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|Studio album by|
|Released||June 5, 2003|
|Recorded||May 1, 2002– April 8, 2003|
|Studio||Metallica's HQ in San Rafael, California|
|Singles from St. Anger|
St. Anger is the eighth studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica, released on June 5, 2003. It was the last Metallica album released through Elektra Records, the final collaboration between Metallica and producer Bob Rock (who had worked with Metallica since 1991) and the band's only album to date without an official bass player, as Jason Newsted had left shortly before recording sessions began; Rock took his spot as bassist for the album. The artwork was created by Metallica collaborator Pushead.
With an alternative metal style, raw production, and no guitar solos, St. Anger departed from Metallica's signature style. Recording began on April 23, 2001, but was postponed when rhythm guitarist and singer James Hetfield entered rehab for alcoholism, among other addictions. The recording is the subject of the 2004 documentary film Some Kind of Monster.
Metallica spent two years touring to promote St. Anger. It was intended for release on June 10, 2003, but was released five days earlier due to concerns over unlicensed distribution through peer-to-peer file sharing networks. Despite mixed reviews, it debuted at the top of sales charts in 14 countries, including the US Billboard 200. In 2004, the lead single, "St. Anger", won a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance. St. Anger was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipping two million copies in the US; it has sold nearly six million copies worldwide.
Metallica rented an old United States Army barracks on the Presidio of San Francisco, and converted it into a makeshift studio in January 2001. As plans were being made to enter the studio to write and record its first album in nearly five years, the band postponed the recording because of the departure of bassist Jason Newsted. Newsted left Metallica on January 17, 2001, stating his departure was due to "private and personal reasons and the physical damage I have done to myself over the years while playing the music that I love". Uncomfortable with immediately writing and recording with a new bassist, Metallica opted to include Bob Rock as bassist. The band stated they would find another bass player upon the album's completion.
In July 2001, recording came to a halt when James Hetfield entered rehab for alcoholism and other undisclosed addictions. Hetfield returned to the band in April of the next year, but was only allowed to work on the album from noon to 4:00 PM. Due to his personal problems, as well as Metallica's internal struggles, the band hired a personal enhancement coach, Phil Towle. This, and the recording of the album, was documented by filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky. The band's recording process was filmed over the course of three years. Subsequent to the album's release, Berlinger and Sinofsky released the edited material as the film Some Kind of Monster. From May 2002 until April 2003, the album was recorded at a new studio in San Rafael, California, known as "HQ".
St. Anger was the first album released by the band to feature songs in drop C tuning; eight of the eleven songs on the album were in this tuning, while "Dirty Window" was in drop D♭ tuning, "Invisible Kid" was in drop A♭ tuning and "The Unnamed Feeling" was in drop B♭ tuning. Only twice previously had Metallica released songs in tunings lower than D standard, with "Bad Seed" (from Reload) and "–Human" (from S&M) both in drop D♭ tuning.
Hetfield stated that the album was written with "a lot of passion". He said, "There's two years of condensed emotion in this. We've gone through a lot of personal changes, struggles, epiphanies, it's deep. It's so deep lyrically and musically. [St. Anger] is just the best that it can be from us right now." The band purposely wanted a raw sound on the album, so that Rock did not polish the sound while mixing. The band desired the raw sound because of the depth of the emotion they felt and did not want to "mess with it". Rock commented, "I wanted to do something to shake up radio and the way everything else sounds. To me, this album sounds like four guys in a garage getting together and writing rock songs. There was really no time to get amazing performances out of James. We liked the raw performances. And we didn't do what everyone does and what I've been guilty of for a long time, which is tuning vocals. We just did it, boom, and that was it."
Guitarist Kirk Hammett commented on the lack of guitar solos on St. Anger, a departure from what Metallica had done in the past: "We wanted to preserve the sound of all four of us in a room just jamming. We tried to put guitar solos on, but we kept on running into this problem. It really sounded like an afterthought." Hammett said that he was happy with the final product. Rock stated, "We made a promise to ourselves that we'd only keep stuff that had integrity. We didn't want to make a theatrical statement by adding overdubs."
Drummer Lars Ulrich achieved a unique sound on St. Anger by turning off the snares on his snare drum resulting in a drum tone with far more "ring" than is usual in rock and metal. This sound received much backlash from fans and critics alike. Ulrich said, "One day I forgot to turn the snare on because I wasn't thinking about this stuff. At the playbacks, I decided I was really liking what I was hearing—it had a different ambience. It sang back to me in a beautiful way." Regarding the backlash about the sound, he stated, "It's crazy, that kind of closed-mindedness." Rock said, "I would say I've only [done something] this brutal [sounding] when I've done demos. It probably sounds heavier because it's Metallica, but really this was a 15-minutes-on-the-drum-sound type of thing." When St. Anger was completed, Metallica hired a new, permanent bassist. In February 2003, Robert Trujillo joined the band. He appeared on the footage of studio rehearsals of St. Anger in its entirety, which was included on DVD in the album package. St. Anger was described as alternative metal.
Brian "Pushead" Schroeder designed the album cover and interior artwork for St. Anger. Pushead has designed a number of items for Metallica in the past, including liner artwork of ...And Justice for All, several single covers, and many T-shirts; however, the album marks his first studio album cover art for the band. Originally, according to Metallica's official website, four different limited color variations of the cover were planned, but the idea was eventually scrapped.
St. Anger was released on June 5, 2003. It was originally scheduled for June 10, but due to Metallica's previous battle with Napster, and fear that it would be released illegally onto peer-to-peer file sharing networks, the band pushed the release date ahead by five days. A special edition of the album was released with a bonus DVD, featuring live, in-the-studio rehearsals of all of the St. Anger tracks. First week sales of the album were 417,000 copies, and it debuted at number 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200, as well as in 30 other countries around the world. In 2004, Metallica won the award for Best Metal Performance, for the title track.
After St. Anger's release, Metallica embarked on a tour that lasted nearly two years. The first leg was the U.S. 2003 Summer Sanitarium tour with support from: Limp Bizkit, Deftones, Linkin Park, and Mudvayne. After Summer Sanitarium, the band began the Madly in Anger with the World Tour with support from Godsmack (and Slipknot on certain European dates), which lasted until late 2004. The St. Anger 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 other songs on the album. The album tracks were altered when played live; sometimes they were shortened, or in some cases a guitar solo was added. Sometimes, only one song from the album was played live. By 2009, the songs from St. Anger were completely absent from Metallica's set lists. The last time any song was performed from the album on a major tour was "Frantic" on October 21, 2008, in Glendale, Arizona, although "Dirty Window" and "Frantic" were performed again on December 10, 2011, during the last concert of Metallica's special and private 30th Anniversary Tour, in San Francisco, California. "St. Anger" was also played again during the "Metallica by Request" tour in 2014 when it was voted by the fans. In October 2007, "All Within My Hands" was performed live for the first time, albeit rearranged and acoustically, at both nights of the Bridge School Benefit concerts.
Metallica also released four singles from St. Anger. The order of the releases was: "St. Anger", "Frantic", "The Unnamed Feeling" and "Some Kind of Monster". On the U.S. Mainstream Rock chart, these singles charted at number 2, number 21, number 28 and number 18, respectively. Promotional music videos were also made for all four of the songs. These videos can be found on Metallica's DVD video collection, titled The Videos 1989-2004, and the video for "Some Kind of Monster" can also be found on the film Some Kind of Monster.
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
St. Anger received mixed reviews from critics; the album holds a score of 65 out of 100, based on 20 reviews, on review-aggregating website Metacritic. Adrien Begrand of PopMatters noted positive and negative aspects of the album, saying: "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." Talking about the album, Greg Kot of Blender said, "It may be too late to rehabilitate Metallica's image, but once again, their music is all about bringing the carnage." Writing for NME, Ian Watson said that:
...the songs are a stripped back, heroically brutal reflection of this fury. You get the sense that, as with their emotional selves, they've taken metal apart and started again from scratch. There's no space wasted here, no time for petty guitar solos or downtuned bass trickery, just a focused, relentless attack.
Johnny Loftus of AllMusic praised the album and described it as a "punishing, unflinching document of internal struggle—taking listeners inside the bruised yet vital body of Metallica, but ultimately revealing the alternately torturous and defiant demons that wrestle inside Hetfield's brain. St. Anger is an immediate record." Barry Walter of Rolling Stone magazine also had a positive reaction to the direction taken in "St. Anger", stating: "No wonder there's an authenticity to St. Anger's fury that none of the band's rap-metal followers can touch." He also went further to note the lack of commercial influence and modern rock aspects of previous albums, continuing: "There's no radio-size, four-minute rock here, no pop-friendly choruses, no ballads, no solos, no wayward experimentation."
Although many reviews of St. Anger were positive, some reviewers had a strong distaste for the album. Brent DiCrescenzo of Pitchfork strongly disliked the album and criticized Ulrich and Hammett, saying that Ulrich was "playing a drum set consisting of steel drums, aluminum toms, programmed double kicks, and a broken church bell. The kit's high-end clamor ignored the basic principles of drumming: timekeeping," he added, "Hetfield and Hammett's guitars underwent more processing than cat food. When they both speedstrummed through St. Anger, and most other movements, [Hetfield and Hammett] seemed to overwhelm each other with different, terrible noise. Also the duration of most songs made it boring to hear them." Playlouder reviewer William Luff cited the album's 75-minute length and sound ("a monolithic slab of noise") as reasoning that St. Anger was "just too dense and daunting to be truly enjoyable." PopMatters reporter Michael Christopher said "St. Anger dispenses with the recent spate of radio friendly pleasantries in favor of pedal to the floor thrash, staggered and extended song structures, quick changes and a muddled production that tries to harken back to the Kill 'Em All days. All attempts fail miserably."
|3.||"Some Kind of Monster"||8:25|
|7.||"Shoot Me Again"||7:10|
|9.||"The Unnamed Feeling"||7:08|
|11.||"All Within My Hands"||8:48|
|Australian Albums (ARIA)||1|
|Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)||1|
|Canadian Albums (RPM)||1|
|Danish Albums (Hitlisten)||1|
|Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)||2|
|Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)||1|
|French Albums (SNEP)||1|
|German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)||1|
|Greek Albums (IFPI Greece)||1|
|Japanese Albums (Japanese Albums Chart)||1|
|Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)||1|
|Polish Albums (OLiS)||1|
|Portuguese Albums (AFP)||1|
|Spanish Albums (AFYVE)||2|
|Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)||1|
|Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)||2|
|UK Albums (OCC)||3|
|US Billboard 200||1|
|Austria (IFPI Austria)||Platinum||30,000*|
|Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)||Gold||50,000*|
|Canada (Music Canada)||2× Platinum||200,000^|
|Finland (Musiikkituottajat)||2× Platinum||40,000|
|Germany (BVMI)||2× Platinum||400,000^|
|Greece (IFPI Greece)||Platinum||20,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||2× Platinum||2,000,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone