Metallica – St. Anger

Convincingly brutal return to form for San Francisco metal pioneers

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In which Metallica emerge from a period of self-imposed exile exhibiting all the tenacity of survivalist militia, with a new bass player (ex-Suicidal Tendencies man Rob Trujillo) and an album which presents the band at their most obsessive and driven.

Bob Rock’s production is pared back, desert-dry and all-the-way-live, the mix favouring bass, drums and vocals rather than the usual wall of crunching guitars. This has the effect of nudging the sound away from early influences like Black Sabbath and Venom, and closer to the parched textures and knotty arrangements of math-rockers like Shellac or Slint. “Some Kind Of Monster”, “Invisible Kid” and “Shoot Me Again” are turgid in the best way, hyper-alert and unremittingly primitivist. Against all the odds, St. Anger constitutes the cutting edge of commercial yet aggressive heavy rock in 2003.


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