Archive for January 19th, 2010


Music Review: Death Magnetic


There it was in front of me, Metallica’s latest album. I threw it into the CD player feeling the way I’ve felt throwing the last few Metallica albums in the CD player.

Knowledge – That I’m about to listen to the latest offering from the fathers of thrash metal, the band that has smashed everything in its way to become the biggest heavy metal band of all time.

And hope – that maybe the gods will put on their leather boots again and make a solid thrash album, another one from their stable that will blow minds for years to come.

We all know how thrash metal came about, and what the ’80s were like, and that along with Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer formed the trinity of thrash metal.

While Megadeth and Slayer have managed to stay ‘metal’, faltering only once or twice,Metallica was the band that drastically changed its style, losing the respect of countless fans along the way. Load and Reload, though powerful albums, were not even close to the kind of music the band was known for, and left many fans feeling cheated.

Their last album St. Anger is regarded as a ‘joke’ in metal history, as it only showed what the greatest band in the world had been reduced to.

After dashing fans’ hopes for years, the band has returned with a new producer and a new attitude and the old logo! As good as the first four, gripping like the fifth one, slightly better or even worse than St. Anger, you ask?


The most awaited album of the year starts withThat Was Just Your Life and the first thing you know when the intro (that wouldn’t be out of place on …And Justice For All) ends is that the old sound is back! Gone is the irritating snare sound they had on St. Anger, Lars Ulrich has finally understood what drums on a Metallica record are supposed to sound like.

The sound is fat, heavy and polished, unlike St. Anger’s attempt at ‘rawness’ to create a more real (really annoying, actually) sound. The pre-chorus has a riff similar to the verse of Through The Never (The Black Album) and man, am I glad to hear that!

Kirk Hammett, where the hell has he been!! The solos are flying and how!! St. Anger had a strict no-solos policy, and it’s almost as if Mr. Hammett is showing the rest of the band what fools they have been to try and make him go against what he does best. Right from the first song, baby!

The End Of The Line starts off very smoothly, with the kind of confidence and charm other bands in the world can only dream of possessing. The verse sounds like a part from The Four Horsemen (Kill ‘Em All), ‘Time/taking a toll on you/the lines that crack your face…’ You know what I’m talking about.

It is just so good to hear the band get their act together and once again make music that flows, instead of trying to come up with heavy-sounding riffs, terrible drumming and trying to cram it all into what they called a ‘song’. Kirk is enjoying himself on the wah pedal, and the band is jamming!

‘Show your scars!’ demands Hetfield on Broke, Beat And Scarred amidst double-bass thumping. ‘You rise/you fall/you rise again’… it’s like they’re singing about themselves. A part in the song reminds me of the ending of Seek And Destroy (Kill ‘Em All). ‘We die hard!’ Yeah baby, it is about them!

What is this? James Hetfield is singing on The Day That Never Comes, and it is a Metallica classic! It starts off slow, I check the tracklist wondering if this is The Unforgiven III. By them time I know it’s not, the song goes the One way. Holy ****! What have these guys started drinking again?

All Nightmare Long is Metallica trying stuff they way they used to in the early days…doing something different while ensuring the song remains heavy. There are too many things happening in here, but unlike St. Anger, the riffs fit right in the songs and the men know where exactly the song is going. There are two solos on this one, and Kirk is like a kid at a video game arcade, free to let it loose and he’s ripping!


It’s almost unbelievable, the kind of comeback this band has made. Before you have time to recover from the first half, they offer you Cyanide. And in the first few seconds you get a taste of Rob Trujillo’s bass-playing, unadulterated by the gigantic Metalli-sound that has trampled upon mortal bands while taking a stroll in the park.Cyanide sounds so fresh and who else but Hetfield can come up with something like ‘Death, won’t you let me stay?’ And if anyone needs further proof of how much at home the band is playing heavy metal again, listen to the sound James makes at 5:38 on Cyanide.

The Unforgiven III
– How can this band churn out classic after classic for years and make it all seem effortless? The Unforgiven III is nothing like The Unforgiven I or II except that it makes you fall in love with Metallica all over again. It has a nice piano intro which for some reason takes my thoughts to Low Man’sLyric (I know there’s no piano on it!). The song has James Hetfield written all over it, what with lyrics like ‘How can I be lost/if I’ve got nowhere to go?’ and ‘How can I blame you/when it’s me I can’t forgive?’

And Metallica take the metal throne back with The Judas Kiss, easily the most rocking (if I may call it that) song on the album. It sounds like they’re singing about themselves again, about the time their career hit an all-time low and had fans disowning them. But there isn’t anything weepy about this song, and in fact it’s Metallica grabbing everything they hate by the neck and lifting it a few feet up in the air. ‘Bow down/sell your soul to me/I will set you free.’ Hell, yeah.

Suicide And Redemption is, hold your breath, an instrumental. Where have you been,Metallica? After years and years of making us wait, the men in black unleash upon us a classy, sophisticated jam. I am proud to declare the band I love more than anything else in the world is back in form, stylish as only they know how to be. What a composition! If anyone thinks they’d never be able to touch their former selves, listen to this and tell me it doesn’t outshine everything on this planet right now.

HOLY ****! Did they pull My Apocalypse out of the Master Of Puppets album or what? This sounds like a mash of Battery and Damage Inc. and I can’t get over it! ‘Violate, annihilate’ and that’s exactly what this album does. ‘Suffer unto my apocalypse!’,Metallica command us. Gladly, sirs.


If you don’t like the Metallica you hear in Death Magnetic, maybe you could consider puncturing your ears. Metallica has never been easy listening, and as with all their albums, this too starts growing on you after a few listens.

Rick Rubin has definitely done the band good, as you can tell from the sound and song structures. And that’s exactly what the men in black needed.

James Hetfield is singing and shouting like himself again, and man, does it make me feel good! Rob Trujillo seems comfortable with the band, and does what is required of him very well. Lars Ulrich (forgive him, please) seems to be making up for that horrible snare sound on the last album with some double-bass playing. Okay Lars, let’s keep it up now.

Kirk Hammett deserves a special mention for all that crazy soloing which adds plenty to Death Magnetic. Hammett is uninhibited and on fire and dare anyone stop him from soloing again!

This, my friends, is the direction Metallica should’ve taken many years ago, instead of fooling themselves into believing they’d grown up. Of course, Metallica is older now, and this is what older Metallica should sound like. The ‘Tallica is back and they seem to have realized what they were born to do. Fall to your knees, and bow to the metal gods!

Rating: 3/5

(From my Buzz18 reviews)

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