Metallica’s Death Magnetic – My Review

The thing that’s tough about music reviews is that the reviewer generally gets the new CD a week or two before it is released to the public, meaning they only have a few listens at best to give their opinion on up to 80 minutes of music. That, to me is not enough time to form an opinion on an album. Time is needed to truly enjoy or not enjoy the album before informing the masses what you think the best song on the album is and really mean it.  Sure, you can either love it or hate it right off the bat, but for me, an album really stands out if I end up listening to it over and over and over from the day I purchase it.

That, my friends – is what we have here in ‘Death Magnetic.’

I had listened to six songs from the album on Metallica’s website in the weeks leading up to the released, but since I’ve had the CD in hand (which has been for a little over two weeks now) I’ve fired this bad boy up on my home stereo system, in the car, on my iPhone more times than I know. It’s truly a return to form for Metallica, whose history I do not need to recount here in this space. I will tell you this though – I was in the car one day with Laura – she’s a casual Metallica fan, mostly from me blaring them all the time around her. Laura most likely can’t name you every song and album like I can, but she enjoys listening to their musical stylings. I bring this up because ‘My Apocolypse’ came on the radio, and about halfway through the song I say something like, “man, this new Metallica is unbelievable!” She says, “This is new?? I thought this was way old, it’s killing my ears!” Welcome back, my friends.

Okay, song by song:

This was just your life
Classic, almost Battery-like slow creepy intro before diving right into a straight up sound assault of guitars, drums and double bass. James’ vocals on this one are even pretty fast. Huge instrumental in the middle and and out with a bang. “There it went – almost like your life.”

The end of the line
This one stands somewhere between something off Load and Master of Puppets. Little slower in tempo but straight up good tune.

Broken, Beat & Scarred
Very catchy verse (What don’t kill ya make ya more strong/Rise,fall down, rise again) and chorus (Show! Your! Scars!) I can see this one being a great live song. Picks up in tempo around the 4 minute mark and Kirk unleashes a pretty badass solo, as only Kirk can.

The Day That Never Comes
The first single, and the first song I was a little iffy about at first.  Takes awhile to really get going, but again, around the 4 minute mark it picks up and really starts to kick some ass. This song has really grown on me since the first few listens.

All Nightmare Long
Beginning to end, hands down my favorite song on the album. Heavy, catchy intro leading into a triplet-infested drop-D wall of sound. The music and lyrics flow really well and it’s just one of those songs that doesn’t leave your head and you actually don’t mind that it’s there.

Cyanide
This was really the first song anyone heard from the new album, as they played it live at Ozzfest in early August. James’ vocals were a little sketchy in the live performance, but not a bad song overall. Not really indicative of the entire album if you ask me.

The Unforgiven III
Not really sure about this one. Up to this point in the album we’ve pretty much had our asses collectively kicked, and this song jumps right back into something from ‘Load’ or ‘Re-Load.’ Nothing redeeming about it, really. It’s not bad enough that I skip over it or anything, but not one of my faves. Like most trilogies, ‘Unforgiven’ should have ended after the first one!

The Judas Kiss
Okay here we go! Very raw-sounding piece like something off of “…and Justice for All (my favorite Metallica album – fyi) complete with about five or six solos and 8+ minutes of balls-out Metallica.

Suicide & Redemption
Clocking in at almost 10 minutes(!) and completely instrumental. Not quite ‘Call of Ktulu,’ but pretty damn good.

My Apocolypse
By far the best ‘last song on the album’ I’ve heard in years. This was another one they released before the album came out so I had heard it on the radio/internet many times (see beginning of the story), and this instantly became one of my favorites. Leaves you begging for more – which I guess is not a bad thing for the last song on the album to be doing. Brutally fast, heavy and in your face. What other cliches can I throw in there…hmmm…balls out rockin good time maybe?

I’m no music critic, but this is my story and I’m sticking to it – this is one hell of an album. And with so many not-so-good albums out there these days, it’s refreshing that one of the bands who really threw heavy music into the mainstread has returned to show these young bands how it’s done.

Welcome back boys, welcome back.

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