Mike Portnoy Names The Metallica Album He’s ’Not The Biggest Fan Of’

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Mike Portnoy, a renowned drummer, recently spoke on The Prog Report’s Wheel of Rock podcast, sharing his candid thoughts about Metallica’s 1999 live orchestral album ‘S&M’.

The podcast features a unique format where panelists, including Portnoy, rank a band’s albums on a scale from ‘S’ (highest) to ‘D’ (lowest). They even added three special albums and a ‘wild card’ option to shake up the rankings.

Portnoy expressed that he’s not particularly fond of ‘S&M’, giving it a ‘C’ tier rank. He respects bands collaborating with orchestras, a common trend among top bands, but had reservations about this specific album.

His primary issue was with Michael Kamen’s orchestral arrangements. He found them dissonant, feeling they didn’t complement Metallica’s songs as he would’ve preferred.

The arrangements, according to him, created a jarring counterpoint that didn’t mesh well with the tracks.

He also touched upon his general disinterest in Metallica’s music around the late ’90s and early 2000s, a period that included albums like ‘Load’ and ‘Reload’.

This, he suggests, might have influenced his lukewarm reception of ‘S&M’.

In contrast, Metallica’s sequel to this album, ‘S&M2’, recorded in 2019 at a San Francisco concert, aimed to rectify some of these issues. In a 2020 conversation with Uproxx, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett acknowledged the need for a better balance between the band and the orchestra compared to the original ‘S&M’.

He noted that, unlike the first album, ‘S&M2’ had a precedent to follow and learn from. The concert for ‘S&M2’, marking two decades since the original, was directed by Wayne Isham, who also helmed the first ‘S&M’.

It took place at the Chase Center and was part of the venue’s opening celebrations, with conductors Edwin Outwater and Michael Tilson Thomas leading the symphony orchestra.

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