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Metallica - S & M CD (album) cover

S & M



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3.46 | 172 ratings

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3 stars Even though Metallica took a lengthy break from studio albums it didn't mean they where completely inactive towards the end of the '90s. Their 1998 cover-compilation titled Garage Inc. was a pretty uninspired release that still managed to sell a hefty chunk of copies, proving to the investors that the Metallica brand still had a big selling potential.

The idea of combining a symphony orchestra with a Metal band has been around for quite some time and finally came to fulfillment in 1999 where Metallica performed with San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. The performance of this live event was carefully documented as both a video concert but also as live release simply titled Symphony and Metallica, more known for its semi-perverted abbreviation S & M.

I was really hyped about this live release because I hoped that playing with an orchestra would spark new creativity in Metallica which unfortunately has been missing for more than a decade. After listening to this album for the first time I could already spot what the basic problem with it was; Metallica should have gone for more of their earlier energetic songs instead of spreading out the repertoire between all the albums. This is especially noticeable when the band leans towards the ballads since the orchestral arrangements there only try to increase the momentum of those compositions instead of adding new exciting arrangements like they so masterfully did on compositions like Master Of Puppets or Battery.

The great song structures of the band's early material seemed to be a real treat for Michael Kamen and his staff to arrange since they clearly made those songs spark more than the material from Black Album, Load or Reload. Or maybe it's just because the later albums are not as orchestra-friendly? As the result of my critique I only truly enjoyed three songs on this release while the rest wobbled somewhere in the good and semi-decent territory.

I'm sure that people who usually aren't big fans of Metallica could get into this album more than the classic era fans since ballads like Nothing Else Matters sound cheesier than ever here. As for me, I definitely don't dislike Symphony and Metallica but don't consider it a great live album either.

***** star songs: The Call Of Ktulu (9:34) Master Of Puppets (8:55) Battery (7:25)

**** star songs: The Ecstasy Of Gold (2:31) The Thing That Should Not Be (7:27) Fuel (4:36) The Memory Remains (4:42) No Leaf Clover (5:43) Bleeding Me (9:02) Nothing Else Matters (6:47) Until It Sleeps (4:30) For Whom The Bell Tolls (4:52) Outlaw Torn (9:59) One (7:53) Enter Sandman (7:39)

*** star songs: Of Wolf And Man (4:19) Hero Of The Day (4:45) Devil's Dance (5:26) -Human (4:20) Wherever I May Roam (7:02) Sad But True (5:46)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |


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