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Metallica - S & M CD (album) cover

S & M

Metallica

 

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3.45 | 166 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "S&M" is a live album release by US rock/metal act Metallica. The album was released in November 1999 through Elektra/Vertigo. Itīs quite a massive release containing two CDs, both of which feature over an hour of music. "S&M" is not your "regular" live album release with the band playing in front of a cheering audience. On this release Metallica have teamed up with composer/conducter Michael Kamen and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra to perform a hybrid metal/symphony orchestra version of some of the groupīs most popular compositions. In addition to featuring select songs from all studio albums spanning "Ride the Lightning (1984)" through "ReLoad (1997)", "S&M" also features two new compositions in "No Leaf Clover" and "-Human" and "The Ecstasy of Gold" by Ennio Morricone. The latter composition has been used as intro to Metallicaīs shows for many years and appear here in an orchestral version that also works as an intro. The album was recorded on April 21?22, 1999 at Berkeley Community Theatre, Berkeley, California.

The merging of rock/metal group and symphonic orchestra has been done before, but I guess Metallica couldnīt pass on the opportunity when they were presented with the idea. And itīs easy to understand why. Hearing your own compositions accompanied by a symphonic orchestra isnīt something that happens every day. Not even for a band like Metallica.

The result is a mixed bag though. Metallica deliver a decent performance, but as usual James Hetfield couldnīt hit a clean note if it came up and bit him in the ass. His performance here is sloppy and unfocused. The merging of rock/metal band and symphony orchestra doesnīt work very well either. Most of the time it sounds like the band playing their thing and the orchestra having a completely different agenda, playing some film score thing that doesnīt go very well with what the band plays. itīs especially bad in the older more thrashy tracks while the orchestra fit sligthly better on the more recent material. Overall the orchestra is a major distraction though and an even bigger power killer. The sound quality saves the album slightly but itīs not enough to make me smile.

Over two hours of music that I can barely stand to listen to is a bit much and the length of the album does end up having an impact on my rating along with the unfitting mix of metal and symphonic film score music and the awful vocal performance by James Hetfield. I almost always try to find something positive to write about a release, but other than the pretty good production values, I canīt for the life of me find anything positive to say about "S&M". This is just another example of the fact that Metallica at this point had run completely dry of original ideas and had to resort to projects like this to still get attention. I think Iīm being generous when I hand out a 2 star rating.

UMUR | 2/5 |

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