Review Summary: "...the greatest disappointment..."
Notice: This is my first review I have ever done. I want to get kinda good at this, so if you got any constructive criticism, can you please give it? Thanks!!
Let me start off this album review by saying that I am a Metallica fan (in fact, I can say that their first 4 albums were the albums that got me into metal in the first place) and I am somewhat of a Lou Reed fan (I like his stuff with The Velvet Underground and his early solo album, Berlin, but I haven’t listened to much else by him), so I was kinda intrigued whenever I heard about this collaboration. I mean, one of the things that I had missed the most out of Metallica’s post-AJFA output was the complex and almost Progressive nature of some of the songs on albums such as Master of Puppets and …And Justice For All. Lou Reed has spent much of his 40+ year career challenging his fanbase, but sometimes he challenged them just to be a troll. Some examples include 1975’s Metal Machine Music, a hour-long album with nothing but guitar feedback played at different speeds to produce electronic-like effects of WTF-ery and an 18-minute long song about possums.
I knew from *** like above that this could either be something fresh and new for Metallica, or be one of the worst things either musician has ever done. I can say that after listening to it THREE ***ING TIMES in order to get the whole thing in my brain in order to review it, that this is not just ONE of the worst things Metallica has ever participated in, it is THE worst thing Metallica has ever participated in. You read that correctly, THIS IS WORSE THAN ST. ANGER!!!!
With an album this bad, I don’t even know where to begin trashing it, so I will give the few positives first. One positive is that it does have better production better than Death Magnetic, so you will not experience the Loudness War. The other is that it at least has an interesting concept behind it. It is based on two HIGHLY CONTROVERSIAL early-20th century plays about the life of an abused dancer (who I assume is pictured on the cover) who would work as a prostitute, only to get brutally killed by Jack The Ripper. The plays themselves were, to my understanding, very sexually explicit and caused a huge uproar whenever they were originally released.
However, that is where the positives end. The first thing I can trash are the cases of absolute lyrical stupidity, which is a shame considering Lou Reed has had some pretty good lyrics in every other album I have listened to in which he has participated in. Here are some examples of some of the album’s worst lyrics….
"I would cut my legs and tits off
When I think of Boris Karloff and Kinski
In the dark of the moon
It made me dream of Nosferatu
Trapped on the isle of Doctor Moreau
Oh wouldn’t it be lovely"
The very first lines of the first song on the album, ‘Brandenburg Gate’.
"I will swallow your sharpest cutter
Like a colored man’s dick"
One line of BS from Track 3, “Pumping Blood”
"Spermless like a girl
More man than I
More man than I"
I kinda wish I was joking about this one, but sadly, I’m not. This appears in track 7, “Frustration”, the opening track of Disc 2. I call that a fitting name because that is exactly what this album is to me.
Not only are the lyrics complete ***, but the vocals are as well. Granted, Lou Reed has never been a good singer, but here he is just unbearable. He sounds like Metallica literally found a drunken hobo out on the street, took him into the recording studio, and told him to sound like Lou Reed. It sucks.
Now, I bet many of you are asking, “Why are you focusing on Lou Reed’s issues? What do you have to say about Metallica’s contributions on here?” I think Metallica is not really to blame for this album sucking royally. Lou Reed has shown time and time again that he is going to have full control on anything he does and everyone but him is a slave to his work and LuLu is no exception.
Metallica’s playing, like Lou’s vocals, are COMPLETELY OFF-TIME. There is one major problem that comes in two ways on this album. That problem is that what Metallica is playing does not fit Lou’s shoddy performance. An example of this would be Track 4, “Mistress Dread.” Here Metallica are playing a REALLY FAST riff that sounds awesome (at first, it gets REALLY boring after nearly 7 minutes of the same riff with literally NO CHANGE), but what really kills it is Lou’s not-so-brilliant idea of slowly mumbling the lyrics in a random fashion at about 10 MPH while Metallica are playing this pattern at about 200 MPH. This problem happens in this album A LOT in varying different manners and it kills just about every song.
The ones that are not killed by that issue are killed by another issue altogether: poor editing. There are three songs that go past the 11 minute mark on this album. All three of them do not need to be that long. Cheat on Me, the first of these abominations, repeats its chorus of “Why do I cheat on me” for 5-6 minutes before finally ending disc 1 of 2. Dragon is something I can’t honestly remember, though. The last of the mammoths, Junior Dad, Track 10 and the last song on Disc 2 and the album as a whole, lasts a grand total of 19 minutes and 23 seconds. At first, it seems like it is alright, even though it blatantly re-uses a riff from “The Unforgiven III” from Death Magnetic. The lyrics here are ACTUALLY GOOD, but they are very sad too. However, just when you thought the album would end on a decent note, something is thrown at you that just kills the song. That issue is the use of the fakest string sounds in the history of recorded music playing a two-note hum. Why is that an issue, you say? Because…..THIS GOES ON FOR AT LEAST 8 GODDAMN MINUTES!!!!!! I almost fell asleep because of this! If the damn strings faded out after about a minute, it wouldn’t be THAT bad. It would be a bit annoying, but it would be tolerable and it wouldn’t COMPLETELY KILL THE ONLY DECENT SONG ON THIS ***-STAIN OF AN ALBUM!!!
BOTTOM LINE & SCORE
This is the worst album I have ever heard. It makes St. Anger look like Master Of Puppets. It is that bad.