Review Summary: They are well and truly back.
They are well and truly back, fresh with a new permanent bassist, an recuperated vocalist and a lead guitarist with a full head of steam after being famously verboten of guitar solos in that farcical rubbish called St. Anger. They have, however, successfully removed the burden of St. Anger with this album. This the ninth studio album, is to me the best album of all, even better than the classics that never get old. Some may even call this album Kirk's revenge as we hear him play his numerous solos in a euphoric fury never heard in years. Another avenue of this album I highly appreciated was the revitalization of Lars' thunderous double bass. Metallica have slowly worked their way back into that 80s trash metal that we're certainly used to hearing.
I believe that Metallica are finally acting like they are enjoying being one of the greatest rock bands ever. They are older, wiser and more experienced. This to me has a significant advantage and although Trujillo is new to the band, he is part of a family that has enjoyed worldwide success for a whole generation. They certainly aren't over, at least in my books. It's amazing how this album goes for almost 75 minutes and yet only has 10 songs. All of the songs span more than 5 minutes and most of them go for over 7 minutes. All the songs either are at a fast tempo or build up to a fast tempo. The fitness of the guys, who are reaching 50, is incredible. It was also pleasing to hear the instrumental back again after 20 long years. Suicide & Redemption, which clocks at 10 minutes. As is the Metallica tradition, the instrumental is long and is towards the end of the album.
Many say that the band screwed up with The Unforgiven III. Yes it doesn't exactly match the guidelines of I and II but, nevertheless, it is a beautiful piece or ballad in itself and it most definitely can be forgiven. Whether it's the catchy beginning of Broken, Beat & Scarred, the spectacular lead single The Day That Never Comes, the fast paced All Nightmare Long, the third installment of a fascinating trilogy, The Unforgiven III or the lengthy but creative instrumental, Suicide & Redemption, this album's got it all. This album has put Metallica right back up to the top of the metal tree, where they should remain. You must buy it.
Personnel: James Hetfield - Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Kirk Hammett - Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals
Robert Trujillo - Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals
Lars Ulrich - Drums/Percussion