St. Anger

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St. Anger
Metallica - St. Anger cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 5, 2003 (2003-06-05)
RecordedMay 1, 2002 (2002-05-01) – April 8, 2003 (2003-04-08)
StudioMetallica's HQ in San Rafael, California
Metallica chronology
Garage, Inc.
St. Anger
Death Magnetic
Singles from St. Anger
  1. "St. Anger"
    Released: June 23, 2003 [2]
  2. "Frantic"
    Released: September 15, 2003 [3]
  3. "The Unnamed Feeling"
    Released: January 12, 2004 [4]
  4. "Some Kind of Monster"
    Released: July 13, 2004 [5]

St. Anger is the eighth studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica, released on June 5, 2003. It was the last Metallica album released through Elektra Records, the final collaboration between Metallica and producer Bob Rock (who had worked with Metallica since 1991) and the band's only album to date without an official bass player, as Jason Newsted had left shortly before recording sessions began; Rock took his spot as bassist for the album. The artwork was created by Metallica collaborator Pushead.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Metallica American heavy metal band

Metallica is an American heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, California by drummer Lars Ulrich and vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield, and has been based in San Francisco, California for most of its career. The group's fast tempos, instrumentals and aggressive musicianship made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. Metallica's current lineup comprises founding members Hetfield and Ulrich, longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassists Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted are former members of the band.

Elektra Records American record label

Elektra Records is an American record label owned by Warner Music Group, founded in 1950 by Jac Holzman and Paul Rickolt. It played an important role in the development of contemporary folk music and rock music between the 1950s and 1970s. In 2004, it was consolidated into WMG's Atlantic Records Group. After five years of dormancy, the label was revived as an imprint of Atlantic in 2009. As of October 2018, Elektra was detached from the Atlantic Records umbrella and reorganized into Elektra Music Group, once again operating as an independently-managed frontline label of Warner Music.


With an alternative metal style, raw production, and no guitar solos, St. Anger departed from Metallica's signature style. Recording began on April 23, 2001, but was postponed when rhythm guitarist and singer James Hetfield entered rehab for alcoholism, among other addictions. The recording is the subject of the 2004 documentary film Some Kind of Monster .

Alternative metal is a rock music fusion genre that infuses heavy metal with influences from alternative rock and other genres not normally associated with metal. Alternative metal bands are often characterized by heavily downtuned, mid-paced guitar riffs, a mixture of accessible melodic vocals and harsh vocals and sometimes unconventional sounds within other heavy metal styles. The term has been in use since the 1980s, although it came into prominence in the 1990s.

Guitar solo

A guitar solo is a melodic passage, instrumental section, or entire piece of music written for a classical guitar, electric guitar or an acoustic guitar. In the 20th and 21st century traditional music and popular music such as blues, swing, jazz, jazz fusion, rock and metal guitar solos often contain virtuoso techniques and varying degrees of improvisation. Guitar solos on classical guitar, which are typically written in musical notation, are also used in classical music forms such as chamber music and concertos.

James Hetfield American musician

James Alan Hetfield is an American musician, singer, and songwriter known for being the co-founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and main songwriter for the American heavy metal band Metallica. Hetfield is mainly known for his intricate rhythm playing, but occasionally performs lead guitar duties and solos, both live and in the studio. Hetfield co-founded Metallica in October 1981 after answering a classified advertisement by drummer Lars Ulrich in the Los Angeles newspaper The Recycler. Metallica has won nine Grammy Awards and released ten studio albums, three live albums, four extended plays and 24 singles.

Metallica spent two years touring to promote St. Anger. It was intended for release on June 10, 2003, but was released five days earlier due to concerns over unlicensed distribution through peer-to-peer file sharing networks. Despite mixed reviews, it debuted at the top of sales charts in 14 countries, including the US Billboard 200. In 2004, the lead single, "St. Anger", won a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance. St. Anger was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipping two million copies in the US; it has sold nearly six million copies worldwide. [6]

Peer-to-peer file sharing is the distribution and sharing of digital media using peer-to-peer (P2P) networking technology. P2P file sharing allows users to access media files such as books, music, movies, and games using a P2P software program that searches for other connected computers on a P2P network to locate the desired content. The nodes (peers) of such networks are end-user computers and distribution servers.

The Billboard 200 is a record chart ranking the 200 most popular music albums and EPs in the United States. It is published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists. Often, a recording act will be remembered by its "number ones", those of their albums that outperformed all others during at least one week. The chart grew from a weekly top 10 list in 1956 to become a top 200 in May 1967, and acquired its present title in March 1992. Its previous names include the Billboard Top LPs (1961–72), Billboard Top LPs & Tape (1972–84), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–85) and Billboard Top Pop Albums.

St. Anger (song) song by Metallica

"St. Anger" is a song by American heavy metal band Metallica. It was released in June 2003 as the lead single from their eighth studio album of the same name. It won Best Metal Performance at the 46th Grammy Awards and was also nominated for Best Rock Video at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, but lost to "Somewhere I Belong" by Linkin Park.


Metallica rented an old United States Army barracks on the Presidio of San Francisco, and converted it into a makeshift studio in January 2001. [7] As plans were being made to enter the studio to write and record its first album in nearly five years, the band postponed the recording because of the departure of bassist Jason Newsted. Newsted left Metallica on January 17, 2001, stating his departure was due to "private and personal reasons and the physical damage I have done to myself over the years while playing the music that I love". [8] Uncomfortable with immediately writing and recording with a new bassist, Metallica opted to include Bob Rock as bassist. The band stated they would find another bass player upon the album's completion. [7]

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.

Barracks accommodation for soldiers

A barracks is a building or group of buildings built to house military personnel. The English word comes via French from an old Catalan word "barraca" (hut), originally referring to temporary shelters or huts for various people and animals, but today barracks are usually permanent buildings for military accommodation. The word may apply to separate housing blocks or to complete complexes, and the plural form often refers to a single structure and may be singular in construction.

Presidio of San Francisco Neighborhood in San Francisco, California, United States

The Presidio of San Francisco is a park and former U.S. Army military fort on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula in San Francisco, California, and is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

In July 2001, recording came to a halt when James Hetfield entered rehab for alcoholism and other undisclosed addictions. [9] Hetfield returned to the band in April of the next year, [10] but was only allowed to work on the album from noon to 4:00 PM. Due to his personal problems, as well as Metallica's internal struggles, the band hired a personal enhancement coach, Phil Towle. This, and the recording of the album, was documented by filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky. The band's recording process was filmed over the course of three years. Subsequent to the album's release, Berlinger and Sinofsky released the edited material as the film Some Kind of Monster . [11] From May 2002 until April 2003, the album was recorded at a new studio in San Rafael, California, known as "HQ". [12]

Alcoholism Broad term for problems with alcohol

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a broad term for any drinking of alcohol that results in mental or physical health problems. The disorder was previously divided into two types: alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. In a medical context, alcoholism is said to exist when two or more of the following conditions are present: a person drinks large amounts of alcohol over a long time period, has difficulty cutting down, acquiring and drinking alcohol takes up a great deal of time, alcohol is strongly desired, usage results in not fulfilling responsibilities, usage results in social problems, usage results in health problems, usage results in risky situations, withdrawal occurs when stopping, and alcohol tolerance has occurred with use. Risky situations include drinking and driving or having unsafe sex, among other things. Alcohol use can affect all parts of the body, but it particularly affects the brain, heart, liver, pancreas and immune system. This can result in mental illness, Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome, irregular heartbeat, an impaired immune response, liver cirrhosis and increased cancer risk, among other diseases. Drinking during pregnancy can cause damage to the baby resulting in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Women are generally more sensitive than men to the harmful physical and mental effects of alcohol.

Joe Berlinger American documentary filmmaker

Joseph Berlinger is an American filmmaker and producer. Particularly focused on true crime documentaries, Berlinger's films and docu-series draw attention to social justice issues in the US and abroad in such films as Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, Crude, Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger and Intent To Destroy: Death, Denial and Depiction. A 2017 HuffPost article said "Brother's Keeper (1992) and the Paradise Lost trilogy (1996–2011) helped pioneer the style of documentary filmmaking [seen] in Netflix's recent true crime sensation, Making a Murderer—a combination of artful cinematography, a stirring musical soundtrack, and a dramatic narrative structure as compelling as any scripted film."

Bruce Sinofsky was an American documentary film director, particularly known for his films the Paradise Lost trilogy, Brother's Keeper and Some Kind of Monster, all created with Joe Berlinger.

St. Anger was the first album released by the band to feature songs in drop C tuning; eight of the eleven songs on the album were in this tuning, while "Dirty Window" was in drop D♭ tuning, "Invisible Kid" was in drop A♭ tuning and "The Unnamed Feeling" was in drop B♭ tuning. Only twice previously had Metallica released songs in tunings lower than D standard, with "Bad Seed" (from Reload ) and "–Human" (from S&M ) both in drop D♭ tuning.

Drop C tuning

Drop C tuning is technically an alternative guitar tuning where at least one string has been lowered to a C, but most commonly refers to CGCFAD, which can be described as D tuning with a 6th string dropped to C, or drop D tuning transposed down a whole step. Because of its heavier tone, it is most commonly used in rock and heavy metal music.

D tuning Musician


<i>Reload</i> (Metallica album) 1997 studio album by Metallica

Reload is the seventh studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica, released on November 18, 1997 by Elektra Records. The album is a follow-up to Load, released the previous year, and Metallica's last studio album to feature bassist Jason Newsted. Reload debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 436,000 copies in its first week. It was certified 3× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipping three million copies in the United States.

Hetfield stated that the album was written with "a lot of passion". [13] He said, "There's two years of condensed emotion in this. We've gone through a lot of personal changes, struggles, epiphanies, it's deep. It's so deep lyrically and musically. [13] [St. Anger] is just the best that it can be from us right now." [14] The band purposely wanted a raw sound on the album, so that Rock did not polish the sound while mixing. The band desired the raw sound because of the depth of the emotion they felt and did not want to "mess with it". [14] Rock commented, "I wanted to do something to shake up radio and the way everything else sounds. To me, this album sounds like four guys in a garage getting together and writing rock songs. There was really no time to get amazing performances out of James. We liked the raw performances. And we didn't do what everyone does and what I've been guilty of for a long time, which is tuning vocals. We just did it, boom, and that was it." [15]

13-06-09 RaR Newsted 07.jpg
Robert Trujillo live in London 2008-09-15.jpg
After the departure of Jason Newsted (left) in 2001, Robert Trujillo (right) became Metallica's new bassist in February 2003 and toured with the band in support of St. Anger.

Guitarist Kirk Hammett commented on the lack of guitar solos on St. Anger, a departure from what Metallica had done in the past: "We wanted to preserve the sound of all four of us in a room just jamming. We tried to put guitar solos on, but we kept on running into this problem. It really sounded like an afterthought." Hammett said that he was happy with the final product. [16] Rock stated, "We made a promise to ourselves that we'd only keep stuff that had integrity. We didn't want to make a theatrical statement by adding overdubs." [15]

Drummer Lars Ulrich achieved a unique sound on St. Anger by turning off the snares on his snare drum resulting in a drum tone with far more "ring" than is usual in rock and metal. This sound received much backlash from fans and critics alike. [17] Ulrich said, "One day I forgot to turn the snare on because I wasn't thinking about this stuff. At the playbacks, I decided I was really liking what I was hearing—it had a different ambience. It sang back to me in a beautiful way." Regarding the backlash about the sound, he stated, "It's crazy, that kind of closed-mindedness." [17] Rock said, "I would say I've only [done something] this brutal [sounding] when I've done demos. It probably sounds heavier because it's Metallica, but really this was a 15-minutes-on-the-drum-sound type of thing." [18] When St. Anger was completed, Metallica hired a new, permanent bassist. In February 2003, Robert Trujillo joined the band. He appeared on the footage of studio rehearsals of St. Anger in its entirety, which was included on DVD in the album package. [7] St. Anger was described as alternative metal. [19] [20]


Brian "Pushead" Schroeder designed the album cover and interior artwork for St. Anger. Pushead has designed a number of items for Metallica in the past, including liner artwork of ...And Justice for All , several single covers, and many T-shirts; however, the album marks his first studio album cover art for the band. Originally, according to Metallica's official website, four different limited color variations of the cover were planned, but the idea was eventually scrapped. [21]

Release and promotion

St. Anger was released on June 5, 2003. It was originally scheduled for June 10, but due to Metallica's previous battle with Napster, and fear that it would be released illegally onto peer-to-peer file sharing networks, the band pushed the release date ahead by five days. [22] [23] A special edition of the album was released with a bonus DVD, featuring live, in-the-studio rehearsals of all of the St. Anger tracks. First week sales of the album were 417,000 copies, [24] and it debuted at number 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200, as well as in 30 other countries around the world. [25] In 2004, Metallica won the award for Best Metal Performance, for the title track. [26]

Metallica playing live, in support of St. Anger. Metallica live London 2003-12-19.jpg
Metallica playing live, in support of St. Anger.

After St. Anger's release, Metallica embarked on a tour that lasted nearly two years. The first leg was the U.S. 2003 Summer Sanitarium tour with support from: Limp Bizkit, Deftones, Linkin Park, and Mudvayne. After Summer Sanitarium, the band began the Madly in Anger with the World Tour with support from Godsmack (and Slipknot on certain European dates), which lasted until late 2004. The St. Anger songs "Frantic", "St. Anger", "Dirty Window" and "The Unnamed Feeling" were performed frequently during the tour. "Some Kind of Monster" was also played live, but not as often as other songs on the album, and “Sweet Amber” was played only once. [27] . The album tracks were altered when played live; sometimes they were shortened, or in some cases a guitar solo was added. [28] Sometimes, only one song from the album was played live. By 2009, the songs from St. Anger were completely absent from Metallica's set lists. The last time any song was performed from the album on a major tour was "Frantic" on May 5th, 2019, in Barcelona, Spain. [27] although "Dirty Window" was performed again on December 10, 2011, during the last concert of Metallica's special and private 30th Anniversary Tour, in San Francisco, California. "St. Anger" was also played again during the "Metallica by Request" tour in 2014 when it was voted by the fans, and on the WorldWired Tour in 2019 in Madrid. In October 2007, "All Within My Hands" was performed live for the first time, albeit rearranged and acoustically, at both nights of the Bridge School Benefit concerts.

Metallica also released four singles from St. Anger. The order of the releases was: "St. Anger", "Frantic", "The Unnamed Feeling" and "Some Kind of Monster". On the U.S. Mainstream Rock chart, these singles charted at number 2, number 21, number 28 and number 18, respectively. [29] Promotional music videos were also made for all four of the songs. These videos can be found on Metallica's DVD video collection, titled The Videos 1989-2004 , and the video for "Some Kind of Monster" can also be found on the film Some Kind of Monster.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Metacritic 65/100 [30]
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [1]
Blender Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [31]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music Star full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [32]
Entertainment Weekly B+ [33]
NME 9/10 [34]
Pitchfork 0.8/10 [35]
Rolling Stone Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [36]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [37]
Spin 8/10 [38]
Uncut Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [39]

St. Anger received mixed reviews from critics; the album holds a score of 65 out of 100, based on 20 reviews, on review-aggregating website Metacritic. [30] Adrien Begrand of PopMatters noted positive and negative aspects of the album, saying: "While it's an ungodly mess at times, what you hear on this album is a band playing with passion for the first time in years." [40] Talking about the album, Greg Kot of Blender said, "It may be too late to rehabilitate Metallica's image, but once again, their music is all about bringing the carnage." [31] Writing for NME , Ian Watson said that:

...the songs are a stripped back, heroically brutal reflection of this fury. You get the sense that, as with their emotional selves, they've taken metal apart and started again from scratch. There's no space wasted here, no time for petty guitar solos or downtuned bass trickery, just a focused, relentless attack. [34]

Johnny Loftus of AllMusic praised the album and described it as a "punishing, unflinching document of internal struggle—taking listeners inside the bruised yet vital body of Metallica, but ultimately revealing the alternately torturous and defiant demons that wrestle inside Hetfield's brain. St. Anger is an immediate record." [1] Barry Walter of Rolling Stone magazine also had a positive reaction to the direction taken in "St. Anger", stating: "No wonder there's an authenticity to St. Anger's fury that none of the band's rap-metal followers can touch." He also went further to note the lack of commercial influence and modern rock aspects of previous albums, continuing: "There's no radio-size, four-minute rock here, no pop-friendly choruses, no ballads, no solos, no wayward experimentation." [36]

Although many reviews of St. Anger were positive, some reviewers had a strong distaste for the album. Brent DiCrescenzo of Pitchfork strongly disliked the album and criticized Ulrich and Hammett, saying that Ulrich was "playing a drum set consisting of steel drums, aluminum toms, programmed double kicks, and a broken church bell. The kit's high-end clamor ignored the basic principles of drumming: timekeeping," he added, "Hetfield and Hammett's guitars underwent more processing than cat food. When they both speedstrummed through St. Anger, and most other movements, [Hetfield and Hammett] seemed to overwhelm each other with different, terrible noise. Also the duration of most songs made it boring to hear them." [35] Playlouder reviewer William Luff cited the album's 75-minute length and sound ("a monolithic slab of noise") as reasoning that St. Anger was "just too dense and daunting to be truly enjoyable." [41] PopMatters reporter Michael Christopher said "St. Anger dispenses with the recent spate of radio friendly pleasantries in favor of pedal to the floor thrash, staggered and extended song structures, quick changes and a muddled production that tries to harken back to the Kill 'Em All days. All attempts fail miserably." [42]

Track listing

All tracks written by James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Bob Rock.

2."St. Anger"7:21
3."Some Kind of Monster"8:25
4."Dirty Window"5:25
5."Invisible Kid"8:30
6."My World"5:46
7."Shoot Me Again"7:10
8."Sweet Amber"5:27
9."The Unnamed Feeling"7:08
11."All Within My Hands"8:48
Total length:75:04



Session members



Chart (2003)Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA) [43] 1
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria) [44] 1
Canadian Albums ( RPM ) [45] 1
Danish Albums (Hitlisten) [46] 1
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100) [47] 2
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista) [48] 1
French Albums (SNEP) [49] 1
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100) [50] 1
Greek Albums (IFPI Greece) [51] 1
Japanese Albums (Japanese Albums Chart) [52] 1
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista) [53] 1
Polish Albums (OLiS) [54] 1
Portuguese Albums (AFP) [55] 1
Spanish Albums (AFYVE) [56] 2
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan) [57] 1
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade) [58] 2
UK Albums (OCC) [59] 3
US Billboard 200 [60] 1


RegionCertification Certified units/Sales
Austria (IFPI Austria) [61] Platinum30,000*
Belgium (BEA) [62] Gold25,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil) [63] Gold50,000*
Canada (Music Canada) [64] 2× Platinum200,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat) [65] 2× Platinum40,000 [65]
Germany (BVMI) [66] 2× Platinum400,000^
Greece (IFPI Greece) [67] Platinum20,000^
Japan (RIAJ) [68] Platinum200,000^
Poland (ZPAV) [69] Gold35,000*
Russia (NFPF) [70] Platinum20,000*
United Kingdom (BPI) [71] Gold100,000^
United States (RIAA) [72] 2× Platinum2,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

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"Enter Sandman" is a song by American heavy metal band Metallica. It was released as the first single from their self-titled fifth album, Metallica in 1991. The music was written by Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich. Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Hetfield wrote the lyrics, which deal with the concept of a child's nightmares.

<i>Beyond Magnetic</i> 2011 EP by Metallica

Beyond Magnetic is a 2011 EP by American heavy metal band Metallica. It was released to coincide with the band's 30th anniversary shows, in which they released a new song for all four days of the shows. It was originally released as a digital download only on iTunes on December 13, 2011. All four songs featured on Beyond Magnetic were all recorded for the group's Death Magnetic sessions but had not been released. Beyond Magnetic was released on CD on January 30, 2012, internationally, and on the following day in the United States. As of September 2016, Beyond Magnetic sold over 210,000 copies in the U.S.

<i>Quebec Magnetic</i> 2012 video by Metallica

Quebec Magnetic is a live concert video album by Metallica, documenting two shows the band played at the Colisée Pepsi in Quebec City, Canada, on October 31 and November 1, 2009, on their World Magnetic Tour, released on December 11, 2012. The album is the first to be released via Metallica's own label, Blackened Recordings.

<i>Hardwired... to Self-Destruct</i> 2016 studio album by Metallica

Hardwired... to Self-Destruct is the tenth studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica, released as a double album on November 18, 2016 by their vanity label Blackened Recordings. It is their first studio album in eight years following Death Magnetic (2008), marking the longest gap between two studio albums in the band's career. It is also their first studio album released through Blackened. Hardwired... to Self-Destruct was produced by Greg Fidelman, who engineered and mixed Death Magnetic.


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