Hair-Losing Head Bangers

Metallica returns from a five-year hiatus. The guys are older, though not quite as wise as they think

Metallica has survived every heavy-metal cliche known to man. The original bassist, Cliff Burton, died in a horrendous 1986 tour-bus accident. In 1991, seven years after This Is Spinal Tap, the band put out its own black album. A year later, lead singer James Hetfield was nearly immolated onstage by some bad pyro. Metallica has even committed the ultimate sin of heavy-metal piety: the classical album, with the sheepish help of some cellists in the San Francisco Symphony.

So how is it that on its 11th record, St. Anger, Metallica is in position to do something original? Largely because it...

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