Metallica's latest mostly live disc, Some Kind of Monster, an eight-song EP which coincides with a just-released documentary by the same name, is the band's weakest release to date. Considering that playing live helped the act earn its iconic status, Monster should have been a slam dunk, yet it falls completely flat. The band mangles its classic material (all six of the live tracks featured are culled from Kill 'Em All, Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets) nearly as badly as James Hetfield murders the French language at the end of "Damage Inc." The performances often sound slapdash and lack the precision of the original recordings, while the drums sound as though they were recorded with layers of gauze wrapped around the mikes. As if that weren't bad enough, we're treated to two versions of one mediocre song from last year's abhorrent St. Anger. For undeluded ex-fans -- a growing contingent -- Monster will further exemplify how the mighty have fallen.


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