By Francis Cabal

The documentary Some Kind Of Monster is notorious for a lot of things‭; ‬from Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield‭’‬s battling egos,‭ ‬the band‭’‬s meetings with a‭ “‬performance-enhancing coach‭”‬ culminating in a confrontation with Metallica‭’‬s former guitar player Dave Mustaine,‭ ‬to the eventual hiring of Robert Trujillo.‭ ‬It‭’‬s about the band recording an entire album while undergoing a lot of stress.‭ ‬It is also about a band rising from the ashes,‭ ‬for better or worse.‭

I mean,‭ ‬come on…‭ ‬it‭’‬s not like St.‭ ‬Anger was their masterpiece.

The film begins with the announcement of a stifled Jason Newsted‭’‬s departure from Metallica in order to focus on his other projects.‭ ‬Morale was at an all-time low and the relationships were strained.‭ ‬So strained in fact,‭ ‬that their management hired a‭ “‬performance-enhancing coach‭”‬ (aka therapist‭) ‬called Phil Towle to counsel the band.‭ ‬Matters are exacerbated when James Hetfield enters rehab in the middle of recording sessions for St.‭ ‬Anger.‭

It was an uphill climb to finish the album,‭ ‬especially with the future of the band in question.‭ ‬They immediately find new life after James Hetfield‭’‬s stint in rehab gives him a new perspective and triggers a chain reaction with the rest of the band.‭ ‬Everything was starting to fall into place.‭ ‬The final piece of the puzzle was the hiring of Robert Trujillo just before their performance for MTV Icon.‭

The film was actually pretty well-made and offers a rare glimpse into a successful band at their low point.‭ ‬It‭’‬s a cautionary tale about how fame affects friendships,‭ ‬and how creativity relies on the relationships‭ ‬between‭ ‬band members as much as the creative process itself.‭ ‬It‭’‬s a fascinating fly-on-the-wall look at a band past their prime struggling with new challenges like raising families,‭ ‬growing up,‭ ‬and staying sane while still involved in a world as messed up as the music industry.‭

For all their faults,‭ ‬I can appreciate that Metallica are wise enough to learn from their mistakes all while in the presence of a film crew.‭ ‬Love them or hate them,‭ ‬you can‭’‬t deny the fact that they are still people trying to make the best of the situation they‭’‬re in.‭ ‬And while St.‭ ‬Anger is a particularly bad‭ ‬record,‭ ‬this documentary shows us that at least they tried.‭ ‬They worked hard at it.‭ ‬Too bad the album was not as good as this film.‭

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