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Metallica - Death Magnetic

Discussion in 'Metal Reviews' started by Bleakest Harvest, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. Bleakest Harvest

    Bleakest Harvest \m/Misanthropic Hippy\m/

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    Metallica - Death Magnetic
    12 September 2008
    By Paddy Walsh

    [​IMG]

    In what is possibly the musical surprise of 2008, Metallica bounce back from the career-flagellating shitheap that was '03's St. Anger. Death Magnetic is indeed much better that its predecessor - although I might as well be proclaiming Hitler to be a more compassionate dictator than Stalin for all that's worth - but it's actually their most consistent offering since The Black Album thrust them into the mainstream.

    Much has been made over Death Magnetic's apparent 'missing link' status between And Justice For All and The Black Album, and whilst it can't live up to such a summation creatively, it does contain a good deal of ...And Justice's lengthy composition style along with Black's general ear-friendliness. Most importantly though is that gone are St. Anger's out of tune vocals, Bob Rock's cack-handed 'raw' production, lack of solos, and it would appear that Lars is playing a drumkit again. Rick Rubin's involvement has led to a great deal of hype due to his being something of a specialist when it comes 'career corpse revival', most notably for Johnny Cash during his twilight years. Yet despite this, Death Magnetic is bemusingly imperfect production-wise; Lars's drums are, as usual, too high in the mix, and predictably that goddamned snare is treated like the lynchpin of the Metallica sound when in fact it's surplus to requirements. In fact, the drumming is the album's weakest aspect, as Lars turns in a woefully inept performance, struggling to keep up with his bandmates at times rapid delivery, and failing to produce a single interesting fill. Perhaps that's all part of the charm with these oldies though, although it's hard not imagine what a Lombardo or Bostaph would be capable of behind Metallica (see Testament's The Gathering for a possible, blistering answer).

    Anyway, the opening trio of 'That Was Just Your Life', 'The End of the Line', and 'Broken, Beat and Scarred' leave a welcome taste in the mouth, being mainly faithful modern takes on the classic Metallica template. 'The End of the Line' even has a touch of ...And Justice's penchant for myriad twists and turns. Hetfield gives a spirited and aggressive, if at times strained vocal performance, largely avoiding St. Anger's cringeworthy attempts at lyrical introspection. As he's been prone to doing for quite some time, he hams it up bigtime in the lyrical department, with silly adolescent ditties like "What Don't Kill Ya'll Make Ya More Strong!" and "Suicide! I've already died!" being difficult not to wince at. But hey, Metallica haven't sold all these millions of albums because of their bad poetry, but rather because of riffs n solos, and Death Magnetic has both in spades. Kirk Hammett has run amok on this album, possibly whilst giving the finger to Lars (see the Some Kind of Monster documentary and you wouldn't blame him). He peppers every available space with abundant fret-wankery, but his leads lack that subtle elegance of the band's 80s heyday, at times exhibiting an almost Kerry King-esque messiness.

    Cuts such as the aforementioned, as well as 'All Nightmare Long' (features a great sing along chorus) and 'My Apocalypse' (which oddly enough has a touch of Slayer about it) mark the points when Death Magnetic is firing on all cylinders and works best, because they sound like a band actually enjoying playing music again. It's when they try to overthink things that it all gets a little ropey however; 'The Day That Never Comes' clumsily attempts to weld together 'The Unforgiven' with the tail end of 'One' with middling results - the first half is pleasant enough, but when Hammett insists on losing the run of himself with cheesy Iron Maiden worship it all sounds a bit forced, and overall it's a disjointed affair. Meanwhile, 'The Unforgiven III' is fun, but not a patch on its two forebearers, whilst instrumental 'Suicide and Redemption' is certainly no 'Orion' and isn't interesting enough to stand alone sans vocals.

    If much of this review has come across a bit negative, then it's important to understand that as the sum of its parts Death Magnetic is a fun, headbangable album from a band most thought should have given up a decade ago. To be honest, it's hard not to listen to this without a goofy, shit-eating grin plastered across your face, which may just be due to a lingering nostalgia and a desperation for Metallica to be good again, but it's also because it's actually pretty enjoyable. It's not the best album this year from thrash's old guard, Testament and Death Angel can wipe the floor with Metallica in the thrash stakes these days, but it's at least worth a listen - and that's the most we can expect from Metallica in 2008.

    Official Metallica Website
    Official Metallica MySpace
    Official Warner Bros Website
     
  2. ShredHeadJHJ

    ShredHeadJHJ oh noes itz a opinionn

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    Two things

    1) They did not cut their hair & wear sunglasses on The Black Album. They did that 5/6-ish years later on Load.

    2 This album is not even comparable to Justice, nor is it a cross between Justice & Black. It's simply Metallica with one of their worst drum performances ever & the riffs use a lot of the same ideas taken from some earlier albums, only the new album has Kirk's worst solos. In other words they sort of tried to make it sound like their old stuff, but it sounds nothing like it.

    Sorry, but the constant comparrisons between their old work & new album is really irritating.


    Besides that, I think this is an almost perfect review. It's the best I've read yet of this album. On a whim I would most likely give the album a 65% & you don't sound too awful far from that.
     
  3. Frykill

    Frykill Member this.

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    James still had a crunching mullet in the studio when doing load/reload.
     
  4. Bleakest Harvest

    Bleakest Harvest \m/Misanthropic Hippy\m/

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    Okay okay, fixed ye pedantic bastards. :p
     
  5. Alteredmindeath

    Alteredmindeath Wasteland Survivor

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    Pretty damn good record, im suprised like many they still have it in them. I hope they can still make a few more decent records before their time is up for good. Definitely suprising album of the year award.
     
  6. BeyondtheUnholyGrave

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    I've been enjoying Magnetic as well. HUGE surprise.
     
  7. Dr.Malto

    Dr.Malto New Metal Member

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    james sounds like a damn 12 year old... its a complete disaster in the history of music...
     
  8. Alteredmindeath

    Alteredmindeath Wasteland Survivor

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    what a stupid senseless childish post. Death Magnetic speaks for itself, its crushing the world, its dominating charts all over the globe and its going strong.
     
  9. filthydani666

    filthydani666 New Metal Member

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    Maybe its not that good but the music got much better than st. anger, the only thing that is getting worse is james voice, i think it would be better if he left the band maybe they could make something decent that way
     
  10. ramses

    ramses Member

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    Well, so does Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, and 50 Cent. As a longtime metal fan, maybe I've been doing it wrong afterall. After 30 years, I'm missing the real crushing music....."off to the charts!"
     
  11. BloodSword

    BloodSword Member

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    Very pedestrian and middle of the road metal. Their best, imo, was "Master of Puppets". That's all I'll ever need from this band.
     
  12. Alteredmindeath

    Alteredmindeath Wasteland Survivor

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    this isn't pop music, its Metallica. Death Magnetic isn't about pop songs or radio hits like some of Load and reload. 8 minutes songs, bad production, 25 years of ups and downs. Succeeding alive you will have a massive fanbase of true fans, and even haters that still go out and buy the damn albums. The album is not perfect, but its enjoyable. I got fired up by some of the lyrics, riffs, and the overall energy with wisdom. I respect Hetfield as a guitarist, and DM is a healthy sign some of Metallica is still alive and breathing. As Hetfield said why waste your time on the negatives, instead try to find something you can actually connect with, if you can't than why even dwell around the area.
     
  13. Bleakest Harvest

    Bleakest Harvest \m/Misanthropic Hippy\m/

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    Actually I think his vocals are an improvement on DM over ST. Anger, on which he wailed out of key the whole time.
     
  14. EVILEDOM

    EVILEDOM THRASHR

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    death magnetic is fuckin' awesome!!! ok, maybe the drums are the worst ones lars ever played but the album is powerful, strong and full of energy. and the live performances were great too!

    best 'TallicA album since "black"... maybe justice....

    TOP
     
  15. ramses

    ramses Member

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    OOPS....contradicted yourself there, when you say they're not pop, and in the next sentence say Load/Reload were pop. I'm not a hater(and I never would buy an album I hated...that doesn't make sense!) of any band's success, even those nu-metal bands. I hate their style of music. It's not their fault, if they could find a few million people dumb enough (not calling you that, bear in mind) to think they're talented, or a good representation of metal. We all are going to differ slightly on what we think is good, or what we'll put up with from certain bands that say "we don't listen to fans, we do what we like", but then go back to an older sound, when they've been getting angry backlash for years.
    Even though I, as many, like their first 4, and don't like anything else they've done since, I at least, until now, respected that they were doing musically what they wanted, despite our bitching. I've always said, despite my loss of interest in Metallica, that they definitely deserve the adulation and praise when the Black Album sold well. Those first 4 albums will always be regarded highly in the metal society. Can't take that away from them.
     
  16. Alteredmindeath

    Alteredmindeath Wasteland Survivor

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    Load are Reload were not really pop, they were hard rock blues based albums which was hardly pop in the 90's. They were more aimed for a different feel in the 90's, they just wanted to get totally away from metal basically, and I can respect that as long as they don't turn their backs on metal(which is seemed like they did for awhile). Backlash or not, Metallica always did what they wanted, and never listened to fans requests and wants so they could of easily made another load or St anger. They have been getting shit since Ride the lightning, when people first heard Fade to black, fans back then were going nuts calling them sell outs, pussies, and fags.
     
  17. ramses

    ramses Member

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    I just skipped the Fade to Black song. I liked the song, but every time a certain old friend back in the day would come by, he'd keep playing that track over and over, until somebody would make him step away from the stereo. That's the only reason I got tired of it.
    My band covers Escape off that album. I would love to cover Shortest Straw instead.
     
  18. Lotus-Eater

    Lotus-Eater Worst New Comer

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    Your opinion sounds like it comes from a 9 year old.

    An obvious TROLL.


    Death Magnetic is definately NOT 1 of Metallicas BEST albums.

    But it IS definately better than their last 3 and maybe even four.

    I was fairly impressed with this album.

    After suffering through Load, Blow your Load and St. Anger, Death was a pleasant surprise.

    I'm happy to hear them go back to some of their original sound and style.

    Good job guys.
     
  19. Dr. Abner Mality

    Dr. Abner Mality Primary Scare Physician

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    I enjoyed the album. It doesn't touch their first three, but it is no embarassment. I wonder how different metal history would have been if this would have been the follow-up to "And Justice For All..":err:
     
  20. johnjm22

    johnjm22 Member

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    I tried to like this record, but I just couldn't do it.

    It's too bland, the riffs are uninspiring, the songs lack direction, and the vocal performance is probably one of JH's worst.

    It also sounds like there wasn't much thought put into the song writing process. It's like they just played whatever came to them, which in a way can be cool, but in this case they just weren't able to pull it off.

    The record sounds tired and old.

    I honestly liked Load and Reload better.
     

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