A dumb thing done in an interesting way can still be a dumb thing.
S&M (an abbreviation of Symphony and Metallica) is a live album by American heavy metal band Metallica, with the San Francisco Symphony conducted by Michael Kamen. It was recorded on April 21 and 22, 1999, at The Berkeley Community Theatre. This is the final Metallica album to feature bassist Jason Newsted.
A dumb thing done in an interesting way can still be a dumb thing.
Like hockey and baseball on the same field at the same time.
This bollocks goes on for 2hrs 13mins!
Metallica by 1999 already had quite an extensive discography, and perhaps even experienced a bit of a revival in the mid-90s going into the 2000s. It would make sense to release a live album or some kind of compilation at this point. Having been a thrash metal mainstay in the 80s, they survived the emergence of grunge and alternative to remain part of the popular culture. Metallica very much continues the tradition of rock stars even at forty years in existence. That said, S&M is a different take on a live album, compilation or Greatest Hits offering. It is very rare that a band will rework previous releases in this manner that presumably sees the light of day. Joining forces with the SF Philharmonic and a renowned film score composer, Michael Kamen, we get what could possibly be one of the better live album recordings in history. Metallica is not toned down here as they might even sound heavier, the orchestra and their recording in a theater, adds a tonal clarity absent the lingering reverb/echo of a stadium recording. Crowd noise is minimal and plays as part of the show. Drums are full and can be felt in one's chest, electric guitars are discernible from the string accompaniments, winds providing a new background on each song's 'fullness'. In a way, this album makes Metallica sound heavier, or at the least more complete. Listening to "Wherever I May Roam" compared to this live version, while maintaining its soul, seems to have found a body to go with it. This is the general feeling of this album and its songs, and that makes for a great live recording. There is not really a criticism to be made here, Hetfield is Hetfield, his vocals as consistent as ever. Musically, one can hear the intention and professionalism and this is a good thing for something as lofty as this type of partnership achieves. It is difficult to give this album five stars because it is a live album, having taken some of the more recognizable songs and placing together on the same album. On the other hand, the live album is just so well done that it argues that it stands by itself even after having been propped up with help from established hits, accompanied by an orchestra/conductor of renown. In terms of originality, this album has no predecessor in terms of everything being recomposed for literally no reason other than they can, and they did. Understandably, the album might offend purists. There is a near religious adherence to metal being metal for metal's sake, and this crossover might feel like an unholy union of sorts. Thrash metal, especially one like Metallica, thrives on a certain aesthetic of graphic, that it is in its own way a form of beautiful expression. Coupling that darker imagery with the beauty of an orchestra is an oil and water mixture that should not work, and for the purist S&M could be downright offensive. However, that stark separation presented here in a wonderfully arranged unison is why this will get a disputed top rating.
Screams 1999 like the Godzilla soundtrack fucking Korn while taco bell dogs watches from the corner. Had to listen to seek & destroy to recover
Should you listen to this because it's a musically interesting, an unusual mix, and kind of original in its own way? Sure. Is it good? Meh unless you're a fan of Metallica. Props to the SF Symphony, all the stars are for them.
Quite possibly the greatest live heavy metal album. Very well done all around: great symphony, great band, great crowd. Just a masterpiece of a live album.
Working thru it. Feels like a Metallica based James Bond soundtrack.
I do not feel like any of these songs were enhanced by a string orchestra.
My wife introduced me to S&M some years ago and I've loved it ever since.
Some incredible recontextualization of songs set to an orchestra, but it doesn't save how weak a lot of Load/Reload songs are. I almost rated it a 4 just on how good this version of Call of Ktulu is though.
Love it. Love Metallica, love the orchestral pieces. Overall just an amazing album, love when they mix and match different styles of music like this
I think this is probably one of my favorite live albums ever. Metallica is so orchestral, and the feel of this record was incredible.
metallica is the best i had already listened this album 1000 times
So much Metallica. So very much of the muchness. I can handle them in small doses. This is a massive overdose with a symphony playing in the background.
Get this live shit off the list pleazz.
Outstanding. I didn’t know this existed. Five star would have been achieved with only Ecstasy of Gold
It's Metallica and a live orchestra. Literally can't go wrong. 5/5.
Nearly perfect. It's not an album I listen to often, but it's always a treat when I do.
Absolutely legendary album. This is the album I give people when they say they "don't like metal". It's absolutely incredible no matter your musical tastes.
Bought this when it came out. Fantastic album. Part of my teen years
One of, if not the best live album of all time.
I think I'd rather just listen to the original songs...
Not sure why this is on here but Ride the Lightning isn't. Not that symphonic music doesn't match with metal, on the contrary as I'm a huge Nighwish fan. That said, the mixing doesn't always mesh well, sometimes the symphony getting in Metallica's way or vice versa. Love the idea of this, but I can live without knowing this exists even as I'm a big Metallica fan.
I could only get about halfway into 'Master of Puppets' before I literally could not handle it anymore. My physical reaction to the cognitive dissonance was just too intense. I can see how this idea would've piqued music executive interests enough to back it, but the end result is as awkward as an arranged marriage. I really wish I had never heard this album.
I like Metallica. Not an uber fan by any stretch, but I like their stuff. This is great. And even better if you watch the live concert on Youtube.
Ground breaking mixing of genres one of the best albums ever
un mega 5 que gran álbum
I quickly gave up on talking about each song both because I enjoyed the album that much that I forgot and because I genuinely liked almost everything about each song. the orchestra instruments go great with the already existing instrumental of the songs elevating them and making them feel brand new. the violing, especially, sounded amazing. even though is don't particularly like to listen to live albums, this one is a definite exception.
Great live album.
Great live album.
S&M by Metallica (1999) I have long loved a couple of tracks from this album, but today is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to listen to it from start to finish. Wow. I’m generally not a fan of live albums, but this cooperative venture between Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Kamen is a grand exception. The production is tremendous. The collaborative orchestral score is elaborate, commensurate, visionary, uninhibited, and enthusiastically disposed to transcend convention, far surpassing earlier attempts at this genre (such as the classic studio production Days of Future Passed by The Moody Blues and the London Festival Orchestra ). Orchestrations were done by a team of twelve guys who really knew what they were doing. It would have been nice to be a fly on the wall during their brainstorming sessions. From the horror of “Enter Sandman” to the delicacy of key sections of “Hero of the Day”, the orchestrations are finely tuned to the tenor of the original compositions. This really is the true genius of the album (even if does lapse at times into orchestral tropes from late 60s soul music). The symphonic atmosphere is stellar. Kamen’s conducting and musical direction are superb, as he harnesses the power of SFSO in perfect sync with a metal band that clearly knows where it’s going. But Kamen doesn’t merely follow Metallica. At times, we almost hear a duel between orchestra and metal band, or even a Texas chili cook-off where it ends in a draw. Engineering on this album meets the monumental challenge of bringing it all together, live, with only few slips, as when Kirk Hammett’s lead guitar riffs sometimes get lost in the mix. The serious listener is forced to do some selective ‘mixing in the hearing’ to compensate, but it’s worth the effort. The opening track is a special treat, a symphonic rendition of Ennio Morricone’s Ecstasy of Gold (from the score for Sergio Leone’s The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, starring Clint Eastwood ). For fans of all four artists Metallica, Morricone, Leone, and Eastwood (like me), this unexpected treat has the power to produce multiple sobs. I’m glad I was alone. The second track “The Call of Ktulu” is a wild, nine-plus-minute spectacle fully exploiting the capabilities of metal and symphonic collaboration. If you were to listen to only one track from this album, “The Call of Ktulu” should be it. Do it loud. Prepare to be floored. The song “Master of Puppets” is one of the very few instances in live recorded music where the audience makes a solid musical contribution to the performance, joining in (unbidden) as a choral counterpoint in the style of Greek drama. This is only possible because lead vocalist James Hetfield has a natural range that is within reach of most male (and not a few female) voices. And they duly join in with brawny vigor. This effect continues on several other tracks, where the Metallica-loving crowd clearly knows what part they are to play. On “The Memory Remains”, however, the choral cult fails to keep tempo with their handclaps (as per usual with this phenomenon), so it’s spoiled somewhat, but only briefly. Now, while “Nothing Else Matters” is a great song, anthemic even, its treatment on this record is (very) mildly disappointing, not quite rising to the level of the original studio recording, due to James Hetfield’s excessive live vocal stylings, likely affected due to his many concert performances of the song, where he struggled to keep the mood fresh. And also perhaps because of the fact that the original studio recording already had superb orchestral backing, which SFSO here fails to improve upon, obscuring the dynamism of its predecessor. Listen to them back to back and judge for yourself whether I’ve missed something. The penultimate track “Enter Sandman” features the SFSO as an additional member of the band in its own right, giving a fifth dimension to the sound for those already familiar with the superlative studio rendition. And on the closing cut “Battery”, orchestra and band are pushed to the limits of synchronic complexity, pounding out this most challenging piece in the concert, and certainly not what one would expect from an encore. This track was the one that fully persuaded me to take the time and put together a playlist of all these songs, first with the original studio recording immediately followed by the live symphonic version. S&M is the kind of album that you could listen to many times over the span of many years and always hear something new. Don’t miss out on this one. 5/5
It's just like a more expensive (and, to be fair, not quite as bad) version of doing an acoustic album. They can have two stars because many of the songs are good, but these are disappointing versions.
Sounds like a bad James Bond soundtrack.
Just not my thing at all - confirmed my view that Metallica take themselves far too seriously and way more than their teenage-grade ooooh-so-scary lyrics can sustain. The opening instrumental is like one of those ‘The London Philharmonic Plays Rock Classics’ compilations you used to see advertised on tv in the 80s.
Mammoth journey home so listened to a glut of great music. Sour, Parrallel Lines, Nevermind, Marshall Mathers LP II, 1992 Deluxe. Put them all together and maybe they're as long as this Metallica slog.
"You know what this thrash metal needs? A string section." — no one ever
´ai de beaaux souvenirs avec cette album et je me suis prit a vraiment aimer ca. Comme si j’etais au show dan sle syteme de son. 5*
Tätä on kuunneltu ihan pirusti. Pari edeltävää levyä oli löysää menoa, mutta tässä saatiin jotain uutta kulmaa tekemiseen. Uudempi painos jäänyt puolestaan ihan muutamaan kuuntelukertaan, mutta tämän pariin palaa aina silloin tällöin. Jälleen puolikkaille olisi käyttöä, tällä kertaa pyöristyy ylöspäin.
Sinänsä hankala arvioitava. Biiseinä tuossa levyllä olisi useamman vitosen arvosta kappaleita, mutta oliko tämä sinfoniaorkesterin kanssa tehty live sitten parasta Metallicaa. Ei varmaankaan. Toisaalta ihokarvat nousi jo Ecstasy of Gold introssa ja siitä pian seurannut Master of Puppets keskeytti työnteon ja sai kääntämään volat kaakkoon. Eikä tuo jäänyt ainoaksi vastaavaksi biisiksi. Ehkä noiden reaktioiden on annettava 5.
Like a greatest hits collection from an all-time group, PLUS some songs are much better with orchestra. (Some aren’t helped at all, but that’s hardly a liability.) Ktulu, Fuel, Bleeding Me are FANTASTIC
A helluva concert.
Muito massa ter uma orquestra tocando com Metallica!
Beautiful rendition with symphony
Fav songs: - all of them
Everything is better with a symphonic orchestra)))
Just when you think Metallica can’t get any better they go and pull something like this
Legends. This was incredible
The best of its kind
No fue el primer disco con esta idea, pero sin duda es el mejor que ha salido hasta ahora (inclyendo la secuela que lanzaron en 2020) y todo es gracias a Maestro Michael Kamen at the helm, yeah! Para mí, este disco fue el que me pasó de ubicar un par de rolas de Metallica a ser el que me hizo fan y de ahí ponerme a escuchar toda su producción. Aunque el disco es largo (pasaditas las dos horas) casi no se siente gracias a una muy buena selección de temas y a los excelentes altibajos que tienen las canciones y sus arreglos. Además, me parece que la mezcla es impecable, porque no deja de ser un disco de metal, con guitarras machacantes y doble bombo, pero nunca le quita espacio a toda la orquesta: se pueden notar las secciones de vientos, de cuerdas, las arpas… vamos, hasta el triángulo se nota cuando es necesario. Y bueno, mi parte favorita son los arreglos de Kamen, porque, a diferencia de lo que se ha hecho en otros discos del estilo, que simplemente van "haciéndo colchón" con violines y trompetas a la banda, Kamen hizo un arreglo específico y a voces para cada rola, con melodías y detalles propios, hasta con contrapunto. Eso cambia todo.
Si Metallica era ya un consentido personal, este esfuerzo con la Sinfónica de San Francisco los puso en otro nivel. Los arreglos son excelentes, la selección de canciones es perfecta (aunque me faltara Fade to Black) y no tiene un solo minuto de desperdicio. Songs: No Leaf Clover, Of Wolf And Man, Bleeding Me, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Wherever I May Roam
Didn’t need to listen to this one to rate. I’ve heard it hundreds of times. Metallica is my favorite band. Songs added to playlist: No Leaf Clover, One
I never engaged much with metal. That said, this album was a really fun listen!
Um ao vivo incrível, com grandes clássicos da banda! Melhor música: Nothing else matters e One.
Great album. Still as good as the first time I heard it.
What a fucking masterpiece. It doesn't get more epic than this. I'm not a metal head but Metallica are gods. And you pair them with a fucking orchestra? My goodness. Special shoutout to No Leaf Clover which here is absolutely perfect.
the Metallica you know and love with extra oomph from an entire symphony and crowd
Metallica ended up turning into pretty big douchebags, but this album was a real seminal moment for metal as a whole. 20+ years later, it still holds up as a great live album and a cool mashup of heavy metal with a symphony orchestra.
Really enjoyed the combo of Metallica and Symphony. And I am not a Metallica fan in general.
I love this album and love Metallica so it's an easy five - orchestral is fun, and this era of Metallica where they changed tuning to better fit James' voice makes things sound a lot better. I wonder if other Band & Orchestral pair ups would be a better fit for this list? But I ain't complaining. || Loved learning that this was originally an idea Cliff Burton had, RIP.
Excelente combinación de heavy-rock con orquesta sinfónica. Buena combinación. energía por todos lados y muy buena selección de temas
Such a great album.
Metallica y música clásica, una mezcla del copón. Vinilo.
Absolutely love this album!
This was superb. I’ve seen the DVD and heard the album. What an amazing concept. Well executed and wonderful song selection.
Fav Song: For Whom the Bell Tolls
Probably the best metal live album of all time
What an ecstasy of gold this album is. How many other bands, especially rock or metal got with a philharmonic orchestras to belt out to CDs e worth of music? Not just that, but new songs specifically for this as well? There are so many gems here of songs made even better by the strings and other orchestral compositions. And that album cover is awesome.
An album I'm quite familiar with from my early teen years when I was obsessed with Metallica. Memories of this album are how I thought it was so cool to mix metal with a full symphony, and that No Leaf Clover was a great addition to the discography. Now, revisiting this album my initial thought is on the amount of ego that must go into deciding to do something like this. We're such a huge band and everyone loves us, so let's hire a whole orchestra and put on a show. It's a ballsy move, you better really be that good to back it up. The album opens with two instrumental tracks, so right away the orchestra gets to shine as they back up the band. Finally on track three we get Master of Puppets which is obviously one of their massive hits, and right away we get James letting the audience sing half the song. This is an experience and it makes you really appreciate how cool it would have been to be part of that audience. It's a long album, 20 tracks and lots of them are 8+ minutes, this is a recording of a live show so that makes sense, and effectively it plays like a Metallica Greatest Hits album that adds the orchestra to make it something new entirely. I don't know that many bands could have pulled off a move like this, but damn if Metallica didn't knock this out of the park. Now if only Cypress Hill would record an album with the London Symphony Orchestra, possibly while high...
I mean, who doesn’t love Metallica? The addition of the San Francisco Symphony adds a whole other dimension to each song. Every song becomes a mash-up of a Metallica classic and the grandiose atmosphere of a video game soundtrack. Absolutely incredible album!
The symphony element to all of these songs is awesome. Very enjoyable listen.
Me gusta mucho Metallica. Este disco en directo no lo conocía y aunque no lo acabé de escuchar, metallica junto a una orquesta es insuperable.
Goodness me. How did I not know this exists? And there sure is a lot of it! Nice arrangements, they did not just phone it in as far as the orchestral parts. Good balance on the recording, with Hetfield or guitars or drums or strings or horns or even the audience featuring as appropriate. I found the call and response in Master of Puppets particularly satisfying. This album is a real gem. Thank you album generator.
an old favorite
5 very good.
It was a weird moment when I listened to this album. However the music was making things better. I liked the strings with the metal sound, it really was an addition
Veramente molto bello come è arrangiata la discografia dei Metallica con l'orchestra sinfonica. Però lo considero più un concerto che un album? Lo si può giudicare solo come album? Minchia però, la chiusura è meravigliosa.
Super live album with the symphonic orchestra
Definitively Metallica is a band to be enjoyed in live sessions. However, this one is even more special due to the mix of metal and classical music! It's always a combination that I enjoy a lot, and I can't give them less than five stars.
Talk about two of my worlds colliding. This absolutely kicked ass. Favorite track: Master of Puppets
Amazing album, the only Metallica album I still listen to.
Yes, it is too long. But it's an absolute pleasure to listen to. Favorite track: Master of Puppets
Loved this. Whewwww
Really fun album, very unique sound that was still distinctly Metallica
I thought this was an amazing collaboration.
-I love any rock/metal+orchestra -Songs from Metallica I knew where it was cool to have the orchestra added: "The Call Of Ktulu," "Master Of Puppets," "Fuel," "Nothing Else Matters," For Whom The Bell Tolls," "Wherever I May Roam," "Sad But True," "One," Enter Sandman," and "Battery" -I wish they had mic'd the audience a bit better as the audience sings many lines from the songs. Small critique. -New Metallica songs I have been turned on to via this album: ""The Thing That Should Not Be," "The Memory Remains," "Devil's Dance," "Bleeding ME," "Human," and "The Outlaw Torn" -Cool chorus in "Devil's Dance" -"Human" really stood out to me on first listen -Overall a great assemblage of familiar and unfamiliar Metallica with cool orchestra to back it up!