Metallica intended to sell their 2003 comeback album, St. Anger, with a series of infomercials by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, directors of the acclaimed documentaries Brother's Keeper and Paradise Lost. Bizarre as that failed plan sounds, what's even more bizarre is that those infomercials morphed into the feature-length film Some Kind of Monster (its title taken from an album track on St. Anger), which documented the making of St. Anger, including the group therapy sessions that helped the band pull back from the brink of breakup. All movies need a soundtrack, so one was cobbled together to coincide with the release of the movie, but after hearing Some Kind of Monster, it's hard not to wish that Metallica and Elektra didn't bother. Barring an edit of the title track, there is absolutely no new material here: it opens with the full-length version of the title track, then delves into six live tracks recorded on June 11, 2003, in Paris, France (two songs apiece from Kill 'Em All and Master of Puppets and one from Ride the Lightning -- perhaps the emphasis on early Metallica is a tacit admission that St. Anger didn't live up to expectations). All six of these live tracks were on the international EP release Unnamed Feeling, as well as B-sides for a multi-part international single of the same name. So not only do hardcore fans already have this material, but these songs have nothing to do with the making of St. Anger, which is what Some Kind of Monster is about! While there is some enjoyment in hearing James Hetfield speak a little French, there's nothing particularly distinguished about these performances, which -- while solid -- are essentially B-sides. Which means this is a B-sides comp or international single masquerading as both a soundtrack and an official part of the Metallica discography, and on both levels it's a miserable failure, easily the shoddiest thing they've released.
Some Kind of Monster Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine