A.V. Club Most Read

News Newswire Great Job, Internet!
TV Club All Reviews What's On Tonight
Video All Video A.V. Undercover A.V. Cocktail Club Film Club
Reviews All Reviews Film TV Music Books
Features All Features Newswire Great Job, Internet!
Sections Film Tv Music Food Comedy Books Games Aux
Our Company About Us Contact Advertise Privacy Policy Careers RSS
Onion Inc. Sites The Onion The A.V. Club ClickHole Onion Studios

Metallica: St. Anger

-

Metallica

Album: St. Anger
Label: Elektra

Community Grade (4 Users)

  • A
  • A-
  • B+
  • B
  • B-
  • C+
  • C
  • C-
  • D+
  • D
  • D-
  • F

Your Grade

?

Metallica has encountered all sorts of roadblocks, distractions, and bad karma in the last few years, with troubles encompassing a high-profile dispute with Napster and its users, the departure of bassist Jason Newsted, and a stint in rehab for singer James Hetfield. So it's small wonder that the long-awaited St. Anger delves into themes of frustration, pain, and (naturally) anger, with a raw sound to match the visceral emotions in play. But "raw" is often just a gentle way of saying "badly produced," and St. Anger suffers mightily for its thin, washed-out sound. Lars Ulrich's tinny drums frequently sound like garbage cans being struck in the next studio over, the guitars almost invariably get mashed into a grubby paste, and Hetfield's vocals—hardly the crown jewel of the Metallica sound, especially after decades of full-throttle use—are maxed out for all the world to hear. The frontman's post-rehab navel-gazing doesn't help, nor do rote lines like "Invisible kid / never see what he did / got stuck where he hid / fallin' through the grid." More troubling is that St. Anger doesn't really deliver on the promise of its core concept: For the most part, it's about coming to terms with and embracing anger, but it never illustrates that process in a cathartic or disciplined way. Instead, the album's sprawling, rumbling raggedness manifests itself as monotonous mid-tempo indulgence, with songs that whomp along aimlessly for seven or eight minutes without momentum or purpose. In light of its controversial stance against file-sharing, Metallica earns points for including a pass-code to access bonus content online, not to mention a full-length DVD documenting St. Anger's rehearsal sessions. But that generosity doesn't seem to have extended to the album's production budget, and the result is a messy, unsatisfying misfire.