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Death Magnetic

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  • I have been a Metallica hater since the black album.
    I grew up with Kill, Ride, Master, and Justice.
    Some of you have said my reviews of the black album, load, reload have been too harsh.
    Keep this in mind, Metallica were always seen as the “every man’s” band.
    Four guys in jeans and t shirts who were the guys you went to the bar and had a beer with.
    The original fans were thrilled by the success of “One”.
    But it appeared to all of us long timers that the little success of “One” went to their heads and with one album the band went from the “every man’s” band to the pompous rock star nonsense that Metallica had always stood against.
    They completely changed their sound, their attitude, they abandoned speed metal and started writing pop songs.
    As a fan of “old” Metallica I, along with countless others felt betrayed, insulted and genuinely hurt by Metallica’s new persona. How could this band of four guys in jeans and t shirts, who we put on top, turn their backs on us?
    Was it the pain of losing Cliff?
    Was it the money?
    The reason really doesn’t matter anymore. Fifteen years have passed since the black album and every album since the black album helped solidify my hatred of “new’ Metallica.
    The old Metallica I grew up with and loved was gone and never coming back.


    I usually give a band three strikes and their out. Three bad albums and I pretty much abandon the group.
    Metallica had four albums I detested.
    But wait…….
    Rick Rubin?
    Master of Puppets as a template?
    How could I not be curious?
    I bought the cd and was almost afraid to put it in the disc player.
    I was sure this would be yet another disappointment.
    Metallica trying to reclaim their glory days? Yeah right.
    Sometimes you can’t go home.

    I put the cd in and WHAM!!!
    Guitars? Crunchy and heavy.
    James and Kirk NAILED the sound this time.
    Drums? Not irritating like St. Anger. Lars was never the most technical drummer but he’s always been a solid player.
    The bass is still kind of hidden but that’s always been the case with Metallica.
    I don’t understand why people are complaining about the production. It rules.
    Everything sounds perfect.
    The mix is perfect, my only gripe is “The Judas Kiss” will NOT play for the first minute.
    I may have gotten a defective disc. Anyone else have this problem?
    Other than that the production is NOT an issue.

    As for the music itself, in a word brilliant.
    I like this better than even Justice.
    Metallica accomplished the impossible by going back to their roots while making the whole thing sound fresh and updated.
    I’ve already heard the haters saying James’ vocals are shot.
    I can’t disagree more.
    His voice sounds the best it ever has. Not as growly as the old stuff but it’s been a long time since he’s sung that style and he has grown up and so have I. If I want growly I’ll put in a Deicide disc.
    I was never a fan of James’ vocal style from the Black album to St. Anger but obviously it’s paid off, because the guy can actually sing in tune now.
    He sounds very impressive on Unforgiven III.

    Lars like I said, isn’t the most amazing drummer out there but his performance is solid.

    Rob is there in a few parts but he’s not out in front enough, but he still does a damn good job of holding the whole thing together.

    Solos, solos and more solos, Kirk for the most part abandons the bluesy approach for a full out shred attack. He proves once again why he is considered one of the greatest shredders of all time.
    How many shredders can inject so much feeling into a lead that’s going a thousand miles an hour?

    I’m not going to go into a song by song breakdown, everyone has their own opinion of what songs are good and what songs aren’t.
    I usually say which songs I don’t care for and on this disc, there really isn’t one bad track.
    I will say my favorites are My Apocalypse, All Nightmare, and the song that EVERYONE seems to be ripping, The Day That Never Comes.
    I hear people are saying, it’s just a poor version of Fade To Black.
    Here is the problem I have with people dogging the new album.
    You have the old fans like me who hated new Metallica.
    You have the new Metallica fans who hate the old stuff.
    Then you have the people who will hate them no matter what they do.
    And that really is the problem with this disc.
    It takes everything that was good about old Metallica and updates it with some of the new Metallica influences.
    So both crowds are going to feel alienated somewhat. Like Day That Never Comes, it follows the template of Sanitarium and Fade to Black but it sounds new and fresh at the same time.
    The entire album does.
    I read an article with Lars where he said he was tired of the world expecting Metallica to shoulder the entire heavy metal genre.
    I have to feel bad for Metallica in that regard, it must be pressure beyond belief to have everyone love or hate you no matter what you do.
    In the case of Death Magnetic, they did good. Very good.

    Metallica has pulled off the impossible by going back to their roots and updating their sound without sounding corny or dated.
    People are griping about the lyrics too, their just as good and just as dark as anything off Lightning or Puppets. Honestly people, is there no pleasing you?

    The other big four of thrash should be very afraid.
    Hell, I was very afraid Metallica would go the Testament route and turn into watered down death metal.
    Or the Megadeth route where it’s speed for the sake of speed without any emotion or any kind of memorable song structure.
    Or the Slayer route where the same album has been released for the last fifteen years.
    Aren’t they content on touring off their old stuff?
    Have they even released anything new?

    No folks, Metallica did it………AGAIN!!!
    They proved you can update your original sound without abandoning the core elements of what made you great the first time around. The dueling guitars, the smoking leads, memorable songs, harmony.
    Thrash was always a merger of beauty and brutality. The other bands in the big four seem to have forgotten this.
    Metallica has proved that thrash can be done in the old way but with new influences that don’t detract from the original vision.
    I call it thrash for grown ups.
    And in many ways this album reminds me a lot of Over Kill’s “I Hear Black” album.
    An album that was classy, mature and WAY ahead of it’s time.
    Metallica has redefined the metal genre with every release, sometimes good, sometimes bad.
    But damn if they haven’t pulled off the biggest upset of the last fifteen years.
    Completely redefining thrash yet again with a sound that is old and new combined.
    Mature, classic songs that are layer upon layer of awesome riff after awesome riff, epic and majestic.
    Metallica has proven that thrash is alive and well and if done right…..ahem Testament, Megadeth.
    Very much relevant in today’s world.

    Metallica’s original influences of Mercyful Fate, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden can be heard loud and clear along with the better parts of the newer stuff thrown in to make it fresh.
    Easily their best album since Justice.
    I would put it right behind Puppets and a little ahead of Justice.
    People are saying this album bridges Justice and the Black album.
    I have to disagree.
    It’s heavier and faster than Justice and a whole lot fresher, and it bears little resemblance to the Black album at all.
    I have heard other trash talkers saying bands like Otep who were influenced by Metallica have carried the metal torch to places Metallica could only dream.
    Dream on!!!
    Metallica has proven that they are capable of innovative, progressive, genre defining thrash that few if any other bands can replicate.

    Everyone, myself included said, they can never do another Master of Puppets.
    And we were right, that was twenty plus years ago.
    They were different guys then, they grew up.
    So did we.
    Sometimes you can’t go home.
    And after hearing Death Magnetic, I don’t want another Master of Puppets.
    I like this new Metallica who is progressive thrash at it’s finest.
    Metallica did it, and this is coming from a grumpy old man who has hated Metallica for years.
    They gave us not only the best metal album but the best thrash album in the last fifteen years.
    Metallica is back, a force to be reckoned with, hopefully never to be underestimated again.
    Ignore that haters.

    Now that I’ve lived with this disc, YES the production stinks.
    Still…….great disc but this whole “loudness wars” MUST end.

    Posted on January 22, 2010