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Metallica - S & M CD (album) cover

S & M

Metallica

 

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3.35 | 125 ratings

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Valarius
4 stars Who would have imagined back in 1983, when Metallica released their debut album, that we'd be seeing them play with an orchestra in 1999?

When it was first revealed that Metallica's next endeavor would involve playing with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, I can only imagine the disgust and doubt that crept across all the bands fans. After the critically disappointing 'Load' and 'Reload', and the covers album 'Garage Inc.' (which hardly introduced any new fans), most people must have thought Metallica had lost their minds to consider playing with an Orchestral ensemble.

Thankfully, Metallica proved them all wrong.

This album is great! And shows not only how progressive Metallica's music can be, but also how adaptable it can be to other genres. When you first think of 'Metallica and an Orchestra' it's easy to visualize Metallica playing their songs with a few strings in the background, but this is anything but 'just a few strings'. The Symphony take Metallica's songs and make their own arrangements and compositions from them, blissfully blending the two together to create an all-out attack on the senses.

Featuring pretty much all of their big hits, the band come across as stronger than ever. The musicianship is all spot-on, and some would argue that James Hetfields vocals are at their absolute best. And two new songs, '-Human' and 'No Leaf Clover' shows that (at a time when they were considered a 'Rock' band) Metallica can still stand toe-to-toe with any band in the Metal genre.

I only have two complaints with 'S&M', and neither of them are all that drastic. My first being the setlist. Whilst it is pretty much spot-on, there are a couple of songs I could really live without. 'The Thing that Should Not Be' for example, never really worked for me, and neither does this version. And on one or two tracks I feel like the orchestra doesn't really add anything. But Metallica make up for this with incredible versions of 'Master of Puppets', 'Bleeding Me', 'Battery' and 'One'.

My only other 'complaint' is that this is a live album. As much as I love live albums, I will always be a studio album guy, and I think with a studio mix this would have been so much crisper and cleaner, and overall a lot more epic. But never mind, it's great none-the-less and as essential as any of Metallica's earlier albums. A great starting point if you're a fan of more progressive music looking to get into Metallica.

Valarius | 4/5 |

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