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Metallica

Some Kind of Monster EP (Elektra)

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Metallica's latest mostly live disc, an eight-song EP that coincides with a just-released documentary by the same name, is the band's weakest release to date.

Considering that playing live helped the act earn its iconic status, Some Kind of Monster should have been a slam dunk, yet it falls completely flat. The band mangles its classic material (all six of the live tracks are culled from Kill 'Em All, Ride the Lightning, and Master of Puppets) nearly as badly as James Hetfield murders the French language at the end of "Damage Inc." The performances lack the precision of the originals, while the drums sound as though they were recorded with layers of gauze wrapped around the mics. As if that weren't bad enough, we're treated to two versions of one mediocre song from last year's abhorrent St. Anger. For undeluded ex-fans -- a growing contingent -- Monster further exemplifies how the mighty have fallen.

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