Reviews on this page by Dominic Bonner.
Metallica - St Anger 21st Century
AS downward spirals go, Metallica seem to be getting the best of them - the ill fated 'Load' and 'Reload' albums back to back, the rather bland 'Garage inc' followed by a couple of attempts to guide themselves back from the musical abyss, which seems more like a residential home rather than a case of a bad year on vacation. The suggestion that this band is back on the up is rather laughable.
St. Anger offers less than a fifth of an album that manages to hit the mark of anything that resembles their capabilities. Sure, the exchange of melodies to a return of the roots of 'kill 'em all' may have seemed like a good idea after the departure of their former bass player. But more questions than answers are provided by the rather monotonous creativity this album possesses.
Seemingly the result of paltry offerings that stand out on it like 'Sweet Amber', 'Shoot me again' and 'All within my hands' are a poor excuse to the fulfilment of what was promised to be the ultimate Metal album.
This change of direction of heavier raw guitars with a less epic approach, mixed with post punk metal, may prove to be the path may lead them from their musical malady. But after several lawsuits, singer James Hetfield's recent visits to rehab, and the mountainous egos within Metallica, bookmaker's odds against a triumphant musical return to their former glory despite an army of heretical fans, looks likely to be a very profitable bet.
2 out of 5
Radiohead - Hail to the thief...
THE paradox 'misery breeds company' is not something that most think concerning social events. But the release of Radiohead's sixth album breaks every unspoken rule in that particular book where the opinion of the masses proves yet again to be the apex of conversation concerning this band.
A continuation from what seems to be the latter songs of 'Kid A', Hail to the thief appears to be a somewhat dichotomous affair. Any hopes of the return of lush guitar melodies from past releases fade instantly as their dance experiment explodes with the opener '2+2=5' into a maelstrom of sound and lyrical insanity.
Radiohead provide a game of two halves on this album with the opening 25 minutes being affair of mid-paced tunes such as 'Go to sleep' and ballads like 'Suck young blood', which provides ambient electro-burps and beeps to emphasize musically powerful experimental odes for the feast of what is to come.
The dissolute affair of dance beats however ends with the arrival of traditional rock in 'There There' and with the dark and dirty 'Myxomatosis' - instantly brightening a rather subdued vocal adventure from Thom Yorke that characterised much of 'Kid A'. Giving the listener the knowledge that Radiohead have not have not disregarded their brand of appealing rock music is disturbingly comforting.
Hail to the thief in the eyes of the public is either a masterpiece or a misnomer. It rears ambivalence yet appeals to madness, fanaticism and irritability. This disparity again will acknowledge more awards and praise of genius - paradoxically, this release go down as not one of their better offerings in recent years.
4 out of 5