What started out as a straightforward documentary about the making of a new Metallica album turned into quite something else. Yes, there is still an album – St. Anger – that is made but the journey there is a little different from your typical “making of” documentary. Basically, life happens, as first longtime bassist Jason Newsted leaves the band and then lead singer James Hetfield checks into rehab for alcohol abuse, leaving Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett to figure out the future of the band, together with Phil Towle, a “performance-enhancing” coach hired by Metallica’s management.
Well, there are two ways of looking at this documentary. If you’re a fan, you’ll probably appreciate the behind the scenes, intimate moments revealing the relationships between the band members. If you’re not a fan then you might be irritated by these millionaires acting out, dwelling on their “rich man rock star” problems which seem to have no bearing on normal life.
Truth be told, you can include me in the latter category. Metallica is probably the biggest metal band on the planet then (and now) and to witness their petty power-plays and juvenile games is a little much to swallow. That said, as a music lover, I appreciate their sincere efforts in resisting self-caricature and self-parody, as they strive to remain relevant as music makers.
The piece de resistance? Watching Dave (Megadeth) Mustaine whining about how hurt he still is about being kicked out of Metallica all those years ago. Hello? Hasn’t his own band sold in excess of 25 million records? What does he have to complain about? Honestly, I don’t whether to laugh of cry, all a bunch of crybabies severely out of touch with reality.
So there you go. Fans of Metallica and metalheads should definitely watch this but if not, stay away…you have been warned.