Sound — 10
01. The Ecstasy Of Gold - theme song from a Clint Eastwood movie "The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly." A warm up for the symphony and an excellent song (though a bit short at only 1 min 30 sec). 02. Call Of Ktulu - anyone else notice that all 4 of Metallica's first albums had instrumentals? This song shows why they played a huge part in those albums being classics. And the symphony adds more layers and textures and makes the song much more interesting than it could possibly have been with the original instruments alone. (it also won a grammy for "best rock instrumental"). 03. Master Of Puppets - Hetfield's voice may lose its "straight-from-hell" ambiance from the original, but it's replaced with a very lively voice good to sing along to. The symphonic element is obvious, so of course the symphony does well. 04. Of Wolf And Man - the most alive song on either discs, due to the band's enthusiasm. The symphony goes well with it for the most part. 05. The Thing That Should Not Be - I've always had to be in the mood for this song, which has a slow pace which can get annoying. Hetfield forgets a few lyrics but the symphony adds to the gothic feel. 06. Fuel - great energy, and Hetfield's voice change for the show removes the annoying screeching that bogged down parts of the original. The symphony's interlude parts are just fantastic. 07. The Memory Remains - symphony adds a lot. Hetfield says "suck it." He totally has the right to do so. 08. No Leaf Clover - one of two songs specifically written for the event, and the album's single. Great opening, and amazingly good for what is essentially an experiment(even moreso than the rest of the album). Turns out it's "Soothing light at the end of your tunnel," not "tongue." And I thought that song was blatantly sexual when I was 15. 09. Hero Of The Day - ending is good (I mean that in a good way) but a bit too slow for me to start. 10. Devil's Dance - totally dancable, and definitely more catchy than original bare-bones rock version. 11. One of my faves with the symphony, starts out with bluesy guitar and only gets better. Once again, I like Hetfield's voice much better than on the original album. Symphony gives it that grandiose feeling it goes for to begin with, but this time actually succeeding. 12. Nothing Else Matters - song that made Michael Kamen and 'Tallica friends (he already did symphony bits for the album version). Adds a couple more symphony parts, not much else different. Still good though. 13. Until It Sleeps - symphony adds texture, but I actually like the oriiginal equally. 14. For Whom The Bell Tolls - I think the symphony makes this song almost upbeat, in that good adrenaline sense. Although one of the things I like most about the song is the brilliant lyrics, and Hetfield sings them a bit fast. 15. Human - another song written specifically for the symphony. hard-driving riff and good usage of the symphony, but still not quite great. 16. Wherever I May Roam - aside from the violins that follow the main riff, I find the symphony parts a bit out of place and akward. 17. The Outlaw Torn - one of the longest songs Metallica's ever written, the version on "Load" had to be cut short to ensure the CD didn't skip. The actual sound? meh 18. Sad But True - symphony introduces the song wonderfully, unfortunately after that the symphony bits are hit-or-miss. Band keeps it together completely though. 19. One - absolutely beatiful. Enough said. 20. Enter Sandman - for the most part, symphony is great, and they lengthen the song in a very good way. However, there are still a few spotty places where the symphony feels wrong or is gone for too long. 21. Battery - spanish guitar opening gets replaced with orchestral instruments, but during the middle the symphony is barely used. Ending symphony bits are ace, however. Interesting Fact: Michael Kamen also added orchestral texture to Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, and Bob Dyllan. He died of a heart attack only a few months after the album's making. RIP, indeed deserved.
Lyrics — 10
Lyrics are by Metallica. Obviously they're good or great, but certainly never boring and there's often a deeper meaning.
Overall Impression — 10
A few songs may have bennefitted from less spotinness from the symphony, but mostly it's hard to notice due to Hetfield's more than welcome vocal change and the grandiose texture and feel the symphony adds to most songs.