[NOTE: I originally posted this particular brain dropping on June 5, 2013, on the 10th anniversary of the release of Metallica’s St. Anger; keep that in mind in case some of the wording seems a bit off, there]

Metallica-St-AngerSo, today marks the ten year anniversary of the release of Metallica’s St. Anger.  Yes, that’s is correct: Metallica’s eighth studio album (not counting those two covers albums they did) was foisted upon the general metal community exactly one decade ago.  And while this little milestone doesn’t make me feel as old as, say, knowing that the baby featured on the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind album has been of legal drinking age for nearly a year now, this release from one of the bands that was instrumental in shaping my formative years is rather significant.

St. Anger was the album that made me realize that I could stop pretending that Metallica actually mattered anymore.

Like the victim of an abusive alcoholic, I stood by the side of Metallica through some rather dark times, taking what they threw at us with a smile and a spark of hope that, maybe, they would see that I loved them enough to understand and go back to the gloriously happy days of their first four records.  While the cracks in the relationship were minute but still visible with the release of …And Justice For All, it was understandable, considering what they went through at the time.  The metal was still solid, if not up to the same quality as Master Of Puppets was.

Then the so-called “black album” came out, and the band we loved wasn’t quite the same one we fell in love with.  But that was okay, as the spark was still there, and we still had the thrill that ran up and down our spines whenever we heard their songs.  Sure, there were many more other people seeing them, people we never thought we would be going up against, vying for our special band, but that was okay too.  The more the merrier, right?  Besides, they more than made it up to us by way of the live Binge & Purge boxed set.

Then…Load happened.  That was when the relationship truly ended, but we were too much in shock to see it end.  We thought, hey, no problem, it’s just a minor set back.  They’ll see what they’ve done, and make it up to us.  But instead, we got the slap on the other side of our faces: ReLoad.  Looking back, we can see now that the cover artwork for both held more symbolic meaning than we could even realize.

From there, it was just a downward spiral of broken promises and tears.  And yet, even through the releases of the two-disc covers album and the S&M release they did with the orchestra, we kept a brave face, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will one day realize what they were doing, and redeem themselves with their next release.

St. Anger was the final slap to the face.  After so much taunting, after so much hyped up promises, we were given something that was the musical equivalent of drunken shouting and pounding on galvanized cans: crappy production, crappy playing, crappy singing, lousy lyrics…this was truly when I realized that Metallica had become nothing more than a sad parody of their former selves, and shook my head.  And then I did the only sensible thing – I bid them luck on their future, and left them.

Do I regret this decision?  No.  Even with their nice try at reconciliation with Death Magnetic, it was just a case of too-little, too-late.  And not too long after that, they were back to their old ways, collaborating with Lou Reed on the LuLu release.

Certainly, I do look back fondly on the first four albums.  Even the self-titled one gets a bit of a nostalgic look from me once in a while. But, that Metallica is gone forever.  The band that’s in their place is a far cry from the one I loved before.  And while there was the decade of denial, I’m what you would call oddly indebted to St. Anger for being the final straw to let me get on with my life.

I mean, there’s so much actual good metal out there, I can’t be wasting my time with an over-bloated zombie corpse like this, right?  Right.  Cheers, then.