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March 13, 2011

Movie Review: Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (2004)

I grew up in the 1990s, when thrash metal was really growing. There were four bands that really set the core of that genre. Those were Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth and Metallica. Though they're my least favorite of the four, there's no doubt that Metallica is the biggest. Don't get me wrong here, I enjoyed everything up to the black album, but Metallica never seemed to feel as free or open as the other three bands. It seemed like they created more marketable stuff, especially from the black album forward. Load was terrible, and Re-Load was worse. What I heard from St. Anger seemed very effected by modern boring metal. To be honest, I would rather watch a doc on any of the other bands, but the idea of watching such a legendary band from my youth go through counseling and the loss of Jason Newsted was very intriguing to me.

Buy Metallica: Some Kind of Monster on DVD

I felt like I was in couple's therapy throughout the movie. I've never been, but it's how I imagine things would be. The band worked through issues from inner power struggles to the death of Cliff Burton, which happened in 1986. The film crew talked to Newsted, and he just seemed hurt by singer James Hetfield. Apparently, Hetfield wasn't okay with the idea of Newsted having a side project, and he even admits to it later.

The film seemed long and drawn on through the muti-year process of making the album St. Anger. It shows the writing process. It shows the band's struggle while Hetfield is in rehab. Producer Bob Rock fills in on bass for the album, but he knows he can't be a permanent replacement. The band puts that off until the very last minute.

Two stand out moments for me are the therapy session that involves drummer Lars Ulrich and Megadeth frontman and original Metallica guitarist Dave Mustaine. Mustaine shares that he's felt pain over his firing since it happened, and if things were different, he wishes he were still in Metallica. That was interesting and a little disheartening in some way, because I've always thought Megadeth to be the superior band despite album sales differences.

The other interesting scene was the eventual audition session for the new bass player. The montage featured Twiggy from Marilyn Manson, some guy that played with Alanis Morrisette and several others. The only guy that seemed to belong was Robert Trujillo. Trujillo played with Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves before working with Ozzy Osbourne. He's not on the album, but he took to the band quickly. They took a different approach with him and made him a full partner in the band. That was good to see.

I wouldn't say I'm more of a fan of the band now, but I do know that I used to think that Lars Ulrich was a douchebag. After seeing this movie, I know he's a douchebag. He grew up a little throughout the course of the movie, but I still don't like him. I'll never purchase a Metallica album again, but it's sort of interesting for me to know who they are and what they're about.

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