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Metallica – S&M 2

Happy Canuck Thanksgiving, everyone! Here’s some Metallica to help you stave off the sleepy effects of the tryptofan in the turkey…

The first S&M, in 1999, is followed up now, 20 years later, by S&M 2. It has huge audio mastered from the September, 2019 performance. 

22 songs. 2.5 hours of Metallica and the San Francisco Orchestra (Edwin Outwater & Michael Tilson Thomas, cond.), with DVD or Blu-Ray of the same show. Wiki tells me this was also the grand opening show of the Chase Center.

Same as with S&M 1, we know that Metallic is loud and heavy, and the orchestra just adds to it. Now, some feel that the symphony does not add anything beneficial to the music, that it’s symphonic enough already. Some find it pretentious, or a result of too much fame bloat. Me, I dig it.

On CD1, The Day That Never Comes, Confusion, Moth Into Flame, No Leaf Clover, and Halo On Fire stand out, though they’re all cool. On CD2, Prokofiev’s The Cynthian Suite is beautiful, and interesting because it’s just the symphony, no Metallica, though instrumentally they join on the Dance Of The Dark Spirits and the Iron Foundry. Some might complain it’s not enough Metallica, I say it balances things and offers a nice break in the pummelling. Also, on Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth), the bass solo is played in tribute to Cliff Burton by cellist Scott Pingle from the symphony, the sound of which made the hairs on my arms stand up – holy moly! All Within My Hands was brilliant (I still love St. Anger, say what you will). Overall, I love how they mixed it up, giving different looks and still sounding epic and like themselves at every turn. 

If you’re a fan, you bought this already. If not, this could be a fun introduction and, also, where have you been?



The Skip 5 Show #18: Metallica – Just A Bullet Away

From the 2011 Beyond Magnetic EP, for which I still hold Lars accountable because they said it would be download only, so I did, and then it came on CD later. 

This track is a period-typical metal-punk Metallica blast chugger and, I’m not gonna lie, at high volume (the only way to play it) through the good headphones, this song fucking rocks. It makes me wanna break stuff, and that melody line is now stuck in my brain on repeat. \m/   \m/

Metallica – The $5.98 E.P. Garage Days Re-Revisited


Sometimes a release just tells me to buy it. I can hear it, in my head. Buuuyyyy meeee… 

I was in Sunrise the other day and was confronted with three different versions of the remastered Blackened re-release of this Metallica EP:

  1. regular CD in slim cardboard sleeve
  2. regular CD in slim cardboard sleeve in a longbox with lenticular cover (ltd. ed.)
  3. orange vinyl 12″ (ltd. ed.)

Now, I know with Metallica that “limited edition” probably means limited to a zillion copies instead of a bazillion, so I generally disregard that angle when it comes to these guys. I’ll admit that the orange vinyl was mighty tasty-looking and would be glorious to own. The least interesting to me was the standard wee slim cardboard sleeve CD version. I mean, whatever.

But some primal part of me, that ancient part of me that actually remembers the longbox releases back in the day, gravitated towards that longbox edition. Yeah, it’s still just the cardboard sleeve version inside a big dumb box, but I could hear it: buuuuyyy meeee… So of course I did. It was a few bucks more than the standard CD, which is OK seeing as how the longbox is ridiculous (and therefore pleases me greatly) and it’s limited edition (haha see above) and the lenticular cover is pretty cool (so far as it goes).

So yeah. I may still want the orange vinyl. But the longbox tickles me and I’m cool with that.

Ennnnterrrrr Saaaaandmaaaannnn

It’s Sunday, let’s have some fun!

Here’s a fun experiment:

Listen to the offical audio of Metallica’s Enter Sandman on Youtube (link at the bottom of this post, but read on first). I know, I know, hey Aaron, WHY? Stay with me…

Try this: hit up the Settings wheel on the video (bottom right of the video). Under Speed, start with 0.25 and work your way up through the speed options. It’s fascinating!

Check it out:

0.25x – almost drone-like, odd at first but also hypnotic. Unfortunately the vocals sound like they’re being squeezed through a long metal tube.

0.5x – sounds like a garage band trying to be evil-sounding while they’re still learning the chords and notes for the song. It’s sludgy as hell, too. Check out the guitar solo section (around 3:00)! Awesome!

0.75x – Now we’re at high school talent show speeds, a steady solid groove that works wonderfully. I dig this speed!

Normal Speed – Been here a zillion times. Next!

1.25x – Punk Metallica! I actually like the song at this speed. It’s plausible (with a different drummer), and still totally recognizeable. Go go GO!

1.5x – Sounds like an experimental track by speed thrash metalheads. Interestingly, James’ vocals already kind of sounds like the Chipmunks so speeding him up by half again doesn’t really change much! Haha this is fun too!

2x – Now it just sounds like you’ve sped it up on purpose, like you’re holding the Scan button down on your remote. Not really all that interesting, though I like the outro section at this speed! Hell, we’ve come a long way from the 0.25x speed, eh?

In Sum:

Interestingly, the song stands up, more or less, at all speeds… from sludgy beast to speed metal blitz. Of them all, I liked the 0.75x, Normal, and 1.25x speeds best, I think.


Not All Politicians Suck

Read about it RIGHT HERE.

Metallica – Hardwired… To Self-Destruct CD3

I bailed on posting a review yesterday (instead slapping up some fun pics), because I wasn’t ready to post what I was finishing… and I’m still not done! So here’s another, different post instead. And why do I owe this as a review? Because I promised it to all of you. Back when I reviewed the main album, I did both discs and left this third disc of extras for later… much later, it seems. Hell, the album went on to be tied for my Album Of The Year in 2016, so I’ve sat on the damn thing long enough…

Alright, let’s give ‘er!

Three (!) years ago, now, Metallica released Lords Of Summer as a single to start their tour (because it’s about touring, natch).  It’s a big heavy riff, it shifts approaches several times, and when it gallops, it does so deliciously.

Then we go into the Ronnie Rising Medley, which is a collection of Rainbow covers, because awesome. A Light In The Black, Tarot Woman, Stargazer and Kill The King all rule. This is such a fun way to spend 9:03 of your life.

Next they cover Deep Purple’s When A Blind Man Cries (a b-side for Never Before, recorded during the Machine Head sessions), which is done beautifully and bluesily (even when the crunch kicks in). I have to say, it’s really refreshing to hear them do it like this, and what an interesting (and excellent) track to select!

Another cover tune is up, this time Iron Maiden’s Remember Tomorrow (off Iron Maiden). What struck me is how weird it was to hear Iron Maiden sound like Metallica! Haha, why didn’t that occur to me with the other covers? Hm. Anyway, this is a bang-on cover.

And now it’s a bunch of live tracks, recorded on 2016-04-16 for Record Store Day at Rasputin Music in Berkeley, California. What do you really need me to tell you about their rips through the following (all early years) songs? Exactly. Crank it the fuck up and go go GO!

Helpless (cover of Diamond Head)
Hit The Lights
The Four Horsemen
Ride The Lightning
Fade To Black
Jump In The Fire
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Creeping Death
Metal Militia


There’s one more track tacked on here, recorded 2016-08-20 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Yup, it’s Hardwired and, of course, it frickin’ smokes. First time ever that it was played live. Rrrrrrrrrraaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!

In Sum:

As if the main 2CD studio album weren’t enough awesomeness, Metallica (in their typically thoughtful and great ways) bestows upon us this third disc that collects a whole lot of brilliance. There had been talk of releasing a bunch of riffs as a third disc instead of this collection. I’m fine with this!

Parenting: Still Doing It Right

We were watching videos of Metallica’s Opera House show (2016-11-29) on the Tubes Of You. Our son (7) loved the super-fast rendition of Battery. It made him jump around and seemed to charge him with energy. Awesome.

Our daughter (5) loved the set-ending Seek & Destroy. She was sitting on my lap as she watched, making metal horns and waving them at the band members as they passed on the screen. Especially Kirk, so there ya go, Kirk!

When it was over, she said “Daddy, click on that thumbs-up so we can tell them we liked their song!”

Parenting Level 9999. Turn up the awesome!


Bonus Chuckle:

Metallica – Hardwired… To Self-Destruct (album proper)



Time for the (much-ballyhooed) new Metallica. There follows my first thoughts on this new album (I’ll do the bonus disc later). It’s quite possible that subsequent plays will bring about more (even different) opinions. This time, though, the paint is still damn wet! I wrote this in real-time, as I listened.


Hardwired (3:09) is one we’ve heard a ton already (released early, as it was). “We’re so fucked, shit out of luck…. hardwired to self-destruct!” This is an American song about Trump, right? Talk about timing. Anyway, it’s a total fucking blast, I love it. Ripping along at 100 mph and heavy as fuck. What a riff!

Atlas, Rise! (6:29) doesn’t ease off at all. What a great fucking tune! Feels like it’s straight off the Black album, honestly. Great energy, huge riffs, wailing solos… This one’s huge!

Now That We’re Dead (6:59) builds heavily and becomes another massive stomper set to destroy. Holy crap the riffs on these early tracks are so strong! As it unwinds, this one just takes over. Everything you love about 90s+ Metallica is here.

And holy fuck we’re into yet another punishing heavy fast riff with Moth Into Flame (5:51). If this isn’t a single, I’ll scream recount. What a track! It’s melodic, heavy, and it rants about the dangers of celebrity. Kirk’s solos, yet again, are nailing it. I’m lovin’ it. All I can think is go go go go GO!

Dream No More (6:30) is a wee bit slower, groovier, but still as metal as fuck. Another huge solo from Kirk. Oh man. Classic Metallica. Already I am in love with this record. Love love love…

Halo On Fire (8:15) teases with a gentler, melodic intro section… but don’t buy it! You’re about to get pummelled! Go! Hahaha hell yeah. This oughta be a single too. It’s such a well-constructed song, and it rocks like hell… Goddamn it, Metallica. You’re not even making it fair for mere mortals anymore. This is insanely good.


Confusion (6:41) pounds away at us right out of the gate. It builds and grows and becomes another metal stomper that other bands would kill for for their own records. By the time James starts singing, it’s another classic, definitely Load/Reload-era awesomeness.

ManUNkind (6:56) teases being gentler, and then stomps all over those assumptions with another bluesy metal monster of a tune. It’s slower, sure, but no less heavy. Goddamn!

Here Comes Revenge (7:18) is another straight-on rocker. Hell yeah! \m/  \m/  It folds down into quieter parts for the verses, but don’t be fooled. It’s just so they can build it back up again. Don’t be daunted by it’s 7+ minute running length, this track’s a keeper.

Am I Savage? (6:30) goes for heavy, bluesy and groovy as all fucking get out. Are you savage, Metallica? Only if rocking the fuck out is savage, then yes you certainly are!

Murder One (5:45) teases with gentler bits, but the real meat is in the heavy bashing about that comes right after. Man this album is absolutely owning.

Spit Out The Bone (7:09) rocks like it’s 1985 again! This is as epic as it gets. Why the hell did they leave this for the last track? This oughta be up top, where no one can miss it! Possibly the best track here, and not because it’s faster than everything else on this set. This is classic Metallica, this is such a flashback. Holy crap that’s amazing! That bit where it slows right down and is still heavy as fuck, though. Oh man. And then Kirk takes off on a massive solo…

In Sum:

This album is absolutely unrelenting. It is unrelentingly massively. It is massively perfect. Metallica has absolutely nailed it.



KMA Saturday Service: Total Gratitude Edition

Folks, we need to talk about James. My KMA brother, and long-time friend. He’s amazing. He’s the one who brings quality while I bring quantity. And already he’s blushing ‘cos he’s a modest dude. But seriously. James is the man.

The number of times over the years that he’s come through for me in all sorts of ways. It’s crazy. In comparison, I can only try to reciprocate and say close enough! How many times have you read, in these pages, me saying James Rules and OMG James Sent This… if you’re a regular Reader, it’s a lot.


Recent Cases In Point:

1) Black Sabbath – The End

James went to the show in Calgary on March 4, and sent me the show-only CD, wouldn’t take money for it. Said Happy Birthday! My birthday is in July.



2) Record Store Day, April 2016, Pt. 1

I thought the extremely limited edition Iron Maiden ‘Empire Of The Clouds’ 12” single would be awesome to get, but couldn’t get one here. Mike tried for me in his town, but it was one per person. I figured it would be online after the fact… then James texts me, still want the Maiden? His store was getting a late RSD shipment. They even held one for him. It arrived here yesterday. James would not take money for it. He said Merry Christmas. In April.


3) Record Store Day, April 2016, Pt. 2

Metallica were amabassadors for RSD this year, and put out their limited edition Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité Bataclan 2003 live CD. This would also be awesome to get. James got that too, and said Happy Your Son’s Birthday (in April). Seriously. At this point, he’s gotta be just making this shit up, or maybe he realized Saying Happy Birthday 2017 was stretching too far?


I still cannot get my head around all of this.

By any stretch, by now you have to realize that this is crazy amazing. James. Thank you. Thank You. THANK YOU. A zillion times. A googolplex!

James. Thank you.

It’s Poll Week! The Results

Alright folks, the polls are all closed and the results are in. Here are your results for all seven band polls, as posted on a daily basis last week!

Our huge thanks to everyone who participated. You’ll have noticed that I kept all the results hidden through the week. That was so I could do a big reveal in a post like this one. Fun!

I, myself, refrained from voting on all of the polls this week. Why? I wanted the results to be driven purely by you, our beloved KMA Readers.

NB: Number of votes per album are in brackets after album titles [e.g. (5)]. In the case of multiple albums per rating, each album received the number of votes indicated in parentheses.

Here we go!





Monday: Top 5 Iron Maiden Albums  (29 total votes)
1. Powerslave (6 votes)
2. The Number Of The Beast (5)
3. Iron Maiden / Piece Of Mind / Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son (3)
4. Killers / A Matter Of Life And Death / The Book Of Souls (2)
5. Live After Death / Somewhere In Time / Fear Of The Dark (1)





Tuesday: Top 5 Led Zeppelin Albums (36 total votes)

1. Led Zeppelin IV / Houses Of The Holy (6 votes)
2. Led Zeppelin II / Physical Graffiti (5)
3. Led Zeppelin III (4)
4. Led Zeppelin I (3)
5. Coda / Led Zeppelin Boxed Set (2)
-and bonus-
6. In Through The Out Door (1)






Wednesday: Top 5 Metallica Albums (30 total votes)
1. Master of Puppets (6 votes)
2. Ride The Lightning (5)
3. Metallica (4)
4. Kill ‘Em All / …And Justice For All (3)
5. The $5.98 E.P: Garage Days Re-Revisited / Load / Death Magnetic (2)
-and bonus-
6. Reload / S&M / Limited Edition Vinyl Boxed Set (1)






Thursday: Top 4* AC/DC Albums (28 total votes)
1. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap / Highway To Hell / Back In Black (5)
2. Powerage (3)
3. For Those About To Rock… / Bonfire (2)
4. High Voltage / If You Want Blood… / Flick Of The Switch / ’74 Jailbreak / The Razor’s Edge / Ballbreaker (1)

* Apparently, there was just a Top 4 for this band, based on votes per album!






Friday: Top 5 Slayer Albums (0 total votes)

Yes, you read that correctly. For whatever reason, poor Slayer did not receive a single vote in this series!





Saturday: Top 5 Judas Priest Albums (35 total votes)
1. Hell Bent For Leather… / Unleashed in The East / Screaming For Vengeance (5 votes)
2. Sad Wings Of Destiny (4)
3. Stained Class / Defenders of The Faith (3)
4. Sin After Sin / British Steel / Painkiller (2)
5. Point Of Entry / Priest… Live! / Nostradamus / Redeemer Of Souls (1)






Sunday: Top 4* Black Sabbath Albums (32 total votes)
1. Master Of Reality (6 votes)
2. Vol. 4 (5)
3. Black Sabbath / Paranoid / Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (4)
4. Sabotage / Technical Ecstasy / Never Say Die! / Mob Rules / Tyr / Dehumanizer / Black Box / The Dio Years / 13 (1)

* Apparently, there was just a Top 4 for this band, based on votes per album!







In Sum:

This has been a really fun week for me, watching the results come in (or not, as the case may be… sorry Slayer!). I hope you’ve all enjoyed it as much as I have.

And for those of you wondering about dipping your toes into the discographies of any of these bands, you can perhaps use these Top 5 voting lists as a shopping list. After all, those selected here are KMA Reader Approved!

Cheers, everybody!

It’s Poll Week! Wednesday Edition

Alright now, for our Wednesday edition of It’s Poll Week!, we have another corker…


Can you choose a Top 5 Metallica albums?

I figure this one will be a tough one too. I mean, they’ve done so much, and changed so much (both in members and sound), and honestly (I think) they haven’t released a bad record yet!

To keep things interesting, this poll includes all studio, live and compilation albums, as well as cover albums, EPs and collaboration albums. (source: Wikipedia)

Are you ready? I SAID ARE YOU READY???

Give ‘er!  \m/   \m/

Metallica – Orgullo, Pasión, Y Gloria

Here’s a brilliant DVD I picked up in Toronto at Sonic Boom for only $9.99. I know there are special editions that have extra discs (like a 2DVD/2CD set), but for that price, I would have been silly to leave this single disc slice of awesome behind!

Metallica – Orgullo, Pasión, Y Gloria*

Well, it oughta be known by now that I love Metallica. They grew on me, like a fungus. I may have mentioned, I was the jazz kid, growing up, so I ignored this stuff when it was happening. But over time, as I opened myself up more to the rawk, Metallica became favourites.

True, I don’t tend to watch live DVDs all that often, but I get great energy from Metallica’s live sets. And no, I have not ever seen them in concert, myself. Oversiiiight! Anyway, I also own the Quebec Magnetic set, and now this one.

What a show. Recorded over three nights in Mexico City (at Foro Sol, June 4,6,7, 2009), the band was firing away on all cylinders, total masters of the huge gig. And the crowd, oh man. Kudos to everyone jammed into that space for keeping the energy high! It’s a great mix of old and new songs (heavy on the old, of course), the camera work is mostly good, and it just makes me wish I had been there!

Total score. I’ll watch this one again. And again.   \m/   \m/

Set List:
The Ecstasy Of Gold / Creeping Death / For Whom The Bell Tolls / Ride The Lightning / Disposable Heroes / One / Broken, Beat And Scarred / The Memory Remains / Sad But True / The Unforgiven / All Nightmare Long / The Day That Never Comes / Master Of Puppets / Fight Fire With Fire / Nothing Else Matters / Enter Sandman / The Wait / Hit The Lights / Seek & Destroy.


orgullo pasion y gloria







* Pride, Passion, and Glory. Hells yes!



Yesterday I posted a cool conversation I had with my son about Metallica, and about James Hetfield’s vocals. Of course, in retrospect, I suppose I should have saved that for today and made it a Father’s Day story. Ah well.

In the course of making that post, I found that funny picture of Hetfield* that I included yesterday, as well as a few other funny ones. This one* also cracked me up:

hetfield yeah







* Kudos to whomever created this picture!



I was checking out a Metallica DVD and my son (he just turned 6) was watching over my shoulder. He watched along for a little while and then we had this conversation:

Son: Dad, that’s really loud!

Me: It’s true, but that’s the best way to play this stuff.

Son: These guys are really good.

Me: Yep, they really are.

Son: They can play really fast!

Me: They really can!

Son: But that guy sings a little bit of gibberish.


Metallica – Live Shit: Binge & Purge

Metallica – Live Shit: Binge And Purge

You’ll have noticed, surely, that I’ve been coasting the past couple of days on fluffier posts with no real reviews. Well, that’s because I’ve been pummeling myself with this set. And I’d like to begin this review with two regrets, then some happy news…

The first regret is that I have never owned this set before, and I regret the time lost. It’s GREAT!

The second regret is saying no to the opportunity to go see them in concert around 1992/1993, (I believe with Guns ’N Roses and Faith No More). It just wasn’t my thing, then. I was the jazz kid. If I could go back and kick myself in the ass, make myself go to the gig, I sure would!

The happy news is that I recently found this 3CD/2DVD set for $25 (that’s only $5/disc) brand new in our shite HMV. I simply could not leave it there, at that price. Now, this is not the original version, the big version in the tour locker box. This is all 5 discs in one double CD case, inside a slip-cover. I couldn’t care less about the box. The backstage pass and the stencil thingy are still in there, so it’s all good.

Am I ever glad I snagged it.

Surely you already knew that it’s one helluva set! The CDs sound huge, especially the bottom end – that bass drum is trying to punch a hole in the universe! And the DVDs are great quality too, and the song selections are period perfect and played so damned well… This was truly a document of a band at the top of its game.

Need further proof? I’ll just leave this here:

CD1-3 [Recorded at the Sports Palace, Mexico City, Mexico on February 25-27 and March 1-2, 1993]:

CD1: Enter Sandman / Creeping Death / Harvester Of Sorrow / Welcome Home (Sanitarium) / Sad But True / Of Wolf And Man / The Unforgiven / Justice Medley / Eye Of The Beholder / Blackened / The Frayed Ends Of Sanity / …And Justice For All / Solos (bass/guitar)

CD2: Through The Never / For Whom The Bell Tolls / Fade To Black / Master Of Puppets / Seek & Destroy / Whiplash

CD3: Nothing Else Matters / Wherever I May Roam / Am I Evil? / Last Caress / One / Battery / The Four Horsemen / Motorbreath / Stone Cold Crazy

DVD 1 [Sports Arena, San Diego 1992-01-13/14]: Enter Sandman / Creeping Death / Harvester Of Sorrow / Welcome Home (Sanitarium) / Sad But True / Wherever I May Roam / My Friend Of Misery Bass Jam/Orion Jam / Through The Never / The Unforgiven / Justice Medley / Bass Solo/Drum Solo/Drum Battle/Guitar Solo / The Four Horsemen / For Whom The Bell Tolls / Guitar Solo/Fade To Black / Whiplash / Master of Puppets/Seek & Destroy / One / Last Caress/Am I Evil? / Battery / Stone Cold Crazy

DVD 2 [Seattle Coliseum, Seattle 1989-08-29/30]: Blackened / For Whom The Bell Tolls / Welcome Home (Sanitarium) / Harvester Of Sorrow / The Four Horsemen / The Thing That Should Not Be / Bass Solo/To Live Is To Die Jam / Master Of Puppets / Fade To Black / Seek And Destroy / …And Justice For All / One / Creeping Death / Guitar Solo/Little Wing / Battery/The Frayed Ends Of Sanity / Last Caress / Am I Evil? / Whiplash / Breadfan

There’s also a DVD-ROM  that has the original 72-page book in it.

After all that, you’ll feel like you’ve been ridden hard and put down wet.

HELLS YEAH!!  \m/  \m/

Record Store Day 2015 Arrivals

Record Store Day 2015 Arrivals

Recently, I excitedly reported on how I’d thought RSD was gonna suck for me this year, but how I ended up with the two things I sought anyway. Well, as of today, they are both officially in my hot little hands!!

Metallica’s No Life ‘Til Leather demo cassette (Limited to 10,000 copies):

I know, I know. Cassette. And as Mike pointed out, it’ll likely be on CD later (and with extra stuff anyway) when they do their re-release series (coming soon). Still, it’s a cool keepsake. And every time I check it on Discogs, the lowest prices keep elevating. Who knows, if I hang onto this long enough, maybe I can buy my kid 20 minutes at college someday.

Sloan’s Alternates 12″ EP (Limited to 1,000 copies):

These are different versions of songs from their latest record, Commonwealth. It’s on green translucent vinyl, too. Slooooo-ooooan!!!

In Sum:

I haven’t opened either of them yet. I just wanna… look at all the majesty for a while longer… But I am exceedingly happy to have found (and received) these wonderful items from this year’s RSD. Good times!

Record Store Day 2015: Final News!

Record Store Day 2015: Final News!

Record Store Day (hereafter RSD) always bums me out. We live in a smaller city that’s a minimum of 2 hours equidistant from any more major center that would have a shop that participates in all the awesomeness. Since it’s highly unlikely I’d be able to make the trip to any of those places (I don’t get out much), I have to rely on the internets and hope.

Part 1

This year, I wanted one thing: Metallica’s No Life ‘Til Leather demo cassette re-release. Why in hell would I want a cassette? Nostalgia, mostly. Also, I do still have a cassette player, so I could rock it up if I got a copy! Plus, Metallica, so just by default it’d be AWESOME.

Alas, as noted, I could not physically get to a shop to get one. I even emailed Mike’s old store (knowing they were participating), to see if they could send me one. It was on their list of requested items for the day, but they couldn’t guarantee they were even going to get them in – they would receive what they’d receive and that was it. Also, even if they did get them in for RSD, they could not set one aside for me – they couldn’t take internet orders, these were in-store only for RSD. I understand that, I really do. If I lived in that town, I’d be there myself, and I’d be miffed if an internet order took a last copy away from me! The whole point of RSD is to get out to your local independent record shop in person and support them.

To their credit, they did say that if there were any left over, they would try to send me one after RSD, but that seemed a highly unlikely scenario. It would sell out, surely. Still, it was a shot in the dark – I had to try.

Later, a couple of people sent me a link to Metallica’s web site, where the band were going to be selling them for people who couldn’t get out to a record store – people like me! I followed the link post-haste, and the page wouldn’t load. I tried again, and it was already sold out. Mike tried too – same thing. I later found out that the web site copies sold out in an hour. Another strike-out.

RSD came and went. That very evening, I headed to the Discogs to see if people were already posting them… and they were! But they were already $30-$90! Seriously, the cheapest was $30, and this was the dayof the sale! I get that they were limited to 10,000 copies worldwide, and there are A LOT of Metallica fans out there, but I don’t know anyone who would pay $30 for a cassette, collectible or not.

I resigned myself to never getting a copy. Sad, but not the end of the world, I guess.

The very next day, I came home from grocery shopping to an email that thrilled me: Mike’s old store had a copy left over, they’d saved my email and remembered my request, and arrangements are being made for them to send it to me! I AM GETTING THE METALLICA TAPE AFTER ALL!

Freakin’ amazing. I’m a lucky guy!

Part 2

An email from Mike indicated that there had been a Sloan EP as part of RSD this year too. Holy crap! I’d had no idea! Now, I think it’s fairly well-known in these parts that I am a major Sloan fan, and so the news of this EP, on translucent green vinyl no less, filled me with glee! Turns out it was limited to 1000 copies, too.

But as I’ve noted, I couldn’t get to a store for RSD, and besides, I didn’t find out about it until after it was already over. I once again resigned myself to not getting one.

Figuring I’d find the same high prices on it as I had with the Metallica tape and therefore wouldn’t be getting one. But I was wrong! I found a seller in the States who had a very reasonable price and, with a couple of clicks, bing bang boom and in a matter of a few short hours, I’ve already gotten confirmation that the item has shipped!


In Sum:

I thought RSD was gonna suck for me, this year. But it ended up that I got the one thing I knew about and wanted, and another I hadn’t known about but that was equally awesome. Oh happy day, indeed! You can anticipate reviews of each, once I actually have these copies here!

Metallica Greatest Hits Poll Results

Metallica Greatest Hits Poll Results

Ohhh man, I have SO been looking forward to the results of this poll!

Alright! Are you listening, Metallica? Here are your 45 tracks over 3 CDs, as voted by our KMA Readers. Roll up your sleeves, ‘cos here we go.

Tracks are presented here in order of percentage votes received, so CD1 Track 1 had the most votes, and descending from there…


CD1 (or, Reader-selected tracks 1-15)

Master Of Puppets
Enter Sandman
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Sad But True
Wherever I May Roam
Nothing Else Matters
Seek & Destroy
Ride The Lightning
Fade To Black
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Damage Inc.
The Unforgiven

CD2 (or, Reader-selected tracks 16-30)

Am I Evil?*
Creeping Death
Disposable Heroes
The Memory Remains
Whiskey In The Jar
Hit The Lights
Jump In The Fire
(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth
The Thing That Should Not Be
…And Justice For All
Harvester Of Sorrow
The Frayed Ends Of Sanity
Dyers Eve
Until It Sleeps

CD3 (or, Reader-selected tracks 31—45)

King Nothing
Hero Of The Day
St. Anger
Some Kind Of Monster
That Was Just Your Life
Broken, Beat & Scarred
The Four Horsemen
No Remorse
Eye Of The Beholder
To Live Is To Die
Holier Than Thou

Whew!! That’s a great slab o’ metal, right there!

Of course, no one would ever put them in that track order for the final 3CD set, but this list gives the raw data of songs selected. Feel free to make your own track lists for the 3CD set using these tracks. Drop them in the comments, we’d love to see what you’d choose to use and where!

Another interesting thought experiment:

Imagine the band just pulling the first 15 tracks (CD1) and making a 1CD Hits disc. Heck, even just the tracks for CD1 and CD2 for a 2CD set… Wow, that’d be huge but also it does miss a TON of other stuff! This band just has too much goodness. Even these 3CDs don’t cover it at all, do they? No they do not. I’m sure there were many songs you voted for that don’t appear here.

Our immense thanks to all our voters for participating in this poll!! With the upcoming Metallica re-issues, a little post like this is a fun reminder of all the greatness they’ve given us over the years (as if we’d need reminding). Personally, I found it awesome to go back through all of this stuff and try to pick favourites, but therein lied the tough part of it too – I loved way more than 45 songs. It was a little like picking favourite children – you just shouldn’t do it!

Thanks, folks!





* Savvy Readers will have noted my error in including both Am I Evil? and Blitzkrieg twice in the poll choices list. This is because I got them from my copy of Kill ‘Em All as bonus tracks, and then they again appear on CD2 of the Garage Inc. set. 

Metallica Greatest Hits Poll

Metallica Greatest Hits Poll

or, Let’s All Help Metallica!







Hey gang, here’s another fun (metal) mental exercise…

With the upcoming Metallica re-releases (which I am unlikely to buy, but time will tell), I was thinking that, as part of this series, they should also do an official Greatest Hits. I think it’s time, don’t you?

I know that such a thing likely isn’t really needed, since fans will own all the albums anyway, but we all know there’s a new generation of metal fans coming up, and they may well be looking for an affordable set as introduction. Let’s help Metallica give them the goods!

I also acknowledge that the actual choosing of the number of discs and tracks to make this boxed set is a tough gig – there’s so much to include! Well, I’ve made the executive decision that a 3CD, 15 tracks/CD (45 tracks total) collection ought to do it. I have no idea if this is true. But let’s try!

The only rule I have is that it has to be studio album tracks. I know there are many live releases out there (especially things like S&M, and the more recent Through The Never soundtrack), and as many b-sides and rarities etc. And I know you’re gonna say it’s impossible to leave out the live stuff. But I am well-known around here for (almost always) disliking live tracks on Hits sets. You wanna make a Metallica Hits Live set? Go for it, but that’s a seperate project. Leave them off my Album Hits set. So, for the purposes of this exercise, let’s just stick to the main album versions, especially since this would (ostensibly) be part of the main album re-release series!

Here’s what I’ve included for consideration in the poll:

Kill ‘Em All (w. 2 bonus tracks)
Ride The Lightning
Master of Puppets
…And Justice For All
Garage Inc. (2CD)
St. Anger
Death Magnetic
Beyond Magnetic

I’ve included the Garage Inc. set, because several songs there are Metallica classics (despite being cover tunes). Also here is the Beyond Magnetic EP because it’s awesome and really should have been tracks on Death Magnetic anyway. But I have left out the Lulu album with Lou Reed, since it’s a collaboration album. Think it should be here? Let me know.

Songs are presented here in running order, album to album (as listed above). Choose as many tracks from each album as you’d like, up to a total of 45 songs overall! Vote as many times as you’d like. The more voters and times voted, the better idea we get about the songs Metallica would need to include!

Same as the recent Choose Your Illusion Guns N Roses poll we did, I’ll let this stand up here for a week, and then we’ll talk results! Are you ready?

Let’s GIVE ‘ER!

Garage Band

I’ve already emailed several of you about this, but it bothered me so much I had to make it a post here so that all of our Beautiful Constant KMA Readers can be in on this story.

Craig Ferguson is ending his late night show soon, which is none too soon because we watched his monologue and sketches and none of it was funny. At all. That stupid skeleton robot, the stupid horse, the lame jokes… it’s looong over. Anyway, I suppose he thought he was gonna go out with a bang by having Metallica as guests for an entire week. It’s also great promo for their 10th anniversary re-release of (one of) the most painfully bad rock documentaries ever, Some Kind Of Monster. Also, in 2015, the band will begin re-releasing all of their albums, because everyone sells out and does that at some point, it seems. As if anyone needs to re-buy their Metallica albums. Just because. Oh, and here’s a couple of b-sides that were left off the albums for good reason. Thanks a fucking bunch, guys.

I will not provide youtube links to this TV show thing, you can go find it yourself – but please consider reading the rest of this post before you do so. And if, after reading this, you still choose to look it up, I consider you forewarned and on your own recognizance. I’ve done what I can.

First off, don’t even watch the monologue or interview. As I said, it’s really bad. And not funny. Save your non-refundable lifetime for something important, like clipping your toenails. I type this here as a public service. You may thank me later.

As for the music clips… well. We all know those guys, the ones who have a garage band and they’d quit their cubicle jobs in a minute if their band ever got a gig and got noticed and got a record deal (a deal which would screw them over forever and make their lives hell, but shhh they’re special snowflakes, don’t tell them that part).

Well, Metallica (I love them still) sounds like that garage band on this show. They sound like a hairy, unwashed group ensconced in Mom’s garage, bashing out For Whom The Bell Tolls because A) they can, and B) they have big dreams of success and fame and fortune and knowing how to cover these songs might (they mistakenly believe) give them cultural cache. They do NOT sound like the band that wrote the fucking song!

Actually, they sound like they’re struggling. Lars is doing pointless fills, half-assing it in every song, and still not keeping consistent time, I swear it. Kirk is in love with his pedals to cover the fact that he’s phoning it in, and the volume on his guitar was far too low. And James’ vocals are gone. Not even struggling, they’re just gone. The only one holding up his end of his deal is Rob Trujillo. In fact, he was carrying them, here.

I dunno, watch it and you might diagree. Fair play to you. But don’t let your blind allegiance to this band, er, blind you to the truth. This was so bad. Honestly, I found this to be just awful. And maybe it was bad sound because it’s a late night TV show studio, not Madison Square Garden. Maybe they were tired. Maybe being sober this long has sucked all the verve out of them. Maybe they didn’t rehearse at all because who give a shit about a string of late night TV show appearances?

Or maybe they’ve hit their sell-by date. Maybe doing this into their 50s is showing that it’s over? We don’t want it to be true, but come on. This music is for young players. I dunno, I haven’t been following them too closely the last couple of years. Have any of you had recent news about shows, sound issues, James’ voice, general band suckage?

This wasn’t my Metallica. Not even fucking close. This was amateur hour.

Metallica – Through The Never

My buddy Craig bought the Blu-Ray of this movie. He’s a big Metallica fan, like the rest of us. Awesomely, he gifted me his included digital download code so I could see the movie too! THANKS, Craig!

This film is stunningly filmed, the images are so clear and crisp. I can only imagine what it looks like on a blu-ray and a great big, quality television. Since I don’t have either, I won’t know. But it looked damn fine on my iMac. Superb camera work! [Way better than that other concert DVD they filmed in a castle in France, with the camera on a track across the front of the stage, and every time it cut to that camera all you got was shaking nausea-inducing images because each bass drum kick rattled the rig. Yeesh.

I won’t give any spoilers, in case you haven’t seen it, but this is basically a Metallica concert intercut with a fairly silly plotline of an errand guy for the band going to retrieve something and going through hell to bring it back. As it unwound, my first thought was ‘ohg-dplease don’t let this be about zombies.’ Anyway. The music of the band in concert plays like a soundtrack for his adventures. As for what he’s retrieved, well, I just don’t know.

Metallica has their live show honed down to such a fine art, and they pulled out all the stops to make this as big a production as possible. It’s like watching WWF wrestling. Of course it’s all staged and pre-planned, but the fact that they do it (because they can), and it’s so over the top, is pretty fun in itself.

The other side of that coin is that I found the stage had too much space, and the band spent more than half the show with their backs to each other at good distances apart. I understand that it’s to maximize crowd-facing, and they do run over to be beside each other now and again, and I’m sure they’ve played enough shows on smaller stages packed closer together. It was just a little… cold. Distant. Proof there’s a downside of it being a business and a spectacle (see above) first and foremost, each player on an island unto himself. That was my impression, anyway.

I really should watch this film again, but differently… In fact, if you haven’t seen it I might recommend you watch it twice: once for the band performances, skipping the plot part. Second time through, keep your finger on the scan forward button and skip the band, and just watch the (probably less than half an hour) of the storyline. The two of them don’t really go together, and there’s so little of the plot line it seems like an afterthought.All deference to the work they went to to make it happen, of course.

Knowing only that this was recently released, I haven’t seen any of the marketing for this set. I hope they’re not trying to pass it off as a film. It’s a Metallica concert DVD, like all the others, but with a sideline this time to… what? I don’t know what, maybe give your brain something to do in case your attention wanders from the music? It’s all a bit distracting.

Anyway, it’s superbly filmed, and fun enough. I like Metallica so I’d still say watch it and be impressed. I just wonder about the way they tried to glue the parts together. 

My many thanks, again, to Craig for the opportunity to see this film!

The Big Four (Disc Two)

As promised a little while back, I have managed to see disc two of this set, which comprises Metallica’s blistering performance to close off the concert-filled day. Hooray! By now, we all know that Metallica is a superlative concert act, as big as a ticket can get. And this outing is further proof.

Each song is ripped through with precision, verve and absolutely punishing volume. These are musicians at the absolute top of their game, and they’ve been there so long that, at this point, they’re simply soaring.

Hetfield’s vocals, particularly by the end of Cyanide, made me long for the way he used to sing. He’s a little… shrill, these days. In fact, only a few songs in, he seems to be struggling. And fair enough, he’s been howling nightly for a long time, now. It’s just noticeable, is all.

It was great that he dedicated a song in the set to the Big Four, since Metallica is proud to be a survivor from the 80s thrash scene, like the others who’d been on stage before them. Funny, though, that the song chosen for the dedication was Sad But True. A conscious choice? Probably. Haha.

The fireworks display mid-set was a nice touch, too. Distract the fans with pretty lights so the band has a chance to go take a leak, change shirts, whatever they needed before ripping into absolutely cool versions of One and Master Of Puppets.

Live videos like this , to me, always hammer home how absolutely punishing and monstrous the main riffs of Metallica’s songs are. Sure, they can be heard on the albums, but somehow the live setting brings the primal core of the songs more to the fore, gleefully shoving the brutal force of them right into your face. I love it.

Long live Metallica.

By the time of the mass band with Anthrax and Megadeth as an encore (Slayer noticeably missing), it’s such a frenzy I can’t even imagine actually being there. Fun to watch Joey Belladonna reading the lyrics to Am I Evil? But even more interesting is seeing Mustaine hugging Lars and James. What a long road they’ve travelled to reach that hug. Something still off about it all, but what do I care? When Metallica adds Hit The Lights, and Seek And Destroy on the end, it’s almost too much. Damn.


NB: With the Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer sets on the other disc combined with this monster of a concert from Metallica, the Big Four will be the best $20 you’ve spent on Amazon this year. Holy shit, this package is incredible.

The Boss, The Rocker, Massive Attack, Metallica, and This Is Also Radio Hell

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – Live at Superbowl XLIII

The Boss knows how to rock, and every show is a party. So many records over the years, so many hits. Pretty hard to deny he is, by now, an established living legend.

Story: I got invited by a friend to watch the Superbowl yesterday at the local Knights of Columbus. Big screens, free pizza, cheap beer, people hooting and hollering. Good fun. Not a bad game either. And the half-time show, of course, was The Boss and his gang.

They tore the roof off the mothersucker. In their short ten minutes they raised the patriotic fervour south of the border several notches beyond its normal pitch, too.

But damn, Bruce, I watched you try to jump up on that piano… Look, maybe 20 years ago it would’ve been a breeze for you, but that time it just looked slow and painful. Also funny was the mis-timed knee-slide right into the cameraman. Oh jeez.

Great music, high energy, and physical comedy too. Gotta love The Boss.

The Rocker

The whole time through this film, I kept thinking ‘but, we’ve already seen Jack Black play this kind of role. And maybe a bit better.’ But I shouldn’t be too hard on it, as the flick has heart and, though it’s completely formulaic, it’s perfect for a certain age group below, say, the age of fifteen. It had funny moments for the grown-ups too (like Will Arnett fronting a wanna-be-Poison hair band), but all in all it was pretty tame. Oh well. And now we’ve done that.

Massive Attack – Mezzanine

Have I already reviewed this record for this site? If I haven’t, I’ve been remiss. This is fantastic. I think the first time I heard it, Paul MacLeod was playing it on a boombox between his sets at the Walper Pub. Then we moved to Montreal and this type of music was everywhere, especially in the chic restaurants. This group’s work led me to Portishead, Morcheeba and Supreme Beings Of Leisure, among others. But I always came back to the tracks on this record. It builds from throbbing low ends to ecstatic highs, the vocals soar and caress, and it’s all done with intelligent and delicious power. Oh yes, this is a classic.

Metallica – Garage, Inc.

No matter what Metallica does (detractors take note), the end result is always powerful and sincere. Even if, as is the case here, they toss out a two-disc homage to the bands they cut their own teeth covering, all those years ago. In fact, perhaps it’s even more sincere, since it’s clear they were having a bloody blast the whole time. Metal fans will not be surprised by any of their song selections here, and they bring their own polished sound to these well-established tracks. Not much amiss, here. Turn it the hell up.

This Is Also Radio Hell

I have recently decided that most current radio is a form of arrested development. The Lite FM crowd hears the same shite over and over again as much as the Classic Rawk fans do. The limited rotations offered are appalling, no matter what you choose. How much can you listen to Can You Feel The Love Tonight or Sweet Home Alabama before even the simplest mind starts to chafe for something different, even from the same artist? It’s like they’ve only paid for the rights to play so many tracks and so they’ll hammer us to death with them. Ye g-ds. And I dont expect that people would only listen to new tracks at all times, but there has to be a happy balance somewhere, right?

The Ataris were totally right, on their track from that Fat comp called Short Music: it is still quite plain to see that the radio still sucks. I am sure I’m done with it. For quite a while, I should imagine.

Robert Pollard, Echobrain, Tracy Chapman, Metallica and Jack Johnson

Robert Pollard – Town Of Mirrors

Open the cover of this coffee table collection of EAT-style collage and lyrics, and re-introduce yourself to the restless mind of a genius.

Echobrain – Echobrain

Jason Newstead’s side-project was no threat to Metallica in any way, shape or form, but it still sounds as good as any other mid-90’s pop-rock you enjoyed at the time (despite this being from 2002).

Tracy Chapman – Our Bright Future

This is gentle, back-porch music at its best, and the songs are whip-smart, as always. Yummy.

Metallica – Some Kind Of Monster

Just watched this again and my opinion holds true: they should have gotten past this horseshit privately. We didn’t need to see it, but we did. Ugh. And Lars? Spit out that gum and shut up, man. Please.

Jack Johnson And Friends – Sing-A-Longs And Lullabies For The Film Curious George

This guy writing songs for a kids’ movie is a natural. Chock full of the gentle, now-classic Johnson groove, with some help from great friends like Ben Harper, G. Love and Matt Costa. Sweetness, indeed.

Metallica – Death Magnetic

Dear KMA Readers, I am inordinately happy. Metallica’s new record is upon us and it exceeds all hopes and expectations!


Death Magnetic is one of the best records I’ve heard all year.


Every song is perfectly constructed – filled to the brim with great riffs, blistering solos and an energy that only this group can muster when they’re flying high, as they certainly are here. From start to finish, it’s a record that lifts you up out of your day, pulls you into its electric energy and has you banging your head in no time.


I hear tinges and shades from all of their past efforts in this record, which is fantastic. It’s like they’ve taken all the elements that have made this band what they are and focussed them all into these ten tracks with laser-like precision. 


Everyone has an opinion about this band, and likely a favourite album. I know I do. It happens when you’re one of the most successful rock bands on the planet, and have been for a long time. People care. Now, there will always be detractors, but even those people (if they gave it enough thought, which sadly some of them don’t) would acknowledge that even the stuff they consider to be lesser in Metallica’s discography still rocks so much harder than a lot of other bands’ best efforts. But, by and large, the fans are legion, for whatever personal reason keeps them coming back, and I believe that this record will please everyone.


It’s new Metallica, it’s old Metallica, it’s freaking amazing.


Put it in and turn it the fuck up. Now go!!


Track Listing:

01 That Was Just Your Life

02 The End Of The Line

03 Broken, Beat & Scarred

04 The Day That Never Comes

05 All Nightmare Long

06 Cyanide

07 The Unforgiven III

08 The Judas Kiss

09 Suicide & Redemption

10 My Apocalypse

Buddha Lounge Ensemble – Renditions Of Metallica

I found this at the local Wally World (since I now have nowhere else to go for music in this sad little town) and I just started laughing. I mean, what a great concept! Who wouldn’t love a new look at the classic songs of Metallica? How could I not bring this home?

We put it in the car stereo as soon as we got to the parking lot, and it’s awesome! This is kind of like those Lullabye renditions of songs for babies, but much more than that too. This goes way beyond trippy xylophones. Whoever the Buddha Lounge Ensemble is, I think they may have really hit on something here.

These instrumentations are fascinating. There’s (of course) a real Eastern feel to these tracks, laid-back and yet complex at the same time. All the main parts are here (no vocals though, except some chanting in the background), they’re just turned around to sound like they came right out of India. Sweet! I don’t know how much this has to do with mysticism or Buddhism, but to hear these songs done in this way is really pretty awesome.

I like that they’ve pulled tracks from the entire career of the band, right up to and including St. Anger. And they haven’t picked just hits, either. Of course, it could just be that they’ve chosen favourite songs of their own, or the ones they could manage to figure out how to play, but still, it’s a neat smattering of songs. Looking more closely, it might be noted that a lot of the tracks they’ve chosen (although not all) are the band’s slower efforts, which tend to sound vaguely like this anyway… Still, it’s neat!

NB: I don’t care who does it, or how, but it’s my contention that One is one of the creepiest songs ever. Even the version here made my skin crawl.

This set also points out something else worth mentioning, that this CD is further proof of the brilliance of Metallica’s songwriting. I mean, here’s a bunch of people calling themselves the “Buddha Lounge Ensemble,” (that name makes them sound like they’re fresh graduates of the Elevator Music School of Idiocy), who took the songs of a much-lauded heavy metal/Bay-area thrash band and (effortlessly, so it seems) made them their own. Yes, it means the Ensemble is competent, but if the songs hadn’t been untouchable in the first place, this project would have failed miserably.

I highly recommend this CD, if only to shake up your world view a little bit. Play it loud (which is the best way to approach any Metallica song). It just works.

There’s a whole bunch more of these discs in a series, like Led Zeppelin (which would totally work, with this type of feel), AC/DC (which may not work so well, but who knows?), the Beatles (haha it could work but hasn’t this already been done ten times?) and Coldplay (as if I could give a shit), among others. Based on what I’ve heard of this Metallica tribute, though, I think I’ve just discovered another whole new vein of favourite tunes…

Track Listing:
01 The Four Horsemen
02 For Whom The Bell Tolls
03 The Thing That Should Not Be
04 Fade To Black
05 One
06 Enter Sandman
07 The Unforgiven
08 Nothing Else Matters
09 Until It Sleeps
10 Mama Said
11 St. Anger

Metallica – Live At Rock Am Ring (2006)

Recorded on June 3, 2006 in Nurburging, Germany at the Rock Am Ring Festival, this is Metallica in front of an absolutely huge crowd, all totally into the show. Now, as soon as I say the name Metallica, you should pretty well know what to expect – top volume, blistering guitar solos and all the old songs you’d expect at such an event. Yeah.

Trolling the band’s official web site for a track listing, I also learned that this show was the first event of their 2006 Escape From The Studio Tour, the first time Disposable Heroes had been played in Europe since 1993, the first time Orion had been played in its entirety in a live setting, and the first time The Thing That Should Not Be had been played in Europe since 2004. Geek-fans know this already, or would even care. I only report what I read on the site.

More importantly, to me, at this show the band played the entirety of the Master Of Puppets album from start to finish, in honour of the album’s 20th anniversary since its release. Man, has it really been 20 years? Can you imagine? Yeah, you probably can.

And still there are points about which to bitch, too: Frankly, this was not the best quality, video-wise, although the sound is great. The multitude of cameras jump around far too quickly… it’s like watching a strobe light that’s been attached to a bungee cord. James Hetfield’s voice sounds flat and weak in spots, and Lars is still Lars (and that is what it is, depending on your opinion of him). Perhaps most glaring, to me, was the complete omission of songs from St. Anger. I understand that the Master Of Puppets thing took up a good chunk of stage time, but they’ll do a Misfits cover and yet neglect their most recent album completely (and even that is 3 years old)?

Oh, what the hell, they’re Metallica. They can do whatever they want and people still seem to love them for it.

Of course, you can download the audio of the show from the web site for a reasonable fee. I recommend you do so, if only for the amazing guitar work of the incomparable Kirk Hammett. It is completely unfair to guitar players everywhere every time that guy unleashes an assault.

Rock on.

Metallica – St. Anger

If you’ve been reading this page at all, you’ll know by now that I really like this band and, while I’m partial to certain periods of their long career, I don’t not like any of it (ed. Make sure you catch that double-negative, natch).

St. Anger rocks, if you approach it in the right way.

Like me, you need to let go of them ever making another Master Of Puppets. It’s not gonna happen (I don’t think so, anyway). See it all started, really, with …And Justice For All, but culminated on the Black album. Their sound changed. And then they cut off their hair, which some would argue was the final death knell. But Black, for example, was so huge they probably have trucks bring all the money to their houses. The new sound worked. And then they made some more records in that vein, but without quite that level of success.

Then they made Garage, Inc., which was a fun mish-mash of stuff, including covers of songs by bands they loved in their own formative years, like the Misfits and Anti-Nowhere League. Hey, that’s cool. Gotta get that cred any way you can, although by this point they really shouldn’t have to…

Long story short, it’s my humble opinion that those cover tunes led to the way this new record sounds. It’s like they were sitting around one day and said, “You know, we love that type of music, and fans bought it up. Why don’t we try doing a whole record of original songs in that style!” And Bob Rock steepled his fingers thoughtfully, nodded sagely, and so it began.

There’s plenty of heavy, heavy riffage here, and the music is, for the most part, rock-solid. Bob Rock played the bass on the record, and Robert Trujillo is an excellent bass player who has fit well in this group of musicians ever since. Musically, though, something’s missing: Kirk, where are the solos? I mean, you are the King of guitar solos, perenially voted Most Inventive Guitarist in those effusive guitar mags. So where is the towering, beautiful fretboard magic this time ’round? Sure, the songs work on their own (if you can overlook a few patches where things bottom out a bit before taking another deep breath and soldiering on), but part of the signature sound of this band comes from those solos. A real loss, here.

And then there’s the lyrics. If you saw Some Kind Of Monster, the movie, you’ll know that the band hired a head shrinker to come in and help them sort out their problems, etc etc. Well, the result of all of this tinkering really shows in the introspective nature of the lyrics on St. Anger. I’m not saying they’re bad, but they are definitely a departure.

In sum, I like this record. It sounds great in the car at top volume. It can stand in the Metallica catalogue, no problem. Blame Bob Rock if you want, but that new sound has been around a long while, now.

Metallica – St. Anger Rehearsals

When I got my copy of St. Anger, I got this “limited edition” DVD with it. As did a zillion other people, I’m sure. Makes it feel special, one of a kind. Couple that with the fact that they packaged it in a cardboard case
instead of a standard plastic one and, wow, I just might have something collectible here…

Where was I?

Oh yeah, the Rehearsals DVD. Basically, it’s footage of the band in their Rehearsal space, Rehearsing all of the songs from the new album. And, it’s good.

Sure, Hetfield’s still reading the words from cue sheets (it is Rehearsal, after all), and Lars still thinks sticking out his tongue so far he’s licking his chin is a great way for a rock drummer to show his metal-ness. It’s fun to
watch new bassist Robert Trujillo groove, and there’s even a couple of devil-horns flashed… It all comes together in that special way that only Metallica can muster.

Bottom line, if you’re a fan of Metallica, you’ll already love this disc, because it shows the guys doing their thing (and it gives you quite a good, intimate look at their practice space – personally, I liked the hanging, severed head of Justice). If not, it’s worth watching just for the shits and giggles of it, if you can ignore the sloppy, dizzying camera work, the weird effects they added like people learning to use their cameras for the first time… Oh, and the camera men walking right through the shots of other cameras. Skip that, and it’s all good.

Metallica – Some Kind Of Monster

Why should I care?

That’s the question that immediately springs to mind when I watch this film. I mean, don’t get me wrong ‘cos I sure do like Metallica, but do I really need to see this?

I understand that band dynamics are always an issue. And when you’re one of the largest acts on the planet, shit can happen. OK, I get that. A band member tragically dies, another one tragically whines unendingly, a bass player leaves (and a new one enters), a new producer changes your sound completely, fans are very critical of each new work and, let’s face it, age and changing priorities make it tough to enjoy the whole rock ‘n roll thing that seemed so fresh at the start of it all. That’s cool. I can dig it.

But don’t foist this on your fans, boys. We don’t care (or, at least, we shouldn’t). Admittedly, dirty laundry needs to get washed, but not in the middle of the street where all the neighbours can see your tightey-whiteys. Just do what you have to do to get your shit together, then come back and knock our socks off. Don’t film it, ferchrissakes. Do you think Frank would’ve allowed this? No, he would’ve punched out the cameraman, and then punched out the guy who thought up the idea in the first place.

Next: Where did they get this head-shrinker? The whole time I watched this I was convinced he was making things worse, not better. It’s like he read some psych books and then, whenever voices got raised, he babbled some memorized platitudes in the hopes that something would stick. Oh, and THEN he starts passing them lyrics suggestions during the writing process? Holy Inappropriate, Batman! I don’t care what his past resume included, this guy wanted to be in the band so badly it must’ve hurt him not to grab a guitar and plunk away. I can see him imagining them slapping him on the back, offering him a job as third guitarist… Idiot. I was amazed no one called him on it. He’s not fit to analyze my cats.

And Bob Rock? Rumour has it now that he’s out and Rick Rubin is in, for the follow-up to St. Anger. And I say good. It’s about time. Sure, they wrote some great songs with this guy at the helm, but he’s one of those guys (like Daniel Lanois and “Mutt” Lang) who use their seat at the control board to change a band into their own vision of how they should be and sound. Look, go start your own band, already, and let these guys do their thing. Oh wait, you did have your own band, and look where that got you… Now I understand everything! And this is not to say that Rubin will be any better. But at least it’ll be different.

It was hard for me to know in this film what was honest reaction and what was playing to the cameras. This was either honest reportage (and, in that case, there goes the Rock God labels these guys worked so hard to earn), or it’s the biggest put-over in the history of metal and they’re still laughing at us for spending money to watch it.

See, Lars, I think he knew the camera was there the whole time. What was that “Jason is the future, Metallica is the past” garbage? Not to mention that he talks non-stop and none of it’s helpful. He really does think that it’s his band. Buddy, I’ve got two words for you: shut up.

Kirk just kind of sat there and, when he did speak, it was more like he’d been trying to think of something to add, just in case they asked him. But here’s a tour of his ranch, and all the weird shit he has in his house…

Worst, they really could’ve supported James more in his efforts to dry out. Sure, it ain’t exactly rock ‘n roll, but the man wants it, and he’s trying. So let him do it without your hassles.

Poor Robert Trujillo. He walked into the middle of this clusterfuck and, while it’s gotta be awesome to be in Metallica, he’d do well to stay out of all of their catty-old-woman crap.

I blame Reality TV culture. You all want to see everything, recorded for your amusement, playable whenever your whim demands it. Your need for every little bit of crap that these people utter is actually defining the way things get done, but it isn’t for the better, I can guarantee you that. Hope you’re happy.

Look, this is simple: If you’re in a band, close the doors, hash out your differences, and get on with making your record. You all know you want to be there, that it’s too good a thing to let it die. So do what you must until you feel you can work together again. But leave us, the fans, out of it. We don’t want to see every move you make in getting there. We want the mystery, we want the end result, and it better be good, dammit.

Metallica – Kill ‘Em All

I’ve scored a coup in my never-ending search for cool CDs by securing my copy of this album in its extended, bonus tracks edition. Those of you reading this who suffer the same affliction, who have a mental checklist of albums you’d love to one day discover, will understand exactly my recent happiness.

Think back 23 years (!) to four young metal-heads with baby faces. This is the record that started it all for Hammett, Burton (R.I.P.), Ulrich and Hetfield. It is certainly not to be denied as excellent in its own right.

Here we have their efforts at playing as fast and as loud as they could (and loving every minute of it). One song slams unrelentingly into the next without much of a break at all.

Listening to this, I am struck by the incredible talent made evident so early. All of the elements are here, and they revelled in it.

Not long ago, I slobbered all over Master Of Puppets as my favourite (and the ultimate) Metallica record. I stand by those thoughts, but this record kicks some serious ass and will be getting the serious play it deserves at my house. Especially Whiplash. Man, that song really rocks.

Metallica – Master Of Puppets

There are a lot of great metal albums. The genre itself has spawned a zillion cool bands (and just as many really bad and/or funny ones), all trying to be harder, faster, and heavier than the other guys. This is perfect for us, the listeners, because we get the end results of those efforts.

But are there any complete, flawlessly perfect metal albums? Does it matter? Well, think about it for a minute. I say yes, yes it does. I mean, what’s the point of making an album if it isn’t your best?

That said, even the great ones have flaws, minor though they may be. Tracks that might’ve been better if slightly different, or better if they had been left off completely. Solos that fall short of proving or contributing anything. Riffs that go nowhere, even if it’s only briefly, or that just sound wrong altogether. Lyrics written in fits of self-indulgent, flatulent largesse… There’s usually some kind of weak link.

Now, Slayer’s Reign In Blood comes to my mind as being an example of an album as near to metal perfection as one might hope to get. That’s one man’s opinion, and it tips my hand as to what I’m looking for in this inquiry. You’re all intelligent and capable and into it, so I’m sure you can name your own favourites in this vein.

So here I am, listening to Master Of Puppets for the millionth time in my life. Is it perfect? Well… actually, I think it just might be. It has it all: Loud, heavy, chunky rhythms and scalding hot solos from the twin guitar attack, double-bass drum mayhem, solid slabs of indomitable bass and a voice that soars menacingly over all of it, singing of alienation and pain, loss and madness and all the things that make metal awesome. There is atmosphere on this record; it’s not just a collection of slapped-together tracks that fail to flow. It’s an homage to the type, a prototype in its own right, and it’s the inevitable bow to classical leanings as all great metal is and always will be.

But what about Kill ‘Em All or Ride The Lightning or …And Justice For All? Yep, sure, those are great records. I’m not gonna argue that at all. But Puppets still has an edge, in my mind. It is the culmination, the coda of those first three. It has no weak spots at all. No songs that cause it to lag, or bring about indifference in my mind. So it goes.

Look at the track listing below and you’ll realize that, at some point in your life, you’ve heard all of these songs. You may even have known the words and proudly (and rather poorly – sorry) screamed along. You played air guitar and imagined yourself on a stage in front of multitudes waving lit cigarette lighters, and simultaneously you saw in your mind the ice caves where you imagined you lived, unknown, primal and misunderstood, hard and lean and waiting to be unleashed. You had as your banner the grotty old black t-shirt with the album cover on the front, threadbare and pit-stained and formed to your body from use, but still beloved. You thrilled to the promise this album inspires.

Despite what you may think of the band’s new directions, Metallica’s first four records are, like Sabbath and Zeppelin before them, incredible, undeniable and inviolate. And for my money, Puppets is the King of them all. It takes the most out of me while still offering more than it took in return with nothing wasted anywhere. Each song is perfectly crafted and situated, sonic proof that at that one brief period in history, one band was firing on all of its huge cylinders without a miss and, better yet, managed to capture its rapture on tape. It is love and hate, anger and beauty, truth and fiction. It is metal heaven.

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