Review Summary: Metallica is back to their roots. The record sounds like a combination of "...And Justice For All," "St. Anger," and "Re-Load" with 8-9 minute long songs and sprawling guitar solos. It's perfect for the fans, and modern feeling enough for any newcomers
In 1991, The Black Album was released by Metallica to the fans following success with their fourth album And Justice For All. This was a crossroad period for the band because it marked what many would consider the beginning their musical decline. When you say "Metallica" to a person, today, they usually either think of Napster or the song "Enter Sandman.'' But for us fans, it's always been their first three or four records from the 80s. Anyone who's followed the band knows that Load, Re-Load and the load of St. Anger were not their best efforts compared to their younger days. So how to explain this? Their best album in years: Death Magnetic?
When "That Was Just Your Life" boots up in your cd player, you will immediately recognize a difference from their 90s records. Death Magnetic is fast, long and exciting. Fully abandoning their mainstream formula (excluding St. Anger which was a MUCH different story), the band is back to their roots with 8 minute long heavy metal songs with just the right blend of pace, rhythms and unique melodies to keep you listening. Kirk Hammet does a great job fusing his solos with the forever changing drum rhythms and bass-lines; and there is sometimes more than one solo per song. If you liked Master of Puppets and Ride the Lightning, then you may just feel right at home here.
"The End of the Line," is a big 8 minute song that sounds like it was just replaced at the last moment with "Dyer's Eve" on their 1989 record And Justice for all. "Broken, Beat & Scarred" follows the lead of "Shortest Straw" from the same album. "All Nightmare Long" is probably the fastest song on the cd. "Cyanide" was their single and it fits well with the album. "Judas Kiss" sounds like a good ninth track on "Master of Puppets;" and, much like in the traditions of "Orion," "Call of the Katulu," and "To Live is to Die," Metallica has once again created another instrumental track entitled ''Suicide and Redemption." Kirk Hammet really is an amazing fella.
While the lyrics do make sense, they still feel a little "St. Angerish" with Hetfield more or less just chanting random statements like "split apart," "what don't kill you make you stronger," "luck runs out" and "need more and more."
After about 15 years of experimenting and fine tuning their music for today's crowd, they are finally ready to return to their fans who will hopefully enjoy this album, because it really is just that good.