Rolling Stone Calls Metallica Album “Genuinely Horrible” 

Rolling Stone Calls Metallica Album “Genuinely Horrible” 
Original Photo Credit: Carlos Rodríguez/Andes, CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Metallica has never been a band to rest on their laurels. The group adopted a more commercial approach to their legendary self-titled “Black Album.” They also went more bluesy and alternative with their “Load” and “Reload” efforts. But no Metallica album has been more polarizing than 2003’s “St. Anger.” The band was in turmoil with longtime bassist Jason Newsted having just left and singer/guitarist James Hetfield coming off a stint in rehab. 

The album didn’t have any guitar solos and had a harsher sound, most notably in the banging tone of Lars Ulrich’s snare drum. Producer Bob Rock wanted the album to sound like a band getting together to write rock songs in the garage for the first time, so vocals weren’t tuned, overdubs were at a minimum, and songs didn’t seem fully fleshed out in the typical Metallica fashion. 

Now, Rolling Stone has included the album on a new list titled  “50 Genuinely Horrible Albums By Brilliant Artists.”

Rolling Stone called the album “deeply disappointing” and described Lars Ulrich’s snare drum as coming across “like he’s banging on a tin can throughout the entire album.”

They also said “the songs are unfocused and seemingly unfinished,” and they ripped Hatfield’s lyrics saying they “could have used more thought.” Rolling Stone also said that Metallica has played fewer “St. Anger” songs live that any of their other albums.

In some gigs last year, Metallica was including a track from the album, “Dirty Window,” to a mixed reaction. To Metallica’s credit, they’re well aware that fans are split on the record. 

Loudersound nabbed a few live clips from recent gigs showing the jeers, and cheers, when “St. Anger” gets brought up by Hetfield. “Question for you,” Hetfield asks the audience in one clip. “You can honestly answer it to the best of your knowledge. St. Anger?” Hetfield gauges the response with thumbs up and thumbs down gestures, and receives loud boos amid the cheering crowd. In another video, Hetfield sarcastically tells the audience, “That’s from your favorite album, St. Anger.” But after seeing a detractor among the crowd, he adds, “Aw, come on, it’s growing on you now. Just give it a little more time, buddy — you’ll get it!” Hetfield then jokes, “Alright…eight more songs from St. Anger.”

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