Review Summary: Metallica deliver something different on this album that isn't completely bad, but could've been much much better.
This guy walks into a music store. Like usual he heads toward the Metal section and looks around. He sees Metallica, a band he’s been dying to check out because he’s heard so much about them. He sees St-Anger and notices it’s their most recent album. Not having heard all the sh*t about it, he buys it. He listens to it once and really likes it (he can’t compare with older Metallica because he’s never heard it). He decides to get another Metallica cd. So he goes back to the music store and buys Master of Puppets. He realises how much better it is than St-Anger but still likes St-Anger because it’s that album that got him into the band and it really isn’t as bad as most people make it out to be.
That is basically what happened to me.
Now on with the review
I’m going to talk about some things that have been mentioned about the album and give my opinion on them.
I don’t know if Lars thought the album would sound more like thrash metal if his drums sounded like garbage cans, but he played around with the tuning and somehow got that exact sound out of them. But surprisingly, they do sound really nice on some songs(i.e Frantic(mostly in the intro), Dirty Windows…). They give them a unique sound that you haven’t heard on another metal album before. But they do get annoying after a few listens. They could've made a much more interesting album if they had used regular snare drums for most of the album and thrown in a few of the "garbage cans" here and there.
Lars’ drumming hasn’t changed much though. He still uses mostly snares and cymbals in his songs. For a drummer or his reknown his playing isn't very original or varied.
The guitar work
The lack of solos was a big let-down for all Metallica fans. Solos can often add some good to even the most boring albums. They definitely would’ve helped here. But… this album does have some memorable riffs. I still love the opening riff for St-Anger(the song) even after hearing it so many times.
They seemed to have focused on a crunchier, "heavier" sound for the guitars, unlike anything they've done before. But to fit that sound, they let go of much of the technicality in their playing. Most of the time it doesn't sound like they have a lead guitarist at all. It could've been James Hetfield playing alone all along and we probably wouldn't have noticed much change.
James vocals have gotten a lot harsher since the last album but it kinda fits their new sound. They will be a turn-off to most older fans.
I have heard many times that he sings out of key but I have never noticed that problem while listening to this album.
BUT when James takes that high voice in Invisible Kid (around 5:04 in the song) i can't help cringing at the sound.
Some songs (St-Anger and Invisible Kid mostly) are only 7-8 minutes because they repeat the same thing over and over. At first they sound nice but after they get really annoying. The album is most enjoyable when you have long intervals between listenings.
I'm assuming Bob Rock did a good job on the bass because it is almost inaudible throughout the album. From what I could hear here and there, he's definately not as good as Cliff or Jason but did a good job while the band was looking for a full-time bassist.
-Some Kind Of Monster
-Shoot Me Again
-The Unnamed Feeling
Metallica really took a chance with this album and got a lot of sh*t because of it. This album isn’t so bad but definitely isn’t up to par with their older stuff.
My verdict: 3/5