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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 27 November 2006

This would the "greatest hits" Metallica said they would never do, so they decided to do something a little out there, and, by George, it's good.

"Master of Puppets" sounds better than the original (3 Metallica purists have just bought sniper rifles), "Fuel" sounds HUGE, the lethal bass intro "Devil's Dance" is picked out brilliantly by the orchestra, "Outlaw Torn" actually becomes listenable (6 more Metallica purists have joined the hunt for my head), "Hero of the Day" and "One" are, frankly, sublime.

And for those who love their Metallica raw "Enter Sandman" hasn't been messed around with too much by the orchestra, and "Sad But True" is still as brutally heavy as it was on the Black Album.

This is a must for Metallica fans, the only downside being that occasionally the guitars get a bit lost under the orchestra and the somewhat mundane "-Human".
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on 16 January 2006
After 8 studio albums (including Garage Inc), Metallica had actually lost quite a few of their fans. They had gone from a rip roaring and successful thrash metal band, to a more mainstream rock band to an almost alternative rock band. These changes led to Metallica being abandoned by some fans, but some of the true fans still stuck by them. They had gone through leaps and bounds, and many say that there wasn't a single decent album after the infamous Black Album. So, to attract some attention (and to recapture a few fans), Metallica went classical. Big style.
What they did was produce a surprisingly good live (yes live) album, along with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Confused? Well, it was somewhat of a rather epic experiment, and one that gladly paid off. Metallica played many of their classics (some open for debate however), and the Orchestra would play along with them. But come on, let's get this straight. Classical and metal just shouldn’t go together, they really shouldn't. But give this a listen and you will find that all the speculations are wrong - this is an incredible album.
The thing is, I am not the greatest fan of live albums. In fact I hate the majority of them. Yet this is in a different league. The quality is that great that you hardly notice the fact that it is a live album. It's so clean, the only thing that really gives it away is the presence of the cheering crowd.
What could have been a total disaster is turned into a deeply atmospheric and satisfying selection of tracks, and a lot of which improve on the originals. The orchestra provides the perfect atmosphere at times, blending in well with the guitars. A good example of this can be found in the song One, where towards the end the tone of the song changes and speed increases. The only downside is that at times the orchestra can be a little too overpowering, which in turn drowns out the guitars.
As far as the track listing goes, they have included many classics, including Enter Sandman (saved for last), Master Of Puppets, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Nothing Else Matters, One and Until It Sleeps. Unfortunately, absolutely nothing was included from Kill 'Em All, and there are a few songs that would of been perfectly suited for this album but never made it - where is The Unforgiven? As I said, a lot of the tracks do actually improve on their originals but there are exceptions. The Memory Remains, although an excellent song, isn't a favourite on this disc, and Enter Sandman just isn't the same. Having said that, The Call Of Ktulu is one of the highlights, vastly improving the 1984 original. The atmosphere is greatly improved, as is the quality resulting in a 9 minute masterpiece.
Also included on this album are 2 brand new tracks, exclusive to S&M. They are No Leaf Clover and Human. They are not timeless classics by any means, but No Leaf Clover is pretty good and Human is just ok.
All in all, this is one of Metallica's best releases to date, especially when you consider the release of it, at a time when Metallica were thought to of been going downhill. In fact, you could say it increased their respect at the time, brought back some old fans and even new fans. The track listing could of been a little better, but you simply cannot do without listening to one of Metallica's most famous and epic albums. It really is that good - and I hate live albums.
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on 27 January 2002
So you hear "Metallica" and "San Fransisco Symphony" in the same sentence, you'd figure you're dreaming or something right? That's what I thought, but then I realised I was awake and so I bought this album. I was a bit sceptical - not because I doubted how good it would be, but just coz I was curious as to how they'd manage to pull this off. Once I pressed play, I found out!!! 2 - yes 2 - CD's, all recorded live so the atmosphere's already there. I personally wanted some tracks like "The Unforgiven" or "Orion" in there, but when you've got many other great tracks on there (see the list!) you forget all that. As for the 2 new tracks "-Human" is a pretty powerful track, but "No Leaf Clover" has become 1 of my most fave. songs ever. The orchestra pulls it off so well that they make it seem like they've always been there, but don't expect them to drown out the metal :-) If you only buy 1 Metallica album in your entire life, make sure it's S&M!!!
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on 16 December 2001
This album is nothing short of stunning! I am a huge (the BIGGEST!) Metallica fan, and I was very impressed by the collaboration. This is a perfect sit-down and listen-to album (if you can control yourself that is!!), with everything from the pumping engines of Fuel, to Battery's dominating flurry. Truly, this album couldn't be much more from the heart.
Some "hard-core" fans knock this piece of brilliance without giving it a chance, but go in with an open mind, for a different view, and you won't be disappointed! Hetfield sounds better than ever, with his voice completely obeying its master, and his guitar playing burning hard, loose, and clean. Ulrich's drumming is laden with powerful fills, while Hammet remains God's gift to the guitar, and Newstead roars through his backing vocals like an angry Warthog (most notably in "Outlaw Torn").
In fact, even if you are only browsing this because you like the San Francisco Symphony, then I would still recommend it, because it is a truly excellent record for anyone who appreciates good (original) music!
So come hither and take my hand, we're off to never never land....
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on 20 February 2000
I have to admit that when I heard about the forthcoming 'S and M' album I really thought it was going to be a big mistake, just as I felt when 'Garage' was released. However as with 'Garage' I have been proved wrong. As an emphatic Metallica fan more into the earlier 'heavier' albums than of their latest offerings I thought the idea of adding an orchestra was a bad idea - How could they work together? Still I purchased the album and was suprised. The album provided me with over two hours of bliss. Sure the orchestra doesnt always gel with the playing(eg the hugely dissapointing Enter Sandman or Sad But True) but on some songs it adds to the power and feel in a very effective way- Check out Hero of the Day or Nothing else matters and both of the new songs. Even songs like 'Master of Puppets' and 'The Thing That Should Not Be' really work. Generally the sound quality is good although Kirk Hammets guitar is not nearly as loud as it needs to be. Hetfields voice is powerful throughout complementing the tightness of the band. Sometimes the orchestra crowds out the band and some songs sound completely different. 'S and M' doesnt really make up from the lack of quality of Reload or Load but certainly settles as something to listen to while waiting for the next album. No, more than that it is a rare and overall magnificent showpiece that actually works. Metallica can still cut it Live but when will we hear some new impressive material?
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on 5 March 2006
I was at first a bit dubious about the mix of Matallica and a symphony orchestra but i soon changed my mind. What a fantastic team up.
Metallica at its best mixed with the sounds of the Orchestra make this a superb dramatic album which i think is a must for all Metallica fans, even if you are not sure as i was, give it a listen and you will like it.
The unity of the two styles of music has been done perfectly, with poise, timing and execution which makes this finished product a fantastic partnership between Metallica and The San Francisco Symphony orchestra.
If Metallica is not dramatic enough for you already, The San Francisco Symphony orchestra only adds to the final product, making this even more dramatic than you can comprehend.
I only hope that both parties would do tour together in England. I would definitly be there.
It is a fantastic album and a definite must for your collection.
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on 29 December 2003
S&M combines not only the live, raw Metallica that all of us Metallica fans know and love, with the synchronised sound of the orchestra (sounds weird i know but it's brilliant). Some people say that mixing an orchestra with Metallica would sound awful but this album, once heard, proves them wrong. The orchestra is 'The San Francisco orchestra' and is conducted by Michael Kamen, which probably means nothing but put on a brilliant performance. Some well know Metallica tracks like 'Enter Sandman' and 'Master of puppets' are recognised but have a completeley sound to them which i love but which i suppose you really have to love or hate. This album also features two new tracks called 'no leafclover' and 'Human' which are good but are nothing special. I have now got all of the Metallica albums so i can safely say that in my opinion, despite being a compilation, it is the best Metallica album by far.
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on 21 November 2001
I'm no die-hard Metallica fan. I've enjoyed most of their albums but i must admit that this one blows all the others away. When I first heard of the album I thought it would be rubbish...Metallica and a Symphony Orchesrta in the same room? Won't work........how wrong was I!!!
Master Of Puppets was a powerful track already but with the full strength of the orchestra behind them it is by far one of the best tracks I have ever heard. No Leaf Clover, Fuel, Until It Sleeps and For Whom The Bell Tolls are excellent to. For me there wasn't any song on either disc that was a dissappointment.
It shouldn't work...BUT IT DOES. I would say that if you wanted to get any Rock album in the world...BUY THIS ONE.
Well done guys..heaven is here! S & M
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on 5 August 2002
I've been a die-hard Metallica fan ever since their debut album 'Kill 'em All' but I must admit I was dubious about whether 'S+M' would be another groundbreaking album or a complete sell out. Thankfully the former is true. The marriage of music between Michael Kamen's San Francisco Orchestra and the unbridled metal heaviness of Metallica works incredibly well. James Hetfield has never sounded better, his vocals clear and melodic whilst the guitar genius that is Kirk Hammet is as fantastic as ever. The highlight of the first disc is most definately 'No Leaf Clover' a new contribution from the band. Having said that though, every single song on the entire album is performed, finished and polished to incredible perfection. I say to you all now, go buy this album and follow the rest of us Metal-heads on the musical journey of a lifetime.
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on 30 November 2004
This is possibly the best album of all time ever, and i won't hear any different. Hetfield believe it or not delivers better vocals than on any of the cd versions of the songs. Master of Puppets took a bit of getting used to with the orchestra but now i prefer it with the orchestra. 'no leaf clover' is awsome, previously unreleased. you need this in your life. i even bought both the cd and dvd. cannot get enough of what is essentially the best band of all time aswell. c'mon i even spent my presious time writing about it.....really badly i might add, but trying all the same!
To close my ramble i'l leave you with a philosophical thought....buy it, the end.
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