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ST. ANGER
Metallica 2003

I remember back in 1986 when I first tried out Metallica’s Master Of Puppets. I had heard about them, but at the time was more into the more MTV and radio friendly metal of the day, as well as my heroes, Iron Maiden.
When I pressed play, and heard the pseudo-Spanish guitar part of Battery, I was instantly hooked. But then the lead in dissolved into the heaviest guitar I had ever heard. It was as if two rocks were being rubbed together in rhythm. By the time the final song, Damage Inc. had faded, I was convinced Metallica was the best band to ever pick up instruments and play the rock and roll music. The power…mixed somehow with melody…and James Hetfield’s perfect mix of growl and lyric. I was blown away.
My thoughts have hardly drifted from that, even as the boys took a slow slide from grace as of late. Now with their new CD St. Anger, they’re first truly original CD in seven years, I was hoping Metallica would kick my ass all over again.

Well, it’s Thursday, June 5, and St. Anger is here…
First off, the packaging is awesome!.
I mean, not only does it comes with a DVD of the entire album done live, with new bassist Robert Trujillo (Bob Rock plays on the CD), but more on that later.
But just the way it’s all packaged...it’s very inviting. Cool looking, dark images. All the lyrics laid out for us to get a peek into Hetfield’s mind. I’m loving it.

But how is it musically?
Well, it’s pretty fucking hard.
It sounds like nothing they’ve done before. It’s heavy, but in a weird way. There are riffs, and cool ones at that, but it’s a very percussive CD…old Lars never takes a break.
The CD opens with “Frantic”…an aggressive, thumping song that I’m pretty sure I’ll grow to love. Then comes the first single, the title track. This song has grown on me big time. I first heard it via the video, which left me underwhelmed (I’m not into the whole prison thing). Since then I’ve heard it various times, and it stays with me. It’s become the new song that’s always on the tip of my tongue. My mantra, if you will (“I want my anger to be healthy”).

What follows is a barrage on the senses in musical form. It’s not heavy in terms of the crunching guitar riffs of Master or …And Justice For All, but it’s heavy in attitude.
St. Anger is the aggression and confusion in James Hetfield’s life laid down in a studio.
He’s been my musical hero for more a decade now, but now I almost see him as an equal.
We have a lot in common, deep within our psyches anyway…
Kinda scary.

Of the eleven songs, “Invisible Kid”, “The Unnamed Feeling” and “All Within My hands” are stand outs in my book, but I think overall I really like this CD. It’s kinda raw. As in, not overly produced or processed. No, it’s not one of their classics, but it is a new beginning.

And then there’s the DVD.
Wow...think about it. An entire CD’s worth of music, performed live...all for the price of one CD.
That’s a very nice thank you to the fans who have been waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for new Metallica. It’s called St. Anger: Rehearsals. It’s directed by Wayne Isham, but it’s pure performance, each track from the CD in the same order as on disc. It’s a very cool thing for them to have done, and it’s cool to see Trujillo as part of the band. It's a huge introduction to the masses. Trujillo's an intimidating presence with apparent skills to match. I think he’ll be a good fit in Metallica.

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