The problem with most CD reviews is you only get the opinion of the one critic doing the review. So we thought it might be fun to try something new here by giving the exact same CD to two different critics (or more) and see what they each come up with and just how much difference a single critic's opinion can make. 

This time around antiGUY, Dr. Fever, The Hobo and Scott Slapp give us their impressions of the new album from Metallica.

Note: due to the nature of this series, the reviews may tend to be more in the first person than you are used to with music criticism.

Metallica – St. Anger
Label: Elektra
 

Tracks:
Frantic
St. Anger
Some Kind Of Monster
Dirty Window
Invisible Kid
My World
Shoot Me Again
Sweet Amber
Unnamed Feeling
Purify
All Within My Hands
 
  • antiGUY's review - he gave it a rating of: 
    I know going in that this is going to be a controversial review. I’m glad that we are doing a tag-team so we can get the perspective of a few people, not just one. Let me state for the record at the outset that I have never been a HUGE Metallica fan. So you need to take that into account when reading my review. Although, I have to say, I absolutely love “Ride the Lightning” and “Kill Em’ All”.  But because I am not a diehard fan that automatically loves everything the band puts out, I can take a detached view of this disc and measure it on various levels. My ultimate conclusion is disappointment. 

    What I looked at when listening to this disc is the following: 

    1) How did it measure up to past work by the band?  
    a. Conclusion: In my opinion, one of their weakest efforts.
    2) How were the vocals, guitars and drums?
    a. Conclusion: While the guitars were heavy there was nothing mind-blowing about them. The vocals when judged against James’ past work fall short as well. The drums were the worst part; they reach the point of annoyance. I have no idea what Lars and Bob Rock were trying to accomplish with this sound, that comes out like Lars is banging on trashcans. But I think that was what really ruined this disc for me. If the drums would have had a more traditional sound, I might have been able to get into this disc more.
    3) Songwriting: 
    a. Again, judging against the band’s past work, the songwriting here seemed like a step backwards. It also appeared that they suffered from “Turbo” syndrome. That is an established band that used to be a trendsetter succumbs to the temptation to remain relevant by co-opting the sound of the current trend in the band’s relative genre. Judas Priest did it with “Turbo” and even bands like the Rolling Stones and KISS went with the disco craze. In this case, it sounds like Metallica was trying to uses bits of the nu-metal sound, primarily down tuned guitars.  The lyrical content and vocals are nowhere near as good as previous work from this band. 
    4) Production
    a. The drum problem falls into this area too. Was Bob Rock, who is best known for his lavish production, trying to prove he could make a raw record? That might be the case, but the end result of the overall production here is a poorly executed job. If this album had been produced better, I would have an extremely more positive take on it. 
    I’ve already used up more space that I should have, but I wanted to state my case on why I came to my conclusions about this album. I will leave off with this thought. Way back when I was a wee nard, I saw Metallica for the second time at the Monsters of Rock Festival at the LA Coliseum. When Metallica hit the stage it was unbelievable, fans from up in the stands rushed down and knocked over the fence that separated the floor level from us folks in the nosebleed section and it was pure pandemonium. I thought of that when listening to this disc and asked myself, “Would Metallica get the same response with these songs?” and sadly I had to conclude they wouldn’t.   

    This isn’t a really bad album but when measured against’ the group’s previous work, it just doesn’t measure up. 
     


    Dr Fever's Review - He gave it a Rating of 

    It is well documented that I have supported Metallica through all their ups and down over the last few years. So, that aside, I can honestly say; I like this album. BUT I recognize it's faults. The production is a little weird and the snare drum does sound like Lars is beating a plastic trashcan. Outside of that, I dig the hell out of this album. 

    This album IS a sort of return to the Metallica of old, but what you've got to keep in mind is these guys are pushing 40 and have families n such, so completely re-hasing their previous material would be, well, lame.  They have evolved, and this of course is just a horrible f*****g crime for so many Metallica "FANS."
    I will go on record now by saying these two things:

    1) If you ever said "Hell yes I love Metallica, i'm a HUGE FAN!" and then you turn around and bash the hell out of the album ONLY because it has no solos....YOU were NEVER a Metallica fan.
    2) If I hear the no solos argument ONE MORE TIME I’m going to start slicing throats.


    The Hobo's Review - He gave it a Rating of 

    Rumors flew thick and fast leading up to the release of St. Anger. Even before the album was released, it seemed everyone had an opinion. The single, (also named St. Anger) didn’t have the effect the band had hoped for, and acted as a very negative foreshadowing of what was to come. The awkward time changes took a while to get used to, as did the bands new sound. For those uninformed that ‘new sound’ consists of Hammit’s and Hetfield’s guitars strung to low-B, a more prominent drums kit complete with an infinitely irritating piccolo snare, and a new bassist who seems to think he’s some kind of devil-ape thing.

    My first take on the album was not a good one. I thought I had wasted my money, and foolishly assumed the album was going to be worthwhile. However, within twenty-four hours, I had adapted, and now, enjoy it thoroughly. I do however have my criticisms.

    The band is now extremely self-conscious, and as such is preoccupied with attempting to hark back to the days of Master of Puppets – at which they similarly fail. Lars tries to hard to use faster beats and shoves double bass lines into everything no matter how unsuitable or overused. 

    The notion that “there were no suitable points for solos” (Hammit) is absolute nonsense. Throughout the album there were points where solos were CRYING OUT to Hammit. Hetfield also managed to lessen perfectly good songs like Frantic with stupid lyrics like “Frantic tick tick tick tick tick tock”. And the band doesn’t seem to understand it can’t maintain nine-minute song structures without any kind of solo.

    Nit picking aside, however the album is fairly enjoyable if you’re able to tune out all the politics and hype surrounding the band. My favourite song on the album is Sweet Amber, which is only missing an epic solo to make it a classic. It seems however that many people jumping on the anti-Metallica bandwagon will rip at the new album for every single flaw until it is severed from the musical world. The band, the fans, and the haters have all become so self-aware that it is literally impossible to listen to the album without analyzing every track to the point where no one can hold a neutral opinion. Yes I loved Kill Em’ All to Justice, but I also liked Garage Inc., because I was able to put aside the politics and media frenzy, and listen to a damn good rock album.
     


    Scott Slapp's Review - He gave it a Rating of 

    I was asked to keep this quick, so I will. All I can say after listening to this CD a dozen or so times (people told me it grew on them), is now I understand why Metallica had bands like Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit on their “icons” special. When they announced the lineup I wondered what in the hell were they thinking but now I understand, Metallica wants to be Limp Bizkit.  Listening to the simplistic dropped-b guitars and the vocal phrasing James used it became apparent that Metallica are no longer content to be trend-setters (something they haven’t been for years) but instead rest on the laurels of copping the popular sound of the moment. 

    They hyped this thing up as the heaviest record they have ever down, but I just don’t hear that at all. It doesn’t have any of the fire and energy of early Metallica but is instead a “safe” record designed to appeal to kids who buy up Limp Bizkit and Slipknot CD’s.  

    I’m no fan of Bob Rock, a guy that tends to really over-produce every band he works with, but what in the hell happened here? He went to the other extreme, this CD sounds like it was recorded on an 8 track in a garage. I understand trying to get a rawer, more street vibe sound, but this is just awful. 

    James forgot how to sing with real balls years ago, once Bob Rock got a hold of him but he brings things to a new low here and the lyrics are just plain lame at points. The worst part of this whole ordeal is the drums. What in the hell happened here? Did Lars throw his drumset away and just bang on the pots and pans from his kitchen?   

    Flame me all you want, but “St Anger” is a new low from this once great band. I know the hardcore fans would praise this band if they farted on tape but this CD is an embarrassment to the Metallica name and I’m sure Cliff Burton and Satan are in a highly pissed off mood down below when listening to this “product”. 
     


    Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online

    Visit the official site for Metallica for more information on this CD and the band



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