Put a piece of paper on a table, draw a circle on it, and label the circle “Metal Bands that sound good with an orchestra.” Inside the circle write Manowar, Deep Purple, and others.

Metallica would go outside the circle, on a different piece of paper, and on a different table.

Metallica songs categorically do not sound good with an orchestra. Either they’re thrash metal (pre 1991), a raw and minimalistic cousin of hardcore punk that is not noticeably improved by horn sections, or modern rock (post 1991) that, with a few exceptions, shouldn’t be performed live at all in any format.

You can hear the problems when the band farts their way through “Master of Puppets”. The orchestra and Metallica sound disconnected, like two jigsaw pieces with edges that don’t fit. Part of it is James’ dull Nickelback-sounding rhythm tone, but mostly it’s the song. “Master” has quite busy riffs, and the added symphonic swirls and vamps send it over the top. The famous clean section in the middle sounds like a garbled out of tune mess. There’s too much stuff here, all of it fighting for space.

Metallica has a decent stable of long progressive-sounding songs, and tracks like “The Thing That Should Not Be” and “Call of Ktulu” fare a little better. They also play a bunch of Load and Re-Load songs. They sound pretty bad, which is no surprise. Most of these songs were rubbish in their original incarnations. There are two new songs, cut from the Load template, with “Minus Human” being the more interesting of the two. The symphonic elements still clash. One Load song sounds better recorded like this, though. On disc, “Hero of the Day” was the worst Metallica song recorded up to that point. Here, it just sounds ridiculous and a bit funny.

The performance…underperforms. James’ voice is overly clean sounding, and he can’t bark or shout worth shit. Lars Ulrich is a perennial weak link in the band, although at this point he wasn’t yet setting records for the worst drum sounds ever recorded. Kirk continues laying down his trademark pentatonic shredding, but I wish he would leave the wah pedal alone. These symphonic songs would sound better with a less “expressive” approach to lead playing. If Metallica had recorded S&M in 1986 the effect would have been one of over-the-top excessiveness. But now, they sound tired. Not the kind of tiredness you fix with a nap. The kind of tiredness you fix with retirement. Why is this band still around? Almost everything they’ve recorded after 1991 is worthless.

S&M sounds like a Metallica cover band composed of balding 40 year old landscapers, playing a mixture of awesome classics and crappy modern hipster rock, with the venue accidentally double-booked with an orchestra for some reason.

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I tried to download this but my computer ran out of niggabytes.

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Sonichu is a comic book character created by internet legend Christian Weston Chandler.

This debut issue contains three “Sub-Episodes” (as Chris calls them). First, we see Sonic the Hedgehog accidentally merging himself with a Pikachu, resulting in a badass new Electric Hedgehog Pokemon who zaps lightning and infringes copyrights! Next, we see Sonichu meeting the love of his life, Rosechu. The final part of the saga shows Sonichu saving Rosechu from the clutches of Naitsirhc, Christian’s evil twin.

There’s two avenues of approach to this comic. The first is as a troll or ED user looking for unintentional comedy. There’s actually not much of it here. Obviously, the art and writing are poor, but as far as atrocity tourism goes, Sonichu #0 is pretty weak stuff. There’s no bloody massacres of Chris’s online haters (Sonichu #10), no detailed images of hedgehog penises entering hedgehog vaginas (Sonichu #8), or anything of that sort, really. This comic exists at the “Extra-Mild” section of the spice rack.

The second approach is more rewarding: treat it as a journey into Chris’s mind.

I was like Chris once, drawing shitty freehand comics starring copyrighted characters for no other reason than it made me happy. I was 7 when I did that, and Chris was 23 when he did this, but I can see where he was coming from. Sometimes you’ve got to create. It doesn’t matter if your creation is worthless, or that nobody will ever want to look at it. Some things just won’t let go of you until you put them down on paper.

You can see an honest and earnest attempt here to tell a story, to entertain. There are professional comics out there that don’t give half as much of a shit. I wonder what kind of artist Chris could have been in a different life.

Love him or hate him, Chris brought an interesting flavour to the internet. Granted, it was the flavor of soiled undergarments and Axe, but it was a flavor nevertheless. By the way, I lied earlier. There is one really painful, cringe-inducing moment in Sonichu #0. Chris thought it would be a good idea to include the full text of an email to a real-life girl who snubbed him. Some Chris historian (Christorian?) should track that girl down and talk to her. I’m pretty sure any girl who has met Chris would remember the experience.

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