Metallica‘s St. Anger is one of the most derided albums in metal history. Beset with problems, the recording of St. Anger was tempestuous and arduous at best. We all know the story; internal strife, trips to rehab….go watch Metallica: Some Kind of Monster again if you need a reminder.
So, the question is, where do you start with this most maligned of albums?
Is it Lars’ biscuit tin drums? (what are they thinking?!)
Can blame be laid at the fact there’s no solos to break up the sheer monotony of most of the music? (Poor Kirk).
Or was it the terrible, self help lyrics that seem to have been penned by a teenager who’s been grounded over the weekend by his parents? Frantic, tick, tick, tock indeed.
Who fucking knows? But the results were abysmal.
In their haste to stay relevant, and by swaying towards the popular trends in metal at the time, this is probably the Metallica album that has aged the worst (Load / Reload are masterpieces in comparison) and to listen to St Anger, from beginning to end, is an endurance test (the thing runs for 75 bloody minutes) and is to be attempted by only the strongest of individuals.
St. Anger was the sound of a band at odds with itself. It’s an open wound and an unflinching account of the human psyche as it painfully breaks down. Taken in that context, moments of St. Anger do work….but they’re just not shackled to songs good enough to do them justice.
This may have been the album Metallica needed to make, but it certainly wasn’t the album that fans wanted. The likes of “Dirty Window”, “Purify”, “Some Kind of Monster” etc are easily amongst the worst things Metallica have ever penned and the fact that this utter pish sold several million copies just goes to show that Metallica could probably record their bowel movements and muppets would still buy it (they did, it was called Lulu).
We love to worship metal (the clue’s in the name) but St. Anger‘s slack is not being cut today!
Have another listen, if you feel brave enough….