Death Magnetic



by pogostick1 USER (10 Reviews)
September 16th, 2008 | 20 replies

Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: There is life in the old dogs yet. But how much is yet to be determined...

‘The game’s over, Metallica won’ reads a quote on an advertisement for Death Magnetic. It’s just not true though. If the game could ever be over, it would have been finished back in 1986 (Master of Puppets). And while this album is not as good as that classic (nor should we expect it to be), it still sounds relatively exciting for the most part, although there are definitely some flaws in it.

The first track, ‘That Was Just Your Life’ is brilliant, an old-school burst of true Metallica thrash. Exit St. Anger, enter Death Magnetic. They mean no nonsense on this track, and Hetfield’s vocals are reminiscent of Metallica’s older work, notably ‘Blackened’. It’s the album that ‘Blackened’ came from; ‘…And Justice For All’ which this album sounds most like. The guitar solos which St. Anger was devoid of have returned in all their glory here. The album closer, ‘My Apocalypse’ is similar in style also, another powerful thrash track to bookend the album, but it is not quite as strong as the first. The former track is one of the best on the album. The other two standout tracks are ‘Broken, Beat & Scarred’ and ‘All Nightmare Long’. The first of these is one of the heavier tracks, pounding the senses with jabbing guitars and rumbling bass. ‘All Nightmare Long’ has trotting, machine gun style guitars, and sounds like it belongs on what has become known as the Black Album.

The single, ‘The Day that Never Comes’ is reminiscent of ‘One’. It has a slower, more melancholy pace towards the beginning, but a good speed change partway through also keeps things fresher. That they have chosen it as a single is no surprise, although no track on the album is obvious single material, just that this track the most likely candidate. That or ‘Cyanide’. And herein is where the problem starts to appear. For all the crunch of the first few tracks, this could have off of St. Anger. I actually quite liked St. Anger as an album, (and for that matter, Load and Reload, though of course, they are not as good as their older stuff), but here it sounds out of place. This is a step away from the metal and into hard rock; the song itself is not awful but it does not fit with the album.

The song lengths are also a problem, (averaging between seven and eight minutes a track) and are certainly a barrier to entry for any potential new Metallica fans (though they probably do not care one iota about this). Whilst most of their best songs are around the eight minute mark, they feel natural and expansive, whereas some of the tracks here feel a little repetitive and slightly uninspired. Which is more than can be said for Hefield’s terrible lyrics. Metallica never were the most poignant with a pen but here, some of them are truly awful. On ‘My Apocalypse’ Hetfield cries out ‘Crushing metal, ripping skin / tossing body mannequin / spilling blood, bleeding gas’; almost as if with the thrashy style, and the ‘gory’ lyrics, they are trying (and failing) to emulate Slayer’s ‘Angel of Death’. The instrumental ‘Suicide and Redemption’ lacks the feeling of the previous one on Master of Puppets - ‘Orion’.

All in all, the album is listenable, but a disappointment. Only really on the conquering ‘All Nightmare Long’ and ‘That Was Just Your Life’ do they really fly.

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user ratings (4776)
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...

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

    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....

    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 16th 2008


jesus christ, someone give it a 5 or 1 already

September 16th 2008


Album Rating: 3.5

A legendary metal band like Metallica will always attract extrems

fan boy & "bash" boy.


IMHO Superb album

September 16th 2008


every review of this says the exact same damn thing

September 16th 2008


I could write a review saying
"Metallica has returned to the turnpipe with an array of left turns and right turns and up turns, but in the end, they only achieve platypus"

It would be different, but it wouldn't make any sense...
Just let everyone who wants to get their opinion in get their opinion in... everyone knew that an influx of DM reviews was going to happen.

Lastly, to Mr. reviewer guydude, you talk about the album, but you don't really describe it.

September 16th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

There must be someone who doesnt like this that could write a review. Just to even things out.

September 16th 2008


"Metallica has returned to the turnpipe with an array of left turns and right turns and up turns, but in the end, they only achieve platypus"

It's like madlib!

September 16th 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

too many reviews for this IMO, but looks good and I'll be buying it next week.

September 20th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

Terrible review. You seemed to forget The Judas Kiss and The Unforgiven III like they weren't even on the album.

September 20th 2008


he doesnt have to talk about every song on the album

September 20th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

Not even mention them? What a load of bollocks. Especially considering how good The Judas Kiss is.

September 20th 2008


Album Rating: 3.5

aint it bullocks

September 20th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0


September 20th 2008


So I am going to review this without listening to it, should be different.

September 20th 2008


Just read the other reviews and write it in your own words.

that is what I would do.

September 20th 2008


I could, but I don't want to. It would just get deleted

September 20th 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

[b]‘All Nightmare Long’[b]

Your coding is showing.

September 27th 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

the album has grown on me a little, i quite like Unforgiven III but judas kiss is really weak in my opinion,

just sounds like metallica would sound like if i was imagining a metallica song that had no defining features.

September 27th 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

a metallica song that had no defining features.

Yeah, like 70% of them.

September 27th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

It's Metallica. Almost every person that has some sense of music has heard that name. No matter if their new stuff is amazing, decent, or just fucking terrible. They deserve some respect, and this album has just raised that amount for me.

September 27th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

good album

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