Metallica
Death Magnetic


3.0
good

Review

by Alec Martin USER (16 Reviews)
April 16th, 2011 | 68 replies | 5,632 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The band's best album ever since ...And Justice For All.

3 of 4 thought this review was well written

Considering my low rating and the description title, there's a lot of Metallica fans that would both disagree and agree with me. Back in the mid-80's and early 90's, when Metallica was just a group of outcasts who had come together to release a metal album, just like that, they became arguably the singular most popular metal band of this generation. Metallica's first four albums were pure metal, and were all equally explosive and epic in quality.

But then it seems as though Metallica died right after that, ran out of fresh material. They took some major sips from the wine of mediocrity, then completely downed the whole damn thing in the two Load and ReLoad albums, both of which would eventually be the final nails in Metallica's coffin (which, as a joke, you can probably see on the album cover). Thankfully, Death Magnetic is a great chance at redemption, and by that, I mean a half-greatly metal, half-god awful album that barely exceeds my high expectations, but it's still better than the band's previous four albums. But hey, can't blame them for trying, CAN YOU?

Think of Metallica like this: you add in the wicked guitar playing of Iron Maiden and Motorhead, then spice it up a little with good bass playing, and you've got them. In this album, some claim that Metallica has finally come back to being the true thrash metal gods. No, this is not Kill 'Em All, or Master of Puppets. In fact, this is about as "true to the core" as Virtual XI was with Iron Maiden. I can barely get used to the new James Hetfield voice. What was once a powerful, angry voice that any metalhead could recognize, has turned into a softer, more eerily subtle voice.

Although the other band members are still somewhat at their peak, all of these songs continue to suffer, no matter how the rare great one is. The songwriting has now reached an all-time low (if you exclude St. Anger), as there's barely anything remarkable about it at all. Take the absolutely atrocious "Broken, Beat & Scarred", for example "You rise, you fall, you're down then you rise again What don't kill ya make ya more strong /You rise, you fall, you're down then you rise again What don't kill ya make ya more strong / Rise, fall, down, rise again What don't kill ya make ya more strong / Rise, fall, down, rise again What don't kill ya make ya more strong" It's repetitive and lacks imagination.

Riffs are a mixed bag. First of all, "Cyanide" gets unrelentingly annoying with the constant tapping and random finger movement, and the annoying, attempting-to-be-eerie bass-drum intro throughout "All Nightmare Long". The production is also surprisingly crappy. There's a plague of raw instruments throughout that tend to either become too muffled or far too noisy. "The Day That Never Comes" could be the best-produced track.

As I had mentioned before, the selection is a definite win-and-lose. "That Was Just Your Life" and "The End Of The Line" serve as two increasingly pointless intro songs. Hetfield's voice is next to barely tolerable in the former, while the latter, in terms of instruments, sounds too alike to the former, both throwaways. "Broken, Beat & Scarred is a superbly boring song that just drags on and on with repetitive drum beats and an uninspired riff. "The Unforgiven III" is a mixed song, in all senses of the word. On the positive hand, the lyrics are a lot better than the other two from ReLoad and Metallica (not respectively), but on the downside, I never said it was great at all. In fact, it could be a decent song with some serious riff and vocal cord editing.

"My Apocalypse" is thankfully a worthy song up to Metallica's standards. (I believe this won the Grammy in 2009 for Best Metal Recording, right?) With a chugging, harshly slicing guitar riff, the unforgiving vocal offense in Hetfield's voice, and the crushing bass and drum beats. "The Judas Kiss" contains a forgiving, definitely original riff, and original drum beats. It's very good on its own, but needs lyrical tuning. Probably the most captivating song here is the 10-minute instrumental "Suicide and Redemption". With thunderous guitar lashes, bass attacks, and crashing drum beats in the first 3 minutes, then boom, in the fourth, it slows down considerably, then back to a lashing guitar riff later on. It's, personally, the best Metallica instrumental ever since Master of Puppet's "Orion".

My biggest problem with Death Magnetic: is that if you could take away at least 6-7 tracks, leave it as a single EP, this would be a bestseller and one of their best albums yet. Death Magnetic suffers far too much from repetitive songwriting, a hard-to-get-used-to vocal progression, and setting low expectations. I suggest buying just to see how much a Juggernaut band can really suffer, for it just seems that Metallica can never follow the old saying: "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." That old formula probably got thrown out the back the minute Load was released, with dignity and fan reputation splattered on the wall. Otherwise recommended.

Recommended Tracks

Probably the only true standout tracks that bring me back to the good 'ol days of Metallica are [i]My Apocalypse[i] and Suicide and Redemption. If you're looking for really good solos, and if you somehow get used to the new Hetfield voice, take a look at "The Day That Never Comes".



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user ratings (3760)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • ImTheOnlyThugInTheBuildin (2.5)
    An album that never strives to go anywhere and feels too mixed...

    mark sammut (2.5)
    Not the final nail in the band's coffin...That comes later...

    Dishpan (4.5)
    They are well and truly back. They have removed the burden of St. Anger. Whether it's the ...

    Michael B. (3.5)
    Rumours of Metallica's demise have been greatly exaggerated....

  • Tom Gellatly (4.5)
    Whilst often heralded as Metallica's return to form, Death Magnetic is a fantastic album i...

    BassPlaya008 (3)
    Metallica is back. Somewhat....

    MetallicaRTL7214 (3.5)
    ...

    Zipzop5565 (5)
    The year is 1983. One man, a bitter, broken, beat, scarred, shamed, lifeless shell of what...

  • David Driver (4)
    After being largely irrelevant for the past decade, Metallica returns with their best orig...

    Pedro B. (3.5)
    Better than anyone dared to expect, but by no means a classic....

    kabster (4)
    ...

    Mark (4)
    What took the Metal Gods so long??...

  • SeanOnFire (4)
    Metallica definately deliver the goods with a triumphant near return to old glory...

    Jorn van Schaïk (2)
    Metallica have improved from the last record. Instead of excruciatingly terrible, they are...

    pogostick1 (3)
    There is life in the old dogs yet. But how much is yet to be determined......

    HollywoodConstantine (3)
    Metallica is back to their roots. The record sounds like a combination of "...And Justice...

  • gingerfish (3.5)
    Metallica isn't back just yet, but they're on their way....

    Daniel Smith (3)
    A successful rebound effort from a band seemingly doomed to dwell forever in the realm of ...

    Dr Dave De Sylvia STAFF (3.5)
    A fine album from a heavy metal juggernaut that might just be kicking back into gear....

    BadgerX (3.5)
    Is it as good as Master of Puppets? Maybe, maybe not. Is it any good? It's great....

  • Kit Brown (3.5)
    Metallica fuses Master of Puppets with The Black Album and finally starts kicking ass agai...


Comments:Add a Comment 
MO
April 16th 2011



17382 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this is gonna end up having the most reviews of any album on sputnik

Digging: Soundtrack - Turok 2: Seeds of Evil OST

TF141Soldier
April 16th 2011



125 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think it's gotten too many reviews, this was just to get the damned thing out of my mind after I saw the whole LP on my friend's iPod.

TF141Soldier
April 16th 2011



125 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's their best album since ...And Justice For All.

Even though it sucks some serious balls.

Psychopathologist
April 16th 2011



1924 Comments


this reads like a 2 at best

jayfatha
April 16th 2011



2882 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is alright

TF141Soldier
April 16th 2011



125 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Seriously, these albums that they're releasing are absolute crap. People are always talking about crap on the radio being better than this, but this IS the crap on the radio, despite a few exceptions.

Seriously, this is the saddest thing in music history ever since Lil Wayne got in the rap record deal.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2011



5616 Comments


The band's best album ever since ...And Justice For All.

Black album was their last really great album.

After that, i considered the band disbanded. In my book at least.

Digging: Mekong Delta - In A Mirror Darkly

WashboardSuds
April 16th 2011



4889 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

not a bad review. too lazy to critique right now but you have a tag error in the last paragraph, even though all the italicized song titles should be in quotes anyway

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins®

HenchmanOfSanta
April 16th 2011



1664 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0


Seriously, these albums that they're releasing are absolute crap. People are always talking about crap on the radio being better than this, but this IS the crap on the radio, despite a few exceptions.

Seriously, this is the saddest thing in music history ever since Lil Wayne got in the rap record deal.
You realize you gave this album a "good" rating, right?

RosaParks
April 16th 2011



14592 Comments


this album is so bad

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2011



7012 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good God I just realized how many reviews this album had. Wow Sputnik. But anyway, with regards to your review - to be honest I found it quite problematic. The following sentence (which I have quoted directly from your opening sentence) pretty much sums up my feelings about it:

Considering my low rating and the description title, there's a lot of Metallica fans that would both disagree and agree with me.

Wouldn't that be true for like, anything? There will always be people who agree and disagree with you - and therein lies the problem (sorta). Your review tries to pander to both sets of people - and probably even your two halves - ultimately creating a piece that is neither coherent with the rating and strongly polarized. It is also quite ranty and blogposty, and ends up reading like something you hammered out on a whim. It doesn't flow as much as it hops and skips along, which is unfortunate, because you hit on some really good ideas here.

Finally, chop off that "Recommended Tracks" bit. That's information that really should be within your review - and not sitting on the outside like some random outlier.

Won't neg, but yeah...this needs some serious reworking.

Digging: Pixies - Indie Cindy

iFghtffyrdmns
April 16th 2011



7047 Comments


in Irv you should trust. the review definitely reads like you think this album sucks... if that's the case, your rating should probably match that.

if not, you should include a little more of why this album is indeed "good", as you have rated it.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
April 16th 2011



48564 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I like it.

Digging: The Hotelier - Home, Like NoPlace Is There

ShinXetsu
April 16th 2011



605 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Won't neg, but yeah...this needs some serious reworking. [2]

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
April 16th 2011



48564 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

My Apocalypse fucking shreds.


ShinXetsu
April 16th 2011



605 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I actually dislike My Apocalypse, really sounds like they're trying to force their older spirit to come out especially after showing they can do it effortlessly with That Was Just Your Life and All Nightmare Long.

Acanthus
April 16th 2011



9511 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

[i]My Apocalypse[i]

Missing an / in the end bracket there.

You make some valid points, I especially agree with you about "Suicide & Redemption."

Digging: Ayria - Hearts for Bullets

Tyrael
April 16th 2011



20440 Comments


I love how everyone keeps pretending that Metallica is actually still relevant these days.

KILL
April 16th 2011



67177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

shut up

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2011



7012 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

OOOOOOO AK AK AK AK!!!

Oh wait wrong album.



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