Sound — 8
If you like older Metallica, or if you like newer Metallica, it just doesn't matter. This is totally unlike anything they've done. The guitars are tuned down to drop C, for a dirtier, heavier noise, Hetfield's singing is very unpolished, probably done with minimal takes, and the drumming is different for what most people are accustom to. The snare is more of a "ping" sound than a "snap" sound, immediately unattracting a lot of people.
Lyrics — 6
I personally believe this is the best singing Hetfield's done. Why? Because it's so unbelievably raw and hard. He's never sung like he has on this album. Breathlessly shouting "Frantic-tic-tic-toc," much like how everyone else has quoted in their reviews, is very exciting to hear. And there's still a lot more moments like that in the album than just that part. The singing is very rough around the edges, but it rightfully should be. I don't see why this is such a major issue for some people. This is metal, not pop music. If I wanted perfect singing I'd listen to some trashy Pop star, not heavy metal. Lyric-wise, everyone else seems to say that the lyrics are aweful. They aren't that bad, but honestly I don't get what's so great about Metallica's lyrics in the first place. It is different, but I don't see it as much of a step forward or a step backwards, honestly.
Overall Impression — 7
People who say this is "nu-Metallica" or "mallcore" are total idiots, and I'll say why: this is by far the most raw, dirty, unpollished, and un-catchy Metallica's ever been. Long and extremely un-radio friendly tracks make up a majority of this album (The shortest song is over five minutes long). Tell me how this is Metallica trying to imitate nu-metal? This isn't a catchy album. It's not supposed to be. It's a middle finger to anyone who said Metallica's sold out and lost their touch. Most people just don't get it. With a name like St. Anger, it's a dark, 70-minute anger-fest. And it does a damn good job. So what do you do? Half the people say this album's total shit, the other half praise it. It's easy, just listen to one song. Somehow, download it, borrow it, something. Just manage to hear one song, once. Any song. See how you react. If you can't stand the unusual drumming, singing, and guitar, then just don't get the album. If it's differences interest and excite you (like for me) then get it. Only you know if you're going to actually like it.