Ah, the album Metallica fans LOVE to bash, and the album Metallica haters LOVE to bash as well. "Tallica boys and 'Tallica ladies, it has been a long 3 years since the undeniably over-hyped "St. Anger" was brought to us by the most successful metal band of all time. Has anyone changed their mind about this album over the past 3 years?
I was among the haters in 2003, I couldn't believe that they let Lars do that to his snare drum, I couldn't believe they locked Kirk out of the recording studio, and I certainly couldn't believe that Bob Rock did absolutely NOTHING to clean this filthy dog up for the people.
Then it dawned on me: This is supposed to be a filthy hunk of rusty-ass heavy metal.
Did ANYONE else want another "Load?" I know I didn't. Don't get me wrong, I like "Load" and "Reload", but it had been done. People were just itching for Metallica to become METAL again, and I think they heard us. However, we foolish fans didn't know that Metallica had not only no desire to repeat the "Loads," but they had no desire to repeat ANYTHING they'd ever done before. I, like many others, heard "St. Anger" on my local radio station and thought to myself, "Holy *** this is heavy as Hell!" Then once we played the entire album at home, didn't like that it was hard to listen to so we put on "Justice" and "Puppets" to wash the taste out of our collective mouth.
But, like anything that hurts the first time, you kind of know what to expect when it happens again. Therefore, it hurts a little less. Consider me a sado-masochist because I played "St. Anger" virtually non-stop for two weeks. AND consider me a psycho because afterward, I not only didn't feel the pain, I actually got JOY out of listening to this CD. Why? Because it finally made sense to me.
Metallica have never been about the fans, at least when it comes to writing. I know that sort of contradicts a previous statement I made; let me explain. They listen to their fans all right, they take to heart what we have to say because we go to see them live. Where they haven't been about the fans is why they're still musicians. They love it, it's their art form. Metallica could be another Rolling Stones or The Who and play all their old *** on an endless farewell tour and probably be pretty successful with it. But they still have that fire in their bellies, that urge to write stuff that challenges themselves and others. Boy doesn't "St. Anger" do that!
FRANTIC - The first song ANY of us heard from the new album when it was premiered on the MTV Icon special. This song immediately erases the "Load" era with its intro. Simple one-note chugga-chugga stuff Metallica does so well which Lars backs up with an old school thrash beat. Then an immeadiate break into the main riff, introduced quietly at first, then we're POUNDED again by more thrash drumming. The title of the song is very fitting to its music: Fast and directionless. It's almost saying, "I dunno where this is gonna take me, but I'm gonna run straight ahead and see what happens!" I absolutely LOVE this song and live it SHREDS. 5/5
ST. ANGER - People seem to either love or hate this one. I LOVE it. The intro is unbelievably intense, hearkening back to the "Sandman" intro where you just wonder "Where's this ***er GOING?" Oooooooo I LOVE this intro and Lars's blast beats are perfect for this song. This is the song where people realize that this is not anything they've heard from Metallica before. Either get off at the next stop or stay along for the ride 'cause it's only gonna get heavier! 5/5
SOME KIND OF MONSTER - Heavy ass-thumper of a tune that I just adore. Simple slow riff that the rhythm section just slams home and makes this listener head-bang like crazy. People say the lyrics detract from this song, I actually really really like them. Catchy, easy to remember, and fun to just scream along to. I listen to it every time. 4/5
DIRTY WINDOW - Another reviewer here said the song loses pop after the 2nd listen. Well, for me it took a bit longer. 2 years. However, the version of this song that's on the DVD is superior to the album version in almost every way, and when I pop in the DVD I listen to it all the way through. The lyrics here are catchy and, again, easy to just scream out to. 3/5
INVISIBLE KID - (sigh) one of my top 5 songs from the album. Let the flaming begin. This song has everything a Metallica song SHOULD have (melodic riffage, catchy lyrics, length, a breakdown, and energy) and it gets NO respect at all. I like this song a lot because in the bridge section, something about the way James sings "Ooooooooo, what a quiet boy you are" just brings shivers through my body. 4/5
MY WORLD - An album song. Not filler, but it's a song that doesn't stand up too well on its own. There are GREAT parts here but they're just that: parts. That's why this song on its own wouldn't seem too great. In the context of the album however, it's VERY good. The riff that's played under the "Outta my head, get 'em out!" is silly good and is by far my favorite part of this song. Because it's not a GREAT stand-alone tune, it loses some points. 3/5
SHOOT ME AGAIN - Lars's lyrical response to the Napster criticism is interpreted beautifully by James. The anger and frustration in those strained vocal chords hit something in every person's gut, you just feel it like a rock in the pit of your stomach; like it or not. I like it. 4/5
SWEET AMBER - About as old-school as this album will get, with a main riff that is pure Bay Area Thrash. I personally do not like this one so much as a whole. I just don't think it comes together as well as it could. I know it has all of the tempo changes and sudden starts and stops of all the other songs, but these transitions here seem less fluid, like the riffs don't all belong in the same song. 2/5
UNNAMED FEELING - One of my friends says might be the heaviest song on the album. I would give him no argument against it. This song is by far the most melodic on the album and one of the more musically complex ones. The lyrics and their delivery are spot-on for the mood of this song and are among my favorites of any Metallica song. The 3rd single off this album, Unnamed Feeling is probably the song casual fans and the one "Load/Reload" fans will enjoy the most. 5/5
PURIFY - I like this song. It is certainly not the worst song Metallica has ever written and CERTAINLY not the worst they've recorded (Poor Twisted Me, anyone?)! It's the shortest on the album and features, like the other ones, catchy lyrics over heavy and insane riffs and beats. Nothing really stands out here except maybe its outro which is pretty dang catchy. 3/5
ALL WITHIN MY HANDS - Oh...My...God. This song is PERFECT. As usual, Metallica does not disappoint with its album closers. By far and away this is, I think, the best song on the CD. It's long, it's moody, it's fast, it's dark, and most importantly, James is really ***ing pissed off behind that microphone. Every riff on this song is freaking SWEET as ice cream on a summer day. This song is the entire album in a nutshell (a lengthy 9 minute nutshell): Blast beats, frantic riffing, clean parts that build suspense, screeching halts, burn-out starts, and some of James's best lyrics in history. This goes right next to ALL of Metallica's opuses(spelling?): Fade, Ktulu, Puppets, Orion, Justice, One, Unforgiven, and Outlaw Torn. If anyone feels I left out a song, All Within My Hands is as good as if not better than that song. 5/5
And with that album, Metallica rose from what everyone thought was their grave and stuck another classic in the heavy metal library. Look at it this way, whether you love it or you hate it, you'll never forget it. Lars's tin can snare will always be pinging away at you, the muffled guitars rumbling you from yards away. And you'll want to go back whether you like it or not because (the band's been around long enough for this to be factual) this is not your father's Metallica. Like it or not, this is where the band is going and...since recent records show they have grown out of the "St. Anger" phase with Rob Trujillo on bass now and Rick Rubin producing the new record, who knows what we're in store for?
There, my first review of something. for you all to enjoy and ponder. Tips are welcome