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Metallica: Death Magnetic

Death Magnetic is the album that many fans have been screaming out for Metallica to release. In fact, Death Magnetic should have come out after And Justice For All.

I for one was very sceptical, especially after recent efforts and the ridiculous amount of hype this album has generated especially compared to better releases. Much to my relief this is no St Anger, the production from Rick Rubin, while not perfect, is better, and yes, even the drums do sound like actual drums, plus there are numerous guitar solos. You won't find Metallica's best album here, nor is it as incredible as many seem to think, even so Death Magnetic is Metallica's best release in many years.

"That Was Just Your Life" is a fitting opening track and puts the listener on notice that Metallica are back and doing what they do best. "Broken, Beat & Scarred" has a great catchy riff as do many other tracks. "The Unforgiven III" is an ok tune, with the highlight being the guitar solo. Many years and albums have passed since we heard an instrumental on a Metallica CD, here they have done it again with "Suicide & Redemption" with the guitars of Kirk Hammet and James Hetfield shining brightest as with most tracks. Closer "My Apocalypse" sees Metallica thrashing it up on one of the better moments which should please fans of their earlier material. Vocally James Hetfield does a solid job and Lars, well, he has never claimed to be the best drummer in metal, but it wouldn't be Metallica without him.

I wonder if this is finally the album that fans can agree to like, but I have my doubts and there will probably be many discussions over this. Even so Death Magnetic is good enough to please many.

Track Listing
1. Death Magnetic
2. That Was Just Your Life
3. The End of the Line
4. Broken, Beat & Scarred
5. The Day That Never Comes
6. All Nightmare Long
7. Cyanide
8. The Unforgiven III
9. The Judas Kiss
10. Suicide & Redemption
11. My Apocalypse

Added: October 4th 2008
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
Related Link: Metaliica Website
Hits: 3067
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Metallica: Death Magnetic
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2008-10-04 17:12:56
My Score:

Much has already been said about this latest Metallica album Death Magnetic, opinions ranging from "a kick ass return to their 80's glory" to " a horribly produced retread of old ideas that is barely better than the mess that was St. Anger or the Load travesties. Well, despite the fact that yes, you will hear some bits that are obviously borrowed from classic Metallica songs (hey, why shouldn't the band do that when countless acts have been stealing their riffs for years now?), and the production is overly harsh in spots, as if they have intended this thing to be loud, raw, and distorted, excessively so, bottom line is Death Megnetic has a handful of really good metal songs, more than holding their own with some the band's output from the late 80's. In fact, much of Death Magnetic is almost like the half-sibling to And Justice For All, the monstrous trifecta that kick off the CD, "That Was Just Your Life", "The End of the Line", and "Broken, Beat & Scarred" containing more clever thrash riffs from Hetfield & Hammet than we've seen from this duo in 20 years. James, to his credit, finally seems to have rediscovered his trademark 80's vocal style, though his annoying croon does appear from time to time here, especially on the unecessary "The Unforgiven III", easily the CD's weakest cut. Speaking of Hetfield, his patented rapid fire riffs make a triumphant return, especially on the already mentioned "Scarred" as well as "Cyanide", the ending to "The Day That Never Comes", and the manic "My Apocalypse". Another misstep here is the way too long and meandering instrumental "Suicide & Redemption", which at over 10 minutes long should have been clipped in half and given lyrics, and the tune just sounds unfinished as if the band threw a bunch of riffs together and decided they didn't have time to add vocals to the piece. When compared to some of the band's great instrumentals of the past it fails miserably.

All that being said, this is a step in the right direction, Lars Ulrich's drums more than adequate here (and much better produced), Robert Trujillo's bass thick and groovy, and Hammet solos all over the place, he and Hetfield even tossing in some neat harmony leads which harken back to the old days. In addition to some deep lyrics from Hetfield, the most important thing here is the return of plenty of meaty thrash riffs, the most important thing missing from Metallica's music since the Black album. If only they took a little more time with the final mixing of the CD, songs like "All Nightmare Long" and 'The Judas Kiss" would have really sounded better, instead these otherwise solid songs sound tinny and too distorted without any real bottom end, the guitar with just not enough crunch to do the song justice.

My rating for the actual songs & performances here is a solid 4, the production & mixing a 3, so a final tally of 3.5, which is a shame cause if all had worked out in the end this would have been a real momster of a comeback. Instead, we'll have to wait to see if they can learn from this one and really deliver a killer on every level next time around.

» Reader Comments:

Metallica: Death Magnetic
Posted by Jonathan Swank on 2008-10-07 00:15:06
My Score:

Much better than I expected. I have listened to this much more often than most would admit. For me, the test of repeated play speaks volumes. Yeah, the production quality is not up to par, but Metallica has always been about the live play, not the studio. This ain't prog folks. I think the songs are solid. This is Metallica. I like it, even the much maligned "Forgiven III." Actually, to me the worst song here is the intromental tune, which is way too long. This one could have been deleted and it would have taken nothing away from this fine release. Yeah, I grew up on songs like "Battery" and "For Whom The Bell Tolls." Those days are gone, but this is really a very good album. I admit I don't understand the lack of desire to produce and mix an album with perfection, but the last Iron Maiden album lacked in the production area as well ... and still, I think its fantastic. james Hetfield is the star here; he seems to have regained some of his dignity and composure. Death Mag is solid. It eclipses the last 18 years of Metallica, but I agree with critics that it does not surpass RTL, MOP or And Justice For All.

Metallica: Death Magnetic
Posted by A non A missed on 2008-09-14 16:54:30
My Score:

The mix of the new Metallica is one of pure arrogance and musical ineptitude. You can tell it was guided by the guitarist and the drummer. Many people are also discussing the "clipping of the peaks" on this cd, which is true. There are times when the limits are pushed so hard that the peaks of the wave forms are being chopped off and creating the blasts of distortion that you hear. When it was mastered, nobody seemed to take into account the volume increases of the drums and guitar. This all could be avoided if people were actually listening to what they are creating. I can't believe that the budget was so meager that no one could afford a decent set of monitors!! This cd also exposes the fact that Metallica had had more than a fair share of arranging help by past producers in getting their material to maintain a sense of cohesiveness. This may be better than ST. Anger, but a pure return to form it is not. I do believe it is the best thing that the band could create, left to their own ends.

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