It has been almost two weeks since Metallica released S&M2, a live album recording of their 2019 performance with the San Francisco Symphony. The album has been getting a lot of attention and has gotten to the number one spot on Australia’s album charts three weeks ago and it has been holding fast ever since.
The live compilation of hits was recorded last September at San Francisco’s Chase Center. It is the seventh album to get to number one on Australia’s charts. Other Metallica albums that have achieved that honor include Metallica (August 1991), Load (June 1996), S&M (November 1999), St. Anger (June 2003), Death Magnetic (Sept. 2008) and Hardwired to Self Destruct (2016).
Although it is a favorite in Australia, critics have not all been as accepting of the album. Some have criticized it because it features much of the same songs as its predecessor, S&M, which was recorded some 20 years earlier. The songs that were different were said to not have worked as well with a full orchestra. There are also claims that drummer Lars Ulrich struggles to keep up with the symphony.
However, there were highlights on the album including the orchestra playing a movement from Pokofiev’s “Scythian Suite” which was introduced by SFS director Michael Tilson Thomas who felt the song had heavy metal attributes.
Another track worth checking out is the symphony’s upright bass player Scott Pingel taking on Cliff Burton’s ‘Anesthesia’. Though he begins the song picking through it cleanly in typical classical fashion, he then kicks on distortion and wah wah pedals giving it the type of heavy metal attention it deserves.
Besides releasing the S&M II album, Metallica are also staying visible during the pandemic by becoming one of the first bigger bands to release a live concert film to be viewed at drive-in audiences.
The band rehearsed for two weeks and then performed at the Gundlach Bundschu winery in San Rafael, CA for a nearly two hour show that was broadcast on August 29 at drive in theaters all over the United States and Canada.
The audio was produced in HD format to provide the perfect sound when broadcast over FM stations. The concert was well received by fans everywhere and many of the venues sold out. When asked about the film, Kirk Hammett had this to say.
"Full balls-out METALLICA show. We're filmed playing outside, and it's everything you should expect to see from us. We walk out on stage and play our music. It's just the 2020 version. If anything, it's a document of us playing in this time. And it's also an opportunity for us to just put something out there for the people who are bored, and for METALLICA fans who need something to do. I know I'm constantly looking for something to do. And so this is our way of going out there and just giving people something."
Metallica have long been a favorite metal band and it is great to see them getting the attention they deserve. They also have 2021 tour dates on the horizon.