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St. Anger (2003)

St. Anger is the eighth studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica, released on June 10, 2003. but because of fears of extended music piracy over filesharing networks, St. Anger was released five days earlier.

The album hit #1 in 30 countries, including the U.S. Billboard 200 and Canadian Albums Chart. In 2004, the lead single from the album, "St. Anger", won a Grammy Award for "Best Metal Performance".

St. Anger represents the last collaboration between Metallica and longtime producer Bob Rock, with the announcement in early 2006 that Rick Rubin would assume production duties on their forthcoming album. A modernized version of the Metallica logo, again featuring the stabbing edges of the first and last letters of the band's earlier 1980s logo, made its debut on St. Anger.

HistoryEdit

Five and a half years elapsed between the release of the band's previous studio album, ReLoad, and the recording of St. Anger, which began in 2002. Many factors contributed to this delay, including the departure of bassist Jason Newsted, the band's feud with file-sharing service Napster, and vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield's several months in rehab for alcoholism and other unspecified addictions. The 2004 film Some Kind of Monster documents that relationships between the band members in the lead-up to the album's recording were at an all-time low.

The band began initial writing for the album in January 2001, when they rented out and converted an army barrack in The Presidio in San Francisco, California, into a makeshift studio.[1] Uncomfortable with the idea of bringing in an immediate replacement for Newsted, the band opted to have producer Bob Rock play bass guitar for the recording of the album, with plans to find a fulltime bass player upon the record's completion. Recording came to a halt in July 2001 when the band announced via its website that James Hetfield had entered a rehab center for treatment of alcoholism and other addictions. Prior to the album's release, Lars Ulrich would leave videos and audio of himself discussing the new album on the band's blog, jumpinthestudio.com (no longer working).

ReceptionEdit

The album met mixed reviews. One review stated that the album was unpolished and seemed under-produced. [2] The band adopted a different approach to the recording process, opting for an extremely stripped down and raw production quality. Producer Bob Rock noted that the aim was to capture the atmosphere of "a band jamming together in a garage for the first time, and the band just happened to be Metallica".[3] Drum rattles gave listeners a challenging sound, different from previous Metallica albums and unheard of from such an established act. The album also had a complete absence of guitar solos and marked Metallica's first usage of drop C tuning for an entire album (discounting St. Anger in Drop C and Drop G, Dirty Window in Drop D down a half step and Invisible Kid in Drop C# and Drop G#), which allowed significantly low guitars. Adrien Begrand of PopMatters noted that "while it's an ungodly mess at times," "what you hear on this album is a band playing with passion for the first time in years."[4] When discussing Metallica in an October 2007 interview, Evile frontman Matt Drake stated that "it [St. Anger] just sounds horrible".[5] The album's title track won the Best Metal Performance of 2004.

Longtime artist Pushead designed the cover artwork, marking the first album cover he'd created for the band; his work had been featured previously inside the ...And Justice For All booklet, several single covers, and numerous T-shirt designs. Three limited edition color variations of the cover art were originally planned as shown on Metallica's official website, but the idea was quietly scrapped.[6]

After Summer Sanitarium, the year-long Madly in Anger with the World Tour followed, finishing near the end of 2004. The songs "Frantic," "St. Anger," "Dirty Window," and "The Unnamed Feeling" were performed frequently during the tour. "Sweet Amber" and "Some Kind of Monster" were also played live, but not as often as the other St.Anger material. The album tracks were altered when played live. Sometimes shortened, or in some cases a guitar solo was added ("Sweet Amber," "Dirty Window," "Frantic") However, in some cases only one song from the album was played live, and in 2006 the album had almost completely been removed from live sets with most shows not including any songs from St. Anger, Load, or ReLoad (with the exception of Fuel and The Memory Remains from ReLoad). In October 2007, the song "All Within My Hands" was played acoustically at both nights of the Bridge School Benefit concerts.

St. Anger sold well in its first couple weeks of release, but then quickly fell down the charts. In the end, it was one of Metallica's least successful studio albums ever, selling just over 1.7 million copies in the U.S.[1] In May 2007, the album was featured in Q magazine's "10 Most Insane Albums Ever"; due to James Hetfield's recording hours, alcohol problems, and the departure of Jason Newsted. In addition, underneath a section of the article titled "Is it Any Good?," it says the production is "tinny," that the songs "just aren't good enough," and that Hetfield's singing is out of key.

Track listing Edit

  1. "Frantic" - 5:50
  2. "St. Anger" - 7:21
  3. "Some Kind of Monster" - 8:25
  4. "Dirty Window" - 5:26
  5. "Invisible Kid" - 8:30
  6. "My World" - 5:46
  7. "Shoot Me Again" - 7:10
  8. "Sweet Amber" - 5:27
  9. "The Unnamed Feeling" - 7:09
  10. "Purify" - 5:13
  11. "All Within My Hands" - 8:48

PersonnelEdit

  • James Hetfield – Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Bass
  • Lars Ulrich – Drums

ReferencesEdit

  1. Some Kind of Monster Documentary, (2004)
  2. DiCrescenzo, Brian (2003-06-16). St. Anger: Pitchfork Record Review. Retrieved on 2007-04-16.
  3. Some Kind of Monster Documentary, (2004)
  4. Begrand, Adrien (2003). Metallica: St Anger - PopMatters Music Review. Retrieved on 2007-04-16.
  5. Morgan, Anthony (2007-10). “Armoured Assault” - Evile frontman Matt Drake hails gargantuan Thrash masterpiece Enter the Grave. Lucem Fero. Retrieved on 2008-05-03.
  6. ‘’St. Anger Cover Art’’ Metallica.com (April 16, 2003). Retrieved March 13, 2008.

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