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Metallica - Death Magnetic Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 7.25
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 6.75
Production 8.25
Creativity 8.5
Lasting Value 9.25
Reviewer Tilt 9.25
Final Verdict: 83%
Member Ratings
Vocals 6.96
Musicianship 7.7
Lyrics 6.2
Production 6.79
Creativity 6.71
Lasting Value 7.13
Reviewer Tilt 6.72
Average: 69%
Inside AP.net

Metallica - Death Magnetic

Reviewed by: Chris Fallon (09/12/08)
Metallica - Death Magnetic
Record Label: Warner Bros.
Release Date: September 12, 2008


Anytime you see a band that used to be nicknamed "Alcoholica" -- due to their excessive consumption of booze -- crying and going through a group therapy session in a documentary ... your perspective on them is going to change quite a bit. Imagine Slipknot or Mudvayne ten years down the road, holding a throw pillow and wiping tears away from underneath their rubber masks. Are you going to be nearly as intimidated when you listen to their double-bass drum gallops and rough-necked vocal growls? Even Dr. Phil would seem more frightening ... well, more than he already is.

After a progressive downslide after their 1991 eponymous breakthrough, San Francisco metal icons Metallica went through Southern-rock-influenced back-to-back releases (Load & Reload), a two-disc collection of covers (Garage, Inc.), a battle with internet pirates (Napster) and a duet with a symphony (S&M) before pathetically trying to "go back to their roots" with 2003's tragic St. Anger, which had some good ideas executed terribly ("Frantic"; "Some Kind of Monster"). Blame it on ex-bassist Jason Newsted's departure or blame it on longtime producer Bob Rock -- hell, even blame the band themselves for internal problems which led to the aforementioned documentary. The point is, St. Anger will long be remembered for it's empty-headed aggression and undoing everything Metallica had come to be during their (at that point) nearly 25 year career.

Once the band regrouped and recruited former Suicidal Tendencies/Ozzy Osbourne bass player Robert Trujillo, they took some time off to focus on writing a new record, a cohesive album much like their older works (Kill 'Em All through ...And Justice For All). Celebrated producer Rick Rubin was brought aboard and told the band to "make Master of Puppets part 2," which in itself is an improbable feat. You wouldn't ask The Who to make Quadrophenia again -- because it's simply not the same band writing it. Thankfully for Metallica, they've come about as close as possible.

Death Magnetic is a truly surprising album, revisiting their technical Justice days and mainstream Black days, balancing between accessible and aggression. The first chord of "That Was Just Your Life" reminds one of the band's first MTV hit, "One," before ripping into your typical Metallica blast of sonic energy. The band takes its sweet time to build on rhythms, with guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Trujillo taking the reigns over James Hetfield's fading growl and Lars Ulrich's rather lazy drumming (which still doesn't sound quite right production-wise). With ten songs adding up to 74 minutes (the shortest track is five minutes), it makes for a plethora of musical arrangements -- and to be honest, it's refreshing to hear such enormous riffs, long jams and broken structures (no verse/chorus/verse arrangements here).

Ten minute "Suicide & Redemption" is a slow burning juggernaut; "All Nightmare Long" is a rip-roaring cavalcade of swirling guitars and double-bass tidal waves; "Broken, Beaten & Scarred" is easily one of the most jam-happy rubber-burning cuts the band has recorded in years; first single "The Day That Never Came" is one of the weaker numbers here, but a very good indication of what the band has prepared here. Simply enough, there is hardly a weak song in the bunch -- "The Unforgiven III" seems a bit unnecessary though -- and while the lyrical topic of death is somewhat vague at times, what's on display here is not Hetfield's way with words. It's simply going to be a riot to see how these fathers and husbands play these barn-burners live on stage (Hammett especially).

"Dr. Phillica" is no more -- the icons have passed their midlife crisis and gotten their groove back (much like Stella), eager to regain some of the fans who left them after the Black Album backlash they received in 1991. While it's not exactly perfect, it's good enough to call a return to form, easily the band's all-around best since 1988.

If anyone can kickstart the metal genre back to where it belongs, it has to be the thrash metal godfathers (no, not grandfathers) -- love 'em or hate 'em ... or kill 'em all (I couldn't resist).

Recommended if You LikeMetallica (pre-Black Album). They're pretty much in a league all their own.
Choice Cuts"All Nightmare Long," "Broken, Beat & Scarred" and "The End of the Line"


Track Listing1. That Was Just Your Life
2. The End of the Line
3. Broken, Beat & Scarred
4. The Day That Never Comes
5. All Nightmare Long
6. Cyanide
7. The Unforgiven III
8. The Judas Kiss
9. Suicide & Redemption
10. My Apocalypse
Band MembersJames Hetfield: lead vocals/rhythm guitar
Kirk Hammett: lead guitar/backing vocals
Robert Trujillo: bass/backing vocals
Lars Ulrich: drums/percussion


Online VitalsOfficial Site | Official Myspace
PurchaseAmazon Mp3
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 151
12:21 AM on 09/12/08
#2
Drew Beringer
Senior Editor - @drewberinger - Locked Groove
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great review Chris! I really dig this album.
12:24 AM on 09/12/08
#3
abusedcat
Long Gone Before Daylight
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Such a comeback.
12:45 AM on 09/12/08
#4
WarpSpeedChewy
You know Elvis had a twin brother?
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Great review. I'm glad to see them come back.
01:07 AM on 09/12/08
#5
Plus155
Keep it Crispy
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Very fair review.

Great album, hope it gets rid of some of those haters
01:15 AM on 09/12/08
#6
Özgür Kurtoglu
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Welcome home, Metallica. Getting this today, without a doubt.
01:19 AM on 09/12/08
#7
mrogerslives
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Not quite harsh enough, and lets not forget about the giant bomb before this piece of shit St. Anger. Arent Metallica fans like 35 now? There is better metal, this reminds me of the spice girls reunion last year.
01:23 AM on 09/12/08
#8
Özgür Kurtoglu
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Not quite harsh enough, and lets not forget about the giant bomb before this piece of shit St. Anger. Arent Metallica fans like 35 now? There is better metal, this reminds me of the spice girls reunion last year.

There are as many better bands out there as there are grains of sand on a beach. There will always be someone who does something better than than you or your band, so that argument probably doesn't mean anything to alot of people. Metallica-fans will probably buy this and Death Magnetic will most likely debut at #1 virtually everywhere.
01:58 AM on 09/12/08
#9
two_days_slow
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I for one, thought the cd is absolutely what I wanted. It sounds raw, hits hard, and the songs are long long loooonnnnnggggg.
02:09 AM on 09/12/08
Chris Fallon
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Not quite harsh enough, and lets not forget about the giant bomb before this piece of shit St. Anger. Arent Metallica fans like 35 now? There is better metal, this reminds me of the spice girls reunion last year.
Did you not read the review? I think I was harsh enough - but being a Metallica fan, why would I completely rip them when they've come back in such a big way?

I don't see how age matters when it comes to a band's fans. Metallica reaches out to old and new fans alike - are you going to say only 60 year olds enjoy the Stones then? Name me some better metal - all the bands influenced by Metallica will gladly tell you they pale to them. Metal is a boring genre these days - it's good to see something that isn't repetitive come out of the genre.
02:12 AM on 09/12/08
EchoPark
promesas son sombras
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Another well thought out and well written review by Mr.Fallon,hats off to you.

And I couldn't agree more, this album has brought back in me the feelings I had when listening to ...And Justic For All and Black Album when I was 13 and 14. I sort of stuck by them through the Load/Reload stuff but St.Anger was the straw.

Great to hear them back to what they do best. This is a killer album.
02:12 AM on 09/12/08
Özgür Kurtoglu
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Did you not read the review? I think I was harsh enough - but being a Metallica fan, why would I completely rip them when they've come back in such a big way?

I don't see how age matters when it comes to a band's fans. Metallica reaches out to old and new fans alike - are you going to say only 60 year olds enjoy the Stones then? Name me some better metal - all the bands influenced by Metallica will gladly tell you they pale to them. Metal is a boring genre these days - it's good to see something that isn't repetitive come out of the genre.

Mastodon is one who in my eyes are better at the moment than Metallica are, but they'll never agree with me on that, obviously. But you're right about metal being kind of boring these days. Save for Mastodon, The Dillinger Escape Plan (who are still closer to hardcore than metal..) and Between The Buried and Me nothing really interests me anymore.
02:26 AM on 09/12/08
Hamlet
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This band still exists?
02:29 AM on 09/12/08
Özgür Kurtoglu
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This band still exists?

No. This is referring to another band called Metallica.
02:46 AM on 09/12/08
Chris Fallon
Boom.
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Another well thought out and well written review by Mr.Fallon,hats off to you.

And I couldn't agree more, this album has brought back in me the feelings I had when listening to ...And Justic For All and Black Album when I was 13 and 14. I sort of stuck by them through the Load/Reload stuff but St.Anger was the straw.

Great to hear them back to what they do best. This is a killer album.
Thank you -- and I'm with ya. Until St. Anger, I continued to stick by them ... I don't even think Load is too bad a record. Good to know they realized how much they needed to hit one outta the ballpark.

Mastodon is one who in my eyes are better at the moment than Metallica are, but they'll never agree with me on that, obviously. But you're right about metal being kind of boring these days. Save for Mastodon, The Dillinger Escape Plan (who are still closer to hardcore than metal..) and Between The Buried and Me nothing really interests me anymore.
I agree with you a lot, man - we share the same viewpoints most of the time.

All three of the bands you name are directly influenced by Metallica in one way or another (although DEP is a bit more progressive). They do different kinds of metal, really - not as cookie-cutter, not as redundant, not as messy.
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