Thursday, March 22, 2007


Back in 2003, I gave Metallica a pretty thorough kicking over St. Anger. I never listened to the record again after that awful experience in the publicist’s office, sitting there with my ass falling asleep while the record clattered and roared out of the speakers for 75 straight minutes. I meant to pick up the retail version, which came with a DVD of the band (including then-brand-new bassist Rob Trujillo) playing the songs live in a garage or something, but never did, and it wasn’t like the label was gonna send me a copy for free after what I wrote. So I just went on with my life. But almost four years have passed, and Metallica are recording another “return to form” album, this time with Rick Rubin in the booth. So I figured it was time to take another gander at the last disc. Thank you, Rapidshare…

Except, the thing is, the album’s just as bad as I remember. In fact, it’s even harder to listen to at 128kbps; the cymbals, which were already hissy and fucked-sounding, are almost completely dissolved into a staticky wash. The various segments of the songs, which never fit together organically the way tracks on …And Justice For All seemed to shift gears as necessary (instead, they felt stapled together, almost clacking into place), seem a little less haphazard and clunky, at least as far as the editing is concerned, but they still don’t have anything to do with each other. There’s no rhyme or reason to the songs’ structures; verses and choruses don’t belong together, seeming to come from entirely different writers and writing processes. Now, in recent weeks the bar for badness has been set pretty high (or low, depending how you think about these things) by the Stooges’ horrific “comeback” album, but believe me, St. Anger is every bit the embarrassing, pitiable musical miscarriage it was upon its initial release. (All of which, ironically—or maybe pathetically—only serves to make me hope even harder that the new album will be good.)

1 comment:

invisibleoranges said...

Yep, it's bad. Somehow, though, the album makes a little more sense if you watch that DVD. Trujillo has amazing energy and manages to make a standard live in the studio set seem like a sweaty club date.