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Album · 2003


1. Frantic (5:50)
2. St. Anger (7:21)
3. Some Kind of Monster (8:25)
4. Dirty Window (5:24)
5. Invisible Kid (8:30)
6. My World (5:45)
7. Shoot Me Again (7:10)
8. Sweet Amber (5:27)
9. The Unnamed Feeling (7:09)
10. Purify (5:13)
11. All Within My Hands (8:49)

Total Time: 75:03

Bonus DVD: St. Anger Rehearsals
1. Frantic (6:24)
2. St. Anger (7:37)
3. Some Kind of Monster (8:40)
4. Dirty Window (6:24)
5. Invisible Kid (8:54)
6. My World (6:09)
7. Shoot Me Again (7:24)
8. Sweet Amber (5:54)
9. The Unnamed Feeling (7:30)
10. Purify (5:35)
11. All Within My Hands (9:21)

Total Time: 79:52


- James Hetfield / guitar, vocals
- Kirk Hammett / guitar, backing vocals
- Lars Ulrich / drums

Guest/session musicians:

- Bob Rock / bass
- Robert Trujillo / bass, backing vocals on bonus DVD

About this release

Label: Elektra/Vertigo
Release date: June 5th, 2003

Thanks to metalbaswee, CCVP, rushfan4, Pekka, diamondblack, Unitron, adg211288 for the updates


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A Journey Into Metal Part I

The year was 2003. The place, a small town in the United Kingdom. The hero of our story is yours truly, then between fourteen and fifteen years old. His quest? To discover a taste in music that he could claim as his own. It is a strange tale of how he came to find the form of music known as metal thanks to an album that goes by the name of St. Anger, which many will tell you on a dark night, telling ghost stories by firelight, is some kind of monster. In most stories, it would cast as the villain. This is not most stories.

Every metalhead who ever lived has a tale about how they came to metal. Many may start with the band Metallica, but something earlier, more classic like Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning or the self-titled 'Black Album'. Or perhaps more likely they'll come to metal through one of the classic British heavy metal bands of the 70s or 80s. Like Black Sabbath, where it all began. Or Judas Priest, who then refined it. Or Iron Maiden, the kings of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. But not so for our young protagonist, and so our story starts in that little town in the UK, where if you wanted to buy a CD, your best bet was Woolworths or a supermarket.

I came late to any kind of taste in music perhaps at first because of my parents; a Father who lived and breathed Pink Floyd and was determined to impose that band on his son above all others he listened to (if he'd gotten the Led out this tale might have taken a very different turn) and a Mother who worshipped Bruce Springsteen to the point that all other music was almost entirely irrelevant. Neither of these artists made me sit up and think 'yeah, that's for me!' In fact, I understood music so little that, in a rather cringe-worthy moment that was probably in the late 1990s, I even went as far as asked my old man what the point of music was. I don't recall the answer I got. I think the question stumped him as much as it would me today. Being into music, it really is an unnamed feeling. Fast-forward to 2020 and I, now in my thirties, have just recently purchased my 1000th CD (and counting fast). But how did I get there?

It wasn't an easy journey. Particularly because it's one of those journeys that you don't really know you're even on until you get there. To understand why, we need to take a closer look at our setting. The early 2000s were dark times for any would-be metalhead in the United Kingdom. It wasn't standard in households to have satellite TV, which (at least by the time I did get access to them) had a couple of music stations that specialised in heavier music (the better one being the now defunct Scuzz), just the standard five channels (used to be four and I still recall how much excitement there was over the launch of Channel 5) where the best and only options to hear new music were the likes of Top of the Pops (which has Led Zep's Whole Lotta Love as the theme which I had taken note of) and CD:UK (where teenage me noticed Cat Deeley more than any music). And they only cared about three things: the charts, the charts and the charts again. And I was a little late to pick up on Iron Maiden when they came up with Brave New World and probably got some coverage at least from TOTP. Maiden would be undiscovered by me until 2006, but would eventually become my first proper concert at the end of that year.

The internet wasn't an option either. In those days, even having the internet wasn't a given depending on your situation. Rich Kids (meaning kids who had rich parents, but Rich Kids was the term we used back then due to the way they flaunted the wealth as their own) had PC's and the internet. You, among the plebs in your more humble background, didn't. It wasn't the thing everyone takes for granted now. It certainly wasn't on your phone. The mobile phone may have a history going back much further than 2003, but it would be a while yet before it was normal for every kid to have one and they weren't the iPhone and Androids of today. If you were lucky enough to access to the internet, it was strictly in the home. And it was probably dial-up, whose speed and constant disconnections would likely make the youth of today who are surgically attached to their phones shoot themselves. And then ask someone to shoot them again because they ain't dead yet. And even if you were lucky enough to be online, this was 2003. There was no Spotify. No YouTube. No Bandcamp. None of the websites that in later life I have come to rely on to check music, old and new, out so that I can make an informed purchase of it.

If you were a Brit in those times you either had to hear new music that made the charts, or hear about through word of mouth from someone you knew, or buy a magazine, the ultimate quality of which remains debatable to this day. Metal Hammer did help me in the following years, though Kerrang could fuck right off, and who'd think to buy a Metal Hammer when you haven't yet realised you liked metal? This was thing: how could one find metal, if one didn't know to even look for it?

Like my parents, my circle of friends and peers tried to enforce their taste upon me. Some were trying to be helpful. Others were more aggressive in their belief that everyone should like the same bands as they did. To protect identities, I'll just refer to these people by their first initial.

There were a few bands of the time, all chart reaching types, that were rock bands but not metal bands, that were collectively liked by a few of these people. Blink 182. Feeder. Green Day. Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Not liking the song Can't Stop by RHCP was something that some of my mates, particularly 'D', couldn't get their heads around. I remember vividly one day in the school grounds in 2003, when Can't Stop was a single, how 'D' was so shocked that I did not like the song that he went running round to the group who liked these bands mentioned above about how I didn't like Can't Stop. I'm still not sure what he intended to achieve by that. Validation? Who knows, this was the same person who in the school canteen one day asked me why I always ordered a chicken burger from the stand instead of a turkey burger. The answer of course was that they were made of chicken. I still can't believe that 'D' retorted that they were 'the same fucking bird'. Last I heard of 'D' he was training to be a chef.

Possibly there were other bands to whom I was introduced (either willing or just by being in proximity) by these people, but these were the stand out names that kept being presented to our hero. Well, there was also that one friend, 'R', who was all about Sum 41 and also had a thing for Slipknot's Iowa album at one point, but the less said about him the better. He, after all, completely turned his back on all rock music and started exclusively listening to hip-hop and adopting the culture of that music. A common issue of white kids acting and talking like they're black. These days they'd probably label it cultural appropriation.

While I did get into a few (heavy) rock bands that I liked during this time period, which would have been the very early 2000s, the only one I still listen to every so often is Foo Fighters, who were the gem of that era as far as mainstream rock music went. Other bands I found I liked were Nickelback (who I later found out were if anything even more hated than St. Anger not just for one album but as a whole, which I must say was rather a childhood ruining experience) and Muse, but my interest in Muse turned out to be short lived. I even sold the albums I owned of them, which in later years I have begun to wonder if I may have been hasty over. I didn't sell the Nickelback. Not just because of greater nostalgia than Muse, but because no bugger would have bought them anyway. Still, back in the early 2000s I liked these bands, but something still wasn't quite right. I wasn't interested in moving beyond these bands.

One mate, 'C' who to this day is my best friend, was the most useless of the bunch at the time. 'C' joined our school in year 8 and when asked what music he was into I recall him answering one time the exact words of 'black man rap'. These days, excluding myself, he's the biggest rocker/metalhead of the lot of them.

The truth was, I did actually hear metal music before Metallica came up with St. Anger. And I didn't like it. In fact it was some the worst shit that was bothering the charts. Wait...the charts? We have to take an intermission here to give a rather sarcastic round of applause to the following bands, who almost did a damn good job of forever derailing my journey into metal.

Linkin Park. Limp Bizkit. Papa Roach. Korn. Actually, not so much Korn, but they didn't exactly do it for my young mind either and honestly Korn weren't getting the airplay at the time like the likes of Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit were. But these bands were what I first knew of as metal. Again, this was pre-Internet for me, so there was no going on the likes of Encyclopaedia Metallum and seeing how these acts were rejected as metal by those in the know (a stance that would have (and did) swayed my younger self but at this point I can recognise bigoted elitism when I see it).

And because of these bands I thought metal fucking sucked.

Salvation then, come from a source that years later seems a most unlikely one, a much maligned album by Metallica, a band that I was aware of, but had never heard until this, and just assumed sounded like those other shitty metal bands. I'd certainly never heard the term thrash metal before. There was just nu-metal. Other metal presumably being old-metal and redundant. Lord knows there was that one guy 'L' in school who gave his own friend 'K' all kinds of shit for liking Iron Maiden and Nirvana. ''K' only listens to artists who are over 50 or dead', 'L' would say regularly in that 'I'm better than you' way of talking that he had. A showcase of ignorance: Iron Maiden weren't that old in the early 2000s. The oldest member is Nicko McBrain who is only 68 now in 2020, making him the only one who had passed 50 in 2003.

In hindsight I should have gotten to know 'K' better. He probably had the best taste in music of all of us. But I don't recall sharing any classes with 'K' and so we didn't really socialise. He was also really quiet, like an invisible kid. Somehow I ended up getting to know 'L' better, since he seemed to attach himself to as many people as possible. I think he only hung out with us because he didn't like that some of his mates from primary school had befriended some of us who went to different primary schools once we all merged for secondary school. But we weren't friends, 'L' and I. Our relationship ranged from toleration to hostility. 'L' was into all those bands I mentioned earlier. He eventually forced his way into my school years band, since the rest of my mates thought the sun shone out of him, to the result of that band never trying to play together again after one bedroom rehearsal at 'D's' place. Of course we were crap, couldn't string one song together, had no bassist (my mate 'A' would turn his guitar low to try to compensate) or singer (I would try to growl briefly, which was quickly put a stop to by interfering parents), but that wasn't the point. It's because of 'L', more than anyone else who tried to push their taste onto me in these years, that I even today have an irrational hate of bands like Feeder, Green Day and RHCP. One might even say I was madly in anger with them.

Anyway, that Metallica album, before I digress from this story too far:

St. Anger. St. Fucking Anger.

And my mind was blown by music for the first time in my life.

But we do need to rewind slightly to get the full picture of this story, because this wasn't the first time I had heard metal that wasn't the awful nu-metal crap I'd previously been exposed to. I hadn't realised that another album I'd discovered slightly before this in 2003, was actually metal as well, except no one seemed to acknowledge it at the time (or since, really). Yet in hindsight it obviously was. Alternative, yes, but not nu (well maybe one song slightly, but not enough to worry about), and that really made a big difference. But the media just labelled it goth and Christian rock, so we can't really say that this album was my real gateway to metal. Sorry Fallen and Evanescence, but a misunderstanding media make you this story's tragic character who should be more important than you actually are.

When St. Anger first blared out of my speakers, there could be no room for doubt. THIS was metal. Not that nu-metal stuff that was full of rapping and other nonsense. And I somehow knew that this was it. This was my music. It was the heaviest and most aggressive stuff I'd ever come across. And it suited me like nothing else did. From that day forth, I knew one thing for certain: I had to find more metal. This was my world.

This choice wasn't met with much approval. In fact, none at all. My more punk and pop based mates thought I'd lost the plot. 'A' labelled me as having become a 'grunger'. Another show of adolescent ignorance there. This was the first and only time I've been called such or even heard the term. We were of a generation who'd missed the grunge explosion and that term may have been more widely used. 'A' probably knew it because he had a much older brother who was already an adult while we were in school and couldn't tell the difference between Nirvana and what Metallica was doing here. There's actually a lot of debate still about what Metallica was doing here, but it sure as hell isn't grunge. 'L' got something that he could throw in my face for liking even more the the crap he gave 'K'. But I didn't care. I knew I was now onto something that would likely shape the remainder of my musical life. And if 'L' had an issue with that he could respectfully go fuck himself.

My parents were more accepting, especially my Dad, though my Mum, who did her best to make sure her son lived a very sheltered life, disapproved of the swearing in the album, but by that point swearing in my music wasn't anything new. Even an ill fated exploration of techno had had the same 'problem' but the less we say about those times the better! Eventually she came around and has even attended concerts of metal bands herself, including Paradise Lost touring Medusa, growling and all. As an aside, I also found some appreciation for her beloved Springsteen, but as far as Bruce's go, I'm with Dickinson any day. I still can't stand Pink Floyd though. Sorry Dad!

But this disapproval of the time didn't stop me. If anything, it added fuel to my fire. And I found what I desired. More metal. Early Metallica, starting from the beginning with Kill 'Em All, was an early one on my list, which soon made me realise, although I'd played it to death by that point, that maybe St. Anger wasn't actually that great after all. That I'd been looking in through a dirty window but hadn't yet got a clear picture of what was possible with metal. And so I moved on from it. Convinced myself and I didn't like it at all any more for a time, and St. Anger began to gather dust.

But it didn't matter, because St. Anger had done something for me that no other album could claim, something that made me keep remembering it, which leads us to today's story and ultimate reappraisal of the album. It had made me a metalhead. And for that reason alone, I'll always have a special place in my collection for it. It might arguably be the most important album for personal discovery and growth that I own.

It is now 2020 and it's not many years off two decades since the album was released and at this point in time it's easy to acknowledge the problems that St. Anger objectively has. The writing is too drawn out. The lyrics aren't great. Most songs here could comfortably shave some minutes off. The drum sound sucks as much as every says it does and probably has harmed the reputation of Lars Ulrich for life. James Hetfield's vocals aren't what they once were. It's not the thrash metal album that people likely wanted after Load and ReLoad. It's not even a Black Album Part II. And there are no solos.

But you know what it also is? It's the sound of a long running band having the balls to do something different – to go into the studio and have Kirk Hammett not record a single guitar solo. To fuck up the drum sound because Lars Ulrich literally forgot to do something to set up his kit like he was supposed to and just rolling with it and seeing what happens. And to be honest I believe that Metallica played with a level of passion and commitment on this record that rarely comes through on a studio recording. And you know what? It's at least better than Load. Load is just boring. I'll take passionate but faulted any day over boring. I actually find myself really sorry for them that it has been thrown back in their faces so much.

Overall, today I believe St. Anger to be at least a semi-decent album. That will likely prove a controversial opinion to many who may read this. Well, I certainly have gathered quite a few of those in my strange journey into metaldom, such as believing that the idea of the Big Four of thrash is one of the biggest farces in metal. But that is another story. This one must end now and I hope it has proved enlightening in some way (or at least entertaining) and perhaps will give you pause to reconsider St. Anger. It sure as hell isn't perfect, but it could be a lot worse.

It could be Lulu.
St. Anger is a bad album. St. Anger has no solos. St. Anger has irritating and off-key vocals from James Hetfield. St. Anger has an horrible-sounding snare drum. But none of these points are a revelation, clearly. We’ve all heard these criticisms uttered countless times, and Metallica fans often point to it first (well, either this or Lulu) when they talk about the band losing their touch. It’s gotten to the point that other bands’ failures - such as Morbid Angel’s Illud Divinum Insanus and now Machine Head’s new album Catharsis - are being considered their respective artists’ versions of St. Anger. Indeed, it has that reputation. So why am I even bringing any of this stuff up?

Because I want to focus on intent. One quote from James Hetfield really struck me: “St. Anger is just the best we can do right now.” If you’ve never checked out the background behind the album (see: Some Kind of Monster), the history behind its conception is one giant shit-show. Jason Newsted left the band, James Hetfield was going into rehab as his alcoholism reached its breaking point, the band received backlash due to a lawsuit with Napster, and the group even hired a therapist to help them with their emotional struggles. But what’s even more important is that St. Anger was intended as a return to Metallica’s garage band roots, which explains the lack of solos. In Kirk Hammett’s words: "We wanted to preserve the sound of all four of us in a room just jamming.” As butchered and broken as the final product sounds, I can’t stress how much of a passionate piece of music the whole thing is. It’s such a deliberate attempt to avoid the mainstream hard rock trappings of Load and ReLoad to capture something from their distant past, and that’s where my admiration for it truly comes from. Many of us were in a shitty garage band back in our youths, sounding like ass but thinking we were true badasses as we played covers of our favorite bands. Hell, I was in one of those shitty bands myself! I briefly sang in a short-lived rock band in my junior year of high school, belting out such classics as “Seven Nation Army” and “Beast and the Harlot.” I don’t really talk to my old bandmates anymore, but those memories are always going to be part of me no matter where I go. For better or for worse (well, certainly for worse, but still…), St. Anger gives me the same feelings.

The album has a distinct fury and aggression that seem genuine, stemming from the band’s actual struggles and frustrations in their personal lives. Metallica was a very broken band at the time, and sometimes the best way to reboot your career is to start from ground zero and rebuild your sound from there. St. Anger is ground zero, much like the band’s pre-Kill ‘Em All days were their original ground zero. This is Metallica in their purest, most unhinged form. It may be ugly, badly written, and just fucking horrible in its overall presentation, but it also holds a place in my heart because of the exact same reasons. This is an awful, messed up, glorious, phenomenal disaster.
I like 'St. Anger'.

There, I said it.

Metal fans the world over will probably know all about 'St. Anger' and what contributed to its critical panning. The atrocious production, the awful drums (that don't even sound like drums), the cringe-worthy lyrics, the lack of guitar solos, the strained singing... the list goes on and on. But for all its faults and wrongdoings, the music itself on this album is still fairly decent.

I was sixteen when this album was released and was, at the time, a Metallica fanatic. Trivial things such as production was the last thing on my mind when this came out. I was just happy that my favourite band had released a new record and it rocked. Of course, as I grew older I learned to appreciate music production more, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the joy I gain from the compositions themselves still remain.

And whilst we're all familiar with (and most likely dislike) 'Frantic', 'Some Kind of Monster' and 'The Unnamed Feeling', this record has some forgotten gems such as 'Sweet Amber', 'All Within My Hands' and 'Shoot Me Again', which are all pretty underappreciated.

In truth, I'd be wasting my time if I tried to sell anyone on this album, as by now I figure everyone has made up their mind about it. But I'm happy with it. Sure, it has its problems, but it's different and unique and I enjoy it all the same. And the extra DVD of the band playing the album in the studio make this a nice little package.
siLLy puPPy
Wow. This album is REALLY hated. I have to admit that i pretty much gave up on METALLICA after the 'Load' album. Between the wannabe Jane's Addiction image and the pop punk songs that showed yet another 80s pioneering band stray into unfit territory, i just decided that METALLICA was just another 80s band that wanted to be something they were not so i never gave albums like ST ANGER the time of day, ESPECIALLY reading the vituperrious reviews. Well, at long last i have exposed myself (not in public!) to this most-hated edition of one of metal's most revered bands and i have to say that'.. it's not as bad as i expected. No, it's not a return to form. It's hardly in the same league as anything from the debut even to the self-titled black album BUT'.. it beats the crap out of 'Load,' 'Reload' and the weak nonsense that followed. So what happened to this once great band? Only speculation, of course, but perhaps a band that enjoyed too much success and garners one of the highest royalty payouts of all metal history just got too fat and cozy and out of touch with the R-E-A-L world? Hmmm. Just a theory as farfetched as it may sound.

OK. I'll keep this short. This album doesn't deserve much praise or criticism. It's been uttered many times before. I actually like this album's tenacity and experimental prowess BUT'. is this really METALLICA? Well, yes. James Hetfield makes that perfectly clear. Everything except the vocals indicates this is a new 90s alternative band that has come of age and ready and willing to make a stab at the big time. WTF? OK. I almost buy the whole shtick. I can understand the willingness of a band to experiment and try to play the new game and yadda yadda yadda but for bleep's sake TAKE IT ALL THE WAY!!!!

In a nutshell, i really love the grungy deep bass laden production that Bob Rock (also bassist) contributes on this album. The problem i have is manyfold but the main beef being that this isn't innovative in any way. METALLICA were clearly scanning the alternative metal soundscape of the 90s and incorporating anything far and wide into their sound that they could grasp onto. I still to this day do not understand the psychology of WHY a band that was so innovative in the metal world wanting to tackle every possible nuance of metal and claim it as their own. Some say Lars the ego driven maniac had his lead in this but really who knows.

The album comes across as a wannabe alternative compilation of the 90s. The main influences i detect are a Ministry industrial metal approach in riffage with Alice In Chains type grunge and vocal approaches with sparsely dispersed Pantera groove metal influences. However the most distinct ripoff of all comes from the incessant use of White Zombie type riffs that resonate low in the decibel range and have riffs that resonate as if they were of the 'La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol 1' album.

While i really like the production and sound and much loathed snare drum idiosyncrasies of this album unlike many others, what really turns me off about this album is the horrific vocals of James Hetfiels and the equally abysmal lyrics which are just bleepin' nonsensical (OMG like the goddam 'Tick Tick Tick from the first track or the other suckmefests like 'Shoot Me Again.' As the 90s unfolded new possibilities in the metal genre, METALLICA was trying (but obviously not succeeding) in ripping off the up and coming newbies. There is imagery in the liner notes ripping off My Dying Bride to the riffage on 'My World' that rips off their own 'Master Of Puppets.'

Overall i don't hate this album as much as others in the pure listening category although i get it totally in the intellectual department why this sucks donkey wankers. I actually enjoy the sound, the production and the instruments on board. What REALLY rankles my doggie reality is James Hetfield's vocals. This dude has clearly lost his luster. He has never been the cream of crop in the vocal department but has delivered stellar songwriting contributions to the metal universe. On this release he seems totally out of place and i truly feel this could have been a better album if Rob Zombie was on board as vocalist. I mean really! IF YOU'RE GONNA REINVENT YOUR SOUND'. then why not just go all the way and add a new vocalist. There are many brilliant moments here if this WERE a different band but because James Hetfield's limited diminishing abilities only SCEAM a declining band here in full deciblage i just can't embrace this album even though the aggressive instrumental portions are quite satisfying. Bob Rock's production is quite satisfying for me on this one.
Vim Fuego
If this had been `Re-Re-Load' it would have been easy to write off the album and the band, but it's not. Neither though is it a return to the days of old. The nearest thing Metallica have done to this album is the `Garage Days Re-Revisited' covers EP. It sounds like Metallica playing covers back in the garage again, except Metallica wrote the songs Metallica are covering.

There have been a lot of strange rumours surrounding this album. There were wild eyed, panicked suggestions it would be a nu-metal album, and it sounded just like System Of A Down. After all, there are no solos. It was supposed to contain blast beats and death metal elements, just like Cryptopsy. Hey, Lars has rediscovered double kick drums after more than a decade, and that's what death metal bands use a lot of, right?

Wrong on both counts. True, the trademark Hammett solos are conspicuous by their absence, but nu-metal? Not by even the loosest of definitions. For a start, James Hetfield can actually sing, and Metallica don't have to disguise a lack of musical skill with excessive downtuning. "Invisible Kid" however, is the exception to this generalisation. The song is so shitty it sounds like something Soulfly left in the studio. It is the only real fly in the bowl of cornflakes here though.

Yes, Lars is using both feet again, and the songs are faster than anything the band has written since "...And Justice For All", but putting the odd fast bit into a song doesn't make it death metal by any stretch. Perhaps if Jason Newsted had stayed with the band and lain a death grunt over some of the tracks...? No, it still wouldn't have been halfway brutal enough to be considered death metal. So that's what the album isn't.

What it is though is still a bit confused. The production is strange, with an odd "ping" in the drum sound. The guitars are mostly fat and meaty, as you'd expect, but occasionally drop off to a thin, reedy sound, like some poorly executed mid-80s thrash demo.

Most tracks hit some sort of comfortable groove which get the old headbanging and air guitar reflexes twitching, but then inexplicably, a new riff or a change of pace is thrown in, upsetting the flow somewhat. A couple of tracks, like "Sweet Amber" and "Frantic", hold their groove despite the interruptions.

A lot of the early criticism of the album has been levelled at the lyrical content. Sure, lines like "frantic tick tick tick tick tick tick tock" and "I'm madly in anger with you" are not exactly in the same league as anything off `Master Of Puppets' or `...And Justice For All'. James Hetfield can write songs about the fungi he finds between his toes for all I care. So the lyrics are cheesy. So what? Few bands which have been around as long as Metallica haven't written a few real dogs.

Like the previous two studio efforts though, tracks from `St Anger' make more sense in the live arena than they do on disc. Not Metallica's best, but far from their worst effort (the fucking awful S&M holds that title). Overall, an album full of oddities.
"St. Anger" is the 8th full-length studio album by US heavy metal/ thrash metal act Metallica. The album was released in June 2003 by Vertigo Records. Bassist Jason Newsted left Metallica shortly before the sessions for the album began. Details about the split are documented in the "Some Kind of Monster (2004)" documentary. The recording sessions for the album began on the 24th of April 2001 but a couple of months into the sessions Metallica had to take a lengthy break from the studio as lead vocalist/ guitarist James Hetfield went into rehab for alcoholism. The break lasted about a year before a sober James Hetfield returned and the sessions started up again. Producer Bob Rock plays the bass on the album as the band opted not to hire a new bassist before after the release of "St. Anger".

The music on the album is the most aggressive the band has released since "...and Justice for All (1988)", so the title of the album suits the music well. Metallica made a deliberate attempt at trying something new on the album. There are for example no guitar solos on the album and influences the NU-Metal/alternative metal end of the metal spectrum are obvious IMO. This is still unmistakably the sound of Metallica though. Something is not right though and overall "St. Anger" is not the most interesting/successful album in the world. For starters the 11 tracks on the album overstay their welcome by a couple of minutes and while the tracks do hold some strong elements (they are few but there) they come off as rather weak in comparison to the songs on earlier releases by the band. A way too long playing time of 75:01 minutes doesn´t do anything to save an already weak release. Why Oh why release a 75 minute long album when you only have quality material (well... almost decent material) for 35 minutes?

The worst thing about "St. Anger" is the production though. It´s messy and noisy. Quite the abomination if you ask me. I don´t think I´ve ever heard a snare drum sound as atrocious as the one of this album. It sounds like Lars Ulrich is beating an oil barrel to death. So while the music has some redeeming qualities there´s nothing positive to say about the sound on the album. It really drags my rating down a lot.

When I listened to "St. Anger" upon it´s release I remember I was greatly disappointed. I was more positive after listening to it again before this review but it is still the weakest album in Metallica´s discography and the last album by the band that I would advice people to listen to. A 1.5 - 2 star rating is warranted.
St. Anger is everybody's favorite "let's bash-Metallica" album. Well, it's certainly not good and has plenty of reasons to serve as an ideal album to sharpen you vitriol-drenched review writing skills, but Metallica has worse albums so I'll try to support them for a change.

A first reason for the criticism is obvious, the damn sound of the thing. Especially the snare drum is downright ridiculous. But apparently it is the way they wanted it to sound. A second reason is also obvious. All songs are waaaaay too long. Also, half of the songs fail to add anything and make the album wear out, long before it's completed.

That is all true but there are good thing here and well. Most of all this album signals a welcome return of energy and anger into Metallica's sound. Each new album in the 90's had only been topping the previous in lackluster song writing and sloppy performance. St. Anger is a welcome return to aggression and simple & sharp metal riffs. Even if they don't come near to past excellence, it's still an improvement over all the deflated unload disasters.

If Metallica had not only opted for a garage sound, but also for garage song writing and attitude, they could have trimmed down the fat on each of these songs and could have created a very powerful scourging 40 minute album. Well, they didn’t and they even continued to make the exact same mistake on the overhyped Death Magnetic.
The worst album I've ever heard

Wow... I must admit to Metallica their ability to create something abnormally disgusting. And I admit it every single time, when I listen to St. Anger (they are not much: 2 times when it was released and 1 now because of writing a review). It's noise, it,s not music. There's not any logic and songwriting here. It's just experimental noise here. Probably it's an achievement, too. It's an achievement, because it's very difficult to create so awful piece of art. There are a lot of comic moments on St. Anger. Wow... It's extraterrestrial. There aren't fresh or whatever ideas. The most important thing I can say about this album is: St. Anger is a common noun of noise, incompetence, foolishness and misunderstanding (of nature). 0,5000000000(0) star under MMA rating system (the complete minimum)!!!
The Angry Scotsman
Here it is the album. The album that everyone hates. Old school fans hate it because it was released after 1988, and new school fans hate it because it sounds so different. Hell, everyone hates it because it sounds so terrible. I have heard, on more than one occasion, that this is one of the worst albums ever made. That being said, I think this is an alright album. Certainly not great, but not the god awful pile of trash most say it is. All you need to is listen, and not let the masses opinion sway you.

OK, I will start with the bad. This album sounds like a train wreck at times. Almost every song is too long, most could be cut in half. The lyrics are almost laughably bad, almost...I can't laugh though. Some gems are, "My lifestyle, determines my deathstyle", "I'm madly in anger with you", and of course "KILL KILL! KILL KILL KILL! KILL!". Usually lyrics I can just completely tune out, but when they are that bad, it just can't be done.

Common criticism of this album is "the drums sound like crap!" and "there are no solos!". Well, the drum sound is personal preference. I kind of like the sound of that snare drum. However, Lars' drumming, while usually mediocre, sometimes does not even follow the basic rule of drumming. Keeping a beat. The worst is in Some Kind of Monster, where there are long periods of him just playing woefully off beat. As for the lack of solos, that is what they wanted. It helps to give it a garage feel. Though it is certainly a down point.

Now the good! This album is a return to their old days. This album is heavy. It has a lot of thrash on it. A heavy, muddy, album with some thrash. There are some great riffs. There are also some very experimental and unique parts, for Metallica. Different is not bad, and the contrast with the rest of the album is pretty good.

This album starts out fairly well. Frantic, St. Anger, and Some Kind of Monster are all good songs. And they actually have a bit of progressiveness to them! Although St. Anger and Some Kind of Monster are too long. Invisible Kid is another good song. Again, heavy and I actually really like James' vocals in the quieter sections.

Sweet Amber begins, well sweet. Then goes into the heavy. A cool sounding song. Purify is not bad, and Invisible Kid is also not bad, but again way too long. Dirty Window is a good song, love his vocals in the mellow parts.

So, what do I have to say about this album. Under rated! It is not their best, by a long shot. However, all the flak it takes is undeserving. It is a thrashy, heavy, dirty feeling album. What's the problem? If you are not into a grungy, "garage" feel then I guess you won't like it. However, I do. It has a great feel to it. Besides, this is the end of their "sellout" days. There generic, hard rock albums were tossed out the window in favor of metal again. Maybe it is not focused, but's a start.

A decent album, with an old school, heavy feel. The vocals are bad, (but real) most of the songs are way too long, and some are just bad sounding. However, a lot are good sounding, and even a bit progressive! There is a lot of bad with this album, but if you honestly listen, you will find some great riffing (though difficult to hear) and some pretty unique songwriting (though sometimes undone by the extended song lengths). I say you should listen to this album with an OPEN MIND!

Three Stars
Conor Fynes
'St. Anger' - Metallica (2/10)

Retarded cabbage patch kid music; nothing sums it up better. I'm glad this record is on the internet for me to review though, so I can warn anyone of potentially spending their money on this massacre to change their mind. QUICKLY.

In context, Metallica was in a bad position. The members hated each other, and were on the brink of breaking up. This 'antimatter chemistry' translated into a noisy mess, as can be seen in each of the awful tracks.

Admittedly, I wasn't even able to get through all the songs. I'm reviewing this album and haven't even listened to all of it! Put simply, I don't need to. The reason I couldn't get through it is because it's just too damn useless. It's like listening to a baby whine for hours on end while it gets it's pupils pierced by hot needles... Maybe worse.

I can't say I've ever been a huge Metallica fan, but at the very least (in past works) they've proven that they can make some damned good music. However, in this case, I'd rather listen to some Elementary school pop-rock band. At least there would be something there that could resemble music.

In terms of the actual music throughout the course of the album, it's very one-tracked. It all sounds the same. And while a 70 minute album generally sounds appealing, I might have even been tempted to give these retarded cabbage patch kids a 2 star rating if this was an 'experimental' EP, trying out a different sound than what they're used to. But no, this is a full fledged album. A full fledged, 11 song album without any highlights, without any sense of melody, or rhythm, or evocation of emotion.

The album does have some good parts, or 'highlights' if you will; the first three songs are at least listenable. 'St. Anger' is a memorable title track, and 'Frantic' gives a real jolt of energy which is good, even if that energy is brought forward through disgracefully bad production and performance.

If you like metal or prog, you're honestly better off getting a Rihanna album. At least you won't feel betrayed or dissapointed afterwards.

Members reviews

St. Anger gets hate, but if someone were to forget Metallica's older releases maybe they would more so appreciate the album.

Actually, "St. Anger" happens to be one my favorite alternative albums and one of my favorite albums by Metallica.

James Hetfield has supported on many occasions the amount of anger and emotion that went into the album's making. He has stated that, "There's two years of condensed emotion in this. We've gone through a lot of personal changes, struggles, epiphanies, it's deep. It's so deep lyrically and musically."

To me, that is what this album stands for, and that is what the mood it conveys. So this album fits at times when I am really angry, or at times when I am, ironically, really happy.

The album, in my opinion, can be paired with other similar alternative albums such as Slipknot's ".5: The Gray Chapter" and Korn's "Path of Totality." At the same time though, it can be paired with thrash metal releases in the same category as most of Metallica's other albums.

The album is no doubt timeless, but it looks like nobody will ever realize so. Sad to say the least.

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