[ALBUM REVIEW] Metallica & San Francisco Symphony: S&M2

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ARTIST: Metallica
ALBUM NAME: S&M2: Metallica and San Francisco Symphony Together Again, Live
RELEASE DATE: 28 August 2020
COUNTRY: United States of America
CITY: Los Angeles
GENRE: Heavy Metal/Thrash Metal


James Hetfield (Vocals and Rhythm Guitar)
Kirk Hammett (Lead Guitar and Backing Vocals)
Robert Trujillo (Bass and Backing Vocals)
Lars Ulrich (Drums)


It is the opinion of this reviewer that Metallica was, is and forever will be the greatest metal band that has ever lived. There…I said it! Suck it! Fire your hate at me in the comments.


Now for my totally unbiased report on what’s coming on August 28, to say that Metallica have polarised the opinions of many a butt-hurt metalhead is an understatement. First, they “sold out” when they included a “ballad” on their sophmore album Ride the Lightning. Then they “sold out” when they released the Black album full of metal radio hits. Then they “sold out” when they cut their hair and churned out two Load albums full of what can only be described by haters as “metal-country”. Then they “sold out” when they had a psychologist come in and coach them as well as make a documentary about their “feelings” – oh, shudder they’re actual human beings, my bad! But, the biggest “sell out” of all must be when they did an entire show with a symphony orchestra! Mother of God, that’s not what metal bands do!?


Well, besides all their “selling out” they’re still “selling out” giant stadiums all over the world and are one of the top earning groups of all time. And now they’re back with their second foray into the orchestral world with the simply titled live concert and documentary S&M2 being released on August 28.


Suffice it to say that if you’re not a Metallica fan I’m not sure why you’re still reading this but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter. This is a reality we are living in and I urge you to give it a chance because judging from just the trailer that’s been put out (watch it here) it’s all kinds of awesome. Hetfield’s voice is as gnarly as it was in the 90s, Lars is being kept in time by the orchestra, Kirk is tapping his imaginary wah-wah and Trujillo oozes enough charm that what we see on screen is a band having the time of their lives even after a gruelling 40 year career.


I, for one (pun intended), am super excited for this. Of course, with Covid ruling our lives and international shipping being what it is, we might not get to experience that giddy feeling of owning a hardcopy for a while, but it will be available digitally as well.


Rating: 10/10

Reviewed by: Kevin Rule


Here are the configurations that can be ordered right now over at https://metallica.com/sm2/ :

– Deluxe Box (limited edition 4LP color vinyl, exclusive photobook, 2CDs, Blu-ray, sheet music, five guitar picks, poster, download card)

– Super Deluxe Box (all of the above + original sheet music signed by the band. Limited to 500 via Metallica.com)

– Black 4LP set w/photobook and download card

– Color 4LP set w/photobook and download card (exclusive to indie retail + Metallica.com)

– 2CD set w/36-page booklet

– 2CD/Blu-ray set w/36-page booklet

– 2CD/DVD set w/36-page booklet

– Blu-Ray


– Digital Album

– Digital Movie

And here is the official spiel from Metallica:


Metallica and San Francisco Symphony’s September 6 & 8, 2019 S&M2 concerts were historic on multiple levels: They served as the grand opening of San Francisco’s Chase Center, reunited the band and Symphony for the first time since the 1999 performances captured on the Grammy-winning S&M album, and featured the first-ever symphonic renditions of songs written and released since those original S&M shows.

The sold out shows were rapturously received by the 40,000 fans who traveled from nearly 70 countries, as well as the media: Rolling Stone raved “the group proved that anything was possible,” Variety noted an atmosphere “buzzing with excitement,” while the Mercury News witnessed “a concert that fans will be talking about for decades to come,” and Consequence of Sound hailed “a true celebration of Metallica and their musical prowess.”

On August 28, S&M2 comes to life once more with the release of Metallica and San Francisco Symphony: S&M2. S&M2 will be available in a staggering array of formats, ranging from a digital album on all leading streaming outlets, to 4LP vinyl, 2CD, DVD and Blu-ray versions, to a limited edition color vinyl 4LP + 2CD + Blu-ray Deluxe Box featuring sheet music, guitar picks, poster and more, all the way up to a Metallica.com exclusive Super Deluxe Box, limited to 500 copies, each featuring actual sheet music used by the Symphony during the shows and hand-signed by all four band members (in addition to including everything in the Deluxe Box). With this long-awaited Blackened Recordings release, S&M2 can be fully experienced by others beyond those who squeezed into the Chase Center over those two unforgettable evenings.

S&M2 is a landmark release in the Metallica catalogue, both sonically and visually. Produced by Greg Fidelman with James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, the S&M2 live album captures more than two and a half hours of James, Lars, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo joining forces with the nearly 80-strong SF Symphony, legendary Musical Director of the orchestra Michael Tilson Thomas, and conductor Edwin Outwater. The concert film is a brand-new edit done by Joe Hutching (Through The Never) and both the audio and visuals have been taken to the next level from the October 2019 theatrical version that played in over 3,700 cinemas worldwide.

S&M2 is available for pre-order now, preceded by the S&M2 versions of “All Within My Hands” and “Nothing Else Matters,” both now available across digital platforms. See below for track listing and detailed list of configurations, and stay tuned to metallica.com/sm2 for further information.