BY JUSTIN STOCKTON
After another very long touring cycle through the late nineties and early two thousands, fans were eager to have a new Metallica album in their hands. How were Metallica going to enter the new millennium? Would they return to their roots or go a different way? Well after almost breaking up (yes there was a lot of in fighting and James' alcoholism taking its tole.) the band finally had a new album out on June 5th 2003 entitled “St Anger” which once again sold like crazy but in recent years a lot of people have considered it mediocre and even their worst album. Well is it really that bad beyond Lars' wacky snare sound and absent solos? Lets see why because I for one enjoy this album and I'll tell you why.
1.Frantic- right of the bat you can tell that this album s waaay different than Load or Reload because for one, the band sounds way more angrier, almost with a punk edge. The Nu metal influence is present to an extent mainly with the almost bare bones production to it. The number one criticism I always hear is not the song writing or crafting of the album, but how especially how the drums sound. The infamous “garbage can” snare has been an annoyance to so many people that I am sick of hearing about it. It honestly doesn't bother much because I think it goes with the brash style of this album. It's meant to sound angry and pissed off and I think what they are going for is done fairly well, not perfect but enough to where I can get into the songs. The riffs now even more down tuned sound pretty heavy and James spits lyrics with pure venom all over this album as well. Overall a solid opener but it suffers from being a tad too repetitive.
2.St. Anger- probably the song most people know off this album and it's a really heavy number especially in that opening riff and Lars' very brash kick pedal drumming it really works considering the last two albums weren't as heavy as this one is. The lyrics present a darker Metallica as well and the chorus is pretty damn catchy I always liked how it seemed like James threw some previous lyrics from older tracks in there. Unfortunately I always felt there could be a really aggressive solo peppered somewhere in this track and it would have sent it over the top but unfortunately that keeps it from being more than just a good song idea.
3.Some Kind Of Monster- I always thought this was one of the heaviest songs on the album the riffs are very in vein to a song like “Sad But True” which I dig. I like the parts where it would speed up too and there are some nice grooves thrown through out as well. Unfortunately it is another song that gets caught up in a repetitive fashion to where it doesn't sound like a complete song but more of a song idea.
4.Dirty Window- Easily my favorite song off the album, the main riff is just so infectious and the verses I always sing to when this song is on. OI really like the soft almost reggae-ish bridge too where it just slows down I think it adds to the song. A pretty good catchy heavy punked out hard rock song.
5.Invisible Kid- Another pretty catchy song but with a more frantic pace more in vein of “Frantic”. It doesn't blow me away or anything but there are some nice riffs especially the main riff that goes throughout almost the whole song. Unfortunately it gets kind of stale of the third listen and tends to be one I skip once in awhile. Its an ok song.
6.My World- This is probably the most metal song on the album with a faster almost thrashy riff to it. The repeating chorus in the beginning is the only thing that I absolutely do not like it just sounds so off putting but luckily its not in the rest of the song. The grooves are really well done in this song as well. I'll always played this one if I have the album on it just is a good angry number that really kicks some ass.
7.Shoot Me Again- The opening always reminded me of Van Halen's “Atomic Punk” but anyways this song is honestly kind of boring. It kind of just repeats what the past few songs did but with these verses that sound like they came from the early two thousands. It just bores me with no soloing up to this point it just doesn't feel as inspired at least much as the first few songs.
8.Sweet Amber- I do like the sort of bluesy riff at the beginning that goes into a more punk riff and into a full on assault. I do like the power behind this song it feels like it has more bump than the previous one. Again it grooves pretty well and the chorus isn't bad either but feels a bit out of place at least on the first few listens but I eventually lightened up to it because it brings the song back around to the more thrashy elements in a pretty organic and fitting way.
9.The Unnamed Feeling-The song opens with some heavy riffing and clean guitars with it that leave you honestly not knowing how the songs going to turn out. It really drags in the beginning I feel but then gets to a hard rocking part with James singing way in the background that I still don't really like. It is another song that just feels more boring than exciting to me. I tend to skip this one when I listen to this album.
10.Purify- Another purely heavy song but at this point it just feels a bit stale. This song doesn't feel complete to me at all and at some times just feels lost in itself. It sounds again more like a good song idea more than a complete song.
11.All Within My Hands- This is anther song unfortunately that feels more like a jam but again doesn't do much for me. It just doesn't have a real pay off and feels like a stale closer to the album with whatever they were trying to pull with this one.
Overall, I give this album a 6 out of 10. Now I was not bothered by the album production at all in fact I welcomed it because I understood the hard unapologetic sound they were going for. Unfortunately this album suffers from about the last third of the album being very boring to me. It just felt stale and too drawn out. The first 5 to 6 songs are welcomed listens to me, I just wish they had more time spent on them with more variety and less repetition through the riffing. Still, I listen to this album if I have this album on during long car rides some times because those songs that I enjoy, I enjoy as much as I enjoy the good songs on “Load”. I thought this album was very daring for them and I still think it is good for rediscovering today if you are into bands like Godsmack because this album seems to feed on the sounds coming out at that time. After another long tour again, Metallica would wait until 2008 to release their latest album entitled “Death Magnetic”.
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