I'm Judge and I'm Jury and I'm executioner too

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's been sometime since we've last met. On June 5, 2003 Metallica have released their latest album - St. Anger. After countless ballads, a Bob Seger cover, a Marianne Faithful collaboration, a SF Symphonic Orchestra collaboration, loss of a lot of respect and bass player Jason Newsted, Metallica are back, like Phoenix from the ashes, to rock the town with a fresh large dose of thrash and speed.

The album was released five days early in order to 'combat music piracy over filesharing networks'. Fans who buy the CD receive also a DVD with the entire album, filmed and recorded live. The title of the album and the first single, St. Anger, was chosen by James Hetfield upon completion of his time in alcohol rehab, where he supposedly learned that anger can be a good thing:

"You can handle anger and use anger in a positive sense," Hetfield said. "I felt I can take anger and be assertive with it. It also helps me protect, like, if something's going wrong you can protect your family. I mean there's a lot of good uses for anger that I never saw before. This is all new to me, and if it's completely 101 for most people, that's fine, but for me this is pretty profound."

track listing

  1. frantic
  2. st. anger
  3. some kind of monster
  4. dirty window
  5. invisible kid
  6. my world
  7. shoot me again
  8. sweet amber
  9. the unnamed feeling
  10. purify
  11. all within my hands

the crew

On this album Metallica are:

St. Anger
June 5, 2003

source: http://launch.yahoo.com/read/news.asp?contentID=213668

skongshoj says: Perhaps you already know this, but a fun Metallica fact is that they essentially swapped bassists with Ozzy for St. Anger. Jason Newsted went to Ozzy's band about the same time as Mr. Trujillo left it for Metallica.

herbman says:you might want to mention that bob rock played the actual bass on the album, since rob wasn't around yet also. :)

Davidian says RE: St. Anger The basswork on the album was done by Metallica's producer since the black album, Bob Rock. Robert Trujillo did not play a note on the album.

the video

The music video for the song was filmed in the San Quentin state prison in California, where Metallica gave a live performance for the inmates. What made the greatest impression on me was the guard at the beginning of the video saying: "I would like to inform you that the state has a no-hostage policy. In the unlikely case of you being taken hostage, the state will not negotiate your exchange for another inmate." Not exactly an ideal situation.

Warning: Album review

As a long time Metallica fan who has owned and loved every album since Kill em all I feel I am somewhat qualified to discuss their latest effort. It is obvious that the band have made an attempt to go back to their roots but in my opinion it just doesn't work. Until now the music of Metallica has matured with each new album and has evolved from straight thrash metal to a dark introspective fusion of various musical styles. Throughout this time they have managed to keep their trademark heavy, crunchy sound and high production values. This is no longer the case.

Once again Metallica have teamed up with producer Bob Rock who has been with the band since the 1990 recording sessions for the "Metallica" album (the black album to most people). Rock's involvement with the band has brought about a 'fuller' sound and generally higher production values - until now. St. Anger sounds like it was recorded in a backyard shed with a $20 microphone...Well maybe not that bad but you get the idea. The drums in particular sound hollow and cheap. This is made worse by the fact that they appear to be quite prominent in the mix (they are quite loud). The bass guitar on the album was actually played by Bob Rock and I can't help but think that he should have spent less time on the bass and more time behind the mixing desk actually producing the album.

The music
This album differs from Metallica's previous efforts in that there are no ballad type tracks to break up the carnage. I find this dissapointing as I believe that songs such as Nothing else matters and The unforgiven have provided some of the band's finest moments. The drumming consists of a lot of double time sections (you know - the parts that sound like the drummer is just bashing the kick and snare as fast as they can) which could have worked better had the drums not been so damn loud (see above). It has been said that Rock's efforts on bass leave a lot to be desired and didn't really do much for the band's sound. My response is "you can't polish a turd". By this I mean you can't expect complex melodic basslines on a heavy metal album. The songs leave little scope for the kind of bass sound that would truly make it's mark. Above all else, the biggest dissapointment of this album to me is the complete and utter lack of lead guitar sections. Gone are the blisteringly fast solos and soaring interludes that formed such a big part of the Metallica sound. Kirk Hammet was the main reason I learned guitar in the first place and has always been my number 1 musical hero. It is sad to see that he has given it up in favour of more rhythm based parts.

The Video
Included with the CD is a DVD of the band playing the entire album live. The setting is a large room (rehearsal studio?) containing the band, their gear and a camera crew. The performance is a fairly accurate rendition of the album which is all well and good but the thing that I noticed most was the way that newcomer Robert Trujillo entirely fails to fit in with the rest of the band. I know he is new but witness him dancing around like a gorilla while the others adopt more traditional heavy metal poses and you'll know what I'm talking about. It's more amusing than anything really.

You may have gotten the idea by now that I don't really like this album. Well you'd be right, but not entirely. It does have it's moments (Invisible kid and St. Anger were the highlights for me) but when compared to some of their previous efforts this falls a long way short of the mark. Perhaps this is just a misguided attempt to inject youth into their music or perhaps the band really are trying to regain their roots...Either way this album has changed my view of the band and when they next release new music I will (for the first time) be listening to it before I buy.

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