Album: Metallica – Death Magnetic

So, Metallica released Death Magnetic1. Should you buy it? Possibly. It’s definitely a great step up from their latest releases.

First, it’s unmistakably Thrash… or a mixture of the goode olde Thrash of the late 80′s/early 90′s, mixed with a generous but not quite too large dose of St. Anger simplicity. It really depends on the part of the song you’re listening to whether you’re reminded more of St. Anger times or of …And Justice for All. I went from cringing to hoping to cringing to hoping.

The singing’s a similar mixture of St. Anger and an older album, but this time more reminiscent of Load. Yep, if you hated what Hetfield did with his voice back then2, then you might be in for an unpleasant surprise now. Add to that some audible voice correction on Hetfield’s singing, and you’re back to switching between cringing and hoping.

Ulrich’s drumming has, if anything, become less interesting, and the overall plastic sound of the album ruins things even more…

But wait, before you think you can pass this album completely, there’s a pleasant surprise: Kirk Hammett’s guitar work simply rocks! And while there’s not an overwhelmingly large amount of it, there’s enough to keep that hair flying for a while.

And oddly enough, that mixture just about works. It’s definitely a huge step up from St. Anger — no doubt about that. It’s also pretty damn good in parts. Other parts don’t quite cut it… so if you’re willing to overlook those, you’ll still find a whole lot of decent metal on that album.

However…

If you look at what other, similarly old bands have been doing in recent years, you’ll find a rather different picture. Granted, most of them showed gaps in their productivity as large or larger than Metallica did. But when they came back, they usually rocked. So by comparison with the rest of the scene, Death Magnetic is rather more mediocre.

I’m viewing this album as a sign of things to come, though, and the trend right now is upwards. Looking forward to the next album, then!

Update: “The Day That Never Comes” video

  1. No, that’s not the whole album []
  2. I’m one of the few people who rather liked it… and the whole Load album, really. []
  • http://www.der-eremit.de eremit

    Well — I’ve to confess that I’ve never been that big fan of Metallica. I liked some stuff of them (especially the older records like ‘and justice’ and ‘master of puppets’) of course, but there’s also a lot output that I don’t like (like Load ;)). But I’ve to agree with you, Metallica is finally on a good way again, and Death Magnetic is without any doubt the best thing they did recently.

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