Death Magnetic



by BadgerX USER (1 Reviews)
September 12th, 2008 | 150 replies

Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Is it as good as Master of Puppets? Maybe, maybe not. Is it any good? It's great.

So Metallica have been bashed with every single stick imaginable by people. They've been hated for deviating into country influenced alternative rock in the 90s, and of course they've been loved by their legions of fans for the part they played in perfecting Thrash as we know it today. I have wondered however if it was the resurgence in Heavy Metal that resulted in them doing this or just the plain fact that they realised Heavy Metal is what they do best.

It destroys recent efforts by the now slightly defunct 'Big Four', counting in 'Christ Illusion' by Slayer, 'United Abominations by Megadeth and Anthrax's 'We've Come For You All', which were all more than commendable returns to form for those bands themselves, who realized like their famous colleagues have in Metallica, albeit a bit late, that Metal is where it's at. And where it always will be.

"Like a siren in my head that I was to repeat,
Like a blind man that was shoved into the speeding driver's seat,"

Beginning with a simple beating heart, which then fuses into an Among The Livingesque riff, with Rob Trujillo's bass thudding behind, 'That Was Just Your Life' snakes into a heavy crunch morphing slowly into an undeniably thrashy riff that harkens back to the Blackened and Battery days, just overcoming any resistance that comes through.

"Almost like your fight,
And there it went,
Almost like your life.

James Hetfield is at his furious best in this song, with guitar riffs as sharp as a precision needle creeping into your skull just doing exactly what the song set out to do, thrash away to glory. His riffs, combined with Kirk Hammett's lead work simply elevate this song onto a plateau where the likes of the previously mentioned Battery and Blackened sit, just destroying everything in view.

Sliding into "The End of The Line", with an intro riff taken from the New Song 'Death Is Not The End', this tune effortlessly moves into a groovey riff that can't stop my head from bopping. Hetfield is on form again with his vocal stylings and lyrics, and this song is monstrously amazing. Harmonies and all.

Kirk Hammett's wah laden solo threatens to derail this song a little bit, but he holds back his foot as much as he can, without sounding like a Jimi Hendrix ripoff on the pedal.

"Drop the hourglass of time
Spinning sand we will not find
As we gather here today
We bid farewell

The slave becomes the master "

With an extended clean interlude that continues to build up towards a climax with the main riff keeps coming back - akin to the fashion in which the riff from "...And Justice For All" insisting on that making repeated visits. A great song again apart from the over-reliance my Kirk Hammett on his wah, as per usual mind you.

"Broken, Beat & Scarred" continues the emphasis on groove and heaviness with a lead riff that is middle-eastern in it's heart, and really does wash over very well. James Hetfield's vocals really are superb once more, and he seems to have taken equal opportunities in focusing unwaveringly on nailing every nuance of his vocal melodies and guitar melodies for the songs so far. One of my favourites on the album, and one to really grow on a listener personally. Lyrics aren't the greatest but catchy as hell.

"You rise, you fall, you’re down then you rise again
What don’t kill you make you more strong

The next song is the single for the album, "The Day That Never Comes". Strangely similar to Fade to Black in melody, this song follows a familiar strucure and pattern seen in One, which to me are arguably Metallica's best ballads to date. An excellent song, one which I disliked initially, but on hearing the rest of the album, I found a new found appreciation for since it fits seamlessly with the flow of the album, acting almost as a leveler for the rest of the heaviness that has been witnessed so far. The vocals could've have been stronger, but it seems Hetfield had intended to accentuate his crooning qualities rather than his attitude and grit in this song. Lars Ulrich excels in his drumming on this song personally, albeit with the annoying clipping of his snare.

"God I’ll make them pay
Take it back one day
I’ll end this day
I'll splatter colour on this gray

Hetfield at his best.

"Love is a four letter word
And never spoken here
Love is a four letter word
Here in the prison

Hetfield at his worst. Four letters" Really"

Ah, now comes possibly Metallica's best song since god knows in 'All Nightmare Long'. Possibly the worst title for a song since 'Carpe Diem Baby', this song is more classic Metallica than the parody that was the above mentioned song. Throughout this song, I had a smile on my face, becuse words cannot describe how good this song is. It's relentless in it's progressive nature, moving from one riff to another, whilst Hetfield consistently repeats possibly the most catchy chorus I've heard in a while.

"Hunt you down without mercy
Hunt you down all nightmare long

Effin brilliant song, I love it.

After this comes "Cyanide", which is probably the least Metallica sounding track on the album. A good song, but very repetitive in it's structure. Once more a very catchy chorus, with a style of structure that harkens back to "King Nothing", which was one of the standout tracks on Metallica's "Load"". Doesn't quite stand out here though, but a good song nevertheless.

"The Unforgiven III" begins with something that would fit in perfectly on an Ennio Moriccone tribute cd. An intro which consists of an orchestrally layered melody that just screams 'Epic ballad coming up'. The solo is superb has Kirk Hammett lays off the wah a fair bit on this song until the 2nd section of the solo, which seems to fit more now fortunately.

"How can I be lost
If I've got nowhere to go"
Search for seas of gold
How come it's got so cold"
How can I be lost
In remembrance I relive
So how can I blame you
When it's me I can't forgive"

Nothing can probably match up to the song that started this trilogy, but this is an absolutely momentous song. It builds and builds, then drops, then builds again and just takes the listener on a joyride that you don't ever want to end - except when the next song begins.

"The Judas Kiss" picks up where "All Nightmare Long" left off and proceeds to pummel into submission. A frenzy of riffs, displaying the progressive influences and intricacies seen on "...And Justice For All", to the point that it reminds me of "The Frayed Ends of Sanity".

The guitar work once more is superb and so awesomely catchy, as is Hetfield's vocals. Lars' snare is one again a bit to loud, to the point that it might not be St.Anger-esque, but it's irritating. Regardless, I love this song. From the chorus of :-

"Bow down
Sell your soul to me
I will set you free
Pacify your demons

Bow down
Surrender unto me
Submit infectiously
Sanctify your demons

Into abyss
You don't exist
Cannot resist
The Judas kiss

- to the grooveyness of the verse riff, and the melodic break that takes place within the verse, this song just makes me smile a lot. Somebody needs to break Kirk Hammett's wah pedal mind you, especially since the rhythm guitar is a tad low in the mix during the guitar solos in this album.Despite that, this song is absolutely superb. The time changes and time signatures of the song are flawlessly smooth, and there's not a thing I can say bad about the actual song itself.

Following on from "The Judas Kiss" is the rather boring "Suicide & Redemption". Probably the only song I can't listen to completely, this song fails to reach the heights of this album, or classic instrumental done in the past like "Orion" or "The Call of Ktulu", this song borders on boring, primarily because it's so long. There's no real shift in atmosphere in this song, and despite some good soloing and a fairly catchy redneck riff that is the core of this song, it fails to do anything for me personally. A decent song, but not great.

The closer of this album is the 2nd single of the album, "My Apocalypse", which is a flat out thrash song. Going back to "Damage Inc." and "Dyer's Eve", Metallica keep it short and sweet by their standards. A high tempo song, concentrating on perfectly intoned lyrics by Hetfield, it's sixteenth based intro riff rips into a relatively breakneck verse riff with Hetfield taking over the reins to rope in a fair few doubters with this entertaining song, but again a tad repetitive at times. The repetition is redeemed by a blistering solo Hammett, and possibly his best on the album. An excellent way to close a satisfying album.

So far I've gushed, now what I don't I like about this album". The production really. The snare drum is too high in the mix, the rhythm tone is far too sharp, rather than concentrating on a crunch to complement the crisp lead tone that is exhibited by Hammett.

I haven't mentioned Rob Trujillo since the first song, why" Because whilst his influence on the band is evident, unless you turn the bass up and really concentrate, you cannot hear him at all, apart from the thudding when there is a snare break in any song. I know where to personally lay the blame for this.

In the words of James Hetfield :-

"When is the bass too loud""
"When you can hear it"

Musically to me, this album is very well done, the production however is left wanting. Rick Rubin needed to take a leaf out of the Black Album in terms of production, in the same way he told the band to hark back to their 80s songwriting.

However all in all, an absolutely superb to return to form, by one of my favourite bands of all time. More of the same please, chaps.

Recommended Tracks

That Was Just Your Life
The End of The Line
Broken, Beat & Scarred
All Nightmare Long
The Unforgiven III
The Judas Kiss

user ratings (4765)
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Dave de Sylvia STAFF (3.5)
    A fine album from a heavy metal juggernaut that might just be kicking back into gear....

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

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

    Beauville88 (4)
    After being largely irrelevant for the past decade, Metallica returns with their best orig...

  • kabster (3)
    A somewhat convincing return from a band that many had long since written off....

    Drsmith4 (3)
    A successful rebound effort from a band seemingly doomed to dwell forever in the realm of ...

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

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

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

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

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

    TF141Soldier (3)
    The band's best album ever since ...And Justice For All....

  • Dishpan (4.5)
    They are well and truly back....

    mark1991 (2.5)
    Not the final nail in the band's coffin...That comes later...

    skeletorissatan (2.5)
    An album that never strives to go anywhere and feels too mixed...

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

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

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

    matthew36 (4)
    Back in the fold again....

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

  • MetallicaRTL7214 (3.5)

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

Comments:Add a Comment 
September 12th 2008


Love is a four letter word!!!

Suicide I've already died!!!

Great review!

September 12th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

I was torn between a 4 and a 4.5, but eventually settled on a 4.5.

I went for a 4 initially because of

a) Below par production

b) Lack of bass, though again, due to below par production

c) Kirk Hammett's excessive use of the wah.

But yes, the one word that kept coming back to me when listening to this album was 'superb'.

Vote for the review if ya like it, it's my first ever.This Message Edited On 09.12.08

September 12th 2008


^^ I agree with A and C but i hear the Bass fine, maybe its the subwoofer eh :

September 12th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

the only thing i disagreed with you on your review was the fact that you didnt like Suicide and Redemption, but other than that nice review. Rather fun read if I do say so myself.

September 12th 2008


Album Rating: 3.5

i wouldn't say this "destroys" christ illusion, but its definitely great

September 12th 2008


Album Rating: 3.5

kirk Hammett has always overdone wah... i think he's just living down with it as his "signature sound"

September 12th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

Maybe, but I'd like a bit of a toning down of his signature sound.

Rate the review if you like, plsthnxbai.

September 12th 2008


Good review dude! A tad long but it was fun to read and covered all bases none the less.

I was very skeptical about this album but since I got the "early release" las week I pretty much haven't listened to much else. It was so much to digest at first listen, but you pick up more and more on it and realize that when you thought the songs seemed choppy at first, they have an awesome dynamic and flow very nicely. It's diverse. This album to me has some serious staying power. It's the Metallica of yore, but it sounds fresh.

This Message Edited On 09.12.08

September 12th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

Suicide and Redemption > Broken, Beat & Scarred 10 times over.

Middle clean part in S&R gave me goosebumps like middle clean part in Orion.

September 12th 2008


that's an album about which I don't believe anything anyone tries to tell me until I've heard it myself. No matter what it actually sounds like, it will polarise.
just a little note: they haven't been hated for "deviating into country influenced alternative rock in the 90s", but because their albums lost the original quality. There are surely fanboys who react upon every little change within a band's style with anger, but I'm sure most people do not dislike what Metallica have done after "...And Justice for All" because they changed their style, but because their music just wasn't as good anymore.
surprisingly I do not feel any urge to get this one immediately. I will sooner or later, but my expectations will stay rather low anyway, no matter how many 5 stars reviews it'll get.

September 12th 2008


Good review.No point in me writing one now though,there's two great reviews by guys who share my exact views on it.Oh well,let's just enjoy DM for what it is-a great album and definitely a return to form for the boys!

September 12th 2008


Take out the underlining and use italics instead.

September 12th 2008


Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, I really like The Day That Never Comes, reminds me of The Call of Ktulu and Fade To Black alot.

September 12th 2008


Album Rating: 3.5

dang! i really cant wait to get this now!!!!! i live in the caribbean so i gotta wait till my copy i ordered comes in tuesday =( at least it seems itll be worth the wait! dont agree with the a7x diss tho! city of evil and wakin the fallen are amazin albums!!!

September 12th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review Badger.

btw, I was whoundering...cna I shats wath you?


September 12th 2008


At a point where there's bands that pose as metal bands including Avenged Sevenfold, who insist on torturing people with Backstreet Boys influenced tunes
stopped reading here


September 12th 2008


this cd sucks

Digging: Comeback Kid - Outsider

September 12th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

Avenged Sevenfold are pathetic. They're more pop than metal, especially with some of the topics they cover and their style of melody.

September 12th 2008


Avenged Sevenfold are pathetic. They're more pop than metal, especially with some of the topics they cover and their style of melody.
who fucking cares how poppy they are? i mean i don't really like some of their stuff but it's not because it's poppy, it's because it's mediocre metal. they have some awesome stuff too, and it has nothing to do with how poppy they are. some metal bands are poppier than others maybe?

September 12th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

Different strokes for different folks.

I don't like them for a variety of reasons, one of which you pointed out.

Pop overtones, drummer seems to be more interested in twirling his drumsticks in music videos than playing drums, they dress like absolute fools, and of course, they're not just mediocre, they're rubbish.

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