Music DVD Reviews: Review of Metallica: The Videos (1989-2004)

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Buy your copy from Metallica: The Videos (1989-2004) starstarstarstarstarLabel: Warner Bros.
Released: 2006

Metallica were video latecomers, insisting during the Master of Puppets era that no videos would ever happen, but 1989’s landmark clip for “One” changed that forever. They slugged into the studio to record that video, insisting that it be done on their terms or it would never see the light of the day. Treated as more of an experiment than anything, the “One” video utilized footage from the 1971 film “Johnny Got His Gun,” based on the book of the same name and directed by the author, Dalton Trumbo, and remains frightening and unsettling to this day. It would be the first of 21 official Metallica videos.

Metallica’s videos are largely imaginative and oftentimes disturbing. They excel in delivering a cinematic feel, especially on lyrical epics such as “The Unforgiven,” the aforementioned “One,” and “Mama Said.” “Hero of the Day” – in which members James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich, and Jason Newsted take on numerous vintage-TV personalities – is a lot of fun to watch; conversely, “Until It Sleeps,” “Turn the Page,” (the Bob Seger cover), and “The Unnamed Feeling” delve into the band’s darker side. If you’re in the mood for some over-the-top cheese, don’t miss “I Disappear,” which features drummer Ulrich running like a girl down a corridor of exploding electrical generators and subsequently jumping through a plate-glass window. Now that’s how you make a video!

The extra features are excellent. The bonus sections kicks off with “2 of One,” featuring a five-minute interview with Ulrich about the thought process that went into the “One” video, followed by a cut featuring the band and omitting the “Johnny Got His Gun” footage. Also in this section is the stunning, black-and-white “theatrical version” of “The Unforgiven,” which plays like a short film. A trailer for Metallica’s 2004 documentary, “Some Kind of Monster,” rounds things out.

A major gripe about the disc is that several of the videos are edited, whether for nudity (“Turn the Page”) or language (“The Unnamed Feeling”). Why not just present everything unedited and slap a “Parental Advisory” sticker on the front? Real Metallica fans want the raw, non-MTV-ified footage.

The video and audio are both quite good. Even the early ‘90s videos look surprisingly crisp, and the remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are a welcome addition. All of the tracks are presented in chronological order, making it easy for Metallica veterans to navigate.

Fans worldwide have been waiting for a package like this, and on the whole, it doesn’t disappoint. For beginners, this is an excellent way to track Metallica’s progression (or regression, depending on whom you ask). The unedited videos would have been best, but for this lifelong Metallica fan, the disc will still receive plenty of viewing time.

~Bill Clark