Sound — 9
Metallica's latest offering to the world of metal comes in the form of DVD covering its videos from 1989 to 2004, and for the most part it is a fascinating look at the visuals that have accompanied the band's changing sound. Even though there isn't much in the way of bonus interviews or live footage, the running time of over 2 hours ensures that there is no shortage of material on the DVD.
What may be the biggest drawback for fans is that it does only focus on the band's music after 1989, which of course, was when the band also started to make a huge impression on MTV. So if you are one of the critics who dogged on the band for using producer Bob Rock or becoming too radio friendly, you may feel that the DVD just doesn't accurately represent the overall history. But to be fair, this is strictly a DVD dedicated to the music videos, and the creation of One was truly a memorable marker in the band's timeline.
Musically, songs like One, Enter Sandman, and The Unforgiven are still solid works that were enhanced tenfold with the accompanying videos. There are plenty of people who still prefer the days of Master Of Puppets, but unfortunately there aren't really any traditional videos to mark that era. Even still, Metallica churned out plenty of hook-driven, likeable tunes from the early '90s and part one of The Videos is a much-needed trip back in time.
If you're not a huge fan of the band's later music -- particularly the St. Anger album, which was met with disappointment from fans and critics alike -- you may feel the need to fast-forward through the ending portion. While the band still does a competent job at the 4 videos from St. Anger, they still do pale in comparison to the earlier videos. But because the music documentary Some Kind of Monster did already give a peek into the motives behind St. Anger, it's still interesting to see the results of that trying time during the band's career.
Content — 9
The DVD begins with the video for One, which is still one of the most haunting videos of all time. By combining the band jamming in a dimly lit practice space along with images from the 1971 movie Johnny Got His Gun, it's still hard to take your eyes of it. Along with One, pretty much all of the singles are covered in The Videos. If you're watching start to finish, it does seem that the earlier videos were visually a bit more creepy and intriguing. The chilling images of the boy-turned-old man in The Unforgiven to the odd cast of characters seen in Until It Sleeps are perfect examples of this early trend. When you're watching the late '80s to early '90s portion, it's easy to lose track of time because the videos (not to mention the music) are so well done.
The Videos also includes 2 Of One, the 1989 release that previously was only available on VHS. This section included an interview with drummer Lars Ulrich detailing the making of the video for One, as well as a Jammin' Version of the video. The 2 Of One portion is brief, but it is one of the biggest highlights on the DVD. Additionally, The Videos also features a Theatrical Version of The Unforgiven video and a trailer for the movie Some King Of Monster.
Production Quality — 10
The visual quality of most of the videos on the DVD is executed beautifully. With a variety of directors behind the videos, it gives the songs unique identities. Directors Michael Salomon and Bill Pope (One), Matt Mahurin (The Unforgiven), and Samuel Bayer (Until It Sleeps) make the biggest impression with their artistic approach to the videos, but even the rawer tracks that are done in more of a straightforward fashion are done well. While it's safe to say that everyone will have a preference for one film style over another, The Videos gives enough variety to satisfy most fans.
Overall Impression — 9
Regardless of what you might dislike about the changing Metallica sound, The Videos: 1989-2004 makes a worthwhile addition to your DVDs. With 21 videos and alternative versions of One and The Unforgiven, The Videos doesn't leave any holes in terms of the band's career post-1989.
Metallica has done a good job at consistently releasing videos, whether live concerts of the documentary Some Kind Of Monster, and the latest DVD continues that tradition. The Videos might not keep your attention during the later years if you were not a fan of St. Anger, but even if you skip through those, you'll still have almost 2 hours of watching ahead of you. So while you're awaiting Metallica's return to greatness, The Videos will make you once again appreciate just what the legendary band has offered in the past.
Check out the trailer for Metallica's "The Videos: 1989-2004" DVD: