TWENTY YEARS AGO: On This Day, June 5, 2003, Metallica released St. Anger

It took some digging, but I found it. My first impression scribble notes from the first time I listened to St. Anger, Metallica’s then new album, along with my more complete notes I wrote as a follow up (most likely sent in an email). Because it’s fun to look back, other than some corrected punctuation or grammar, this is as I wrote it and finalized on June 5, 2003.


OK so I planned on buying St. Anger at 11pm June 4th (the day before the NEW release, Thursday June 5) but then I found out about a store that was selling it on TUES! However, I found this out today, Wednesday! Haha So I left work at 4:30pm and got there at 6:15pm!!!!! It was only supposed to take 45 mins!! ACK!!! Rush hour traffic…you gotta love it! What an AWFUL SLOOOOOOOOOOOOW DRIVE!!!

I arrived at the music store and walked through the door to find a HUGE display of ST. ANGER! Plenty O’ Copies! Being the particular person that I am, I had to look through three of them before I found one that was not damaged somehow inside the plastic security case. I walked around the store and also ended up buying a cool collage poster of “Metal” bands. (Everyone looked sketched.)

25 minutes later, when I was checking out, I noticed a small St. Anger promo poster behind the counter. Since “it never hurts to ask” I asked if she had any extra. She didn’t answer but took the one off the wall and gave it to me!! WOOHOO!!

I walked to my car, unwrapped the CD then opened it (tri-fold). There is NOTHING like opening a brand new CD for the first time. You just never know what you are going to find. I found ST. ANGER in all his agony looking like he wanted to escape, however he was bound with rope. The slip of paper with the password to get into the “Metallica Vault” was in there. I tucked that away for safe keeping.

Next I noticed the Pushead drawing from the Fillmore shirts. I flipped the CD over and checked out the back. I’m glad they chose the RED coloring for the artwork. I flipped it back over and saw the CD in the middle and the DVD “rehearsals” to the right. [I eventually flipped the positioning of these.] I took the CD out of the sleeve and slipped it into my CD player. Note the time at the first note was 6:35pm, June 4th, 2003. (hehe) I couldn’t believe it. THE TIME HAD COME. THE MOMENT WAS NOW.

I heard Frantic at the Fillmore shows [May 2003] so I continued looking at the packaging while listening to the song. Not long after it started, I recognized the “tinny” sound of Lars’ drum that I saw people posting about. I must admit, it was a little bit distracting in MOST of the songs. This was for sure something I was not expecting to hear.

Since you never know what is hiding under a CD/DVD, I looked, but I’m not quite sure what those 4 images represent yet. Frantic still continued to play and I checked out the booklet. Lyrics were included along with some other writing, including clever spelling of some song names and some doodling by James, I’m sure. There was one band photo in the middle of the booklet and one on the back. I always read the Thank You’s and I was really surprised to find the FANS not listed there.

During the second song, St. Anger, I started for home. Windows down, radio volume at 25. “I’m madly in anger with you!” LOVE that line!

Third song, “Sumkinda Monster” was one I had not heard at all and the windows went up. I needed total concentration and no wind noise. After one minute there were still no vocals. I was really digging the guitar parts though. At the two-minute mark there were still no vocals. Umm, was this going to be an instrumental? haha At about the 2:07 mark the vocals kicked in. This song was for sure different. The last few seconds were pretty cool too but not sure what I thought of this song yet.

Song 4: Dirty Window. I originally heard this song prior to buying the album. Again, I wasn’t sure on how I felt about this song.

Song 5: Invisible Kid – Again, another song where I just didn’t know what to think after the first listen. These songs were DIFFERENT.

Song 6: My World. Also another song I heard prior to buying the album. The intro to this song reminds me of another song, possibly Metallica, but I just can’t put my finger on it yet and it is driving me crazy every time I hear this song!! I think this is my FAVE song on the whole album. But I am not ready to make that my final answer yet!

Song 7: Shoot Me Again – RONNIE FROWN style vocals in the chorus! YA BABY!!! “SHOOT ME AGAIN, I AINT DEAD YET!”

At this point, I was now pulling into my driveway, so I stayed in the car, windows still up and listened to the rest of the CD. Hubby told me later that they could hear some of the music INSIDE the house thru the front screen door! haha

Song 8: Sweet Amber – I LOVE the intro to this song! Hell the whole song is great.

Song 9: The Unnamed Feeling – WOW! Another aggressive song!

Song 10: Purify – One word that IMMEDIATELY came to mind was the word PUMMELING!!!!!!!! HOLY SHIT! This song was ferocious!! I had a pen in my hand that I was tapping on the steering wheel to the beat of the music for all the other songs. Well, I moved on to an empty Coke can I had sitting in the cup holder. By the time the song was over, there was a HUGE dent in the side of the can from me beating on it at the speed and intensity of the song!! hahahaha

Song 11: All Within My Hands. Again, a different song. The jury is still out on how I feel about this song.

At about 7:50pm I took the CD out of my player and DAMN was it burning hot!!! I left the radio off and just thought in silence…wow, humph, wow. I really was at a loss for words.

After it was all said and done and I was out of the car, my ears were ringing a little! haha

That night, a non-Metallica fan friend asked me if it was all I expected and more. Well, it’s for sure different from any of their other albums. I kind of didn’t know what to think while I was listening. Some of the songs grabbed me a little, some grabbed me a lot. But overall, they all grabbed at me. Lars used some new drum or some new drum technique so it sounded like a steel drum on a lot of the songs. THAT was throwing me for a loop. I didn’t like they way it was sounding in the songs.

I took a two hour break from the CD.

Around 10pm the same night I watched the DVD on the computer. Again, volume up, but I had headphones on. The door to the room was open and my son came in to tell me he and hubby could hear it in the living room!! hahahaha I LOVE the intro to the DVD. James spray painting the wall, and his kids and then of him jumping around all crazy like! Haha What a nut!

The DVD songs had less of the steel drum sound and I could “enjoy” it a lot more. Plus watching their faces, etc., it was so funny! Lars is a trip!

Specific comments on the DVD….

How many days was this DVD recorded over? James has like 6 different shirts on!!! Personally I liked the Frankenstein shirt!

I noticed during one song it looked like the veins in Lars’ head were going to pop out of his skin!! After they played Sweet Amber Lars looked like he was going to die!

Kirk asking James: “Did it make you giggle?”
James: “It made me giggle inside.”

While watching Rob he looked like a caged animal. It was like he wanted to BUST OUT INTO MOTION but he held back. Maybe it was due to the close area but still, I thought it was kind of funny.

How many times can Lars stick out his tongue during a song? He is just crazy to watch. A couple of times I thought he was going to pass out from the intensity!

During Purify, when Lars was beating the HELL out of the drums, I was hoping the camera would focus on him but instead they showed James and Rob watching Lars play. As if they were thinking, “Man, look at him go” or “Is he going to make it?”

I listened to all the songs and was finished a little after 11pm. I can’t really say there is one song I don’t like. But there are some I like more than others.

[The next day] I decided to listen to the CD at work, even though I couldn’t play it loud, and guess what? At the low volume I had to keep it at, I got NO “tinny” sound! Good deal!

I’ve listened to all the songs 3 times thru now. Still not sure which is my fave.


[6/5/2023: Now that it’s twenty years later, if you asked me today, my two fave songs are Dirty Window and Sweet Amber.]


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