I'll be the first to admit that I'm not Metallica's biggest fan. But credit where credit's due, they are quite simply awesome live. The last time I saw them, was at the "Big Day Out" about 5 years ago and even then the ageing rockers managed to stay on stage and rock solidly for over 2 hours. I've never seen another band play so well for so long before or since. The beast that is Metallica commands a certain respect and so it was with baited breath that I went to see "Some Kind of Monster".

Filmed over 2 years, the documentary charts the creation of their first studio album in...well, ages! As a musician myself, this would be interesting to see the thought processes in action and how many of the trials and tribulations are the same for all bands no matter how big their star-status.

And so we meet Metallica, in hometown San Francisco and residing at Presidio Studio, their home for the supposed duration of album writing. But as we, the viewers, become a fly on the wall, it's soon obvious that we've wandered into a twenty-something year marriage and all the baggage that accompanies it. All these issues come to boiling point when these grown men are confined in a small studio all hours of the day. Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield quite frankly are bitter. If they had been married, they should be either in Relate or a long shot of each other! Poor Kirk Hammett is caught right in the middle and so in true California style, in comes the therapist.

James and Lars are simply arseholes. They are so vile to one another that it is embarrassing to watch them thrash it out. Their ego's clash at every given opportunity. They can't even jam without James saying that he looks at Lars and thinks how incredibly annoying it is to even be in the same room as this man! Nice! This album is going nowhere fast!

The studio album concept allows a band to sit and share. Their roles within the band blur as for example, they all try a bit of lyric writing. This results in such choice lines as "My lifestyle is my deathstyle!" ...Profound!? They definitely need help and the therapist is barely making an impression.

Eventually Hetfield walks out and checks himself into rehab. Metallica will not sit down together, let alone play together, for a year. At this stage the band's very existence looks doubtful, never mind the album. As James is addressing his alcohol and substance abuse off camera, we have the pleasure of watching Lars, Kirk and the therapist work on themselves. Affording us the chance to gain real insight into their psyches, the real men behind Metallica emerge.

Arguably, the most telling moment in the film is when we get to meet Dave Mustaine. Having been kicked out of Metallica for his drunken behaviour in '82 and replaced by Kirk Hammett, he and Lars indulge in a little group therapy. The irony that Hetfield can't be there as he's undergoing rehab for alcohol, is not lost. Mustaine went on to form Megadeth, still one of the most successful metal bands, but over 20 years on and Mustaine is still bitter about playing second-fiddle to the band he got kicked out of. This is a man in pain and illustrates just how nasty Lars and James are capable of being.

It's any wonder at all that Metallica ever managed to finish the album "St. Anger". Finally though, the material is written, a new bass player hired to replace Jason Newstead and the band are ready to tour. Evidently, this is where Metallica works. The whole studio experience is just a clash of swollen egos and too much testosterone. After a video made in San Quinton prison and my favourite bit, a gig for the inmates, (heaven knows what the screws had to deal with that night after these massive tattooed criminals spent the afternoon moshing!), the tour is waiting and Metallica are back to doing what they do best: getting on stage and rocking!

Although interesting, this film is really for die-hard fans. The only people who come out of it looking vaguely down-to-earth are Lars' father and Kirk. The film really doesn't do Lars and James any favours! Plus the fact that it's the only film I can think of to last longer than a Metallica set!