James Hetfield Defends St. Anger: ‘It’s Honest’

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The world is back in Metallica mode once again.

With the release of their latest single ‘Lux Aeterna’ and a new album on the way in April of next year, fans are ready to come back into the pit for what’s sure to be a return to some of the more thrashy stuff that the metal gods have been working on for the past few years. In a recent interview though, James Hetfield decided to revisit the band’s past, and actually had some kind words for one of their most maligned albums.

It doesn’t take long for people to start spewing venom towards St. Anger, which was an absolute mess when people first heard it back in the day and still suffers from arguable the worst production present on any Metallica release.

Even Lars Ulrich dunked on St. Anger on camera as a joke, comically unhooking his snare in front of a crowd to demonstrate what rock and roll sounds like and what their latest record sounded like. 

When speaking to the New Yorker recently, James mentioned that he preferred the raw feeling behind the album saying:

 “It’s honest. You may not identify with it or you don’t like the sound. But that’s where we were and that’s what we put out. It’ll have its time maybe…or maybe not.”

Since the band was seen to be on the verge of collapse in the documentary Some Kind of Monster, you can’t say that the album doesn’t at least reflect where they were at the time, at their wit’s end and trying desperately to stay together in light of their different personalities and anger issues.

Kirk Hammett actually cites that as the main reason why the album actually works so well, sayingIt was the four of us in a room with our instruments, looking at each other and going, ‘O.K., it starts again, right now, in this moment,’” 

In a strange way, most Metallica fans should probably be grateful for the album based on what the band was going through. It might be one of the more listenable records the band ever made, but it also might be the reason Metallica is still here today.

Read the full New Yorker interview with Hetfield here.


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