without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Metallica had not released any new material for 6 years. To make things worse, The band had undertaken a massive PR failure in the Napster case, had lost their bass player of 14 years Jason Newsted, and frontman James Hetfield had entered rehab to treat his legendary alcohol abuse. Later, rumours surfaced about the new Metallica CD. A press release from a Swedish journalist reported that the album was going to be heavier, and more progressive than anything attempted previously. It also stated that Hetfield would sound like Phil Anselmo in some places, Kirk's solo's sounding more like Kerry King and Tom Morello, and Lar$ playing blastbeats. Lar$ himself even said that St Anger (as it was now called) would sound like Entombed. The world waited with baited breath to obtain the new Metallica recording that had been six years in the making...
I sure as hell don't remember any Entombed sounding like this! "The return to the Justice sound" we were promised is also absent. Justice was geniunely complex, this is just a bunch of meandering riffs played ad nauseum. We have one clusterfuck of an album that tries hard to be progressive and heavy, but succeeds only in being a complete cacophony (No, not the good kind with Jason Becker and Marty Friedman). Only noteworthy for featuring perhaps the worst production on a major label release ever.
James Hetfield (guitar, vocals) - James' guitar playing is effectively neutered by the poor production on the CD. His trademark style of picking seems to make a weak comeback on this album. The biggest change is his vocals. It has become apparent that they have suffered immeasurably over the last 6 years, sounding totally off key and strained in areas, and worryingly like Jonathan Davis in other areas (see The Unnamed Feeling).
Kirk Hammett (lead guitars) - Easily the best known thrash lead guitarist the scene has produced, Metallica have seemingly committed the ultimate sin in NOT LETTING HIM PLAY ANY LEADS AT ALL! Why they would relegate him to just doubling Hetfield I still can't understand, and that bullshit about it being "a group effort" doesn't wash with me either.
Bob Rock (bass) - That's right, fanboys who blame Rob Trujillo, Bob Rock handles bass duties and basically follows the guitars the entire time.
Lar$ Ulrich - (drums) - For once, Ulrich is not the weakest member of the lineup (that honour goes to Bob Rock this time). That said, his performance is still bad, not only just sitting back and keeping the beat, but doing a lazy job of it too. The "blastbeats" that were promised by that Swedish journalist are non-existant. I hate being lied to.
Easily the single biggest problem behind the album. Bob Rock, more known for his excellent production skills, as evidenced on prior Metallica recordings (most notably the Black Album) has disgraced himself immeasurably with this 9th-rate attempt at production. Where do I begin? First off, the bass is relatively buried, the guitars are reduced to sludge, and perhaps THE
most annoyng snare sound ever recorded on a major label release. There's plenty more, but I won't waste your time going into details.
Not on this release, mate. However, the closest thing to one is;
All Within My Hands - All Within My Hands opens with that fucking snare, then into fast-paced riffing, then morphs into an atmospheric verse, where Lar$'s drums are actually down in the mix! There are more aggressive songs and double-kick abuse on this track. It also comes off as more progressive and coherent and sounds most like the older Metallica material on this album. It fades out almost completely at about 5 minutes, then degenerates into chaos quite unlike traditional Metallica. Finally finishing on a frenzied note with a deranged Hetfield ranting "KILL KILL KILL KILL!" Top way to end the album, and head and shoulders above the rest.
St Anger - Perhaps the only other song to be semi-worthy of the Metallica name, it actually keeps the pace for the entire song (almost) and has more double-bass use than on Load and ReLoad combined.
Sweet Amber - This one is just borderline decent, and rather unremarkable. One of the more aggressive tracks on the disc, but neutered by lazy drumming and sludge-like guitars. What's wrong with having a good sound on an album?
Purify - More aggressive, despite the silly groove sections. A nice odd-time verse helps lends a small amount of complexity to an album that is completely devoid of it.
Practically everything else on the disc. Most of it is a mess of detuned riffs resembling Machine Head at their worst and strained off-key vocals by Hetfield. Some of the more annoying moments include the annoying country-style chorus of Frantic, the riffless wonder of Dirty Window, The Jonathan Davis-esque vocals present in the middle of The Unnamed Feeling, and the poor lyrics of, well, pick a song at random really. But even these are not even a tenth as bad as...
Raw Sewage Contaminated With Lead, Arsenic and Cyanide
Invisible Kid - Hands down the worst song on the album. It starts off promising, then degenerates into complete shit. THERE IS NO NEED TO TUNE THE GUITARS THAT FUCKING LOW!! It's half a step lower than Korn, for Christ's sake! Because of this, the guitars sound like sludge. Lar$'s drums sound a little better here. The riff in the verse I've heard been played better by The Offspring (see Original Prankster), and the part under the "I'm OK" verse is total Korn worship. They practically play the song three times before they do something different, which unforunately any semblance of goodness is
obliterated by Lar$'s shitty drums. Then it returns and plays the same song about once through. This would have been borderline mallcore/punk if they'd cut off about 6 minutes. The lyrics here are 4th-rate Korn lyrics and are total bollocks because of it.
Some Kind Of Monster - This cut comes dangerously close to being as bad as Invisible Kid. It starts out with a decent riff, which is milked for most of the song over different beats, being interspersed with another riff and an annoying-as-shit guitar line over the top. What an awful sound. Lar$'s drums are annoying to the point of attempted suicide here. When they finally do
something different, we are treated to a boring riff that's reminiscent of The Burning Red-era Machine Head (fellow ex-metallers and sellouts). The lyrics here are total bollocks as well. "These are (insert ending here)". This is awful really. But by far the most annoying part is when the instruments are cut out ... except for Lar$'s drums! This part also has some of James's worst vocals too. Off key and strained vocals that are very hard on the ears. There's
only one really different riff that FINALLY shows up at around 6 and a half minutes in. A return to Justice my arse! The only thing this song has in common with Justice is the length!
- Heavier than the last two studio albums...
-...but what good is that when the songs genuinely suck?
- Complex just like Justice? Bullshit!
- Sludgy guitar sound
- THAT FUCKING SNARE!
- Hetfield's WORST vocal performance
- Boring bass work
- Lar$ is still one of the laziest drummers in metal
- Does Kirk even play on the bloody album?
I had reviewed this on the second listen, and gave it a 61, feeling cheated, but not overtly. This is now the third listen roughly 6 months later and by Christ, it hasn't aged well. Do not waste your time with this shit.