Sound — 2
Agony, thy name is St. Anger. You hear those "boink-boink-boink-boink" drums? Those downtuned riffs ripped right from a generic nu-metal record? Those unbearable lyrics delivered through a vocal performance that sounds like livestock being violated by a pickle? That painful silence where solos should ring? That's the sound of a band thoroughly out of ideas. Moreover, it's the sound of the absolute nadir of anything remotely good, or even (god forbid) metal. This, ladies, gentlemen and all things in between, is the sound of St. Anger. What can I say, aside from this? As aforementioned, every instrument in this CD has been perfectly tuned to make your ear-drums suffer profusely. No more screwing around, with hooks of any kind, with this one Metallica simply said "Set phasers to "sodomy" and followed through admirably. I can even picture the genesis of this album in the studio. I'm thinking it went something like this: "Instruments? We don't need no goddam, instruments! We're Metallica!" proclaimed Lars (in his usual fashion). Ulrich, this time filled with something other than a lot of hot air and a lack of talent, made good on this and (if the drum sound on this album is any indication) set an example for the rest of the band by passing up his Tama drum kit in favor of a couple of trash-can lids and the studio water-cooler. James hopped on board by completely and utterly disregarding everything he might have conceivably learned about singing in his 26 years with the band, let alone playing the guitar. And Kirk, as we all know, forgot how to play anything without the profuse use of the wah-pedal long ago. Unfortunately, now he's forgotten how to play solos. And Trujillo well, he does what he's told; namely, to stand in the corner and try not to be noticed. Now I know that by this point I've probably offended somebody by now, and I'll probably get guff for being close-minded or an elitist or some other equally trite and tired label. Well, let me tell you, I can only say what I like and don't like and what I don't like is this steaming pile of hippo crap. But I'm not going to say this arbitrarily, let's examine this a bit more in-depth, shall we? From the beginning of Frantic we can tell that we're not in for any old school bay-area thrash at least. Clang-clang-thunk-thunk! That's pretty much the whole damn song right there folks. Sadly enough, it's actually one of the better songs on the CD, simply because it's tolerable and is relatively merciful at about 6 minutes. Sure the chorus is irritating, the lyrics aren't that great, the riffing is generic but you take what you can get on this album. Then we have the title track, joy of joys! What the hell went wrong here? This funky little groove riff introduces it, then Lar$ I can keep a b3at!! 1 Ulrich comes in, then it drops off into that clang-clang-clang formula this album has. Then, in another schizophrenic tempo change, it drops off into a quiet part emphasizing Hetfield's atrocious singing (which by now has settled into the bottom echelon of the modern rawk spectrum). But wait kids, it gets worse! What the hell is with this next part? James starts singing off-key while the trash-can snare comes in, and some jackass starts saying (not singing) flush it owt! Wow guys, this is profound! And let's not forget the lyrical opus of lines like I'm madly in anger with you! x 4 and of course f**k it all and no regrets, I hit the lights on these dark sets. Hmm, that sounds familiar. Remember that song that closed the underwhelming Master of Puppets? Didn't the lyrics go kinda like that, only perhaps with a bit less teen-angst? Skip this one, kiddles. Some Kind Of Monster could actually be made into a decent or perhaps even good(! ) song, were it not for it's repetitive nature (that tends to happen when you stretch a 4 minute song out to 8) and the utterly asinine lyrics. This is the face that stones you cold? This is the flood that drains these eyes? Way to be coherent guys. Once again, Hetfield deserves a mention for his abysmal singing and trying to rhyme pure with uh, pure. Bravo. I could go on, but really these songs all blur together in their appalling lack of anything redeeming. But I have to mention Shoot Me Again. This is perhaps the worst song ever created by a supposed metal band. It starts off with a useless, grating little ditty before launching into some crappy stab at a quiet, emotional moment. Then, it launches into the apex of it's crappiness: the chorus that would not die. As soon as James starts singing shoot me again, huhuh, shoot me again you know you're in for trouble. But what's worse than this crash course in lyrical stupidity is the fact that he never stops his insipid singing; it just carries on and on and on forever and ever without end amen. Please for the love of all that is small and furry shut up! Except he never does! This abomination continues for 7 minutes of unending agony and hopefully, for the sake of your auditory organs, you have already hit the skip button. Or the eject button.
Lyrics — 1
Oh, where to begin. For a band that many of it's fans say has "matured", these lyrics come off as if they were written by a high school undergraduate who failed English. Everything here is either unimaginative at best or just plain awful. From the idiotic lyrics and rhyme schemes of "Some Kind of Monster" to the blatant, half-assed plagarism of their previous works in songs like the title track, to the just plain creepiness of "Invisible Kid" ("Invisible Kid, suspicious of your touch" WTF? ) this album fails on so many levels, including lyrically. Did I mention Hetfield is at his absolute lowest here? The more you know.
Overall Impression — 1
Really, what more is there to say? This album is beyond awful, it's an atrocity unlike any other. What amazes me is that there are still people who will sing its praises, either out of some counter-conformist need to differ with the widely-held recognition of this album's horridness; or out of some misguided loyalty to the band. To proponents of the former, I have to say that there is a reason it is thought of as a pile of unmitigated crap: because it is one. And to those of the latter, well, if you want to give a manufacturer money for a sub-par product, that's your prerogative. Really, all this album is is proof that this band can take a crap in a CD case an sell it. But that doesn't mean you have to get suckered into it.