Metallica To Unleash Their Anger Earlier Than Planned

By | June 2, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Metallica might be even more angry now than they were last year when they were recording St. Anger, the band’s most brutal, bludgeoning record in years. As a result of their album being leaked over the Internet, Metallica have decided to unleash their Anger on Thursday instead of the original release date of June 10.

The band’s label said the album date was moved because of the “prevalence of sub-standard versions of St. Anger already in circulation.”

Various high-profile hip-hop and R&B acts – Eminem, 50 Cent, Nas and Beyoncé Knowles – have pushed the release dates of their records up to fight Internet piracy (see “Beyonce Pushes Up Release Date Of Solo Debut”, but Metallica are the first big rock act to bump their release date forward.

The band’s label is unsure whether the leak came from the studio, the record plant or some other means.

“This whole Internet thing is scaring us, man,” frontman James Hetfield said in an interview for “mtvICON: Metallica.” “What does that mean to us, our future, our career the livelihood of our children? Why are people able to steal things?”

This isn’t Metallica’s first run-in with Web piracy. The band sued file-sharing service Napster in 2000 after “I Disappear,” a song it had written for the “Mission Impossible 2” soundtrack, was leaked to radio.

“We made a couple of different versions of the song, and we hadn’t picked what version we wanted to give them for the film,” drummer Lars Ulrich said. “I remember one day I got a call from my manager saying, ‘There are a bunch of radio stations playing “Version One” of “I Disappear.” How could that get out?’ We traced it back to this company called Napster, and [decided] we better go back to them and send them back into the hole that they came out of.”

Metallica eventually settled with Napster for an undisclosed sum. However, in the process they were buried in a pile of negative feedback and chastised for being lawsuit-happy and money-grubbing. One reason the criticism was so harsh is because in the process of suing the file-sharing giant, Metallica called out thousands of their fans who were illegally downloading their songs, and the band requested that the kids be booted from the Napster service.

“The thing that hurt the most on top of the negative press was the feeling of being alone,” Ulrich explained. “It was like, ‘OK, we are going to go after this company’ and, wow, no one was with us. It was such mind f– looking over our shoulder and there was no one there. We took the shot and I was not prepared for what came in the wake of it, but I am glad we took the shot.”

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