Metallica
Death Magnetic


3.5
great

Review

by Kit Brown USER (73 Reviews)
September 12th, 2008 | 176 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Metallica fuses Master of Puppets with The Black Album and finally starts kicking ass again.

Metallica has become just as much of a punchline as a band name over the past decade. The band’s incredibly loyal fans have sat back and watched the band sabotage itself for well over fifteen years. Sure, it made their older material seem like classics in comparison, but I’m just making lemonade out of lemons here. The Load/Reload cycle was an unwelcomed fusion of blues and gut-busting rock and roll, and St. Anger has been said by many to be one of the worst albums ever released in the metal genre. I’m not about to disagree with any of these claims.

It’s about time Metallica released something worthwhile. With the exception of songs like “Bleeding Me”, “The Unforgiven II” and “Fuel”, Metallica has truly been in the ***ter. While Death Magnetic isn’t the band returning to full form, it certainly comes damn close.

There really aren’t that many tricks to this album; it’s for the most part the typical Metallica thrash-metal and hard rock hybrid that we heard on The Black Album. The riffs are just as furious as ever, as you’ll hear on the album’s particularly fast and occasionally groovy first song, “That Was Just Your Life”. This song is for the most a very accurate representation of what you’ll be hearing for the rest of the album: thrashy verses fused with catchy choruses that I’m sure will become fan favorites at the band’s upcoming live shows.

James Hetfield is really at the top of his game here and is by far the most interesting and entertaining member of Metallica. His vocals have mostly lost that “yeah-hah!” sound that has become just as hilarious as they are annoying, though you’ll still hear them in small doses. James’ voice carries plenty of melody while having plenty of attack. I’m pretty confident and saying it’s his best vocal performance to date. While the lyrics aren’t exactly great, I challenge you to not sing along to the chorus of “All Nightmare Long”, which has now become one of my all time favorite Metallica songs.

But where Metallica has always shined is the riffs. Flat out entertaining riffs. With an album that’s over seventy minutes long, you’ll get more than enough to keep you entertained for weeks. They’re nothing incredibly different from what you’ve heard on past Metallica records, though there are a few new tricks here and there. There’s plenty of thrash riffs to please all the diehard Burton-era fans as well as a good helping of mid-tempo groove reminiscent of songs like “Sad But True” and “My Friend of Misery”. Every once in a while you’ll be treated to either really catchy or flat out strange harmonization (Cyanide and The End of the Line, respectively). But perhaps the greatest example of riff mastery is the band’s instrumental, “Suicide and Redemption”. While it’s no “The Call of Ktulu”, that doesn’t mean it’s not fat out fun to listen to. There’s a great main groove going on throughout, a great bass line, as well as a solo by Hammett that’s easy to listen to! It’s one of this year’s choice cuts and worth any metal fan’s attention.

This album is certainly deserving of praise, but it’s not without its obvious flaws, like the overly long songs. Many of the songs could stand to be a minute or two shorter. And yes, we all know Lars Ulrich’s drumming is boring and Kirk Hammett dry humps his wah pedal whenever he takes a solo. These are the things that it’s easy to point out whenever you listen to Metallica, but these things seem to always be downplayed on here. The drumming is rarely ever the focus of any of Death Magnetic’s ten tracks, so it’s more than easy to ignore. Lars basically just keeps the song moving and nothing more, and I’m not complaining. Hammett’s solos are usually a nuisance, but the riffs behind them are usually very solid and just as easy to focus on. Trujilo’s bass, when you can hear it, is always crunchy and thick, but it’d be nicer to hear it much more often.

What really makes Death Magnetic shine is that it’s very familiar, but it always keeps you guessing. Metallica uses essentially the same album format that they had on albums like Master of Puppets and Ride the Lightning: opening with thrash, then a slow song, more thrash, an epic instrumental, and then a scorching closer. “The Day That Never Comes” definitely conjures up memories of “One”, while still having that hard-rock sound found on Reload. “My Apocalypse” essentially Metallica trying to give us another “Damage, Inc.” and it’s pretty obvious what “The Unforgiven III” reminds everyone about.

Metallica’s back, that’s for sure. Hetfield shows that he’s still got plenty of potential to write quality metal songs and not the drop-c, tin can snare garbage that was released five years back. There aren’t that many tricks to Death Magnetic, it’s just flat out fun to listen to. It’s a quality fusion of Master of Puppets and The Black Album that every past fan of Metallica can enjoy. In conclusion, Death Magnetic is one of the most surprising and entertaining listens of the year.

Suggested Listening:
All Nightmare Long
Suicide and Redemption
That Was Just Your Life
The Judas Kiss



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user ratings (3948)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
BadgerX
September 12th 2008


31 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Strange how come this isn't showing on the metallica page.

Good review.

Badgerboots
September 12th 2008


64 Comments


Great review..brilliant album..production isn't too great though...the snare distorts a lot

EDIT: I must add that "That Was Just Your Life" is amazingThis Message Edited On 09.12.08

Thor
September 12th 2008


10202 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album artwork isn't showing up and it's also not showing up on the band's page. Help mods?

BallsToTheWall
September 12th 2008


44805 Comments


I'll get to this eventually, nice review though. Metallica as a whole never really caught on with me as much as Maiden and Danzig did.This Message Edited On 09.12.08

Digging: Pink Turns Blue - If Two Worlds Kiss

ConorMichaelJoseph
September 12th 2008


1870 Comments


Excellent review,may or may not write one myself,I still have to listen through it once or twice more.But it is definitely something of a return to form,but i doubt we'll ever get another MoP.However,Metallica have aged gracefully and I do hope they make another album or two,because:

1.I really think having heard songs like Suicide and Redemption and All Nightmare Long,they still have it in them to write some great songs and

2.Metallica will always be one of my all-time favourite bands.

While not musical perfection,Death Magnetic is definitely what most fans have been waiting for,and is certainly a contender for album of the year and countless other awards to come.Fair play to the boys,they still have it!

Spamwise
September 12th 2008


87 Comments


This album would be a lot better imo if the songs had been shortened down. A lot of them go on too long for what they offer. Also, I think Kirk should be let go. His solos are atrocious. Every one of them.

Badgerboots
September 12th 2008


64 Comments


^^ No...but i think he should back off the Wah a bit

Eakflanderyof
September 12th 2008


2143 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Great review, but I thought this album was rather boring.

alytee123
September 12th 2008


23 Comments


Good fair review. I'm really enjoying this album, as you said, very fun to listen to.

wakeupdead
September 12th 2008


2208 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

awesome album!! best album of theirs since AJFA. And yeah, I put up the album art and stuff on the metallica homepage and its gone, please put it back up? lol nice review also, That Was Just Your Life is my favourite song off DM.

Badgerboots
September 12th 2008


64 Comments


That Was Just Your Life is my favourite song off DM.

Same its just so awesome...BTW Rust in Peace has 666 votes :O

Altmer
September 12th 2008


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

this album has a lullaby character

PayneTiger777
September 12th 2008


4409 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

I saw this at Best Buy today and I just walked right by it and said meh lol.

AP07373
September 12th 2008


493 Comments


I've already played suicide and redemption on guitar hero 4 times. Awesome song.

StrizzMatik
September 12th 2008


3220 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Definitely the best Metallica album in the last 20 years. Lot of fun to listen to. "All Nightmare Long" effing smokes.

IAmInsect
September 12th 2008


3799 Comments


looks like this is getting a very polarized reception

5am
September 12th 2008


50 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

above my expectations

Badgerboots
September 12th 2008


64 Comments


Anyone else think Lars's drumming is pretty solid on this CD

any14doomsday
September 12th 2008


679 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

you summed it up pretty much perfectly. Its just fun to listen to, and as atrocious as the lyrics are sometimes, I just cant help but find myself singing them to my self.

Low point of course is lars' drumming. That guy needs some lessons, or something... So boring to listen to!This Message Edited On 09.12.08

bastard
September 12th 2008


3435 Comments


Anyone else think Lars's drumming is pretty solid on this CD


Lars is a bad drummer, and this album is just more proof of it.



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