I bought Metallica’s new album, St. Anger, on June 8 and I’ve been listening to it non-stop ever since. It was somewhat of an impulse buy because I didn’t realize it was out until I walked by FYE in the mall. At $15.99, I couldn’t argue with the price considering that it covered the CD, a DVD of rehearsal performances of each song, and a special code to unlock live MP3’s and other exclusive stuff online. Not bad for a band scorned for being greedy enough to kill Napster.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the album. I read an early review that stated the album was a return to the Old Metallica, but with a brand spankin’ new bassist how could that be? What I heard when I listened was a totally new Metallica that didn’t sound like the first New Metallica. In a sense, it was a return to their old style, with quick rhythms and growling vocals, but there was another layer of sonic depth that wasn’t there on much of the early stuff. The songs are nice and long, nothing that most radio stations would play in their entirety, yet they never get boring. The lyrics are nothing extraordinary and occasionally, the words are somewhat repetitive as in “Shoot Me Again.” However, all of the songs rock in a way that’s pure Metallica.
In a sense, St. Anger spells redemption for a band that has seemed lost for quite some time. Metallica lost quite a few Bay Area Bangers with Load, essentially isolating thousands of their most dedicated fans with an album that at its hardest was alterna-metal. Having lost many old fans, Metallica then seemed to target their new ones by setting their sights on Napster’s demise. With special features for the new crowd, and furious rhythm and liner notes for the old, St. Anger can’t help but reestablish Metallica as the gods of rock.