttering 'c'mon shoot me again, I ain't dead yet' in his best Chad Kroeger voice is worth the price of admission.


nice

Review was very good for a first. Except Purify is awful.

Digging: Eskaton - 4 Visions

ConorMichaelJoseph
July 27th 2009



1870 Comments


Could never see myself rating this more than 3 but you back up your points very well. Just look at the ratings though, its like the ultimate stairway down on Sputnik. Anyone who rates this a 5 though seriously needs their head examined. Pos'd

EDIT: Recommended tracks needs moar FRANTIC-TICK-TICK-TICK-TICK-TICK-TOCK

ninjuice
July 27th 2009



6760 Comments


Album does get too much crap but it's still bad.
Review wasn't though, pos'd.

BassDemon333
July 27th 2009



3365 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

only metallica album I havent heard...and by the looks of it, looks like I should avoid it. Good first review though.

Digging: Mudvayne - L.D. 50

Lunarfall
July 27th 2009



3179 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

title track is addicting sometimes, but horrible album otherwise

Fxxkit13
July 27th 2009



1559 Comments


Really good first review
I like two (maybe three?) songs off this album. Its cool to see you back up your list from earlier though.


pos'd

Lunarfall
July 27th 2009



3179 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

i think corenotgore should back up his lists too

Fxxkit13
July 27th 2009



1559 Comments


haha
that would be a review i would read for sure

PanasonicYouth
July 27th 2009



7411 Comments


ja.
good review.
shit album.
though hey has it right. title track ain't half bad.

PanasonicYouth
July 27th 2009



7411 Comments


^^
epic font fail

Zip
July 28th 2009



5312 Comments


Oh damn you can write. I was wrong about you.

cvlts
July 28th 2009



8954 Comments


never doubted him...

PanasonicYouth
July 28th 2009



7411 Comments


epic fail on my part
damn

shindip
July 28th 2009



3536 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

naughtily bad album. review was good though

FadeToBlack
July 28th 2009



10914 Comments


Nice review man, pos'd

KTV
July 28th 2009



760 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

album is good

lostforwords
July 28th 2009



445 Comments


Seems to me that your rating should be a 3 at most, based on your review. Otherwise I really enjoyed it so I' ll pos.

This is Metallica's most "love it or hate it" album, and I 'm on the "love it" side. It has some obvious faults (that you nicely stated) but I liked the rawness of the album and the fact that Metallica try to sound modern (with all tha garage influences or groovy riffs) without losing their identity. And some songs are really good. Not "Master of Puppets" good, but good

Titan50
July 28th 2009



4588 Comments


Pos'd

Only heard title track and FRANTIC TICK TICK TICK TICK, but it's enough to tell me to stay away

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
July 28th 2009



7326 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

excellent review pos'd. album gets too much hate, but its not that great either, between 2.5 and 3 for me. the problem isnt the drums or the production, its that most the songs just arent good enough



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