Album Review – Metallica – Death Magnetic

And to kick things off I can’t think of a better place to start than the latest offering by our very own, aptly-labeled “Biggest Metal Band on the Planet” Metallica. (FYI they currently rule the Billboard charts in the #1 position)

Now the build-up to this album got fairly intense on the web, with the band posting clips from the studio online quite often, thus providing plenty of fodder for the haters and non-haters alike to stew over and speculate until the album was finally leaked and shat upon accordingly by most.

Now I’m no huge Metallica fan by any stretch of the imagination (The first album I heard was …And Justice for All… in 1995) but after repeated listens, it automatically dethrones their previous album St. Anger simply by the fact that I am able to put up with it for the entire record. (I managed to sit through about 4 and a half songs of St. Anger before changing the tune in disgust.) St. Anger’s biggest downfall was the drum sounds, hands down. This album, although slightly better, continues the crappy drum tone and manages to crank it up and over-compress the shit out of them to boot, so as to make them sound a lot worse than they ever could acoustically, bravo guys, I commend you for having the most peaked-out album of the year.

But that is where most of my criticism stops.

This album showcases Metallica back on form and more unified than they have been since their glory days in the 80’s. They brought the Thrash back into their sound and appear much more united with Rob Trujillo in the group (Thank God Bob Rock isn’t playing bass on this.) However, one can argue that lack of originality in this type of record for Metallica. They’ve done this type of album before, yes, but it seems like they’re reaching out to their “old school fans” and saying, “Hey don’t forget, we can still rip your f***ing face off!”

Each song is very epic and lengthy starting with “This Was Just Your Life” which builds from a dark-broody beginning to a blistering Punk-beat-driven chorus.

James seems to have found his knack again with his lyrics, no need to vent the demons of his alcoholism any longer, which I am thankful for. James I’m glad you’re a better person, but please don’t use your records as self-help seminars. Dare I say, St. Anger was technically “Emo” for this fact. Maybe that’s why I can’t stand St. Anger, because there was so much negativity and despair in the making of that album that I feel like I’m experiencing the same emotions every time I put it on. Hey, at least it translated well to record.

Next up “The End of the Line”. Classic Metallica, fairly run-of -the mill stuff here, good riffs, cool structure, nuff said.

Track 3 “Broken, Beat & Scarred”. This one contains one of my favourite riffs on the album (actually I might go home later and try and figure it out), takes a little while to build up to it but by the first minute it’s in your face. This is another song with Metallica emulating their 80’s Thrash form, however James has matured nicely with the writing of his vocals since he was a young lad, all criticism aside about the condition of his vocal chords, he can actually form nicely coherent vocal melodies and lyrics as a good singer should.

“The Day That Never Comes” Rock Radio hit #1! This one reminds me a lot of “One” but has a catchier chorus. Decent song, I’m sure you’ll all hear this one eventually so I’ll keep it short.

“All Nightmare Long”. This tracks just kills it, one of the best on the record. At this point in the album you start to see where things are headed and this one clocking in at about 8 Minutes takes you on a pretty intense metal journey. Yay Metallica are a metal band again!

“Cyanide”. I heard a live version of this song before it was released and the album version was pretty much to a T. This one is fairly typical Metallica, not very bad, not very good, it’s love/hate.

“The Unforgiven III”. Not my favourite track. I’m not sure if I’m into the Unforgiven sequels that don’t really have anything to do with the original, musically-speaking. Couldn’t you have just called this song like “These Days” or “Suffocating” or “Depression” or “Blame all the bad shit in life on my devilish behavior song”, this one’s a whole bunch of meh.

“The Judas Kiss”. And the kick-ass-ness hath returned! Another awesome metal song. Seriously, just go listen to it.

“Suicide & Redemption” is an instrumental Metal Jam song. It’s a bit of a break from the rest of the record and James’ vocals but nothing really to write home about. It’s no “Call of Ktulu” I’ll tell you that much.

And Finally, “My Apocalypse”. The album ends on a strong note with this track and I always seem to have parts of this song stuck in my head after I finish listening. It does totally sound like “Battery” & “Master of Puppets” rolled into one song though. Just sayin’.

I was pleasantly surprised by this album, as I was thinking I’d never give Metallica another chance after the past 5 years or so of output I’ve heard from this crew. But they’ve proven my assumptions wrong. And I’m glad they did cause I probably would of torn them a new one in this review. Not that anyone is reading these yet anyways 😉

Until next time,

\\m//

– JonnyBasement

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