Justify Your Shitty Taste I: Metallica’s “St. Anger”

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, justify your shitty taste On: Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

hetfield

Almost every band has that album: you know, the critically and/or commercially reviled dud in an otherwise passable-to-radical back catalog. Well, every Wednesday morning, a Decibel staffer or special guest will take to the Deciblog to bitch and moan at length as to why everybody’s full of shit and said dud is, in fact, The Shit. To kick it all off, Kevin Stewart-Panko gets fran-tick-tick-tick-tick-TICK-TICK-TOCK for Metallica’s eternally filmic St. Anger.

Back when I was deeply ensconced in the world of post-graduate academics, and of the belief that a higher—and then an even-higher—education would get me somewhere in life (it didn’t), one slice of advice I received from my weathered colleagues was, when writing an exam, to jump around and complete a couple of easier test questions before diving head-first into the brutally difficult material. We’ve all received similar advice; “baby steps” is how most of us understand the process. Well, my fellow Earth dogs and chrome hounds, let me tell you that baby steps are for yellow-backed ‘fraidy cats, and for the inaugural blog column our beloved reviews editor has christened Justify Your Shitty Taste, said advice has been summarily ignored with extreme prejudice. We’re diving in head-first and kicking things off with one of the grand daddies of ‘em all: possibly one of the most collectively maligned albums to be foisted on the general public since Y2K. And since I’m probably the only one crazy and/or dumb enough to go on record as enjoying Metallica’s St. Anger, here I am, assuming my position as the Deciblog’s “Human Shield.”

Let’s be honest here—if St. Anger is being compared to any of Metallica’s first four records, then yes, it is in fact an epically proportioned pile of steaming rhino dung. Even as a standalone piece, it has more than its fair share of blemishes. But I firmly believe that a large part of the disdainful regard in which St. Anger is held is the result of it coming from the same dudes who gave us Kill ‘Em All, …And Justice for All and everything in-between. As well, during the time in the lead-up to its release, I recall interviews where the band proclaimed they were reverting back to playing with more intensity and what-have-you after the musical fireside chats that were Load and Re-Load. Whether this was interpreted by the Hesher Nation as a “return to their roots” only worked to ramp up the potential for bitter disappointment, especially since it took them until Death Magnetic five years later before they embarked upon anything approximating their roots. Although, if they really wanted to get back to “back in the day,” they’d be doing NWOBHM covers at a shitty Sunset Strip watering hole in front of 15 people on a Monday.

Jaymz and Co. didn’t make it easy on listeners’ ears. I’m still amazed—especially after watching Some Kind of Monster—that after all the time they spent piecing this thing together that no one stopped, after vigorously Q-tipping their ears, and said, “Hey, that snare sounds a little… weird, don’t ya think?” This is another point on which the band gets run through the wringer; if it weren’t for the fact that these are same yokels who wrote “Hit the Lights,” “Dyers Eve” and everything in-between, the response to a shitty drum sound would have been far more muted and we definitely wouldn’t be kvetching about it seven years later. Fuck, I wouldn’t be hasty in wagering that if “black metal band X” hailing from Estonia-via-the-forests-of-British-Columbia offered us a similar snare sound on an album released by Profound Lore, the metal community would be back-slapping them for their enduring kult-ness and lack of compromise. Decibel has congratulated Darkthrone for creating way shittier-sounding albums than St. Anger.

Okay, so far this doesn’t seem like a very robust justification of the album. Neither will it seem so when I tell you that every song on St. Anger is two-to-three times longer than need be, especially when most of them only consist of a small handful of repeating riffs. But many of those down-picked chug-a-luggers are slothy and massive, like Celtic Frost, Christbait and a raised-in-Massachusetts Godflesh injected with second-tier southern rock/sludge and tolerable alt-metal (including Entombed’s Same Difference). Then, there are those bursts of speed—shit, there are some near-blast beats in spots!—that originally drew me to the album in the first place. The likes of “Frantic,” “Invisible Kid,” the title track and album closer “All Within My Hands” (though I doubt many of you have ever made it that far) are catchy as fuck and contain more memorable moments than something like, Defiance’s Beyond Recognition or any other third-tier thrash album the “metal vest” crowd creams their jeans over these days, 15 years after the fact. And if you’re going to tell me that you can’t at least recall and hum the melody to “Some Kind of Monster,” then you’re lying harder than a politician on the campaign trail.

What I enjoy most about St. Anger is how fucked-up it sounds. Yes, again with the snare, but if you spin this fucking mess on headphones, you’ll hear that the rhythm guitar tracks aren’t butt crack-tight. Slight nuances like fret slides, bum notes and ringing strings are rampant, giving the album a sense of realism, like you’re sitting in on a monitor-less rehearsal in a garage reeking of wet dog fur and oily power tools. It sounds like a band playing together, but not exactly playing together. And while it was probably a colossal waste of money to capture something that is essentially a passionate rehearsal, I quite enjoy the warmth and looseness of it.

What I don’t enjoy is the excruciating length of some of these songs, especially since there’s no spotlight on one of metal’s most influential lead guitarists and too much spotlight on lyrics about James Hetfield’s addiction battles. As someone whose parents are still blaming Kirk Hammett for me picking up a guitar some 26 years ago (and the many sleepless nights that followed), as well as someone who’s never experimented with alcohol or drugs, these are sticking points. Hetfield’s legacy as a lyricist has mainly come from his pointed poetry accompanying some of our genre’s most killer classics. They weren’t Shakespearean-quality stanzas, but songs originally sung for a bunch of pimply-faced goobers still decoding the English language’s grammatical by-laws. Despite the offering up of some real stinkers, there’s a raw emotion and bald attitude to St. Anger, and were the songs cut to a minute-and-a-half or two minutes each, this would’ve been a blistering “punk” album.

This is how I’ve come to make St. Anger more palatable and listenable—hit the “next” button before things start to get too repetitive. You might discover, like I did, a rough shamble, punk-styled album held together with duct tape, bubblegum, some stellar bass playing from Bob Rock (yeah, I said it), a surprising display of drum acumen from Herr Ulrich (yeah, I said it again) playing some of the fastest and most potent beats of his career, and some infectious riffing. You may not enjoy it is as much as I’ve come to, but at least you’ll have saved yourself a fuckload of time in the process.

TRACKLIST
1. “Frantic”
2. “St. Anger”
3. “Some Kind of Monster”
4. “Dirty Window”
5. “Invisible Kid”
6. “My World”
7. “Shoot Me Again”
8. “Sweet Amber”
9. “The Unnamed Feeling”
10. “Purify”
11. “All Within My Hands”

  • Matt

    Great piece! I may have to give it another listen. I always enjoyed the Bonus DVD that came along with St. Anger. I ripped the audio frrom said DVD and I swear that was the album they wanted to release. It was so raw and “live”. The snare isn’t nearly as obtrusive as on the “produced” CD.

    • Pete

      Can you burn me one? Or tell me where to find a copy online? bellmawrwolf@hotmail.com

    • Klimbo666

      Yep, you’re totally right! Back in the days, it was always the DVD playing in my appartment instead of the album. You got Robert Trujillo on bass, not Bob Rock…

      • Tossom

        Wrong, it is Bob Rock on bass. Trujillo didn’t play on the album, as it was recorded before he joined.

        • Evolvedchicken

          You dumbass.

        • Jandrem

          Klimbo’s talking about the DVD, Trujillo plays bass on the live DVD that came with the album. Dumbass.

  • Chris D.

    I just can’t listen to this album. Can’t. It-hurts-so-bad can’t.

  • http://hhbrady.wordpress.com/ Hhbrady

    Truth be told, I still like Sweet Amber.

    • Kinetik

      Me too. All Within My Hands is my favourite on the album but it’s flawed as everything is on St Anger. Lars channels his inner Gene Hoglan on this song and I think it’s his best drumming since Justice. He was obviously pissed off and it translated into stellar (for Lars) drumming and that hideous snare sound.

  • jfury

    Great writing, Bonzo. Ass-crack tight.

    • Andrew

      this is panko’s. sorry, i should make author more clear in the future.

      • Andrew

        fixed. i will say that KSP inspired albert and i to give “invisible kid” a spin. i got through three minutes and everything!

  • MetalDrew

    sorry this album is still not happening, no matter how hard you preach about it. It just bites the big one. Yes the snare sucks ass! for the style that Metallica plays. But to drop Darkthrone’s name in the blender with the main subject being St. Anger is just simply wrong! St. Anger is the equivalent to Celtic Frost’s “Cold Lake”.
    Plain and simple.
    Just bad taste in St. Anger, that’s all.
    When this album first came out, I gave it a listen and did not once let the first four albums come across my mind to compare it to. It was just bad material, things might have happened differently if they got rid of bob rock. That dude was just bad news for them and thought he was in the band.

    • http://twitter.com/martijnterhaar Martijn ter Haar

      Well, when we’re getting to that: Cold Lake is nowhere near as bad as people want you to believe either. Cherry Orchards is a good single.

      • MetalDrew

        Cold Lake was bad, it would be a different story if the record label had let Tom G. Warrior release it as his solo album. But, the label made him put the C.F. name/logo on the release so they could make some sort of profit off it.
        Cherry Orchards, is the song someone wants to hear when they are encouraging a hangover to stay longer.
        But kudos to you for enjoying it.

  • Samhainkid

    i’m sorry, but i thought this piece was supposed to defend St. Anger. in some places it does, but KSP still brought up the bad points about the album too often. but even if he didn’t, i still wouldn’t be able to get into this record and for exactly all the points he mentioned. and mentioning the accolades given to Darkthrone for “shittier sounding albums” doesn’t really matter. they got those accolades because it’s Darkthrone and that’s what they do and some of us love them for that sound. but this is Metallica. the guys who once upon a time gave the world Master of Puppets. we dis St. Anger because we expect more from them. more than 12 step program lyrics, and much better sound. KSP says it could’ve been a blistering punk album if the songs were shorter. but again, this is Metallica. this isn’t Discharge or GBH we’re talking about here, so that point is moot. Death Magnetic was a definite improvement.

  • http://www.theoppositionmachine.wordpress.com theoppositionmachine

    obviously the production sucks. you absolutely nailed it tho with the repetition complaint. these songs should have been cut in half and i think it would have been 10x better.

  • Beholdthesharktopus

    “A surprising display of drum acumen from Herr Ulrich”
    Isn’t that the guy who couldn’t record the drums to Enter Sandman in one solid take and so it took half a year to edit in the fills?

  • smedley

    ‘attaboy! I adore this record. I had a decade without metal and this is the album that brought me back. It is like a sledgehammer to the skull = just what good metal should be. I love the production – Cheers to Bob Rock (a producer I normally loathe) for bravely caressing the ugliness out of every instrument. This is an adult-sounding snare drum (as opposed to glossy, over-produced snares). This snare is rough, ugly and unpolished like life (and my face). The songs are terrific (if a tad long and repetitive). I do miss the guitar solos, but I love the riff-o-rama and the lyrics are very important to me personally (especially My World and Frantic). I understand the dislike, I just don’t understand the hate. What do metal fans want if not brutality and seething?

    • Dan

      this albums really sucks
      worst snare sound and hetfield singing is really bad!!!
      sad but true !

      • Jordan

        It’s not their fault. It’s dumb fucks like you that piss me off. The snare is like that because the dumb ass production studio put a mic to record the top of the snare. Not the bottom. The drums were 100% fine. Go on youtube and watch the jam sessions.

        • ranch111

          Usually you mic both top and bottom to get a full range of sound. Fire the production guy.

    • Enric Martinez

      Well, we metal fans want one thing: Metal. And no, brutality and seeting is not always what we are looking for.
      We look for quality, we look for authenticity, we look for being true to your audience… and of course, butality is a plus but not the most important. 

      In any case, Mettallica carries such a load of shit on their backs that even if they made the best metal album ever many of us would hate it because while listeing to it we would recall what pieces of shit the band members are.

      And yes, I am one of those guys who’s album collection is mostly composed of bands with corpse paint on their faces.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2500926 David Toyos

        well then, all credibility out the window

    • ranch111

      Not ass. We don’t want wanky shit. We know the difference.

  • Joseph Schafer88

    Someone please re-mix this album into one 20 minute song and the result will be one of the most effective sludge EP’s ever made.

  • Baggs

    I really liked the rehearsal DVD that came with the deluxe package. I watched it before diving into the album and it gave me a different perspective – mainly it gave me an appreciation for the intensity of songs and a better sense of the garage aspect they were going for(?). I still, occasionally, listen to All Within My Hands.

  • http://twitter.com/martijnterhaar Martijn ter Haar

    I agree with most of this: the songs are too long, but there are great riffs on it and I love the raw, fucked up quality of the sound (like I do with Darkthrone), especially the emotion in Hetfield’s voice. I always link the production to Lars Ulrich’s love for CoBrA artists: to me it seems like he aimed at translating that style in sound.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2500926 David Toyos

      WATS COBRA THX

  • Glenn

    “And while it was probably a colossal waste of money to capture something that is essentially a passionate rehearsal, I quite enjoy the warmth and looseness of it.”

    “essentially a passionate rehearsal.” I think that’s a really interesting way to think about it, especially given the performance DVD, the collective lyrics, the band drama, etc. St. Anger is coming from a very different place than DM even as both have been touted as “back to their roots” thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/greg.moffitt Greg

    I’m with Kerry King on this one.

    • Mike34

      You use Metallica’s name for cheap publicity, too?

  • Seanicus

    “Sweet Amber” is a great fucking song, and is the only song on the album that doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. It’s not a bad album, though.

    • Dongslayerz

      It absolutely is a bad album. It’s got some good ideas, though, and could have been a good album with the right person steering the ship. The only thing that really bothers me is that, aside from the production, there’s not really much difference between this and Death Magnetic, and DM gets all kinds of credit as a “return to form”. It still has the awful lyrics and the “good ideas drawn out way too long because we forgot that when we wrote 7 minute songs in the 80′s we put enough riffage into them to keep them interesting for the whole 7 minutes”. I guess it’s the production?

      And on the topic of production, while it’s true that the (relatively) lo-fi production on this would have been hailed if it had been on a no-name thrash revival band, when you spend a Metallica-level budget on producing an album, it god damn well shouldn’t sound like it was recorded by amateurs in a basement. Recording budgets in the millions should get better results than a Tascam cassette-based 4-track does. It’s not just the snare drum, the whole thing sounds awful and there is no reasonable excuse as to why. I have “no-budget 80′s hardcore records done in one night” in my collection that sound better than this.

  • A. Begrand

    I’ve said it before, this album isn’t great, but it’s also not as bad as people make it out to be.

    • The ramiro

      Yes it is.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MS4JF4C6IKH2FCFWNSLML7ODYY Otto Finnish

    I agree full heartedly with this. While its not my favorite, I still enjoy this album, and Lars’s drumming is one of my favorite things about it.

  • Bobrockisgay

    It blows…big time. “Cold Lake” blew too, just as badly. I love when people try to tell me how “St. Anchor” is a good album, because then I know never to discuss music with those people again. Saves time.

  • Ross

    Greatest snare in the history of man.

  • swanjaco

    In case you’ve been fortunate enough to have never heard “Stain Anger”, here it is, verbatim:

    Pockety-pock pock-pock POCK. Pockety-pock pock-pock POCK. Pockety-pockety-Pockety-pockety-Pockety-pockety-Pockety-pockety-Pockety-pockety-Pockety-pockety-Pockety-pockety-Pockety-pockety-Pockety-pockety “If I could have my wasted beers back I’d use them to buy me some crack” x8. “Oooooh, yodel-yodel, whoa-ahooooo-ho!. Whoa-a-whoa-a-ooo-ooo-oooh, whoa!” Pockety pock-pock.

    • Enric Martinez

      Thx mate! This saves me from actually having to liseten to that crap!

  • wakkawakkawakka

    At least the recording quality was better than Death Magnetic. Rehearsal DVD makes it awesome.

  • Sled

    I am a fan of this record as well. i honestly enjoy the the audio from the live DVD that came with record better than the record itself.

  • Brokn

    I reviled the record when it came out. I think you brought up an excellent point as to why – the band were declaring it their back to their roots record. And if you remember, journalists that get s a lot of eyes of their work (Rolling Stone, Spin etc) were flown in to hear it and universally declared it a masterpiece. So, you have all of that preceding the actual work getting out and then we were given “St Anger”.

    A couple years ago I was going through a box of things and came across the record again and thought I’d put it on to relive how bad it was. As it turns out, I actually liked the record. Sure, everything you mentioned is a problem but it’s not a bad record. I’m certainly willing to bet it’s better than most of the crap that gets put on the year end top 10 list by most of the people commenting here.

    • Bassbait

      Better than Dying Fetus, Cattle Decapitation, and Devin Townsend? I find that hard to believe…

  • mscbuck

    Someone made an edit of St. Anger called (not surprisingly) St. Edit, which was all the songs but usually about 2-4 minutes trimmed from them. Overall, a LOT of the repetition that wanted to make me never listen to St. Anger again is gone, and some of the songs now are surprisingly tight in terms of arrangement.

    I wholeheartedly recommend people interested to download it and give it a listen. There was honestly a period a month ago where I was listening to St. Edit 2-3 times a week. I never thought I’d be saying that about anything that came from St. Anger.

    • Fubar

      duuuuude, where? sounds awesome, but google denies its existence….

    • Darth_Ktulu

      that was actually… me. funny i came accross this article just now and someone is complimenting my work. (i’m sure you dig the lack of “what a good boy you are” from invisible kid… and the missing kill kill kills on the final track. i uploaded it on metallica.com under the name REMASTER_OF_PUPPETS, and again later as DARTH_KTULU but i was promptly banned when i also uploaded several rare versions of metallica albums, such as the very rare remaster of AJFA where there is some audible bass guitar and fixed kick drums, the megaforce version of KEA, DCC gold remasters of MOP and RTL.. the black album dvd rip… so seriously, fuck those moderators. if anyone wants this stuff from me… email me, darth_ktulu@yahoo.com

  • Crt

    Excellent article, and what a concept…defending the universally accepted “most disappointing metal albums ever”? Genius.

    I agree with this analysis 100 percent. Only considered bad because of Metallica’s legacy.

  • Giantmink84

    In all honesty, I really like the snare sound on this record, however… it does not fit this particular record and it would be a risk to put it on most records. Being a drummer I prefer my snares ringy for practice and playing alone in my basement, but it would take a lot for me to record an album with a snare this “obtrusive”. Overall, I sold the album back to Hastings for $4.00 and kept the rehearsal DVD (yeah, a dick move, I know). I liked the rehearsal DVD much better.

  • Eatmyminilice

    any one download it to piss lars off?

  • Ossqx

    It’s very funny that you guys decided to start this new section with a record that it is pretty much indefensible! I was giving lots of shit to a friend of mine that had the audacity of expressing that he liked some of the songs on this record. After watching the documentary Some Kind of Monster, the reason why this album turned out to be such a turd was clear to me: this people were simply lost and uninspired. They had to release something after years of failed sessions and that’s how this abortion was unleashed upon the world. St Anger was the worst album of the past decade and we all know that. The only thing that could surpass such crapiness would be if Metallica decided to record Load 3(they’d probably call it Unload or Viral Load or something! haha)

    I look forward to read more about those albums hated and reviled for whatever reasons. If I may, I’d like to recommend 3:
    -Iron Maiden’s X-Factor
    -Kreator’s Renewal
    -Tiamat’s A Deeper Kind of Slumber

    I love those 3 records but most people really fucking hate them, so your pro opinions about them would be much appreciated. Cheers!

    • Steve

      I like Kreator’s Renewal too—I found it at the 99¢ store!

    • Jason

      “LEEV EEN EWE-RAHP AHF-DER DA RAAAAIIIIINNNNN!!!!”

      Renewal KILLS, god damn it!!!

    • http://twitter.com/targetlogo Ricardo Mora

      I love ‘A Deeper Kind of Slumber’ I think it’s great, dreamy, with almost no filler songs and made with the right balance of experimentation and crafty songwriting

      • BrineB

        Indefensible?  That’s your opinion dude.  The only reason people harped on this one as much as they did, is because it’s a Metallica release.  If you can get past that….it’s a kick ass record.  I wasn’t crazy about it to begin with.  But after I got past all that “what the hell?” crap….I got really liked it.  It is a bit long.  But it’s a good album.  

  • Guest

    Read the post and it made me want to listen to the album again. I had an open mind and listened to a few tracks and it still kind of sucks. A lot. Anyone who has heard the album has said this all before and it needs to be repeated- Tinny snare, James’ horrible singing, no solos. I will say, it is a step in the right direction as far as speed and power (when compared to load/reload) but it just wasn’t the thrash album anyone expected from Metallica. It can be good when a band tries something new but this just wasn’t what fans wanted.

    I would say the worst part was that there was an 11 year gap where this was the only Metallica release. I think it turned a lot of fans away from the band.

    On a side note, there are a few fan-made remixes that TRY to make the songs better with added solos and the snare turned down. Sadly they do not fix the songs but it is a nice try. Youtube “metallica st anger remixes” and maybe you will uncover some gems.

  • Chisa

    i kinda agree with you. an interesting album. i too like/appreciate the snare sound. i grow tired of everything needing to sound the same for some people to be able to understand it. i heard this after having left my metallica listening with the first 4 albums and writing off anything they did after that as shit.

    this isn’t an album though, the problem is they basically wrote the same song 11 times. this would have been better as a 4 track EP. as i said i, i haven’t bought anything metallica did since …AJFA and this isn’t gonna change that, but while i didn’t buy it i did hear st anger on the TV and radio a few times and didn’t change the channel – which i normally do when any nu-tallica comes on. for me it is an interesting attempt to do something different, unfortunately metallica were too long in the tooth and comfortable to actually make anything artistically important. this is highlighted by their behaviour and petty arguments in the “tap-esque” some kind of monster. so the album ends up sounding like 4 middle-aged metalhead accountants trying to ape the new kids sounds.

  • KMFCM

    I remember liking the title track until Jaymz started singing. It had a pretty good intro riff.

  • fat wizard

    you’re a gay nerd

    • http://www.facebook.com/zenarcadian Mike Mc Grath-Bryan

      Jolly good.

  • thefactsjack!

    Horrible boring shitty lyrics shitty everything-few catchy hooks but not worth buying or seeing live

  • Rob

    Always thought metallica were quite boring to be honest, its the type of metal for the un-educated american metaler, or, as they prefer to call themselves, Rockers

    • Cain

      Don’t try so hard dude.  You’re talking down on people you call “un-educated metalers” and in the process make yourself look like a primpy-ass snob.  Who the hell ever heard of an “educated” metal snob?  Grow up and get your head out of your own ass.

      • http://www.facebook.com/aquaman1102 Corbin Fowler

        Lol, no he’s right; you’re trying too hard.

    • Mike34

      Which is why they sell bigger venues in Europe….

      • Caden

         That was horribly hilarious!

    • Enric Martinez

      A-fucking-MEN to that mate 

  • Rob

    i threw it away as soon as i brought it

    • Esteban

      Man I tossed the “Black Album” when that first came out! You fools have been trying to listen to them since?

  • Tony

    Unnamed Feeling is among their best songs ever.

    For a band that was incredibly fractured and on the brink of being gone forever, St Anger was probably the best they could do at the time. Like the poster mentioned, if the same elements of production were on a cookie cutter two man black metal record, it would be praised to no end.

    While I rarely listen to tracks from the album (they’re too long), Metallica should at least be applauded for following their own musical vision and rarely regressing ala Slayer.

    Like someone else mentioned, I ripped the DVD audio and found it much more enjoyable to listen to…

  • Davey F’n Jones

    “since there’s no spotlight on one of metal’s most influential lead guitarists”

    I assume you’re referring to James and how he wrote all of the lead parts on everything up through Justice…

    • FUCKZION

      mustaine wrote some of kill em all

      • Niz4brains

        Mustaine wrote MOST of the lead parts on Kill ‘em All and a hefty slice of the riffs. He’s got a few credits on Ride The Lightning too. The main riff on the Ride The Lightning title track also sounds suspiciously like the Peace Sells main riff but he didn’t get credited with that………

        • The ramiro

          Actually Mustaine is credited on the song Ride the lightning.

    • Metalthrashingshred

       Kirk writes his leads. If James could play lead Kirk wouldn’t be in the band

  • Wurst

    you are soo right, dude!

  • FUCKZION

    if a tight snare is endearing to you, then go listen to Lykathea Aflame. and as far as st. anger goes… it’s a solid 8 or 9 thumbs down. all inhibitors and apprehensions aside, even if this wasn’t a metallica album, i would still hate it. in layman’s… it’s douchey. everything from the lyrics to james attempting to do a kirk solo is just full of ass. i bought this album the day it came out and was so offended that i threw it in the trash a week later. metallica died in a bus crash in sweden, 1986.

    • Mike34

      It’s amusing how some “fans” fail to understand Cliff was listening to the most diverse and softest music of the entire band. Metallica’s departure from thrash would have likely been more abrupt had Cliff lived.

      Had James died in that crash, the same tired line would be used. “James would have never allowed this…”

      If you’re not growing or experimenting, you’re dead. 

      • Dirt

        Burton and Mustane were the original sprit of that band.  With them gone, the band went (for better or worse) in a direction it *never* would have otherwise.

        Burton listening to “diverse” and “soft” music probably led to the more dynamic passages of Orion.  It is an unfounded reach to think he would have speed up a progression into a direction his compositions NEVER suggest.

        • Huntermc

          If you had only listened to Mustaine’s compositions prior to 1986, would anything suggest he would write something like “Risk?”

      • ranch111

        Yes, but Metallica never grew. They sold out.

        • TheLordship

          Same difference.

  • Niz4brains

    The lyrics on this album are some of the worst I’ve ever heard.

    • Jordan

      Go watch the documentary, Some Kind of Monster. It will open your eyes.

      • ranch111

        Uh, yeah, it will make one completely hate these guys.

  • Sharktallica

    CLANG CLANG CLANG!!!!!!!!

    STILL hate it!!

  • Sonofwotan

    I bought this album used several months ago to give it a second chance…what a waste of .99 cents! It has its brief moments, but never a complete song, and Hetfield’s vocals just make me wanna cringe… LAME!!!

  • adymut

    my friend digitally removed all the parts with vocals from “st. anger” and swore it was the sweetest 45-second long song she’d ever heard

  • BrineB

    I’ve always liked this album. I think the “opinion” of this album has mostly been created by the media. Of course there’s gonna be some that don’t like it…..but it mostly got blown into what it is by the press. Just my opinion. I know the snare sucks ass….but …..whatever.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=642920563 Mhd Thr

    i’ve always thought of St. Anger as Metallica scrambling to respond to SOAD, who were on the rise back in those days.

    • Masked Jackal

      …and taking Limp Bizkit on tour with then that year. Always thought they were trying to incorporate them a bit too. You know, to get the kiddies approval.

    • Bassbait

      Toxicity > any Metallica album after AJFA.

  • Jason

    One redeeming thing about this album is that Metallica – for the first time – sounded like a band in a room. Forget the legacy and what Metallica is SUPPOSED to sound like, and just listen to what you’re actually hearing on this record. It sounds like they set up in your living room and you’re sitting on the couch 10′ away. It’s just that they don’t have a very good drum kit.

  • Satan’s asshole

    I agree with this, pretty much 100%, it’s very harsh to listen to..kind of depressing knowing what they were going through at the time. I really think if they had fixed the low quality drum sounds, this album wouldn’t have received as much criticism from  the fans. It actually received good reviews from critics surprisingly. I like Frantic, Shoot Me Again, Sweet Amber and Unnamed Feeling…Purify (although has some great riffs) should have been left on the cutting room floor. I am just glad that Death Magnetic was as good as it was, helluva album.

  • James

    I loo at this album as the soundtrack to S.K.O.M. it makes sense in that perspective.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dwayne-Bastress/1828556784 Dwayne Bastress

    Liked the post, not the album.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dwayne-Bastress/1828556784 Dwayne Bastress

    Dig the post; the album? Not so much.

  • http://profiles.google.com/mgvillano Mike Villano

    I remember saying to someone after I first heard the album that Hetfield and co. really forgot to add anything like a recognizable hook to any of the crap “songs” on it. I know we’re all supposed to hate “Death Magnetic,” but that one was a masterpiece compare to the execrable “St. Anger.”

  • Lou D’Elia

    St. Anger is a great album. I loved the first listen through, and I still love today. If you’re afraid of a band trying something new, then stick to buying records from some of metals “elite” that crank out the same tired sounding songs year after year. I think you know who I’m talking about. As a side note, “Purfiy” is one of the heaviest riffs James has written in 20 years. Great band, great album. If you don’t like don’t listen to it. 

  • Vegasvideodude

    I personally love the brutality and heaviness of this cd. I actually like the cd much better after I remastered it myself in cool edit pro and got rid of most of tha horrible snare and made the guitars heavy as fuck by adding more bottom end. Now I’m not saying I don’t agree with some of the comments about the songs being to long or the way they pieced certain songs together but remember the shit the band was going through at the time. This album was a release of aggression for the band through heavy riffs and fast drums. Being a metalhead as long as I have nothing gets me more excited than heavy as fuck guitars, fast drumming and mosh parts and this cd has all that underneath bad production an annoying snare and no vocal tuning but I still like the cd enough to throw it in once and a while and yes remastering it makes that a lot easier. m/

  • Potatojustice

    11 turds

  • VFed

    The fucked up thing about all this is the fact that the last few Metallica albums (including “S&M”) has been so shitty, they make “Load” and “Reload” sound heavy and bad-ass (“House that Jack Built” is actually a pretty bad-ass song)…..I wish people would also point out the fact that James’ singing sucks ass and that he should realize he’s not Glenn Danzig and give up yodeling more often.

    • Andzelo

      Yeah, that’s exactly why I can’t listen to the postJustice albums, the yodeling is so fu*ked up. I mean I like James’ screamin and shouting, he’s great vocalist but his a terrible ‘singer’. And if it comes to St. Anger the songs really are too long, repetitive and tho vocal sucks again but I quite enjoy the sound though.

  • Melvinsfink

    While a very well written ‘defense’ of this album, I find that some of the arguments for this album being ‘good’ interesting.  When commenting on the snare you say that this snare sound can be found on countless black metal albums.  You’re basically saying that any of these production follies would be seen almost as praises on another album by another band.  You’re trying to find albums and bands that succeed at where metallica fails  And you further your point by saying this comes off more as a passionate rehearsal, which is a great way to look at this album, which is what this album should have been.  You’ve elaborated on what I’ve said before: if anyone band made something like St. Anger, it wouldn’t have been considered a piece of shit.

  • Jerryteacup

    Huh-huh-huh… He said “bald attitude”… Seriously. St Anger is a perfect album. I guess it’s a pure example of making something that’s 100 % what it’s intended to be.

  • Ruby Red River

    I bypassed my headshaking sadness on hearing this album, when a long-time fellow ‘head’ told me to forget listening to the actual album, and just put on the rehearsal DVD; he was right! Sounded a dozen times better and on 5.1 surround to boot; didn’t even have to watch the TV! Funny how the polished (and too damn costly) studio effort didn’t even match. At any rate, ANYTHING sounds better than Load/Reload!

  • mayblitz

    St Anger is the sound of the band kick starting back to life after a long hibernation.  I’m still taken aback by the extreme vitriol piled on this album. It’s not THAT bad, but it’s not great either. It’s a band fining itself again. As someone who has followed the band since its first demos, and first saw them live in 1982, I’d say this its far from Metallica’s worst. In my opinion they actually started losing the plot with the “black album.” Things only snowballed with much worse subsequent releases (Load, Re-Load, S+M) weighed down with windy arrangements, pop ambition, strings and a crap producer who airbrushed the heaviness right out of them. St. Anger’s biggest flaws are indeed the lack of shredding guitar solos and the length of the songs. The songs do lose their focus, and crash beneath the weight of themselves. But the riffage is massive, the hooks inventive and infectious. Tracks like Frantic, St Anger, Some Kind of Monster and All Within My Hands are among the band’s best post-Justice songs. Hetfield’s vocals are raw, exposed, manic and unhinged. I actually think it’s one of his best “mature” vocal performances on record. St Anger is a big messy wound of a record. It’s pretty much a failure, but a spectacularly glorious one.

    • Enric Martinez

      ” St Anger is the sound of the band kick starting back to life after a long hibernation…” They should have stayed frozen, preferably under 1000ft ice in a glacier

      • Caden

        Freezing, can’t move at all

        Screaming, can’t hear my call

        I am dying to live, cry out

        I’m Trapped Under Ice!

    • Roze of the Valley

      LULU!

  • Dylan Burton

    Are you insane? St. Anger is even worse than Load and Re-Load…

    • Carlosbarea

      They are not bad…just different. I love sones as fuel, unforgiven II… Do not try to find thrash in them, they are rock songs, but, still, godo songs..

  • http://www.facebook.com/gabriele.frontini Gabriele Frontini

    Useless to politely turn around the core of the problem: the last valuable real METALLICA’s album was 1988′s And Justice For All. End of the discussion. Then they slowly turned pimpy and so they are.

  • chivonegro

    Im 41 and been into Metallica since 85…I like st anger! I’ll take it over the black album and load/re-load any day!! “oooo the snare hurts my ears!” get over it pussies!there’s some groovy parts that I could do without and James hetfield singing…hes been doing that shit since 83 (see No Remorse performance in Chicago as seen in Cliff ‘em all) still not all to my taste and Lars’ stupidity in not allowing Kirk to not solo at all are fails yes, but the album is NOT as bad as all who are in a hurry to prove your Trueness say.By the way why do you have to dump on it so HARD?what are you so fucking insecure about? I’ll go on record as to say ST anger has more raging moments than and justice/load/re load/ and the black album combined! I loved to hear Metallica play fast (and sometimes FASTER) again. I think its better than the decent Death Magnetic and later EP… So go listen to it and apprediate it for what it is NOT what YOU wanted it to be or don’t…go be true in your true forest or whatever you st anger haters do to prove to yourselves your true trueness.You make me laugh!!

    • Acidyantra

      If you dare to say that Anger is better than Death Magnetic, you’re really fucked up in the head…

    • Lee

      St. Anger has more raging moments than Justice? Fuck that. Either you haven’t actually listened to Justice in many years, and forgot that this is the same album with Blackened, One and Dyer’s Eve on, amongst others, or you’ve long lost your sanity. Justice dumps all over this, even if I do agree that St Anger isn’t as bad as everyone makes out. It’s just not good enough to be a record from the same band that gave us the first 4, that’s all.

  • Natural_high77

    Good job sir. I have always agreed that if St. Anger was recorded by ANY other metal/punk band, the criticism would not be what it was and still is. The other statement I agree with is the track length. Had a few tracks, especially the title, been cut by at least 3 minutes, the album would be much more bearable. Honestly, aside from song length, engineering on St. Anger was pretty atrocious; considering that Bob helped Load and ReLoad achieve quality production values.

    Hell, the snare isn’t even that big of a deal to me. In my opinion, the mixing of the snare isn’t quite as bad as the entire Death Magnetic album (seriously; if you look up the phrase “way too fucking much gain on the mix”, there is a pic of Death Magnetic)

    I’ve also heard St. Anger, Frantic, and Dirty Window played live and can say that these songs out-perform their album counterparts ten-fold.

  • Megatherion

    Well maybe this will give an insight into how the band themselves rate the material:

    http://ryrobes.com/metallicanalysis/song-trending/

  • Thedarkerhalf

    Not the best metallica album, but still, it was a step back in the right direction. If they did another album in the load/reload style they would be finished. I think it still beat the Metallica / Lou Reed collab

    • http://www.facebook.com/MCMXCIJOTA José Mendes

      oh yes it definitely did from a metal’s point of view.. that thing is more of a play rather than a music album

    • Tough as Steel

      Or you could have gotten the double album by Opeth back in

      2003, the Deliverance/Damnation album and not even bothered with st. anger. I wish I had never heard it.

  • Double D

    Fuck yes, St. Anger is a tremendously over-hated, underrated album, and since you mentioned it first, I’m gonna put myself out there and say it…. “All Within My Hands” is the best fucking thing Metallica wrote between 1991 and 2008. It absolutely fucking rules. And fuck anyone who blindly hates it.

  • Masturbatron

    I don’t care what people say. St. Anger is awesome. That is all.

  • AlaRegularis

    St. Anger is gravely underrated. There’s some real killers on there: St. Anger, Invisible Kid, Sweet Amber, The Unnamed Feeling, All Within My Hands and Purify especially.

  • guy

    St. Anger does have its moments. It has its laughs as well, but it still has some good tunes. I have always enjoyed majority of Metallica songs

  • Cheeks

    I am indeed loving St. Anger as I have every Metallica album…Some more than others. Fuck everyone who cant see or hear great tunes with potent stories behind them. METAL UP YOUR ASS!

  • Crazi

    I thought it was there best album ever.  Granted, I’m not a Metallica fan…

  • Thegoatmaster74

    mike 34 “if your not experimenting your dead” really? so i guess slayer has been dead for some time cause they are still the same band i remember!

    • Garrett

      Yes they have.

  • kaput

    You should re edit it as cutting on the repetitiveness and make it a punk album (at least for yourself so you dont get law-raped)

  • TACOCAT

    if the snare sounded better, the songs were shorter, and there were SOLOS…
    this would be one of their best records.
    “Dirty Window” FUCKING RUUUULLLLLZZZZZZ!!!!!!!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/olavarrieta.sergio Sergio Olavarrieta

    finally someone gave credit to this album. This a gutter, punk based, destroy all rules album… and the hate to this only shows how people always expect something predictable. And this album is not… this is why I love it

  • oscar

    thank you so much for this article, i absolutely love st. anger for how dirty and primal it sounds too. and i LOVE the snare sound (reminiscent of the fucking awesome lykathea aflame as someone pointed out before me)

  • dekadin

    i feel as though i am the only person on earth who enjoys st anger but nothing else by metallica

  • Kirk J Schneider

    I have a friend…listen to this… who actually likes “Cold Lake”! He will defend it even when the writer/singer/guitarist of the band, pulled music down a few notches with this album and it’s utter shittyness, said he will not talk about it because it’s so awful. Sad thing is my friends whole music collection is on par with this same album… *place frowny face here*

  • Steve Veramontes

    dekadin is a complete fuckwit.

  • Bonobou

    different way of recording would make a much better album.
    the unnamed feeling is much underrated i think.
    a new RtL or MoP will never be released unfortunately

  • Erik

    This album was basically their attempt at nu-metal, and that alone made it unappealing for me. Low tunings, no solos, etc. Even then, it was too late of an attempt. Way to try and fit in Metallica. If they would just write an inspired record and stop trying so hard to be relevant I’d applaud them. Load and Reload were the last inspired Metallica albums – not metal but they at least had heart. They just don’t know when to quit.

  • Austin Chandler Howe

    Frankly, letting the wheels spin has always been Metallica’s greatest sin.

  • WannaFight?DamnYou!

    I was a big-time Metallica fan in the day, you know, when they were good, like 1990 or so. Then came “Metallica”, and I still had a kick out of it. Then came “Load”, and I LOVE THE ALBUM, even though the orientation had clearly changed. From then on, saying that every other release is crap might be a cliché, but hey, it so happens it’s the naked truth too. So very sorry to all current fans, but Metallica turned out to be a band that evolved, true, but the wrong way, like a Chernobyl freak mutation instead of enhancing their legacy. Money ruined it all, of course, but on the other hand it’s how they make a living. Thing is, why more and more and more when they’re already set for life in the sun? Some things make no sense at all, and Metallica proves that to the point. The only good thing I see about the (in my opinion) shit albums Metallica keep on releasing one after the other is the fact that people pay attention to metal… but again on the other hand, metal isn’t supposed to be popular or parent-approved, quite the contrary, so it makes not much of a difference.

  • Dustin Hall

    Next Up: Earth Crisis ‘Slither’?

  • Weirwolfe

    Wow I just discovered this discussion. Awesome. St Anger is fukin marvelous.A hurt, shattered train wreck of an album. Much better than Black, Load etc. Years ahead of its time. Chivonegro hail brother, couldnt have put it better myself. Damn, just playing the disc now and revelling in the title track and Some Kind of Monster. Love it. Fuk I even like Little Dog off Lulu. That’s some sick shit. Metallica cop so much shit these days it’s laughable. They are one of the few major band’s that aren’t afraid of sacred cows and they have my undying loyalty because of that. St Anger will always appeal to that part of me that likes to lurk on the dark side.

  • http://reverbnation.com/bisonmusik Bison Musik

    I hate the snares, beating trash can lids….only song I like is some kind of monster…

  • Phaedrus Eternal

    …Notwithstanding that every song they’ve written since The Prince still reeks of rotting syphalletic piles to this day, but good for you for being able to tolerate 1/2 to 1/3 of the entire tracklist of their crowning principle dump achievement! At least you’re honest. Kudos.

    • DioSabbath

      The Prince? You mean the cover? That they didn’t write?

  • Sir Jorge

    Under rated record, plain and simple.

  • DioSabbath

    Load and Re-Load are easily defendable albums, and far more so than St. Anger which is a cut and pasted Pro Tools mess. Load and Re-Load has actual, finished and polished songs that are more Motorhead style rock than Metallica thrash, but for a band that was run down from the Black Album it’s not surprising.

    The “Load and ReLoad are terrible now and forever” people seem to be stuck in that mindset because they’re still so shocked at the change of pace when Load first dropped. Outlaw Torn, Bad Seed, Fixxxer, Bleeding Me…all great fucking songs. There’s some filler for sure, but the albums are not awful.

  • StrangeBedfellow

    Interesting comments here. I admit I myself was the one dissing this album and getting back to those four first albums time after time (never liked Black Album, too soft for me). However at some point I decided to take this album with me for a lengthy car drive and damn it all clicked. This album is just as long as it needs to be. The songs in all their repetitiveness make the listening experience more like a meditative one where one’s sense of time becomes distorted. When the song finally goes to the bridge section (which are all excellent btw) it feels very fulfilling.

    I would dare to compare this album to the Swiss thrash metal band Coroner’s final album, Grin, where they moved away from lightning fast thrash metal towards a more refined, post-metal sound. 2/3 of the band members name that album as their favorite and I find the same relaxed feeling in St. Anger. Why should they do as their fans want them to like countless metal bands that just do the same album year after year? Just do your own thing!

  • ranch111

    Kill ‘em All through And Justice for All is all the Metallica you’ll ever need.