Metallica started in the early 80s, and with the release of their first album, Kill 'Em All, soon became established as cult heroes and pioneers of the thrash metal genre. Releases that followed after such as "Ride The Lightning", "Master Of Puppets" and "...And Justice For all" proceeded to amaze fans and critics alike. However with the release of the 90's self titled 'black album,' the album fueled a large amount of controversy between fans. Old fans of the thrash genre accused them of 'selling out'. However the album gained them legions of new fans. This controversy continued with release of twin albums "Load" And "Reload", were metallica were accused of straying from their thrash roots, and producing a more softer sound. With the release of 2003s St. Anger, the band attempted to recapture the glory of their former thrash days, but also bring a new modern 'nu metal' sound into the band - Unfortunately due to no guitar solos from kirk hammet, a 'tin' snare drum and poor production, alot of fans abandoned hope in Metallica all together - it seemed to them that their favourite band had hit rock bottom.
So the year is 2008. where are Metallica now? Metallica have teamed up with famed comeback producer Rick Rubin, and with talented bassist Robert Trujillo, from previous bands such as Suicidal Tendicies and Infectous Grooves in Metallica, fans begin to take intrest. With the information that new album "Death Magnetic" will sound like the mix of "...And Justice For All" and the "Black Album" hopes are high that Metallica will make a great album that will be a true return to form.
It gives me great pleasure to say that Death Magnetic is a true return to form. When I put the disc in my CD player, I was blown away. The first track "That Was Your Life" starts with a heartbeat, and a dark, brooding guitar then the song just EXPLODES. The riffs are crunching and heavy, and hooray! the tin snare sound of St. Anger is gone! (however the drums still are a bit of a problem to me which i will get to later) It is simply the best way metallica have chosen to open a record since Battery.
The quality is mantained with the next two tracks "The End Of The Line" and "Broken, Beat & Scarred" which remind me of the former groove they captured on AJFA.
The lead single "The Day That Never Comes" is clearly in the shape of classic metallica ballads such as "One", "Fade To Black" and "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)", but suffers from being to long, which brings me to one of the problems of Death Magnetic. Tracks such as "The Day That Never Comes" and "The Judas Kiss" are on or near the 8 minute mark. This would be ok if it was really needed, but it seems these songs are long for the sake of being long. Sometimes they seem to plod along meaninglessly with no real sense of purpose, which is a real shame, as both the songs have great verses and choruses.
The lyrics also dont seem to be up to scratch here with horrific lines such as "bow down sell your soul to me" and "Crushing metal, Ripping Skin, Tossing body mannequin Spilling Blood, Bleeding Gas" - Wtf is that susposed to mean?
Another problem on Death Magnetic is the production. It is nowere near as bad as the abysmal production of St. Anger, but the sound of the drums on Death Magnetic does not always seem natural. The sound is unaturally loud which sometimes makes some of the songs very distorted.
Also sometimes the beats Lars Ulrich chooses to play annoy me. As a drummer myself, they seem far to simple for a thrash metal outfit, and the opening fill on "The Judas Kiss" to me is quite embarresing.
However, the rest of the band completely slay. Kirk Hammet seems like a beast that has been set free,after playing no solos on St. Anger. Here he seems to have broke loose from that prison, and nails the solos like he has not done in a long time. James's vocals have sometimes been a problem for fans, but to me they have always been fine, and on Death Magnetic, his vocals and guitar playing are consistent. Robert Trujillo can sometimes be inaudible under a barrage of heavy guitars, but when he IS audible, he really is great, especially on the brilliant "Cyanide".
With tracks such as "All Nightmare Long" A raging, heavy, thrash monster there is no denying the return to form from these metal gods. It is hard not to get goosebumps when James screams "Your luck runs ouuuuuuuuuuuuuut!!...." at the end of the song, with such rage that I thought i would never see of someone his age.
I strongly recommend Death Magnetic to any Metallica, or indeed, Metal fan. Despite some problems, Death Magnetic is a great metal album which should earn the praise of fans and critics alike.
Best Tracks: (In Order)
1. That Was Just Your Life
2.All Nightmare Long
3.The End Of The Line
P.S This is my first review i hope you liked!