Headbangers meet the headshrinker in Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster, a faultlessly brilliant and savagely funny music documentary in which heavy metal takes five on the psychiatrist's couch. Filmed during the torturous making of Metallica's 2003 St. Anger album - their first compilation of original songs in over five years - this searing documentary takes us into the middle-aged rockers' turbulent world as they hire a $40,000 a month therapist ("Dr Phil") to guide them through tailor-made group therapy.
"This is not a film about Metallica - it's a film about relationships," explains 40-year-old drummer Lars Ulrich. Originally planned as a behind-the-scenes promo to accompany the band's new album, Some Kind Of Monster quickly spiralled into some kind of nightmare, as the band teetered on the verge of acrimony and collapse in the recording studio. Bickering, backstabbing, and all-out slanging matches were the result as the three surviving band members - James Hetfield (vocals, guitar), Ulrich, and Kirk Hammett (guitar) - prove that monsters of rock often have monstrous egos to match.
"A CAPTIVATING LOOK AT THE MUSIC INDUSTRY"
Hetfield bails a few weeks into recording to go into rehab, then returns under the proviso that he only works a four day week so he can attend his daughter's ballet recitals. Meanwhile, the band's "performance enhancement coach" - the weasely Dr Phil Towle - is obsessed with getting these speed metal heads to talk about their feelings, their emotions and their art. In the process, they start spouting stock psychobabble speak - "Staying clear and here in the now" - before eventually wondering if the suddenly leather-clad Dr Phil is taking over.
Veering between This Is Spinal Tap-style laughs as these earnest, irony-free rockers completely miss the joke and some genuinely rollicking concert footage, this is a captivating, up-close-and-personal look at the perils of the music industry. Whether you know everything or nothing about Metallica, it will rock you.