20 years on from its release, Metallica fans are still talking about the sharp shift in sound that happened on the album St Anger. Although the fanbase has shifted over the years, producer Bob Rock recalled that both Jimmy Page and Jack White were fans of the 2003 album.
Originally started in 2001, the “new” Metallica album was originally put on hold after Jason Newsted left the band and the members started emotional group therapy. In the midst of the recording, vocalist James Hetfield left halfway through to go to rehab, returning almost a year later.
When Rock talked about the production, he explained that he met up with White Stripes guitarist Jack White and heard him praise the record, recalling (via Guitar World), “Jack White, when It Might Get Loud [came out], at the premiere – I happened to be in Toronto when it happened – came up to me from across the room and he says, ‘By the way, I love St. Anger. It’s an amazing album.’ Then he left”.
Since its release, fans have not been kind to the album, with some labelling it as their worst record due to the subpar production and Lars Ulrich unhooking the snare on his snare drum. This also marks the first Metallica album to not feature any guitar solos, as Kirk Hammett plays rhythm guitar along with Hetfield.
On a separate occasion, Rock got another accolade from Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, continuing, “Jimmy Page was at the Sunset Marquis, eating breakfast on the other side of the pool and he came over and talked to me, which blew my mind.He said, ‘By the way, I loved St. Anger. It’s a great album”.
Prior to working on St Anger, Rock had been known as one of Metallica’s go-to producers, turning in time working on their massive self-titled record as well as their ’90s albums Load and ReLoad. Since Newsted was not available, Rock also filled in as the bass player for most of the studio recording as well.
Despite the praise, St Anger remains the final album that Rock made with Metallica, as the thrash metal titans worked with Rick Rubin and Greg Fidelman on their future projects. Rock has kept busy as well, working with other rock acts like The Offspring and The Tragically Hip.