Last September – 20 years after the release of their Grammy award-winning S&M album – Metallica got back together with the San Francisco Symphony to record S&M2. Recorded over two nights at the Chase Center in San Francisco – the new home of the Golden State Warriors for those who are interested – the two put on what sounded like a must-see show for any Metallica fan.
With four studio albums released since ‘99, there was new material to draw from as well as the fan favourites. Some might complain about the fact that the first two songs are the same as the original, but since they have started every Metallica show for years it would have been wrong to change it just because this was going to be a live album.
Mixed in with the Metallica songs are two pieces of classical music – Scythian Suite, Opus 20 II, The Enemy God and The Dance of the Dark Spirits by Prokofiev; and The Iron Foundry, Opus 19 by Alexander Mosolov. They sound awesome and the inclusion of the band on the latter works beautifully. A great way to start the second half of the show.
For those of you asking “did they really need to do an S&M2?”, that is like asking why a band does another tour after releasing a new album, or why bands release more than one greatest hits album (yes, yes, that is more likely the record companies’ doing). This album mixes what there was to love about the original with orchestral versions of music released since 1999, and creates an album which should really be blasted out of your stereo.
The accompanying film, which was shown in over 3,700 cinemas worldwide in October 2019, is a good way to witness the event for those who were not able to get tickets to the two concerts. The use of split-screen gives a more immersive experience, and whilst the use of black and white on the slower parts of No Leaf Clover is an interesting idea, it doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the film since it’s the only use of this style over the two hours.
All in all, it is a must-have for any Metallica fan and anyone who enjoyed the original. If you have never heard the original S&M album but enjoy a bit of Metallica, check this album out – it’s worth a listen for Nothing Else Matters alone.