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Metallica - Death Magnetic

Warner Brothers Records - September 12, 2008

by David Svendsen

Metallica - Death MetalicDefinitely the most anticipated release of 2008, let alone of Metallica's career, Death Magnetic is set to be released worldwide on Sept. 12 th. After dropping bombs Load and Reload, then the disastrous St. Anger (with the "making of" entitled Some King of Monster which showed in sickening detail all the cracks in Metallica's armor), it seemed Metallica's days as metal kings were drawing to a sad end.

They are not dead yet.

While bands like Trivium and more recently Black Tide were jockeying for position to the throne, Metallica has come back to show everyone how it's done. Back -- thank God! -- is the mighty Kirk Hammett, delivering his trademark fiery soloing, complete with his wah. Back is the monster chugging of riffs that take on a life of their own. Back is the epic metal disc that clocks in at almost 80 minutes. It seems as if a sleeping giant has awoken with grand fury.

School is back in session kids, take notes.

The lead off track, That Was Just Your Life, has one of the catchiest riffs on the disc. The combination of riffs and Lars' double pounding instantly bring back memories of Battery or Damage Inc. Seven minutes of sonic thrashing and twin guitar melodies. This tune comes racing off the disc at you like a bull at a matador.

And yes, you do get to hear newbie Robert Trujillo's bassline from time to time, but again -- remember this isn't a band that seems fond of the bass.

As throughout most of the disc, The End of the Line has the stench of St. Anger (the Some Kind of Monster groove) for a little bit until it fully kicks in. Luckily, most of the remembrances of St. Anger are kept to a minimum. Riffs change during this track at a dizzying pace; tempos climb and fall with ease.

One of the early tests I give new discs is putting them in my truck stereo and see how well they sound at an extreme volume. Needless to say, when the seventh track started off with a piano, I skipped it. Sorry, but piano's have no place in my truck. Later I realized it was Unforgiven III. Please, one wasn't enough? If you need a sequel, look no further than All Nightmare Long. As what could be construed as a follow up to Enter Sandman but on steroids -- forget the shit under your bed, it's in your head now. The thundering riffs are the merciless.

The entire disc seems to show the band rejuvenated. Riffs and solos, signature time changes and hammering drums are all over the place in true Metallica form, almost trying to make you forget about the last three releases. If there has to be a complaint about the disc, it would have to be that Jame's vocals are simply too clean. At times it appears like he is straining to deliver the anger. And in doing so, I think his voice actually cracks a couple of times. Songs like That Was Just Your Life and My Apocalypse seem to suffer a little at times during the rapid fire delivery of the lyrics because of this. It's kind of hard to take the pissed off attitude of the delivery seriously when it almost sounds like puberty is trying to reverse itself.

Bottom line is this: get the fuckin' thing. Turn it up, break off the knob, piss off the neighbors.