Metallica's St. Anger is steeped in infamy. The album was released amidst inner band turmoil which lead the group to work with a performance enhancement coach who guided them through intense therapy sessions as documented in the Some Kind of Monster film. Lambasted for the garbage can snare drum sound and absence of guitar solos, the album was crucial for guiding Metallica in future endeavors says Kirk Hammett.
“I guess it was appropriate for the time," Hammett told Metal Hammer when reflecting on the direction of St. Anger and his contributions. "But looking back, it doesn’t seem so appropriate to me now," he said, adding, “I will always object to that, but I think the message was driven home after that album, that solos are needed in Metallica! People look forward to hearing them. So for me there was a weird vindication.”
Throughout Some Kind of Monster, Hammett is mostly in the background in group settings. In a spotlight scene, he mentions that he does his best to have no ego, which plays a useful role as mediator during tense moments between Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield. His calm nature nearly vanished, however, when Ulrich mentioned that guitar solos may sound dated.
Hammett, enraged, fired back saying that if Metallica released St. Anger without any guitar solos, then it will permanently affix the album to the era in which it was made. Producer Bob Rock diffused the situation, saying there didn't need to be a rule about no solos or having solos and that the true aim was serving what was the best for the song. Hammett recoiled and politely agreed it was about the song first and foremost. No solos wound up on the album.
You can catch Kirk Hammett playing a bunch of solos on the next North American leg of Metallica's "WorldWired" tour in support of 2016's Hardwired... To Self-Destruct. The run kicks off in September and you can head here to see all the upcoming dates. Via loudwire