Richie3000's current selection is:
The Unnamed Feeling
by Metallica
It's the fifteenth anniversary of St Anger, an album sometimes derided as Metallica's Phantom Menace, but others (admittedly rarer), including the source of the below ( ), argue may be Metallica's last classic album

Starting here with a discussion of *that* snare sound
"Metal drum productions are typically designed to showcase the drummer’s technical prowess, and get out of the way of the guitars. Dry, with little reverb, they sound little like the feeling of playing a real drum kit in a resonant room.
"But St. Anger is the rare metal album where you you can sense just how hard Lars hits the drums. It’s in-your-face, but dynamic - you get the tone of the drums, not just the beats. Even that infamous snare is a musical choice - the harmonics that ring out are tuned to the key of the song. The drums don’t just “play along” - they puncture the harmonic space of the guitars. Writer Christopher Owens compares the snare sound to the clang of industrial bands like Einstürzende Neubauten and Ministry. But Enter Night biographer Mick Wall describes it most beautifully, as “like an anvil being pummelled”.
"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. It just felt totally natural.
Lars Ulrich to Rhythm Magazine, 2004
For entire sections of music, Lars makes the curious choice to leave out one drum. In All Within My Hands, he plays uptempo thrash beats without a kick drum; on the pre-chorus of The Unnamed Feeling, the snare abruptly disappears. One most metal songs, breakdowns are supposed to groove - like the climax of One. Instead, Lars plays St. Anger’s many breakdowns with toms, but no cymbals, sounding like a drunken, wounded golem that’s fallen and can’t get up. Most unnerving are the verses of The Unnamed Feeling, where Lars rides a crash cymbal, but you can’t actually hear him hit it. His swirling, disembodied cymbals just hiss nightmarishly with no beginning or end...

On this track specifically:
"The Unnamed Feeling is, at least initially, a much-needed respite from the chaos of St. Anger’s back half. It’s the album’s most conventionally melodic, vocal-driven song - it could have been a single on The Black Album. The long intro echoes Enter Sandman, but the guitars growl more ominously underneath.
Because The Unnamed Feeling is so melodic, it’s the one song that’s most obviously missing a guitar solo. Does the lack of guitar solos date this album, as Kirk says in Some Kind Of Monster? Not exactly - because St. Anger is so singularly weird that it exists out of time. The more interesting question is, what do Metallica do instead?
A guitar solo is a song’s emotional climax: it articulate what you can’t say with words alone. But all but the most intentionally dissonant guitar solos - think Slayer, Kirk’s solo on The Thing That Should Not Be - are inherently melodic. They make the music more harmonically pleasant, which is exactly what St. Anger’s not aiming for. Instead, Metallica find less conventional ways to peak. At least once per song, the band builds to a ferocious, noise-rock frenzy of instrumental dissonance.
But other songs, especially The Unnamed Feeling, have bizarre vocal bridges. Hetfield begs and pleads: “I just wanna get the fuck away from me / I rage, I glaze, I hurt, I hate… / I wanna hate it all away!” His voice cracks, like a child throwing a temper tantrum. Like John Lennon on Mother, it’s the sound of a millionaire rockstar going through primal therapy, and curling into fetal position. Is Hetfield’s wailing more listenable than a guitar solo would have been? Absolutely not - but it’s more unconventionally honest.
“Hetfield’s sobriety dominates the album - it is the elephant in the room taking up the space where Hammett’s guitar solos used to be.”"
Richard S. HeJune 18, 2018
2004 - United States
Posted: 8th June 2019
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