Metallica
Death Magnetic


2.5
average

Review

by mark sammut USER (37 Reviews)
September 7th, 2012 | 58 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not the final nail in the band's coffin...That comes later

We’ve waited patiently for long enough! 17 years had passed since the release of Metallica, the last highly acclaimed album by the metal gods of the same name. 17 years later and all the worshipping but by now pessimistic followers could only pray that their heroes could still muster some form of quality and start their path back towards redemption.

Whenever a promotion for any new album centers around a promised return to some previous form, then it’s a safe bet that the artist is generally past it. If they have to state that the album will be good, then it’s pretty clear that they haven’t been able to deliver that said quality in any recent time. So as the hype started to build for Metallica’s 9th studio album, curiously titled Death Magnetic, hope started to rise as people started to believe that Metallica could finally put behind them St. Anger and the band’s ‘rock’ era. Rick Rubin was brought in to replace Bob Rock, and some new songs premiered live (although neither would feature completely on the album).

So the question has been asked, does Death Magnetic shock Metallica’s dwindling studio career back to life? Well sort of.
It is a return to the bands heyday as promised, with a majority of the songs following the structure and often mimicking compositions of their earlier successes. The opening melancholy introduction to ‘That Was Just Your Life’ is reminiscence of ‘Battery’ and ‘Fight Fire with Fire’, and like the previous two tracks, the song eventually explodes into some fast riffs and aggressive vocals. Hammett puts everyone’s mind at ease, with a good workmanlike solo and Ulrich reminds us once again why St. Anger is the monstrosity that it is by using the exact same drum style and sound that made the metal world shed a tear 5 years ago.

Actually most of what was so horribly wrong with the previous release is still present here. The majority of the songs are still way too long, with the finale ‘My Apocalypse’ being the only track under 6 minutes long, and the horror production show that annihilated any hope of any enjoyment with St. Anger is still present. Hetfield continues to attempt to growl, and the lyrics remain pedestrian at best. Most of the album centers around death and suicide, two topics that depend on a capable songwriter to bring some authenticity to whatever is being mumbled out. Metallica used to be able to write competent lyrics, with the occasional moment of inspiration;

‘Take a look to the sky just before you die, it’s the last time you will’

But Death Magnetic’s lyrics read like a guide on how-to-not make any sense whatsoever. Hetfield ‘sings’ at one point ‘Suicide, I’ve already died’, a crude metaphor for any songwriting ability that might have been present 15 years ago. Any writing talent is long gone, and every new verse is just another shot in the head.

BUT at times the album does manage to overcome its many pitfalls, as some songs seem genuinely well composed. ‘The Judas Kiss’ serves almost as a compilation of every sound Metallica has ever attempted, combining the mid-tempo sound incorporated on Load with the aggressiveness of something like ‘Leper Messiah’. ‘End of the Line’ has a surprisingly fun main riff and some surprisingly decent vocals by Hetfield, and ‘The Unforgiven III’ brings the trilogy to a close on a high note with a beautiful piano intro, a solo that is built up to and unleashed effectively and good use of a few tempo changes to keep the listener guessing. The lyrics try to connect the dots to the previous hits, by focusing on lose and depression, but the verses and chorus are both much weaker than either of the track’s forefathers.

‘All Nightmare Long’ is the best metal song the band has written since ‘Dyers Eve’, and ‘The Day that Never Comes’ serves as a modern day ‘One’ or ‘Fade to Black’, just without any of the emotion of the previously mentioned tracks. Still instrumentally it’s well manufactured. ‘Cyanide’ could have fit in well on any of the band’s 90s albums, and also has the only true moment of lyrical bliss, compared to the rest of the writing;

‘An air of freshly broken ground
A concrete angel lit right down
Upon the grave which swallows fast,
It's peace at last, hey, peace at last!’

Death Magnetic is a calculated response to the criticism the band has faced in their recent years. The songs don’t try to be anything more than shells of their better versions, and even though individually the majority of the tracks are worth listening too at least a few times, some might find it hard to shed the feeling that this is not an album the band was to invested in. Death Magnetic is an album for the fans, to nourish their hunger and nurse their wounds, until the day comes when Metallica release something once again noteworthy and truly recapture their former glory. Hopefully a day will come when describing a new Metallica song as ‘Decent’ is not considered a compliment.



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user ratings (3920)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
CaptainDooRight
September 7th 2012


29891 Comments


finally an album riff will like

Digging: Impetuous Ritual - Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence

ViperAces
September 7th 2012


12466 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Yep. THRASH IS ALIVE

Darkvoid67
September 7th 2012


383 Comments


so needed another review...oh wait

Emim
September 7th 2012


26646 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

terrible album

CaptainDooRight
September 7th 2012


29891 Comments


2.5 = terrible?

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 7th 2012


19918 Comments


I don't think it's that bad.

Digging: Transit - Joyride

CaptainDooRight
September 7th 2012


29891 Comments


a song called "all nightmare long"?

yea i think its pretty bad

but really i actually had this on dvd back in the days because it came with some magazine i bought and it was lol terrible

ViperAces
September 7th 2012


12466 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

The production here is really bad.

TheLast7thVermicide
September 7th 2012


186 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The problem here is basiclly the James vocals.

XingKing
September 7th 2012


10850 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"by focusing on lose and depression,"
loss

Solid review. I absolutely agree with the last sentence of your review.

DominionMM1
September 7th 2012


10100 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

this might be as bad as st anger

KILL
September 7th 2012


71957 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

no

Digging: Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out

CaptainDooRight
September 7th 2012


29891 Comments


5 it kill, rosa will be happy

KILL
September 7th 2012


71957 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i could yea

zaruyache
September 7th 2012


6866 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

since the release of Metallica, the last highly acclaimed album by the metal gods of the same name.

Ahahaha, no. Album was sellout MTV trash and got relatively little acclaim, most probably being from MTV cronies, since the thrash fans were busy out committing Seppuku.

Digging: Ardour Loom - Demo

Irving
Staff Reviewer
September 7th 2012


7311 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

WAITING FOR THE OOOONNNEEEEEE

KILL
September 7th 2012


71957 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

fade to black lite agreed

kwill15
September 7th 2012


134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

All Nightmare Long is my second favorite Metallica song. Cyanide is crap though.

KILL
September 7th 2012


71957 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

you gota be kiddin me

kwill15
September 7th 2012


134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

no, seriously, i'm not even joking. anyone else have any problems with that? :P



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