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S&M (Live)

Metallica

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Album Review

After 1988's ...And Justice for All, Metallica pared down its progressive, heavy metal sound. During the '90s, the band's studio releases grew slicker and more produced, resulting in mostly radio-friendly, good ol' boy metal. By the end of the decade, Metallica was established as the pioneer of modern metal, but the band hadn't done anything innovative, arguably, in ten years. In April 1999, the group performed two concerts with the San Francisco Symphony, and the result was S&M, a two-disc collection of the concerts. Overall, the album successfully pairs violin strings with guitar strings, but it's no surprise that the best tracks here are the older songs, because these have a multilayered, compositional style that works well with symphonic instruments. "Master of Puppets," "Call of the Ktulu," "One," and "For Whom the Bell Tolls" sound richer and fuller with violin, trumpet, clarinet, harp, trombone, and flute accompaniments, but "Sad but True," "Devil's Dance," and especially "Of Wolf and Man" range from haphazard and melodramatic to uninspired. It would have been interesting to hear "Disposable Heroes," "Trapped Under Ice," "The Four Horsemen," or "Breadfan" done in a frenzy of strings and horns (as "Battery" is here), mixed in with the well-known, simpler tracks such as "Wherever I May Roam," "The Memory Remains," "Bleeding Me," "Enter Sandman," and "Nothing Else Matters." S&M definitely has its moments, and not just with the pre-Black Album material: "Fuel" surpasses the furious pumping energy of the studio version, "Hero of the Day" stays poignant throughout, and "Until It Sleeps" has a wonderfully sinister feel. James Hetfield maintains his madman persona from beginning to end, laughing maniacally and grunting and growling at all the right moments. Overall, the symphony adds a macabre, ghoulish atmosphere — it all sounds like a Broadway freakshow or a shard of a revved-up Danny Elfman nightmare. Which is exactly what a Metallica album should sound like, even if every song isn't the best (or most appropriate) in the band's catalog. [S&M was also released in a "clean" version, containing no profanities or vulgarities.]

Customer Reviews

S&M

One of the best live concerts i've ever heard!

Great idea!

This is an amazing sounding album. If you don't have it yet, you should buy it now! My only complaint is that there are to many Load & Reload songs. If you listen to AJfA and think about how cool a lot of those songs would have sounded with the orchestra, it would have sounded amazing.

Is there a regular version

No leaf clover is a awesome song

Biography

Formed: 1981 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Metallica were easily the best, most influential heavy metal band of the '80s and '90s. Responsible for bringing the genre back to Earth, the bandmates looked and talked like they were from the street, shunning the usual rock star games of metal musicians during the mid-'80s pop-metal renaissance. Metallica also expanded the limits of thrash, using speed and volume not for their own sake, but to enhance their intricately structured compositions. The release of 1983's Kill 'Em All marked the beginning...
Full Bio

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