By Francis Cabal
The documentary Some Kind Of Monster is notorious for a lot of thingsâ€; â€¬from Lars Ulrich and James Hetfieldâ€â€™â€¬s battling egos,â€ â€¬the bandâ€â€™â€¬s meetings with aâ€ â€śâ€¬performance-enhancing coachâ€â€ťâ€¬ culminating in a confrontation with Metallicaâ€â€™â€¬s former guitar player Dave Mustaine,â€ â€¬to the eventual hiring of Robert Trujillo.â€ â€¬Itâ€â€™â€¬s about the band recording an entire album while undergoing a lot of stress.â€ â€¬It is also about a band rising from the ashes,â€ â€¬for better or worse.â€
I mean,â€ â€¬come on…â€ â€¬itâ€â€™â€¬s not like St.â€ â€¬Anger was their masterpiece.
The film begins with the announcement of a stifled Jason Newstedâ€â€™â€¬s departure from Metallica in order to focus on his other projects.â€ â€¬Morale was at an all-time low and the relationships were strained.â€ â€¬So strained in fact,â€ â€¬that their management hired aâ€ â€śâ€¬performance-enhancing coachâ€â€ťâ€¬ (aka therapistâ€) â€¬called Phil Towle to counsel the band.â€ â€¬Matters are exacerbated when James Hetfield enters rehab in the middle of recording sessions for St.â€ â€¬Anger.â€
It was an uphill climb to finish the album,â€ â€¬especially with the future of the band in question.â€ â€¬They immediately find new life after James Hetfieldâ€â€™â€¬s stint in rehab gives him a new perspective and triggers a chain reaction with the rest of the band.â€ â€¬Everything was starting to fall into place.â€ â€¬The final piece of the puzzle was the hiring of Robert Trujillo just before their performance for MTV Icon.â€
The film was actually pretty well-made and offers a rare glimpse into a successful band at their low point.â€ â€¬Itâ€â€™â€¬s a cautionary tale about how fame affects friendships,â€ â€¬and how creativity relies on the relationshipsâ€ â€¬betweenâ€ â€¬band members as much as the creative process itself.â€ â€¬Itâ€â€™â€¬s a fascinating fly-on-the-wall look at a band past their prime struggling with new challenges like raising families,â€ â€¬growing up,â€ â€¬and staying sane while still involved in a world as messed up as the music industry.â€
For all their faults,â€ â€¬I can appreciate that Metallica are wise enough to learn from their mistakes all while in the presence of a film crew.â€ â€¬Love them or hate them,â€ â€¬you canâ€â€™â€¬t deny the fact that they are still people trying to make the best of the situation theyâ€â€™â€¬re in.â€ â€¬And while St.â€ â€¬Anger is a particularly badâ€ â€¬record,â€ â€¬this documentary shows us that at least they tried.â€ â€¬They worked hard at it.â€ â€¬Too bad the album was not as good as this film.â€