Metallica’s ‘St. Anger’ Makes Ranking of ‘Horrible Albums by Brilliant Artists’
Metallica's St. Anger appears on Rolling Stone's new list of "50 Genuinely Horrible Albums by Brilliant Artists" with a scathing summary of the 2003 LP.
It mentions Metallica singer James Hetfield's addiction issues, the exit of bassist Jason Newsted and the sound of Lars Ulrich's St. Anger snare drum.
The album sits at No. 43 on the ranking that also includes efforts by rock and metal artists such as Aerosmith, KISS, Pantera, Van Halen and Weezer.
See the Metallica blurb near the bottom of this post.
St. Anger hate is nothing new, of course. After all, it's arguably Metallica's most controversial studio effort — contentious with some listeners for its musical direction that hinges on a ringing snare drum, sounding unlike most other in metal before or since.
Ulrich's Infamous St. Anger Drum Sound
Us metal fans know the St. Anger snare well, whether we like or not. When making the Bob Rock-helmed St. Anger, Ulrich experimented with turning the snares off on his snare drum. By removing the wires from the bottom head of the drum, the tone was more booming — more like a tom than a regular snare.
Three years ago, Ulrich still stood by the decision. "I'm always just looking ahead, always thinking about the next thing," the drummer explained. "Whether it's Metallica always thinking ahead or in my personal life or in relationships, whatever I'm doing."
Last year, a Metallica song included in Netflix's Stranger Things 4 gave the band renewed visibility in the mainstream. The character Eddie Munson plays "Master of Puppets" on guitar in a pivotal scene. Metallica subsequently welcomed new fans before some seemingly attempted to "cancel" the group.
Rolling Stone Rips St. Anger a New One
Metal fans may want to take Rolling Stone's summation with a grain of salt, seeing as how the legacy rock rag readily admits that the list doesn't include a U2 album "because we like them all, even Songs of Experience and October," it says. "Those are fighting words to some, and we're sure many readers will have their problems with this list. True suckiness — like true greatness — is a subjective quality."
Regardless, Metallica continue on. 72 Seasons, their upcoming album, arrives on April 14. The band already has tour dates scheduled through 2024. Be sure to get your Metallica tickets here.
From Rolling Stone:
When Metallica were at their absolute low point as a band thanks to James Hetfield's chronic alcoholism, the defection of bassist Jason Newsted, and uncertainty about where they stood in a post-Napster music universe, they brought in a camera crew to chronicle the making of their LP 'St. Anger.' This led to the stellar documentary 'Some Kind of Monster,' and a deeply disappointing album. Fans rightly fixate on the decision to mic Lars Ulrich's snare drum so it sounds like he's banging on a tin can throughout the entire album, but there are deeper issues with 'St. Anger.' The songs are unfocused and seemingly unfinished, and the straight-from-rehab lyrics ('I want my anger to be healthy') could have used more thought. The band gets very defensive whenever fans or journalists raise these issues, but their setlists tell a different story. They've played fewer 'St. Anger' songs in concert than any of their other albums.