|Released||5th June 2003|
|Recorded||May 2002 - April 2003|
|Number of tracks||11|
|Label|| Elektra (USA)|
|Formats||LP, Cassette, CD, ITunes|
|Genre||Nu Metal, Crossover Thrash, Alternative Metal|
| Previous Album|| Next Album|
St. Anger was released on June 5, 2003 through Elektra Records. Not only was it the band's first album of the 21st century, but it was the band's last album released through Elektra, thus marking the end of the longest timespan between studio albums from Metallica, with nearly six years between the release of ReLoad and this album. St. Anger was originally 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. The album marks the final collaboration between Metallica and producer Bob Rock, whose relationship began with the band's fifth studio album, 1991's Metallica.
St. Anger is the first Metallica album since Master of Puppets that does not feature long-time bassist Jason Newsted. Newsted left the band prior to the initial sessions for the album, leaving Rock to temporarily take his place until a permanent replacement could be found. It is also the first album since ...And Justice for All to have a title track. Recording of the album initially started on April 24, 2001, but was postponed indefinitely when rhythm guitarist and singer James Hetfield entered rehab for "alcoholism and other addictions". St. Anger is often recognized for being a radical musical departure from Metallica's earlier work; it features a Nu-metal style, raw production, and no guitar solos. It is also the only album by Metallica to be recorded as a three piece band instead of four, as well as their only album with a Parental Advisory label on it, due to some tracks containing profanity.
St. Anger debuted at the top of sales charts in 30 countries, including the US Billboard 200. Upon its release, it met mixed critical reviews and has since gained less favorable reception. In 2004, the album's lead single, "St. Anger", won a Grammy Award for "Best Metal Performance". The album was certified 2x platinum by the RIAA and has sold over 6 million copies worldwide.
Background, writing and recording
Metallica rented an old army barracks on The Presidio of San Francisco, California 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, Metallica postponed the recording due to the departure of 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 12:00 to 4:00 PM. Due to his personal dilemmas, as well as Metallica's internal struggles, the band hired a personal enhancement coach, Phil Towle, to help them. This and the recording of the album was documented by filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky. Throughout two years of filming, over 1,000 hours of video were recorded, documenting the band's recording process. Subsequent to the album's release, Berlinger and Sinofsky released the edited material as the film Some Kind of Monster.
Hetfield stated that the album was written with "a lot of passion in this". 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; therefore 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 has 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 kept true to its earlier statement and hired a new permanent bassist. In February 2003, Robert Trujillo joined the band. Trujillo appeared on the footage of studio rehearsals of St. Anger in its entirety, which was included on DVD in the album package.
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. Those alternate covers variations are shown on T-Shirt included in limited Box-Set Fan Can 5.
Release and promotion
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 illegally released onto peer-to-peer file sharing networks, the band pushed the release date five days ahead. 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 #1 on the US Billboard 200, as well as 30 other countries in 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 would last nearly two years. The first leg was the US 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. "Some Kind of Monster" was also played live, but not as often as other songs on the album, and "Sweet Amber" was only played once. 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. In October 2007, "All Within My Hands" was performed live for the first time, acoustically, at both nights of the Bridge School Benefit concerts. In 2019, "Frantic" and "St. Anger" were played again during the Worldwired Tour in Europe.
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 US Mainstream Rock chart, these singles charted at #2, #21, #28 and #18, respectively. Promotional music videos were also made of 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.
St. Anger received a mixed or positive response from critics; the album holds a score of 65 out of 100, based on 20 reviews, on review-aggregating website Metacritic. One reviewer, Adrien Begrand of PopMatters, took both sides, 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." Producer Bob Rock said that it was intended to sound like "a band jamming together in a garage for the first time, and the band just happened to be Metallica". Talking about the album, Greg Kot from 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 from 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 were positive toward St. Anger, some reviewers had a strong distaste for the album. Brent DiCrescenzo from Pitchfork Media strongly disliked the album and criticized Ulrich and Hammett, saying that Ulrich was "playing a drumset 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." 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."
|1.||Frantic||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||5:50|
|2.||St. Anger||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||7:21|
|3.||Some Kind of Monster||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||8:25|
|4.||Dirty Window||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||5:24|
|5.||Invisible Kid||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||8:30|
|6.||My World||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||5:45|
|7.||Shoot Me Again||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||7:10|
|8.||Sweet Amber||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||5:27|
|9.||The Unnamed Feeling||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||7:08|
|10.||Purify||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||5:13|
|11.||All Within My Hands||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||8:48|
Rehearsal footage recorded on 4th April 2003 in San Rafael, The United States.
|1.||Frantic||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||6:42|
|2.||St. Anger||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||7:40|
|3.||Some Kind of Monster||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||8:41|
|4.||Dirty Window||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||6:22|
|5.||Invisible Kid||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||8:54|
|6.||My World||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||6:09|
|7.||Shoot Me Again||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||7:24|
|8.||Sweet Amber||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||5:54|
|9.||The Unnamed Feeling||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||7:37|
|10.||Purify||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||5:29|
|11.||All Within My Hands||James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Bob Rock||9:36|
- James Hetfield – rhythm guitar, lead vocals
- Kirk Hammett – lead guitar, backing vocals
- Lars Ulrich - Drums
- Bob Rock – bass guitar
- Robert Trujillo – bass guitar (credited, but doesn't actually play), backing vocals on Bonus DVD
- Produced by Bob Rock and Metallica
- Engineered and mixed by Bob Rock, assisted by Mike Gillies and Eric Helmkamp
- Digital engineering by Mike Gillies.
- Mastered by Vlado Meller
- Album design by Metallica
- Cover illustrations by Pushead
- Photography by Anton Corbijn
- Production design by Brad Klausen
- St. Anger illustration, James image and Kirk image by Matt Mahurin
- Lars image by Forhelvede Productions
- Robert image by Pascal Brun and Comenius Röthlisberger
- Management by Q Prime Inc.
St. Anger Rehearsals DVD
- Directed by Wayne Isham
- Produced by Dana Marshall
- Edited by Greg Rodgers and Gary Rodgers
- Cinematography by Alex Poppas
- Cameras by Jean Pellerin, Mike Hatchet, Dave Hatchet, Colin Mitchell, Ryan Smith, and Nick Pectol
- Gaffer - Logan Lebo
- Monitors by Paul Owen
- Production manager - Scott Cunningham
- Script supervisor - Connie Isham
- Additional editing by Jean Pellerin and Tracy Loth, assisted by Jason Bridges