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Metallica Through the Never (2013)
A truly magnificent, astonishingly ambitious project
Before anyone starts going off-topic in the comments, yes, I'm a fan. I also understand the irony of starting with that statement. My point: this is a review of a cinema experience. An outstanding one. Made more exciting to me because it happens to be by and about my favourite band. This is NOT a discussion of the merits of said band's existence. Although it will strike a mighty blow for Metallica when those arguments do inevitably come up, hopefully elsewhere. Moving swiftly along...
This is just a truly mind-blowing sensory overload. Never has a band showcased their live performance with such an ambitious, technical, multi-sensory project. I wouldn't have even thought it possible. They don't just use the handy 3D technology to add gimmick to the next in a long line of live video releases. No. Metallica have pushed the boundaries of the technology itself, and added dimensions to what we see as possible within the realm of 3D cinema.
I had the privilege of chatting with Lars about this when they played some shows here in March, and he described it as their "attempt to truly showcase what they do and who they are." Man, does this emphatically succeed.
The stage is a kind of mutant super-setup, comprising video screens, pyro, tesla coils and the best parts of everything they've ever done in their live shows. As the audience, you're in/on/under/part-of the stage, alongside the band, in glorious 3D.
And, it's tasteful. In as much as Metallica at their tightest, hardest, loudest, biggest and fiercest can be "tasteful."
As for the little story within what is really the best ever technical and technological presentation of a rock concert, it's a lovely compliment to the energy of the performance itself. I don't wanna give-away too much, but as the show begins, a young roadie is sent on an errand. Things go badly (surreally and beautifully) wrong. It's not just exhilarating, but wonderfully interwoven with the songs and the "storylines" within them.
I'm proud to have seen Metallica live seven times. I count this as the eighth. And it probably ranks fourth amongst those eight live (or, in this case, damn-near live) experiences. Truly, truly mind-blowing.
Metallica have truly - and astonishingly - documented what they do and why they are the very best there's ever been at doing it.
Essential for fans, and absolutely worthwhile for all but the most hateful of heavy music in general. Bravo.