Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted told NY Hard Rock Examiner that it was his departure from the band in 2001 that was a catalyst for the group to stay together in the long run. Following Newsted's exit, frontman James Hetfield checked into rehab for an extended stay and the album that was being recorded at the time was abandoned. Newsted explained, "I had to be the one that stepped up and made the sacrifice for everybody . . . because I did what I did, they're more successful than they've ever been, they still set the standard, James is healthier than he's ever been in his entire life. I'm clear-eyed again, I'm off drugs, I'm 19 years old again. I got more years under my belt and I'm still the same fighting weight I was on any of my tours."

Metallica eventually rallied back, recording the St. Anger album, recruiting Robert Trujillo to play bass and documenting their near-breakup in the 2004 documentary Some Kind Of Monster.