Review Summary: Who would have guessed it? They still got it.
It's quite amazing that S&M (first one) was 20 years ago. It's also quite amazing to me that James Hetfield was only 36 years old when S&M when they recorded that. Being 36yo myself nowadays (and a long time fan of Metallica since 1996, when aged 13y) , I cannot imagine having the background which James and the 'tallica boys had back there in 1999: world famous, loved and acclaimed, and having already written some of the most iconic and classic songs of heavy music of all times.
Fast forward 20 years, and it's evident that age has slowed them down a bit, but then again how could it not? While still able to write some amazing songs like THE DAY THAT NEVER COMES, HALO ON FIRE and others, it's clear Metallica is not the force of nature they were during the 80's and 90's, which is perfectly OK, since there are many other great musicians doing great things and Heavy Metal in particular is the genre that most consistently has great music being offered to the fans each year.
So, we find ourselves in 2019, James and the boys are reaching their 60y and they decide to revisit one of the more famous live albums in heavy metal history. This honestly could suck... It could just be a rerash of the previous S&M (though to be honest, sometimes it seems, as they could have used less songs than were already played), but as it turns out, this show ends up being more of a celebration of the almost 40 years of this band history, while also happening to homage their most famous live concert and at the same time being an awesome listen and showing some surprising "new" stull, like the symphonic versions of the songs from their 2 last albums, the beautiful acoustic version of a ST Anger song (All Within My Hands, which was somewhat lacklustre and now has become a "must listen" on this album), the beautiful interpretation of Unforgiven 3, and finally some surprises like a visit to 1983's Anaesthesia by the late, great, Cliff. However, what makes this album above the average, is the fact that the guys (and symphony!) are just nailing each song. The old classics also sound amazing, even though this is not a "fresh" band anymore. You can tell they are having a lot of fun playing this, and the production values are top notch. And when you mix these great versions of old songs, with the high quality entries from new songs and totally fresh takes on some classics, you get an amazing winner of an album, that while not mandatory for usual listeners, is certainly a MUST HAVE by fans of the band.