Sound — 8
There are several obvious points to pick up on for St Anger sound-wise. Firstly, Lars' innovative snare drum sound. Whilst many hate the sound, claiming it sounds like garbage cans being hit, others may say it is an original idea which it is and I think that it adds depth to their songs, and creates something a bit different. A bit more interesting. Secondly, much to many thousands of fans horror - there are no solos on this album! I have to say I think this was one of Metallica's building blocks for their music and success and I was disappointed to see them go. However, in their place we have huge, towering riffs, that, I have to admit, more than compensate. St. Anger is, true to its word, a very raw sounding album. We hear throughout, James hitting off keys, and minor errors in playing within the whole group. I don't actually like the effect this creates - it comes across as sloppy and not well produced to me. This is a thing a lot of people have been doing and I don't want to, but compare this to their older albums, Master Of Puppets or Ride The Lightning, and the sound of St. Anger is a jumbled, complicated mess. However, as I read in a review once, "sub-par Metallica is still better than any other band firing on all cylinders." I couldn't agree more. Whilst the sound quality does not even compare to their older songs, it is still "blow you away" stuff, in a league of its own.
Lyrics — 6
To be able to review the lyrics properly, you would need to take into consideration many things beside just listening to the album. It very much depends on how much you know of the band, their background, their current and past situations, and them as people. I found, for example, after watching "Some Kind Of Monster", their recent DVD, that I was able to connect and realte to the lyrics much, much more and understand what the band were trying to portray. The lyrics for St. Anger were written in group sessions. This was a new idea, linking in with their group therapy. And to be perfectly honest, it hasn't created anything at all as memorable as almost anything else Metallica has written. There are some good single lines that I could pick out, "my lifestyle determines my deathstyle" being one. Put to the new style of heavier, solo-less Metallica, the style of lyrics they have come up with works quite well, but to simply read them out loud does not always generate particularly pleasant reading.
Overall Impression — 8
Despite several negative comments I have made, I still find myself putting this album on over and over again. It seems to be true with this album that the more you listen to it, the more you grow to like it and understand it. I stick by my comment that it does not compare to their old stuff but then very few albums do - this is a new Metallica they have created and they have come out of it pretty well. My standout tracks would have to be "Frantic," "Purify" and "Dirty Window." I would recommend however that you listen to early Metallica first before buying this - it would not be the ideal impression to go away with of them. If it was stolen I think I would eventulally replace it, though not with any great hurry.