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A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica (1992)

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Title: A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica (Video 1992)

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Himself - Bassist
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12 August 1992 (USA)  »

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Half documentary, half comedy act
4 October 2000 | by (Los Angeles, USA) – See all my reviews

The two segments involved in the documentary feature Metallica, both the black-clad public leaders of metal madness and the laid-back, long hair goofballs from down the hall playing electric guitar at 3 in the morning.

The direction was awful shaky. In terms of a documentary, director Adam Dubin chose to involve the presence of the film crew as much as possible in the privacy and business of the bandmembers to the point of where much of the material is essentially them playing to the camera. This is an effect that can alter the realism of the documentary and put the subjects into a position to where they feel compelled to "act" for the camera instead of being their true selves. There were also many baffling cuts into the middle of a joke or editing techniques that involved blending and blurring of conversations that at times some of the meaning and humor is lost. The effect is similar to walking abruptly into a roomful of laughing people, and not getting the joke.

The documentary does work best as an insight into the workings of major studio album. For example, in the first half, we get to witness the real brains behind the band in action as drummer Lars Ulrich and lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield butt heads and raise all hell and putting their ambitious new project titled "The Black Album" into tape. The album displayed a new mainstream style with emphasis on shorter, slicker songs. Metallica, a band that has *forever* been called "sellouts", seem to know what they were getting themselves into, and the hard work and determination evident in the documentary dispels any doubts of their merit.

Interesting to note is the minimal input lead guitarist Kirk Hammet and bassist Jason Newstead (this being only his second album with the band) contribute to the production process. They more or less are nowhere to be seen for most of the first half of the documentary. Also, note the lack of reference (reasons unknown) to Michael Kamen, the composer of the string section on the track "Nothing Else Matters", who Metallica later worked with on the "S&M" project.

Metallica nonetheless has a very drawing power, and the documentary, peppered with some awesome filming of the band doing what they do best in concert and the well-done music videos, is a must have for anyone.


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