Metallica released this little EP the same week Some Kind Of Monster opened in limited release, it’s even titled the same and is touted as a “soundtrack” to the “band in therapy” film. The EP itself is okay, nothing special, but fans of the “old days” will enjoy hearing material from the first three albums recorded live on the St. Anger tour. It’s not an essential item, is what I’m saying – it’s good, it’s fun, and it’s relatively cheap, but there’s no need to go running to the store to get it.
The best thing about it, however, the thing that actually got me excited, is a remix of the title track. As we are all likely very aware, Metallica’s taken quite a beating lately due mostly to the rough, loud, abrasive mix the music was given. I’m not ashamed to admit I actually like the album – I think most of the bashing the band has taken is more due to a backlash from the the fans – a sort of revenge for the whole Napster deal they had wanted to exact upon the band but couldn’t find a real, tangible outlet for. When St. Anger didn’t sound like what they wanted – another black album or another Master Of Puppets – fans and non-fans alike found an easy target. I saw the same kinds of reaction when Load and Re-Load came out, and those two albums are now looked upon with much less venom now – time lessens the pain.
It’s obvious the band has heard fan complaints about the sound – as I admit that I like the album, I also admit the production is flawed. Too loud, too harsh, too grating. The band took this EP as an opportunity to correct at least one track, “Some Kind Of Monster,” and the results make for a much more pleasant listening experience. Tamed is Lars’ tin-kettle snare, smoothed and softened and pushed a little into the background, and the rough edges of the other instruments have been smoothed as well. The result is a much more professional mix – this is the way the album should have sounded. Unfortunately, I can’t see that the band is likely to give the whole album this treatment – but a fan can wish.
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