Metallica’s new album Through The Never is a slightly curious thing. As the official sound track release for the movie of the same name, what you actually get is a typical Metallica live album, albeit a very good one. Without some of the on-screen shenanigans that accompany the concert footage from the movie, aside from a brief allude to what happens in the film by James Hetfield during the end of Enter Sandman and the beginning of the encore of Hit The Lights, the listener is just left to enjoy the music like any other Metallica live recording. Whilst this is a plus, it also makes it very difficult to take the OST too seriously as a marketable entity as you can buy a high quality recording of virtually every live Metallica show from the last ten years from LiveMetallica.com.
Whilst the presence of LiveMetallica.com takes some of the sheen away from the Through The Never OST, if the live show is judged entirely on it’s own merits it is still very impressive. Metallica rarely mess about with their live performances and the set list is designed for maximum impact from start to finish. The opening of Creeping Death (complete with booming audience participation in the bridge) followed by a wonderful rendition of For Whom The Bell Tolls sets the tone for the following hour and a half. All four members of Metallica sound in fine fettle, with Rob Trujillo’s bass lines often more audible than usual and some of the tracks carry an added extra crunch as a result.
The arguable highlight of the performance is the first half of the second disk as one of the highlights of Death Magnetic, Cyanide is followed by three true classics in the shape of And Justice For All, Master of Puppets and Battery one straight after the other. Even the most hardcore of Metallica fans would find little to complain about here. The traditional end of Enter Sandman and Hit The Lights is slightly disrupted by the movie plot as discussed above but both songs hit their usual mark. What is a very nice touch is the final song on the album, with the instrumental Orion being performed as an outro to an empty stadium and it provides closure to the album in a way that does set it apart from a typical live Metallica performance.
Overall this is not going to win over any non Metallica fans but for any fans of the band Through The Never’s OST is a worthy addition to the collection, particularly for those who do not own any downloads from LiveMetallica.com.