Metallica’s S&M2 Album: When Rock and Classics Become One

Metallica's "S&M2" album cover

   The brightest new spot on the Billboard 200 2020 is No.4 S&M2 by veteran rock band Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. This album is easily topping Billboard’s Rock and Classical Albums chart…

 Celebrating 20 years of the album S&M2

S&M2 debuted at No.4 with 56,000 equivalent album units for the week ending September 3, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Of that, up to 53,000 is from album sales.

S&M2 is Metallica’s 11th Top 10 album, marking them the first group (third by artist overall) to have at least one new Top 10 album in each of the past 50 years. Metallica made 1 Top 10 in the 1980s (…And Justice for All, No.6), 5 in the 1990s (No.1 Metallica, No.1 Load, No.1 Reload, No.2 Garage Inc. and No.2 Garage Inc.) No.2 S&M), 2 in the 2000s (No.1 St. Anger and No.1 Death Magnetic), 2 in the 2010s (No.9 Metallica: Through the Never and No.1 Hardwired… To Self-Destruct ) and now the S&M2 of the 2020s. The only artists with at least 1 new Top 10 in each decade from 1980 to 2020 are James Taylor and Ozzy Osbourne.

Metallica's "S&M2" album cover
Metallica’s “S&M2” album cover

S&M2 is Metallica’s live music album with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, recorded at Chase Center in 2019. The album was released on August 28.

This new album is to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the album S&M, recorded in April 1999. S&M previously included Metallica songs performed on a symphonic background, composed by Michael Kamen.

Who conducted the S&M2?

According to Metallica co-founder James Hetfield, the idea to combine heavy metal with epic classical came from the band’s guitarist at the time – Cliff Burton. His love of classical music, particularly with Johann Sebastian Bach, is evident in many of Metallica’s songs such as Ride The Lightning and Master Of Puppets.

Kamen – arranger and conductor for the Nothing Else Matters soundtrack – first met the group at the 1992 Grammys, and after hearing the “elevator version” of the song, suggested the group perform with an orchestra. full music. The band did not heed the offer until seven years later.

The combination of rock and classical at that time made a “dynamite” shock, causing critics to praise and criticize. Opinions vary from person to person, but the numbers don’t lie: The album sold 300,000 copies in its first week of release and quickly grew to 2.5 million copies. By 2003, the album had been certified platinum five times. As of August 2013, it has sold over 8 million copies worldwide.

A worthy successor of S&M2

Metallica is an American heavy metal band, formed in Los Angeles in 1981 by vocalist-guitarist Hetfield and drums Ulrich, residing in San Francisco for most of their career. Fast tempo, powerful music makes them considered one of the “four greats” of thrash metal, alongside Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. Metallica’s current lineup includes Hetfield, Ulrich, longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo.

Metallica has an extremely strong fan base, especially critically acclaimed with its first 5 albums. The group’s third album, Master Of Puppets, is considered the most powerful and influential thrash metal album. The 5th album – Metallica – sold 16 million copies in the US, making it one of the best-selling albums recorded by SoundScan.

To date, Metallica has released 10 studio albums, 4 live albums, 1 cover album, 5 EPs, 37 singles and 39 music videos. They’ve won nine of their 23 Grammy nominations, and their last six studio albums have debuted at No.1 on the Billboard 200. Metallica is among the most commercially successful bands in history, selling over 125 million records as of 2018. They were ranked 61st by Rolling Stone magazine on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

After nearly 40 years of operation, Metallica is still full of enthusiasm and creativity
After nearly 40 years of operation, Metallica is still full of enthusiasm and creativity

After Karen’s death in 2003, it was not until March 2019 that Metallica announced that it would hold a concert with the San Francisco Orchestra to celebrate the 20th anniversary of S&M. The show featured many songs from S&M as well as a number of recent releases.

S&M2 has received positive reviews from critics. The Metacritic score, based on 7 reputable reviews, is 78/100. The album was hailed as a worthy successor to S&M. It once again proves Metallica’s strength as a performer as well as a musician. They were absolutely right to revisit one of their most inspiring creative journeys.

However, like S&M, S&M2 faced some mixed reviews. Accordingly, Pitchfork felt that many songs did not fit well with the orchestra’s accompaniment, especially when Metallica’s best songs – both complex and ambitious – were already symphonic. In addition, more than half of S&M2 resembles S&M.

But no matter what, S&M2 will continue to be a part of Metallica’s brilliant history. The performance was also filmed and was released on October 9, 2019. This movie grossed $5.5 million, making it the highest-grossing rock concert film in history.