St. Anger

In the wake of their last two studio albums, Load and Reload, the “metal” in “Metallica” seemed to have lost some of its merit. With St. Anger, however, the band has dug up its metallic roots, previously buried for the past 15 years. Back are the longer, more intricate compositions of yore. And back are James Hetfield’s galloping riffs and Lars Ulrich’s double-bass flurries. Songs like “Frantic” and “All Within My Hands” are as menacing and chaotic as anything the band has done. There are no MTV-honed ballads, and, even more noticeable, there are no solos. And while Metallica doesn’t break new ground with St. Anger, it’s fitting that the band that helped pioneer the speed metal genre in the ’80s is the one that could revive it in 2003.