11/14/2008 - Review by: Frank Hill
With the new Metallica CD Death Magnetic, there was a lot less time taken between its release and the prior St. Anger--a release whose sound caused quite and uproar in the Metalli-fans, adding to the hostility they'd felt for the last decade. Many who worshipped at the Metalli-alter wanted to write off (and strangle!) the band they put on top of the metal heap; a turn to remove the gods they installed.
Death Magnetic is redemable enough that you can forget the last few records.
Effectively combining the brutality of Master of Puppets and the riff sandwich of And Justice For All, you'd have to have some major personal issues with the band to not consider Death Magnetic a solid, triumphant return--Lars rattles off a machine gun snare, Kirk has his solos back, Robert's bass is stout, and James is majorly angry. There isn't much more you need from these guys, though to the consternation of anybody who wanted the commercial tendencies of the Black and the Load albums, this isn't a radio-capable CD; it's really too heavy on the majority of the tracks.
Where Justice is a more weary listen with it's overabundant riffage and drier production, Death Magnetic is sonically much tighter and aggressive like the early CDs. While you will hear some of the familiar transitions and lead lines that mark Metallica as Metallica, Death Magnetic doesn't rest in comfortable territory and should be relatable to the modern fan. Older fans may find that the breathing room that enabled the hook-friendly, concert staples aren't as abundant with the exception of "The Judas Kiss" and "My Apocolypse".
Admittedly, I will always hold Ride the Lightning and MoP as the best Metallica has offered up, but Death Magnetic is a very worthy release from a band that had been brushed aside.
10/17/2008 - Review by: Devil Dave
First off I have to dwell into some history of myself. I have been playing metal music for well over 18 years, and my first band was called Damage Inc., so to say that I grew up a Metallica fan is a bit of an understatement. This is the band that changed my life forever. Kill 'Em All was a breath of fresh air. It was so much heaver and aggressive than the hair metal bands that I had grown accustomed to. It was my first forte into extreme metal. All of you youngsters out there make no mistake that this was the first real extreme metal album released. There would be no metal genre as we know it now without this album, period. Then along came Ride the Lightning. It was an awesome record that just upped the ante in the field of extreme music, with it's melodic yet very heavy approach. Then came the band's masterpeice Master of Puppets. No metal record released since has been able to touch that album. It had it all, it was melodic, heavy and highly commercial. Any fan of heavier music that listened to it fell in love with Master, what a fitting name because it is by and far the Master of heavy albums. Then tragedy struck twice, Cliff Burton Metallica's bassist died in a tragic bus accident. Then after that they replaced him with Jason Newstead, who though a competent bass player was no Cliff. Then came the second tragedy...And Justice for All. Make no mistake this is the album that Metallica sold their souls, and indeed sold out on. With this release Metallica died. After that came the awful commercially pleasing Black Album. And as you all know it went down hill from there with Load of Crap and a Reload of crap. Then came St.Anger, which should have been a great album, but was brought down with horrible production, childish lyrics, and a total lack of Kirk Hammet's guitar ability.
Now this brings me to Death Magnetic. Is it the much touted sequel to Master of Puppets, the album they are so eager to compare it to? Is it the best Metallica album yet? Is it the return to form we were promised since Rick Ruben was tapped as the producer? Well, these are all tricky questions to answer. Does it compare to Master of Puppets? No it does not, but at the same time it is probably the best record that they have produced since then, in many ways this is the album that...And Justice for All should have been. It actually reminds me of Justice more than any other Metallica album. The only difference is that it is actually not trying to prove anything. For the first time in almost two decades it sounds as if Metallica have found themselves yet again. They have finally stopped listening to their critics and released one of the best metal albums in quite a while. I was very excited for the release of this album. All of the hype led me to believe that they had once again found themselves and was I dissapointed? No, I was no. This is a very good record that has restored my faith in a band that I had writen off as being dead. They have finally realized that listening to themselves and not others is the only way that they can become the band they once were. Metallica dead for twenty years has risen from the grave. They are not in a rut like Judas Priest or Iron Maiden and you won't be going to see them live for nostalgia, it will be because finally they have made themselves relevant in the metal community once again. Make no mistake, it took them since 1988 to get there but the Metallica I grew up listening to is back. This is not the same band that has created some of the worst metal albums over the last two decades. They will never top Master; the only thing they can do is bring the genre into the future. If that was their goal, they have started the trend. I honestly think that it will take them about two more albums to get to that point, but this is a start. It's fresh, it's new and most of all it's good. If you haven't listened to this record yet you have to. Don't waste another minute.
So, if you started out like me and Metallica changed your life and started you loving this music and you lost your faith like I did, get this record. Go into without any thoughts of the crap that came out in the last twenty years and then imagine this is the follow up to Master of Puppets. After you are done listening, honestly tell me you didn't like this record. It is the rebirth of Metallica. You can't deny it. Hopefully they can stay on this track and release another genre defining moment. Like I said this is a great album but this is not the defining moment yet. Give them time, let them become comfortable with this and grow back into the band that they have tried to avoid for the last twenty years. If they get the benefit of the doubt they may yet go into history as the greatest metal band ever and not the band that should have been.
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