Another year, another Metallica live album. To some that might seem like a snarky comment, but it’s kinda true, if Metallica aren’t playing live somewhere then they are releasing a live dvd, album or bootleg (via their website) to let you know that they have just played live somewhere. In the last 5 years alone, we have had live recordings from France, Mexico, Bulgaria (as part of the Big Four), Quebec and now we have another in the form of Metallica – “Through The Never”.
For those out of the loop, Metallica “Through The Never” is the upcoming motion picture from Metallica which combines exclusively shot concert footage, featuring the biggest production put together by any band that features all of the bands most iconic images as a backdrop to their live show, but it also interweaves a cinematic narrative featuring Dane Dehaan as a roadie for the band on a dangerous mission out on the streets, which to be fair sounds pretty badass, it also looks pretty cool as it was all filmed in IMAX 3D.
But with a film comes a soundtrack, which in this case is a cleverly disguised live album, featuring the concert portion of the film on cd, and herein lies the problem, to a degree. As I stated in the intro to this review, there is never a year that goes by where Metallica aren’t touring somewhere, there are no shortage of Metallica concerts that can be downloaded as MP3 live albums from the bands official website,and there is also no shortage of live DVD’s in the marketplace, which makes the need for another one seem quite trivial and some might say excessive.
The second problem with this is also the bands instance on sticking almost rigidly to playing the same core group of songs live, to the point where you could probably predict the bands set list top to bottom before seeing them live. Meaning that chances are you, probably own a variation of this live album somewhere a good number of times already.
Lastly, when you know the band has spent $15 million on creating the most eye popping, mind blowing and impressive live show the world has ever seen for the film, why in the world would you want to just sit at home and listen to it without the visual representation behind it? For that you may as well just stick on a studio album or mix tape and be done with it.
With that said though, it is Metallica after all and they are well known for being one of the tightest live bands on the planet and the live album does reflect that, the band sounds amazing, although there is a distinct lack of crowd throughout most of the recording, with the band sounding incredibly loud and quite high in the production mix, the crowd only really come alive when addressed or between songs. But such is the nature of their polished live show that it does almost sound like you are listening to a studio recording on occasion, but that is a minor gripe.
Metallica “Through The Never” is yet another live album from the biggest band on the planet, and whilst is another good representation of what they can do live, it scores highly for being a great if somewhat polished live album. It is wholly unessential and seems more like a “cash in” than anything. This something I would only recommend to die hard collectors or anyone that doesn’t already own any other live Metallica material.