If you’re disgusted, shocked, or otherwise put off by this two-disc set, you’re having exactly the reaction that was intended. Once Lou Reed decided that his lyrics for this collaboration would be based on “the Lulu plays” of German dramatist Frank Wedekind — about the life and murder of a dancer turned prostitute — any chance of an easy record went out the window. “Iced Honey,” a catchy, Velvet-ish rocker with one of James Hetfield’s few vocal cameos, shows the road not taken. The rest is brutal stuff even by Reed’s standards. (The graphic imagery does level off in the severely damaged love songs of the second half.) And Reed’s voice absolutely doesn’t mesh with Metallica’s patented thrash; it’s not even supposed to. The band is back in unvarnished . . . And Justice for All mode, though well recorded for once, with an actual low end. Reed fans may warm to the spikiness of the piece (the purifying violin finale certainly helps), and it won’t be the first time that Metallica fans have had to absorb a work devoid of warmth and humor.
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