|Year Released||2000||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||149:06||Other Extras||Menu Audio & Animation
Multi-Angle (4 songs, 5 angles per song)
Music Video-No Leaf Clover (Maestro Edit)
Music Video-No Leaf Clover (Slice & Dice Edit)
DVD-ROM Extras (Discography, Web Links)
|RSDL/Flipper||Disc 1: RSDL (38:58)
Disc 2: RSDL (53:42)
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
|Case||Boxed Super Jewel x 2|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None||Dolby Digital||None|
|16x9 Enhancement||No||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448Kb/s)
English Band + Orchestra (Dolby Digital 2.0, 256Kb/s)
English Band Only (Dolby Digital 2.0, 256Kb/s)
English Orchestra Only (Dolby Digital 2.0, 256Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra? Sounds impossible - the juxtaposition of heavy metal and classical music, seemingly opposite ends of the musical spectrum. Well, after watching Metallica: S&M, I can assure you that it is not impossible. The end result is simply jaw-droppingly stunning. The sheer power and majesty of the full San Francisco Symphony Orchestra combines seamlessly with the toned-down brute force of Metallica, with awesome and brilliant results.
Probably the most impressive aspect of this entire concert is the magnificently seamless way in which Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra blend together. Neither overpower each other, but they complement one other superbly, with the end result being more than the sum of the parts. This is no doubt due to the brilliant work of Michael Kamen in orchestrating the Metallica songs, and no doubt due to the proper amount of rehearsal time being allotted to the two groups in order to mesh so effectively. There are numerous times throughout the performance when you can see members of Metallica and members of the orchestra break out into broad smiles and even punch the air from the sheer energy and exuberance of this performance. No doubt the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra has never played to a crowd quite so rambunctious as this one!
When you consider the foregoing, it is worth bearing in mind that I am by no means a Metallica fan. In fact, I found Metallica: Cunning Stunts to be little more than loud noise, and subsequently have been desperately trying to avoid reviewing this DVD. Boy, was I glad that I finally made myself sit down and watch this performance!
James Hetfield sums it up succinctly during his closing remarks; "Thanks to the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra for having the balls to play with us". That says it all.
Who'd a thunk it?
For those that are concerned about such things, the
track listing is as follows;
1. The Ecstasy Of Gold
2. The Call Of Ktulu
3. Master Of Puppets
4. Of Wolf And Man
5. The Thing That Should Not Be
7. The Memory Remains
8. No Leaf Clover
9. Hero Of The Day
10. Devil's Dance
11. Bleeding Me
1. Nothing Else Matters
2. Until It Sleeps
3. For Whom The Bell Tolls
4. - Human
5. Wherever I May Roam
6. Outlaw Torn
7. Sad But True
9. Enter Sandman
This transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer was quite softly defined, particularly in the backgrounds, which often dissolved into a blurred and indistinct image. There was adequate detail revealed in the foregrounds of shots, but this is by no means a finely detailed transfer. The transfer was generally quite dark, although much of this is reflective of the way in which this concert was lit. Shadow detail is somewhat lacking, not helped at all by the generally quite dark lighting and mostly black that the main protagonists are wearing. Low level noise was thankfully absent from the transfer almost all of the time, but did creep into a few of the blacks from time to time.
The colours were generally muted, other than the typically highly saturated blues and reds that are frequently an integral part of concert lighting. The blues tended to be somewhat poorly defined, with a significant loss of image resolution when blue was the sole lighting colour, and they were occasionally marred by some chroma noise.
There were no MPEG artefacts seen in this transfer, however, aliasing is plentiful. It happened whenever the camera panned across sharply-defined objects, such as the orchestra's music stands and the stage scaffolding. Whilst the aliasing was not severe at any point, it was quite noticeable and was frequently present, making it quite a distracting artefact. There is a slight video skip at 3:26 on Disc 2.
Both discs are RSDL formatted. The first disc's layer change occurs at 38:58 and is quite distracting and noticeable, made all the more so by a brief fade-to-black. The second disc's layer change occurs at 53:42 and is much less noticeable.
Inexplicably, the audio defaults to English Dolby Digital 2.0 (Band + Orchestra), and can only be changed by going to the main menu. The audio cannot be changed on the fly, an extremely irritating authoring choice, but one that is consistent with the previously released Metallica: Cunning Stunts. The non-alterable on-the-fly audio is made all the more irritating by the fact that the first time that you access the main menu, you need to sit through a lengthy animation before being able to change the audio setting. You need to do this twice; once for each DVD in this set.
There is only one way to listen to this DVD; in glorious Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. The 5.1 soundtrack is so superior to all the other soundtracks that it isn't funny.
The vocals are nicely placed, generally in the centre channel, and are immaculately clear and beautifully separated from the rest of the audio. Despite this, they remain perfectly integrated with the rest of the mix, a feat that is not always achieved with 5.1 audio mixes. When appropriate, the vocals are spread aggressively into the other audio channels in a most pleasing fashion.
The audio sync is somewhat problematic, and tends to wander in and out a little. Much of this is due to the combining of two nights of video footage with one night's audio, but Disc 2 is consistently slightly out of sync during tracks 6 and 7. This is the only blemish on an otherwise immaculate soundtrack, although I suspect that only the most sensitive viewers will notice this problem.
The surround channels were magnificently utilized by this mix. This is how to do a 5.1 mix. Vocals, guitars, drums and orchestral instruments all had their clearly defined place in the soundscape and they all blended immaculately into an immensely powerful and impressive surrounding wall of sound. The resolution of this mix is second-to-none, with a remarkable lack of muddiness to the sound, despite the complexity of the mix. Sounds are placed aggressively throughout the soundfield, and the mixers who created this soundtrack were not afraid to place musical sounds in the rear soundfield, unlike many other 5.1 musical soundtracks that I have heard. Crowd noise has been placed more in the rear channels in order to separate it from the musical mix, but it remains tightly integrated with the overall mix.
The .1 channel was used aggressively and constantly to support the music without ever become overbearing. It was superbly integrated into the overall sound mix and never once drew attention to itself, instead being perfectly blended with the rest of the sound mix.
The video quality of Of Wolf And Man is relatively poor compared to the rest of the DVD.
The video quality is reasonable, but could have been a little better.
The audio quality is superlative, only denied reference status by some minor audio sync problems.
The extras are copious and reasonable.
© Michael Demtschyna
(read my bio)
20th July 2000
|DVD||Toshiba 1200, using S-Video output|
|Display||Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 4:3 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer|
|Speakers||Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer|