Monday, September 15, 2008

Metallica-Death Magnetic

Photobucket
Warner Brothers
2008

So Metallica return with their first album in over five years and expectations have been raised due to Rick Rubin's involvement plus various promises and predictions that they would go back to a heavier style this time around. Despite their album sales over the last say 17 years there are still plenty those fans yearning for the band to go back to being a metal act once more. So the whole things starts with a heartbeat before launching into the opener "That was just your life". This is a choppy, punchy kind of middle-weight track very much reminiscent of "And justice for all" material although you can hear the bass and it doesn't drag as was the problem with muc of that album. "The end of the line" comes up second and again this offering is also similar to "And justice for all" in style. It's a bit more deliberate and takes some time to build up the momentum yet the structure is tight and they maneuver through it fairly well. "Broken, beat and scarred" sounds a good bit along the lines of the previous two tracks, but with sharper turns and they stretch out their wings a bit more as you can feel the comfort level from them growing a little here. By this point in the album we have heard more metal crunch in these three songs then we have from any Metallica album in some time. "The day that never comes" trickles out slow and light and my first thoughts were "Black Album". However after a few minutes I realized it was actually quite a bit more like "One" in the pace changes yet obviously it wasn't as surprising or interesting although we get a big burst of solos well into the track. Not quite as solid as the previous tracks yet in the long run it does work as a decent change of pace at this point in the album. Then we come as big of a knockout punch as this album delivers in "All nightmare long". It is not only the heaviest song here but also maybe the most original track on this album for what that's worth. While the previous songs all sound directly like something Metallica has already done, this song has them taking the sound they created and running crazy with it. If the album had ended there then we might be talking about a return to form and length-wise they maybe could have stopped as it's about 40 minutes in already. "Cyanide" comes on with a large and simple twisting-riff and although heavy enough it just meanders around way too much and we get the first filler track of the album. Was anyone excited when they heard that "The Unforgiven 3" was going to be included of this disc? I kind of doubt it and although they try had to handle in a way that's respectful and not too gaudy it just comes across as being more than a little pointless. It's okay with a fairly tempered sound yet a sequel song in principle tends to be limited and we get a track that's slightly warmed over at best. "The Judas Kiss" initially starts to pump on with a fairly promising riff although the drums sound a little bland. This song does a lot of restrained rolling around for a few tenuous moments, but at times they shoot out a little and more than anything they keep the fire burning enough to maintain my interest. It's not as strong as the first half of the album because it stays a tad too tied down for me. Still it keeps the ship afloat as the two previous tracks were starting to pull the mood down. "Suicide and redemption" is a swirling instrumental that sounds like a jam that includs parts that could have been used to make the basis for a few songs. The problem is here the parts are just a bit too disjointed for it to really flow. It just seems a bit too much like someone said "hey, we used to do instrumentals so let's do one here, but we'll keep it loose so it won't sound too planned out". It's alright, but on an album this length I think the overall feel of the album would have been better had they saved it for another time. The closer "My apocalypse" is a galloping cruncher that churns and chugs on it's course. The guitar sound here seems a little less heavy than on the earlier tracks for some reason. Still it's a very concise pounding style that succeeds in ending the album on a high note. So a complete return to form it is not. I am still scratching my head as it seems like most of Metallica's career has been about moving ahead and doing what they wanted (that doesn't mean it was always good). Yet now they suddenly feel the need to really borrow from their past on the majority of this album. Do they really care that a number of fans think they should sound like they did in the 1980's? I doubt it yet much of the material here tries to reach back in time and recapture some of those moments. It is a metal album which makes it the first one for them since 1988 and it's actually overall a decent album that might continue to grow on me even more. Still those fans still standing around in their faded "Master of puppets" shirts, wringing their hands and waiting for a total return to form might have to wait even longer, but I wouldn't hold my breath for it.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Sean said...

I've given this a few spins. I don't like it. No shock, eh? I hate everything!

Lars' drumming hasn't improved since 1983. Hammett's soloing seems off the cuff. I despise Hetfield's vocals-ah and have-ah since AJFA-ah.

4:03 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Sean-If you get vomit in your throat from hearing Master of puppet then no I am not surprised that you don't like the new album. I like Lars as a drummer alright. Some parts were a little stiff on the new album though. Hammett's solos were off the cuff and some worked and some were overdone. I like Hetfield's vocals, but he sounded a little tired on a few songs here.

4:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait till November to see Metallica in concert again! The Death Magnetic CD is sickly AWESOME! I have seen them 3 times previous (they don't always make it up here to Portland)...It sucked cause tickets sold out in minutes and when I got to the checkout to buy them I hit refresh cause it started at like 2 mins then went to 11 mins in wait time, etc...Anyways I missed out on them but got them from that tickets for face value site eSellOut anyways: http://www.esellout.com/ResultsGeneral.aspx?kwds=Metallica ~ if anyone else needs tickets for the Rose Garden here in Portland (or I guess anywhere else for that matter) the site ROCKS!

-Arnold

6:57 AM  
Blogger Sean said...

i can still stomach MoP, but nothing after that.

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the BLACK album was metal too, not realy thrash metal but metal yes.
Okay, i am the tipical METALLICA fan that lost interest in them when they released LOAD but after listening and buying their new album, i realy like it and got my fate back in them. I think the next one will be even better.
Good review.

8:38 AM  

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