That said, after watching SKOM in its entirety, a lot of questions are left hanging out for me, perhaps the biggest one being about the degree of authenticity of the documentary itself. I do not however find the need to discuss much about that and I'm gonna give it to them that the thing is authentic, that the tensions existed like they were pictured and all that.
After seeing the DVD (I intend to write a proper review of it in the foresseable future) I felt the urge to go back and listen not only to "St. Anger" (which is the underlying matter of this documentary) but even more so, their old stuff up until what has come to be known as the Black Album. The conclusion I arrive at is nothing new to whomever has been paying attention: what a fucking great band Metallica once were and how low can they really sink?
The way I see it is that whatever propelled the band to write all those angst-ridden tracks, the rage, the attitude... well, it's gone. I'm led to believe that when someone grows up, has children and a wife to take care of, the priorities in one's life completely change, everything is put into perspective and the rage there once was is now long gone. Once that happens it's absolutely pointless to insist in faking it, fooling oneself that it's still there, that you can go back to that past while still holding tight to the present.
But hey, who am I to judge? I have no right whatsoever of passing judgement and I know that. But it is my belief that if you accept that things change (and this applies to many stages of life) and adapt to the new surface, it is all the better and you'll rediscover yourself, unearth talents in a different fashion, stuff you probably didn't even know existed inside you in the first place. If you instead prefer to fool yourself and adding to that you're part of one of the most successful bands ever to grace the planet, the result is disaster. The result, in fact, was "St. Anger".
While reading Roger Ebert's review of the documentary, I stumbled upon a paragraph that for me really sums it all up:
Why work with people you can't stand, doing work you're sick of, and that may be killing you? Lots of people have jobs like that, but Metallica has a choice.
The good thing about Metallica's demise is that no matter how many silly lawsuits they press, no matter how silly their next album comes to be, now matter how silly Lars Ulrich insists in acting most of the time... they'll still be remembered for their golden era. And for me that's the ultimate testament to how big this band really was and will forever be.