• Metallica - Through The Never (Music From The Motion Picture) (2013) - They still release convincing stuff - live albums! - 78% (26/05/14)

    Metallica - Through The Never (Music From The Motion Picture) (2013)

    After thrash metal milestones such as “Kill’em All”, “Ride The Lightning” and “Master Of Puppets”, more progressive outputs with a few groove metal tendencies as on “…And Justice For All”, a commercially flavoured and highly successful record with “Metallica”, experimental southern rock records as on “Load” and “ReLoad”, a passionate outburst of aggression on “St. Anger”, a return to the thrash metal roots with a modern touch as on “Death Magnetic” and an experimental minimalist concept album with LOU REED entitled “Lulu”, the world’s most famous metal band Metallica tries out something new again. This time, it’s a movie entitled “Through the Never” where a weird plot is connected to the lyrics of several famous Metallica tracks.

    This record is the soundtrack of this film and was recorded live in the Canadian cities of Edmonton and Vancouver in August 2012. The funny thing with this band is that they didn’t release any live records for many years apart of the “S&M” project where the band was accompanied by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Kamen. But during the last five years, the band released eight live records on DVD or CD. This here is number nine. Even though most of the records are great, one really doesn’t need all of these outputs. Some people claim that “Through the Never” is the best among these live releases. I think this is not true. I found “Orgullo, Pasion Y Gloria - Tres Noches En La Ciudad de Mexico" more passionate and the set lists of the two “Six Feet Down Under” EPs definitely more appealing.

    This doesn’t mean that this record is bad. It’s an energetic and unpolished live document. Nothing seems to have been changed on this record. You still hear a rather weird bass guitar and electric guitar sound in the beginning of “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, the micro problems in the middle of “Ride the Lightning” and the sudden sound problems at the end of “Enter Sandman”. While all of this sounds authentic, I’m asking myself why the band didn’t chose better versions of these songs as they had played two nights in Edmonton and even three nights in Vancouver where they could have picked the best version of each song.

    On the other side, you get blown away by the powerful opener “Creeping Death” where the crowd already goes insane. The live rendition of “The Memory Remains” is by far the best version of this song as it convinces with a more direct, emotional and honest approach. The moving guitar introduction makes even a predictable and used ballad like “Nothing Else Matters” sound fresh. In addition to this, a few of my favorite Metallica songs such as “One” or “Wherever I May Roam” are also included in excellent renditions on here. The band really did a great job.

    The only thing I really didn’t need is the weird live in studio rerecording of “Orion” that doesn’t equal the original. On the other side, I would like to hear such an edgy studio sound on the next regular studio record instead of the overproduced loudness war on “Death Magnetic”. I might also add that the set list of the Canadian shows included a few amazing tracks that didn’t make it on the final record without any particular reason such as “Sad But True”, “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” or “Seek And Destroy”. It’s also sad that the band didn’t include a song from each record they have made as “St. Anger” and “Lulu” are missing and despite their negative reputation, both are undeniably parts of Metallica's history.

    In the end, one doesn’t really need a new Metallica live record or this movie. The previous live outputs from all around the world were at least as good as the performances on here. I prefer to sit at home and get blown away by the “Live Shit: Binge and Purge” release or the already legendary “The Big Four: Live from Sofia, Bulgaria” output where I even get some additional great performances by Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer. This record is only for truly faithful fans, those who have been there in Edmonton or Vancouver when Metallica played there, enthusiastic teenagers discovering the metal scene as a popcorn event and die hard completionists.

    Originally written for The Metal Observer

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