Thursday, September 11, 2008
Album Review: Death Magnetic
***LINK TO THE FULL ALBUM IS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST***
Tomorrow marks the release of Metallica's ninth studio album, Death Magnetic. About a year ago, I started hearing rumors about how Metallica was going back to being "Metallica", but we all had heard that before with the last two albums. Load was a D- effort while Reload and St. Anger pathetically failed the standard.
If you didn't already know from reading our site, Noce and I are huge Metallica fans. HUGE. The first cassette I ever owned came in the form of the Black Album Christmas of '92 when I was 8. My first CD was Master of Puppets. Metallica has always been my favorite band, and the reason I picked up a guitar 9 years ago. I don't play as much as I used to when I was a teen, but once a week or so I'll pick up my Ibanez and launch right into the Four Horsemen.
Obviously I missed out on the glory days of old Metallica, but I'd like to think having been a fan for 16 years I know a thing or two about them. You'll have your different factions who will have their own "I was there in '81 shit", and the teenagers who think every single thing Metallica does or is is the voice of god almighty. I'd like to think I'm somewhere in between.
I acknowledge the Lars douche factor, the fact they haven't been themselves since Master of Puppets, but doesn't everyone eventually move on to trying different things?
Well, if the past 3 albums have been about experimenting with different shit, Death Magnetic is the tonal middle finger to those. Gone are the southern blues riffs of the Loads of shit, and the Drop C churning of the "raw" St. Anger.
Returned is the standard-tuned triplets, the face-melting Hammett solos, and crazy tempos shifts. Death Magnetic is what you would have expected following ...And Justice for all, with their 10 songs averaging 6-7 minutes each.
I'm not going to review every single song, but I will highlight the ones that I don't think hit the mark as well as the others.
First off: the first single off the album, The Day that Never Comes. The first listen I gave the song a week and a half ago, I got bored with it after 3 minutes. Noce gave up after one. But I was determined to listen to it all the way through. The whole tempo change and lyrics of "love is a four-letter word"..ending with the awkward shouts of "THIS..I..SWEAR" don't really fit. But that's when the palm muted transfer comes to the uptempo ending.
It's a song that grows on you, but it's nowhere near the likes of the blistering The Judas Kiss or the funky main riff of Beat, Broken & Scarred.
While I now have an appreciation for The Day That Never Comes, one that will definitely take some time is The Unforgiven III. First Unforgiven? Awesome. The second one? (Spews into some small cup handed to me from Garth). The third time around is not a charm either. It starts off with a mellow piano open, and goes into a decent riff. It's long-winded in my opinion (no, really?) and the hook doesn't do much for me.
With those two pointed out, the rest of the album is all that I could have hoped for. Any of the other 8 songs are worthy of playing on repeat for 10 times, but my personal favorites in order are:
The Judas Kiss
Beat, Broken & Scarred
All Nightmare Long
In all, I would have to give the album an 92% for an low A. I think The Day That Never Comes could have been improved shortened a bit and some lyrics changed, and the Unforgiven III should have been made with a better hook. But outside these nitpicking thoughts, the album is fucking solid. It seems like having Robert Trujillo come in helped, as well as enlisting Rick Rubin to do the album instead of Bob Rock.
While the wait to get the album finally ends tomorrow, a new wait for me will begin. Tickets the upcoming tour go on sale this Saturday morning at 10am. I will be on ticketmaster.com at 9:30 waiting to pounce. Once I have the tickets, it feel like an eternity again before they arrive in Chicago on Monday, January 26th and Tuesday the 27th at the Allstate Arena.
Thank you Metallica for finding yourselves again.
Here is the entire album so you can start the bleeding of your ear drums: