After their horrid 2003 release 'St. Anger,' the pioneering metal band Metallica was basically on my 'don't bother anymore' list. Try to find a decent guitar solo or melody on that disgusting disc. Then, to add insult to every fan's injury, they try to apologize for their fiendish foul up with psychobabble in their biopic, 'Some Kind Of Monster.' I never thought a metal band could be described as bunch of a self-flagelating, therapeutic whiners. Okay, now that I got that rant out of my system, let's leap from the gutter to the present. With 'Death Magnetic,' Metallica has rediscovered the compass and finally put the ship back on course. 'Death Magnetic' is great; this is the Metallica that we know and love.
On 'Death Magnetic' there is no wandering into the dark forest of current metal musical trends for the sake of promise and dollars. Metallica essentially returns to their fundamental form by drawing upon what made them pioneers in the 80's and universally appealing in the early 90's. The first three tracks reinvent the sound that made them famous. 'That Was Just Your Life' has a classic Metallica spooky guitar intro followed by speed and thrash. 'The End Of The Line' blends a strong rhythm section with heavy thrash and a smooth, nearly mellow, interlude near the end. 'Broken, Beat & Scarred' has heavy riffs, but sounds more like hard rock than metal; the guitar solo is particularly fiery and intense.
As you progress into 'Death Magnetic,' you will find even better work. On 'The Day That Never Comes' Metallica revisits their 90's material by offering sophisticated melodic heavy and thrash metal built upon an acoustic foundation; and Kirk Hammett is finally given some freedom to display some amazing fret work. The trend continues with the clever and catchy 'All Nightmare Long' which has better vocals and combines melody with thrash. The true gem on 'Death Magnetic' is 'Cyanide' where old school Metallica has never sounded better. This is pure power with melody and Hammett simply kills on guitar. The trend continues to the end of 'Death Magnetic.' However, though interesting, 'Unforgiven III' is pretty much a filler track, hardly as interesting as the first two installments because of its inherent redundancy.
Overall, Metallica's 'Death Magnetic' is a huge accomplishment. This is what 'St. Anger' should have been. This is classic Metallica bringing power, melody, and promise back to American heavy metal. Very recommended!
- Craig Hartranft
Metallica's 'Death Magnetic' is a huge accomplishment. This is what 'St. Anger' should have been. This is classic Metallica bringing power, melody, and promise back to American heavy metal.