Music

Music Film Review: Metallica – Through the Never

Metallica take to the big screen in an ambitious and unique attempt to contribute to the film industry.

The American heavy metal band is notorious for experimenting, going above and beyond the conventional working role of a band. In 1996 they teamed up with The San Francisco Symphony to create a live album, a bold move for their genre of music and frowned upon by the purists, but they pulled it off and the show sounds really spectacular.

The band don’t seem to care about the finances, it’s more about getting new forms of art out of their music and they also don’t seem to care about the response.

Recently (and infamously) the band collaborated with Lou Reed of The Velvet Underground and released the album ‘Lulu’ which was critically hated by fans and critics alike (I haven’t heard it and I don’t plan to). With an initial budget of around £11m, ‘Through the Never’ was a huge investment yet the band don’t seem to care about the finances, it’s more about getting new forms of art out of their music and they also don’t seem to care about the response.

‘Through the Never’ is predominantly a live Metallica gig which cuts to a side story of a tech guy who runs an errand as the band plays. Things quickly turn surreal as we follow this guy in a series of unfolding events including mobs of thugs and demons on horseback, probably best explained by a ‘drug trip’.

If you’re expecting the story to make sense and finish with resolve then you’ll be quickly disappointed.

If you’re expecting the story to make sense and finish with resolve then you’ll be quickly disappointed. It works in giving more depth to the live show, providing artistic expressions to the songs, but does nothing more than a lengthy music video. By any means the story features less than a quarter of the time and is of secondary importance to the show.

The real action then is in the music and the way it comes across. As soon as the band plays the first few notes of ‘Creeping Death’ the awesomeness of the IMAX sound system hits you. Metallica sound epic and it’s probably the best place to listen to the band at high volumes with excellent sound quality, without going to a show.

For any fan of metal music and especially of the band, ‘Through the Never’ is a thoroughly enjoyable and unique experience.

‘One’ and ‘Master of Puppets’ are definite and obvious highlights where stage effects and imagery are most prominent, whereas ‘Cyanine’ and ‘Ride the Lightning’ offer rare gems in the setlist which are equally as impressive as the favourites.

For any fan of metal music and especially of the band, ‘Through the Never’ is a thoroughly enjoyable and unique experience but for those wanting more of a traditional film should stay well away, it really is one of a kind.

3.5 Stars - a great work in progress,

Kevin Sharp

…Kev Sharp is listening to Avenged Sevenfold – Coming Home…

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One Comment
  • Anil Parmar
    31 October 2013 at 17:34
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    I look forward to seeing it! That said there’s a small typo in the first few lines; they didn’t make the live album with SF Symphony until 96, not 91.

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