Sound — 5
Soundwise, St. Anger is definetely the most unique. Being more of a heavy-music leech, I would say that this does beat the period of Load/Reload; songs like "Mama Said" really disgruntled me! However, St. Anger's sound really does not compliment the band's true potential. For one thing, I really don't like the sound of the snare drum; it literally sounds like a trashcan! I will applaud Lars in the sense that he is trying some new drum beats out; however, most of the time, it sounds like the basic drum beat (bass drum+ hi hat and snare) but faster depending on the bpm. Being a person that likes really heavy and low-end music, I have no problem with the downtuning. However, some of the music sounded really off. "Dirty Window" really sounded like a poor excuse for grunge; furthermore, the cowbell pissed me off. The lack of solos in the songs is a bit of a downfall. One person in an Ultimate Guitar said that Kirk was sick of them; if you were to watch "Some Kind Of Monster," you would see that Bob Rock discouraged solos in these songs. Some of the riffs, I must say, were pretty good. I personally liked the sound of "Sweet Amber," "The Unnamed Feeling," and "St. Anger;" those songs seem to have the most stable composition. All around, St. Anger's sound is really on both sides; it's not that great, yet it doesn't really suck.
Lyrics — 5
When I saw "Some Kind Of Monster," I found that everyone had a shot at writing the lyrics, which is really unique because a band would usually leave the lyrics up to the vocalist. Some of the song lyrics that came out on the album were okay. However, in the end, I really found the lyrics to be really choppy and askew in subject matter. One instance of choppiness could be "Invisible Kid." This song is by far, one of the worst on the album. The lyrics to it are by far the worst. An exerpt from this song goes "Invisible kid/Never seen what he did, Got stuck where he hid/Falling through the grid". Following that, James goes into "I'm okay/just go away..." Looking back on the old Metallica albums, songs were written solely by James about his life experiences, which is probably the reason why they flowed more; these lyrics, which were written by different people and pieced together like a deranged puzzle, are choppier and in the long run, don't make that much sense. One example of the song lyrics being okay would probably be "The Unnamed Feeling." One could definetely recognize from the lyrics that the song covers feelings of pressure, self-hatred, depression, etc. An exerpt of these lyrics go "And the unnamed feeling/it comes alive, and the unnamed feeling/treats me this way." The lyrics, in this case, make a lot of sense because such negative feelings do make one feel a certain way. The lyrics in this song do seem to flow a bit better compared to a majority of the songs on the album. All around, James Hetfield should have definetely taken the pen for these songs. I strongly believe that the group lyric-writing idea does not really work that well; this album is definetely a good example of it not working well.
Overall Impression — 3
My overall impression of this album is that it is very mediocre. It could be compared to an A+ quality student being satisfied with a C+ on a project. Observing this from a certain standpoint, one could say that this is Metallica venting from the pressures that it had undergone from the timespan of Load/Reload to St. Anger; some instances of these pressures could be Jason Newsted's departure, Napster, James Hetfield undergoing rehab, and the fear of Metallica dying. Despite this being a period of venting, it could definetely have sounded better. James Hetfield once said that they were portraying their anger in "a healthy way." Whatever this healthy way was, it still should have sounded better. Being a metalcore person, there are definetely a shitload of bands out there like Killswitch Engage and As I Lay Dying that portray elements of anger and depression, yet still have musical composition in the stuff that they play. With these things in mind, I do pray that the next album, which is being produced by Slayer's Rick Ruben, will be a more constructive album than its predecessor.