Metallica was at the turn of the century the biggest name in the hard rock genre. As a result they were constantly in the headlines and under the microscope. Those kinds of expectations and pressure are bound to get to even the tightest of units. At the time, though, they were not tight or united. This internal disaccord coincided with a time where they allowed a documentary film crew to follow them around for a bit more than two years as they recorded their album St. Anger. What was captured on film gives fans of the band and music in general the kind of behind the scenes footage that rarely if ever gets seen. Though it is at times painful to watch Some Kind of Monster is always interesting to watch.
As any band is preparing and going through the process of recording an album is both an exciting and stressful time. While the creative juices are flowing so are the emotions. Everything is at a high and emotions are raw. As a result breakdowns, fights, frustrations and tension often occur. During the period of 2001 to 2003 hard rock band Metallica, James Hetfield (vocals/guitar), Lars Ulrich (drums) and Kirk Hammett (lead guitarist), allowed documentary filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky to follow them around as they settled in to write and record their next album which would become St. Anger.
It was a time of flux for the band because bassist Jason Newsted had left band over a spat he had with other members. Hammett had wanted to go off and record with a side project. Hetfield said it would be akin to cheating on your wife while on the road. This crack in the band’s veneer was just a sign of the corrosion and fighting that was about to come.
As the band began preparations to write and record their album frontman Hetfield went into rehab and once out at the very end of 2001 he was only allowed to be in the studio for four hours per day. Further complicating things was the fact that because they did not have a bassist with Newsted’s departure so Bob Rock played bass throughout the recording. As the stress mounts during recording the band pretty much implodes. The fighting becomes so intense and destructive they called upon a therapist in order to help them continue on.
The strength of the film is how we are allowed to see how the most popular metal band of all time spiral downward into a perilous situation. You see how they have lost touch with why they make music and almost with reality. Shows how destructive success can be and how hard it is to manage it. Interesting that all this conflict and turmoil resulted in what most critics and fans agree was a terrible album. A very personal look at the huge metal band.
Berlinger and Sinofsky followed the band around everywhere over the couple of years and accumulated over a thousand hours of footage. To say they were thorough is an understatement. The documentary debuted in 2004 at the Sundance and music and film fans took notice. Now a decade later it is being rereleased on blu-ray with an added bonus of the new 25-minute documentary that was filmed at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival as the band was releasing its latest film, Metallica Through the Never. This documentary features the band talking with directors Berlinger and Sinofsky about the ten years following the release of Some Kind of Monster.
Special Features: Metallica: This Monster Lives, Additional Scenes, Exclusive Additional Interviews with Metallica About the Film, Highlights From Festivals and Premieres, Two Trailers and a Music Video