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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Metallica - The Videos 1989-2004
Metallica - The Videos 1989-2004
Warner Bros. // Unrated // December 5, 2006
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Mike Long | posted January 2, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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The Videos

It's something that's happened to most of us and it's never very pleasant. I'm talking about friends growing apart. Sometimes people who were once close simply find themselves seeing each other or communicating less and less until the friendship somehow dissolves. I've had similar dissolutions with musical groups such as R.E.M. and U2. There was a time when I would wait with baited breath for their new releases, but as time went on, it got to where I didn't want to hear from them any longer (the new stuff at least). But, one of the most difficult relationships to break was with Metallica. In the late 80s and early 90s, I was a huge Metallica fan, and couldn't wait to hear more from this group. However, with the release of "Load", this devotion ended. Still, as someone who loves music videos, I wasn't against checking out their compilation, Metallica: The Videos 1989-2004.

In the mid 1980s, Metallica's popularity amongst the ranks of heavy metal fans was quickly growing. This band had emerged from the underground metal scene and promised to stick with that mindset. For all intents and purposes, the group stated that they would never release a promotional video and opted instead to release curiosities such as the Cliff 'Em All compilation which contained fan-made concert footage and early appearances. But, things changed in 1989, when the band shocked the world by releasing their first music video for the song "One". This spelled the beginning of the end for many fans. From that point, Metallica became an MTV favorite...well, back when MTV was showing videos.

Following is a list of videos which appear on Metallica: The Videos 1989-2004:

1. "One" -- Directed by Bill Pope, Mike Salomon -- The one which started it all. I have a friend who despises videos where the visuals match the lyrics, but the concept certainly works here. By combining the song, which is about a soldier who is dismembered, with images from the film Johnny Got His Gun, the video truly brings the song to life. Some may be annoyed by the fact that the audio from the music often drowns out the music, but that's beside the point. I can hear the song on the CD, the video creates a unique viewing experience. The videos go downhill from here.

2. "Enter Sandman" -- Directed by Wayne Isham -- The debut of Metallica with a new "leaner" sound arrives with this video which has the band taking a backseat to nightmare imagery and the incredibly wrinkled face of an old man (who is presumably the sandman). The visuals are interesting and the timing of the song kicking in matched with the truck hitting the bed is a guilty pleasure.

3. "The Unforgiven" -- Directed by Matt Mahurin -- Metallica was accused of being too artsy on their ...And Justice For All album, but that was nowhere near as artsy as this video. A young boy crawls through sewer pipes (and emerges from behind a sad clown painting) while an old man carves on a wall. What? It's all very trippy and the band doesn't appear here.

4. "Nothing Else Matters" -- Directed by Adam Dubin -- One of Metallica's true power ballads, this video shows the band in the recording studio.

5. "Wherever I May Roam" -- Directed by Wayne Isham -- The band was famous for it's non-stop touring and this song and video are both a testament to their live performances.

6. "Sad But True" -- Directed by Wayne Isham -- As with "Wherever I May Roam", this is made up of live footage.

7. "Until It Sleeps" -- Directed by Samuel Bayer -- Apparently, someone was obsessed with the videos for R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion" and Nirvana's "Heart-shaped Box" and decided to combine the two into one video. There's way too much eye makeup and religious symbolism here and the whole thing feels very clich├ęd today.

8. "Hero of the Day" -- Directed by Anton Corbijn -- The band appears on random TV shows (such as a game show or a new report), watched by a young man in a dirty apartment. I'm not sure what any of this is supposed to mean, and Kirk Hammett looks nothing like a newscaster.

9. "Mama Said" -- Directed by Anton Corbijn -- This video never aired in the U.S. and it's easy to see why. Dressed in cowboy wear (?!), singer/guitarist James Hetfiled stands on a street corner and then he's suddenly in the backseat of a car as various landscapes pass in the background. The video isn't interesting and the song certainly doesn't stand out as a single.

10. "King Nothing" -- Directed by Matt Mahurin -- The band performs in the snow (shades of U2's "New Year's Day" video) while a man puts on and removes a giant crown.

11. "The Memory Remains" -- Directed by Paul Andresen -- Well, if nothing else, this video has an interesting idea. The band plays while performing on a platform which rocks back and forth (it reminded me of the pirate ship ride at the local amusement park). Singer Marianne Faithful makes a cameo here.

12. "The Unforgiven II" -- Directed by Matt Mahurin -- The song doesn't rock as hard as the original, but the video looks very similar. In fact, I think those are the same actors, only slightly older. It's just as weird as the original..

13. "Fuel" -- Directed by Wayne Isham -- This video contains some clips of the band performing intercut with car-racing images which look like an old movie trailer as words like "Fuel! Fire! Desire!" flash on-screen.

14. "Turn the Page" -- Directed by Jonas Akerlund -- Again, given Metallica's penchant for touring, no one should question the band covering Bob Seger's classic song about life on the road. So, why then was the video turned into a depression-fest about a stripper/single-mother dragging her kid from place-to-place?

15. "Whiskey in the Jar" -- Directed by Jonas Akerlund -- The band performs at a pretty sleazy house-party which appears to only be attended by females. Is there a message here?

16. "No Leaf Clover" -- Directed by Wayne Isham -- This clip was taken from Metallica's S&M release where they performed with the San Francisco Symphony conducted by Michael Kamen.

17. "I Disappear" -- Directed by Wayne Isham -- This song appeared on the Mission: Impossible II soundtrack and has the band performing on top of a large mesa in the desert. This is combined with clips of the band members engaging in action sequences. There are even clips of Tom Cruise climbing the rock face from the film's opening.

18. "St. Anger" -- Directed by The Malloys -- The group performs in the yard at San Quentin Prison. This is an intriguing concept, especially the opening where the guard explains what will (or won't) happen if they are taken hostage.

19. "Frantic" -- Directed by Wayne Isham -- The video opens with a truck crashing and the driver then relives the events which preceded the crash.

20. "The Unnamed Feeling" -- Directed by The Malloys -- Footage of the band playing is accompanied by clips of people in various stages of distress (these scenes are labeled with mental health diagnoses).

21. "Some Kind of Monster" -- Directed by Alan Smithee -- The video is comprised of clips from the Metallica documentary Some Kind of Monster.

Video

Metallica: The Videos 1989-2004 comes to DVD courtesy of Warner Bros. Records. The videos are all presented in their original aspect ratios. Some are full-frame, while others are letterboxed, but none are 16 x 9. Overall, the images here look very good, most notably the vivid colors of "Until It Sleeps". Some of the videos show some mild artifacting, but none show any grain or defects from the source material.

Audio

The DVD carries both a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track as well as a Dolby Stereo track. The 5.1 track is one of the best that I've ever heard for a music release, as it shows that a great deal of planning went into the surround sound. Guitars erupt from the rear speakers which gave me the chills more than once. On the down side, the subwoofer action was negligible, as most of the bass came from the front channels. One glaring error is the mix on "Enter Sandman", as the audio travels from speaker-to-speaker in an almost random pattern and the volume fluctuates wildly. But only on that one song.

Extras


The Metallica: The Videos 1989-2004 DVD contains a few extras. Once Metallica had released the "One" video, they produced a home-video release entitled "2 of One" and those elements are included here. There is an interview with the loquacious Lars Ulrich who explains how the "One" video came about and there is also the slightly shorter "Jammin' Version" of the video. "The Unforgiven (Theatrical Version)" is some 5 minutes longer than the original version. It's re-edited and contains some silent passages. The final extra is the trailer for Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.


I will play nice and I won't say that Metallica: The Videos 1989-2004 documents the decline of one of America's greatest bands. I will say that the compilations shows how the band went from being resistant to promotional videos to fully embracing them. Unfortunately, few of these videos are truly original or interesting.
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