My Honest Review Visiting Metallica’s Fascinating S&M Album Again
Metallica is my favorite rock and heavy metal band. I know the arguments pre and post Black Album but Metallica has always been a band to experiment. Did it work all the time? No. One experiment was 1999's S&M album. While I was off last week, I decided to sit down and give it a full listen again (I hadn't done that probably since it came out). I wanted to give you some of my thoughts relistening to the album.
Metallica's S&M, which stands for Symphony and Metallica, album is a contentious subject among rock and heavy metal fans. I can certainly see why. When you think of symphony music, you would not think that it would mix with any kind of rock music, let alone heavy metal. Overall, though, it works between Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony.
Being a band nerd in high school (I'm using "band nerd" very affectionally) I learned to appreciate orchestral music. One of my favorite video games, Final Fantasy VII Remake, has a wonderful orchestral soundtrack. Hearing the San Francisco Symphony behind Metallica brings an epicness to the already big sound of the band.
One song in particular is "The Thing That Should Not Be." I am a little biased because it is my all time favorite Metallica song. I've always thought, though, that an orchestra could easily pull off the song. The proof is the performance on S&M.
This gives me chills. Co-workers are giving me weird looks as they walk by my office as I'm writing this and listening to the performance. I've got the biggest grin on my face listening.
I'll be honest, I did not think Master Of Puppets would work but it does. The symphony really added beautifully with the song. I could have done without the crowd singing but that has long been a Metallica staple at their shows so they had to do it here.
"Nothing Else Matters", to me, is another highlight of the S&M album. This is another song, like "The Thing That Should Not Be," that is perfect for an orchestra.
The biggest thing you can hear is that Metallica is having a great time performing with the San Francisco Symphony and vice versa. Metallica has always loved to experiment with their music. This experiment paid off. It is a great one off performance that could never be duplicated, except by Metallica themselves. 2019 brought us S&M 2 which I have not listened to so I have no idea how it compares.
One last thought..."One" could have turned into a complete mess but it didn't. They've tried to similarly recreate it on other occasions and it hasn't worked.
But this is just my humble opinion. I would love to hear your thoughts on Metallica's S&M album. Tell me below.