Metallica - Some Kind of Monster
It starts in almost exactly the same way as the Chili Pepper’s Funky Monks
video the band rent a recording space, they drive in to work every day, they indulge their outdoor hobbies. The discuss the album with the producer, themselves and the media. They overdub and discuss some more; but here there’s a big fuzzy mental space oozing brotherly tension and distaste the space of therapy and its associated jargon of pain and emotional recognition. And here, the film becomes more and more like Let It Be
. I mean, how could they not see that coming? This is almost formula! It’s like Eugene Landy sitting in on the Beatles recording sessions instead of Yoko. And worse still, the viewer slowly comes to realise the new material and the new album is shit: somewhere below average harder rock, something not unlike Echobrain. This being the first attempt at group song writing, it’s hard to shake off the feeling that these are just so many band-comp lyrics hurriedly bashed together 'cause they rhyme or express someone’s feelings at that time. Essentially, this is a film about burnt & frayed egoscapes rather than music and creativity. It feels like an incredibly drawn-out hangover. Metal never sounded so tired as these guys fishing for riffs and ideas. They can rock and party hardy, sure, but can they function in an effective team-dynamic? Can they contribute and listen? No, and the problem of course is the therapist. You must never trust a therapist in yellow knitwear, no matter how much he gets per month, especially one with such burred couch-platitudes and perennial presence. The film was constantly on the verge of a saccharine group hug. Thank god he kept his trap shut about the lyrics (the content of the lyrics isn’t important here, he’d say) but to have James Hetfield singing about cap T Temptation? Really? I mean they’ll be taking a post-Farrakhan P.E. turn and singing about shaking booties before the manager can say radio-friendly broadcast. This is the new, softer Metallica; monsters of mood and sharing. James is
a heel, and quite oblivious to the fact. Lars is the normal one, even when he scores around 20 million just by selling some artworks (all in a hard rock day). Lars chooses his words carefully. Lars Pére (the wizard who looks like he just spent 20 years in the wild) pops in to call some musical shots. Kirk makes himself the model considerate one; Kirk concerned about serving the song and yet I hear there’s no solos on the album! That must be a tough break. At times I had to laugh hard at all the slightly left-field insincerities and the serious little disappointments of their days… the glazed looks on Kirk and Lars as they witness the mild waste of Echobrain… the new bass player getting a million advance (did I hear that right?)… the Megadeth guitarist coming out with his rejection issues… the fact that everything is Pro-Tooled… and the fact that they collectively own something like 5-600 guitars! Rock on. Like my pal Jason used to say: Give someone else a go. I guess the fun of the film, the drive and gist is the expectation and waiting for the end, the inevitable termination (by day 715 of the project I was getting concerned for my own life). And yet, ultimately, the arguments didn’t make for any better musical tension or resolution the problem partly being that Metallica have done about as much as they can for Metal the genre is moving on and sooner or later the boys will be stuck playing to their purist fans and splitting up over new (softer?) directions. Maybe that evil word Progressive will crop up in future media spots. Music for head banging doesn’t need to worry about future trends and ceremonial inaugurations and radio giveaways. It just bangs heads. Maybe these guys need to drink more tea or something. Or get a new producer.