Saturday, 19 March 2011

CD Review: St. Anger, by Metallica (2003)

Lars Ulrich plays a drum set consisting of rusted and burnt barrels borrowed from inner-city Detroit gap-toothed hobos. Kirk Hammett is entirely missing in action, as Metallica attempt the first heavy metal album without a prominent lead guitar sound. James Hetfield screams inane lyrics, and repeats them ad nauseum. Producer Bob Rock plays the bass. Perhaps he should have paid more attention to the control board, since the entire album sounds like it was recorded underwater.

Some of these flabbergasting decisions must have seemed like good ideas at the time, but ultimately, St. Anger is what a band in crisis sounds like. Internal divisions and substance abuse finally took their toll, and the album was recorded under clouds of division and stress. 20 years after the debut Kill'Em All was released, and 12 years after reaching the heights of commercial music success with Metallica in 1991, St. Anger reveals Metallica as a spent force, with any attempts at experimentation and new ideas hitting an immediate solid wall of failure.

The songs are too insipid yet too long, the simplistic chords are repeated forever, and Hetfield's anguished vocals generate bemusement rather than emotion. Some Kind Of Monster is the only track that gains some traction, maintaining some semblance of power and cohesion, but it too suffers from a rapid drying out of ideas and over-simplicity. The rest of the album is best forgotten, droning on in its lost universe, Metallica occupying an unknown lonely planet that no one wanted them to travel to.


James Hetfield - Guitar, Vocals
Lars Ulrich - Drums
Kirk Hammett - Guitars
Robert Trujillo - Bass

Note: Bob Rock played the Bass during the album recording.

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Frantic - 7
2. St. Anger - 7
3. Some Kind Of Monster - 8
4. Dirty Window - 7
5. Invisible Kid - 7
6. My World - 6
7. Shoot Me Again - 7
8. Sweet Amber - 7
9. The Unnamed Feeling - 6
10. Purify - 6
11. All Within My Hands - 6

Average: 6.73

Produced by Bob Rock and Metallica.
Recorded and Mixed by Bob Rock. Mastered by Vlado Meller.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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