I’ve decided I need to hear the new Metallica album. It’s been so universally & variously condemned, defended, mocked, hailed, that I’ve got to step into the shitstorm of debate myself. The more “senior” critics out there—Don Kaye and Martin Popoff, for example—have made it sound like a genuinely original, interesting album. Meanwhile, the review at SSMT and the postings on Blabbermouth have equated the album to a crime against humanity. “It’s HORRIBLE,” Adrian Bromley told me on the phone the other night, each uppercase letter sizzling with contempt.
St. Anger’s misdemeanours include long, pointless songs, no solos, laughable lyrics, and, interestingly, a bad drum sound. I’m pretty forgiving of drum sounds. I prefer them natural and unprocessed, but I can put up with anything except 1985-style Defenders of the Faith electro-cannons. And I hate it when the drums are mixed too high—see South of Heaven and The Temple of Knowledge. I’m always curious about what others consider a bad drum sound, so that’s another reason I want to hear St. Anger.