on 18 May 2012
I'll admit - I wasn't a fan of this album for... well, for about the first 5 years after I discovered Metallica. The songs seemed dull and I'd get a headache after listening for more than 15 minutes. It's not something you'd listen on a happy sunny day, on the beach or at a party (a normal party, at least).
But everything you need to know about the album lies in its title, St Anger. Anger. I went through a time in my life when everything kept pis*ing me off more and more each day, for about half a year. One time, feeling frustrated about everything I have to do, I put St Anger on high volume and... I loved it. Somehow I connected with the music, the aggressive tone of the instruments and the vocals. It seemed right. During that period, St Anger was my favourite album, and though I barely ever listen to it nowadays, I still appreciate it highly.
on 7 June 2003
Attend! Metallica are back and, regardless of what you may have heard, this IS their heaviest release of all time. Of the eleven pounding choons upon this long-player, there isn't a single ballad. Not even a mid-tempo number. It's fast, fast, fast and loud, loud, loud. What a din! Lars Ulrich seems to have taken Jason Newsted's derogatory comments about his drumming ability to heart, as here he puts in a performance of virtuousic dexterity and taste. Well, maybe not taste. James Hetfield sings as well as ever, with less of the yarling which has peppered recent LPs (well, if you can call "Reload" 'recent', it being seven years old), and his riffs are chunky as monkeys. Many of you may have heard that Kirk Hammett doesn't play any solos on this album. 'Tis true, 'tis true, but fear ye not... the songs don't need 'em. The bulldozing power of the riffage is more than enough. Bob Rock, producer, handles the bass (and co-wrote all of the songs with Hetfield, Ulrich and Hammett) and handles it well. The songs are all powerful, with cretinous lyrics which the 'Tallicatz are positive are profundity incarnate, and riffs which positively exhort one to bang one's head like a savage. As a bonus, the 'Talliladz have included a DVD of the entire album (yes, all of it!) with new boy Robert Trujillo playing the bass and waddling around like some kind of monster. It's all excellent stuff and while yes, one can hear some of the influences of dreaded 'nu-metal' here and there, it's like Metallica are showing these groups how it ought to be played. Hetfield doesn't rap, he barks. There are no idiotic 'wicca-wicca' scratchy noises. There are no stupid masks (as far as the DVD suggests, anyway). Whether Lars might want to wear some kind of mask in future anyway is open to debate, but what isn't is this: "St. Anger" is a loud, proud, smoking, stoking, hopping, bopping album which shows the 'Tallichapz are back with a bang. Hear, hear.
on 8 June 2003
Believe me Metallica are back to show all other so called 'rock' bands how it should be done. I've read some mixed reviews for this album, and people have moaned there is no melody or solos. Well get over it. I personally think there's plenty of melody on the album, but if you don't, you have to ask yourself why you are listening to Metallica. And as far as solos go, Metallica pretty much perfected them over the last 20 years and they have always been about innovation so it's not really any surprise they have ditched them. St. Anger is also a departure in the way Metallica have produced their albums, its very raw sounding, but you can still hear what an amazing band they are. Lars drums sound different, but what's wrong with that, it's the best he's sounded in years. There are no ballads either which is probably why some critics have moaned about the album lacking melody, but this still doesn't make it a bad album, Metallica are not a ballads band. Highlights have to be the tracks St. Anger, Dirty Window, Invisible Kid and Shoot Me Again. There really isn't a bad moment unlike Load and Reload and the free DVD is amazing. It contains the band rehearsing the whole album in their studio with new bassist Rob Trujillo (producer Bob Rock played bass on the album). The bands are on excellent form and I cannot wait to see them live. Easily album of the year.
on 27 April 2005
Like many fans I became interested in the band around the Justice Era & quickly snapped up their cds and overpriced box sets. I also enjoyed the looser style of the Load series and looked forward to a heavier CD.
Unfortunately like many fans & reviewers I was left disappointed in a mediocre result from such talented individuals. The songs that stand out for me are Sweet Amber and especially the Unnamed Feeling. The others are either ok, bad, or excellent (in places).
Whilst the sound has been well produced, I question the mix as the drums sound disjointed. Especially the snare drum(?) in terms of the balance of the songs, where it is too noticeable and on occasions sounds out of tune (with their noted production that seems unlikely so it is intentional...).
The lack of solos is noticeable (not critical as Fear Factory & Therapy? survived without them:>), I'm not sure the style of doing a song and repeating it (verses), or doubling up the verses was the best way around it. To guitarists there are some cracking riffs, but not consistantly through the entire song, namely due to the above mentioned song structure.
Personally it would have been better to have dropped the repetition and done much shorter tracks, which would have had better cohesion and more added punch. St Anger, Invisible Kid and Unnamed Feeling would have been cracking tracks.
The Anger in the riffs and lyrics hasn't been effectively put across and unfortunately having seen the 2005 DVD highlights how disjointed the whole album and production was. A 50 minute edited production would have been more endearing to fans.
I look forward to the next one, as metal has went a bit stale with too many trendy bands, that can't solo.
on 9 June 2003
There generally appears to be 2 schools of Metallica fans, those who align themseleves with the fast and furious rifferama of the 80s incarnation and those who prefer the groove song orientated 90s version.
This album attempts to satiate both camps and unfortunately falls flat on it's face. Having listened to St. Anger a few times i still cannot recall any distinctive riffs, solos or melodies. Each track goes through the same ritual: stop / start riffing, Hetfiels 'singing' a few bars within the 'quiet passages' and yelling like a banshee throughtout the rest. Ulrich playing what he feels like with no recognisable acknowledgement of the rest of the band and the guitars sounding like they were recorded in a cement mixer. A prime example is 'All Within My Hands' where the lack of timing is almost laughable. It seems Ulrich is playing to a different song so that this dislocation between the rhythm section and the guitars produces a barrage of indiscriminate noise. The production is unfathomable...what happenedto the crystal clear clarity of their last few records? Is this a retro fashion statement? I have records recorded 30 years ago that sound more contemporary than St. Anger.
I am sorry that i cannot find a postive aspect in this release and i cannot believe that Metallica can sink this low.
Simply if you like the opener 'Frantic' you will enjoy the album as a whole as it is more of the same, if you don't then you will be wasting valuable listening time.
Ooh well back to Load / Reload.
on 3 April 2007
A midlife crisis, or did they just forget how to play their instruments? This is a poor record, in terms of production, lyrics and the music. It's not just that it's Metallica, and we judge them by a harsher criteria than most bands, this is a poor album for any band to release.
Having said that, it is unbelievable that this is the same band responsible for ''Master of Puppets'', ''Creeping Death'' and ''Enter Sandman'', etc. How can they be the same band that produced this?
Where to start? Boring riffs, inane lyrics, (and this from James Hetfield, one of the finest lyricists in metal), and the drumming! It sounds as if Lars recorded his drums on some pots and pans in a toilet cubicle.
Not just bad Metallica songs, but bad songs full stop. An insult to one of metal's finest names.
on 24 June 2003
Gone are the ballads, the guitar solos, the classical guitar intros of songs such as One and Blackened and the occasional country records you'll have heard in Load and ReLoad. This is a different kind of Metallica, from start to finish you are pounded with heavy riffs, strong vocals and ever changing time signatures, but these tracks are very different from those before 'The Black Album' and at times it does seem as though the band has taken a 'nu-metal' approach but in my opinion this doesn't weaken the album. Personally the title track would be my favourite, heavy yet emotional, followed by the uneasiness or Frantic and then The Unnamed Feeling. 'St. Anger' really is the perfect title for this album.
on 17 July 2003
St anger is a great album and it shows that james hetfield and lars ulrich never run out of idea's. Yet again metallica have come up with a new style of heavy/thrash metal.
The vinyl its self is has a very good sound quality and has that vintage sound that you only get from a vinyl.
The title track "st anger" is an excellant peace of musiciamship, if you listen to it there are about five diffrent lines of lyrics. The songs invisable kid, shoot me again, frantic and my world also complimates the album. It's not metallica's finest album but it's far from disapointting. definetly worth getting, espiecally on vinyl.
on 16 June 2003
I stopped being a serious metal fan in the late 80's/early 90's as after a while everything began to sound the same. However, Metallica are the one band I have continued to follow, having first heard them on Kill em All way back when. This new album is certainly a departure, and I'm little surprised that alot of 'Metal heads' find it hard to come to terms with. Hate to harp back but that is one of the things that disullusioned me with the metal scene before... change is very badly recieved. It is high time that Metallica re-invented what was beginning to become a tired old formula and that is precisely what they have done. I also suggest that anyone who thinks that this is 'Nu-Metal' takes a listen to bands like Minor Threat, The Crumbsuckers. Metallica have certainly gone back to their roots and done it in fine style. For all you ludite's out there stick to your reminiscing, and we'll all enjoy the experience of change.
A Great Big Glowing Five Stars!!!!!
on 24 February 2004
It has been a long wait for a new studio album. The rather toned down experimental efforts of the load/re-load sessions pleased many people but frustrated a great deal more. With Lars Ulrich's determinations that ‘tallica were back to the energy levels of the 80's (certainly proved by their resurgence in their tours) one might be have been forgiven for believing the hype. There is absolutely no doubting that St Anger is a beast of an album. It exudes a greasy-dark atmosphere, leaving a suitably bitter taste in the mouth, vitriolic in both its intensity and aural strip-down. So its heavy. Check. but does it cut the standard?
Opener "Frantic" effectively smashes you clean in the face in much the same way as classic track 1's "blackened" or "battery". A stuttering drum start rips straight into perhaps the simplest and most effective riff of the album followed closely by a growling Hetfield and a passable but melodic chorus. The song clocks in around the five minute mark making it almost the shortest song on the record. Unfortunately after such a promising opening the subsequent title track quickly encapsulates all that is not so good with the latest album. .A punky opening is quickly dispelled by Lars’ new metallic snare sound and obscure production, effectively killing out the rhythm guitar and leaving an off-form Hetfield rather stranded. References back to the old days through the lyrics (‘fuck it all and no regrets, I hit the lights on these dark sets’) unfortunately do not manage to bring back the oh-so-promised “kill’em all/ride” swing. In fact if anything, Metallica seem to miss Jason Newstead’s creativity as much as they did Burton's. The switch between loud and quiet is ungainly, as are the time changes which fall far short of the progressive nature of "...and justice for all" or “Master of Puppets”. and consequently the track quickly becomes repetitive. Add to this the fact that Bob Rock and the boys have decided to totally dispense with guitar solos ( a point of huge significance) and suddenly the listening becomes very challenging indeed.
It is these base criticisms that blight almost all the tracks. The mid-section of a mediocre ‘My world’ for example finds the band floundering almost to the point of halting, while Lars’ exuberance during ‘Purify’ completely destroys any original groove on one of the more promising tracks. Its not that the guys have lost all sense of their talents, but its almost as if they are trying too hard to fit into a new generation of thrash metal. The songs are far too long for the rather cumbersome guitars ( a criticism heard before in the rather more daring “...and justice for all” record) and melodies not honed enough to justify the slower sections. It seems that in their haste to banish the load/re-load demons, Metallica have forgotten that the subtle dynamics of classics such as “one” and “welcome home sanitarium” made for far heavier listening than the simple volume of St Anger.
Fortunately the news is not all bad. Out of the blue “Some kind of monster” manages to out strip the last two studio efforts for an alternative ‘greasy’ feel, chugging along with swagger until repetition finally rears its ugly head. It has to be said that the majority of songs start strongly, as is the case especially with Invisible kid (ruined mainly by perhaps Hetfield’s worst lyrical performance to date) and My world, only then to be tarred by the short comings endemic throughout the album.
Ironically the bands that Metallica have most influenced (System of a down, Machine head, Chimera...etc ad nauseum) have now outgrown the old guard to the extent that Metallica now have to play second fiddle. In a word St anger is difficult to distinguish from its contemporaries, and this is why the album may well sit better with those into the new wave of heavy metal. Iron maiden seemed to have decided to return to old well worn tactics and hopefully so will Metallica in order to regain the creative power that produced some of the most important albums in the history of both metal and music as a whole.
Thus St Anger will present a major disappointment to most Metallica fans. I would however still recommend you purchase this CD, if only for the strength of “Frantic”, “Some kind of Monster” and the DVD extra (which interestingly paints the songs in a better light).