Pitchfork: Metallica / San Francisco Symphony S&M2
For the first 11 minutes, Metallica’s S&M2 is almost completely indistinguishable from its predecessor. There’s the slow fade-in on the sound of applause and the ominous opening arpeggio of “The Ecstasy of Gold,” the soaring Ennio Morricone film cue that has opened Metallica concerts since 1983. Next, the furious instrumental “The Call of Ktulu,” with a string section whipping at the band like crosswinds battering a ship. You might check to make sure you didn’t load up the original S&M, a 1999 live album documenting a pair of collaborative concerts with the San Francisco Symphony, which opens with the same one-two punch. But you’ll be relieved to reach track three, a majestically blown-out rendition of the 1984 classic “For Whom The Bell Tolls”—not that it didn’t appear in essentially the same arrangement on S&M, but on that album it was track 14.