Radiohead did one, Nine Inch Nails did one, The Verve did one, and it seems like every major band's doing one - Metallica no exception.
4 stars goes to both the album itself as well as the set. While Death Magnetic pales in comparison to the first decade of their career, it's easily the best thing they've done since ill trodden attempts at blues rock and garagey nu-metal.
Production wise it's good but poor mastering means there is some distortion in unnecessary places, but this is not the band's fault and unfortunately a lot of new albums and remasters are like this. Yet it still doesn't take away the power of the riffage that is a combo of their cult and mainstream years. Hetfield may sound more like an angry teacher than a Sergeant and Lars' beats lack 80's creativity, but they do their best here. And as for Kirk - an explosion of solos is natural after being tied up for the last album. Unfortunately, despite the full band writing effort, Rob is still only a little audible, but that said I think too much bass at the forefront would have diluted the songs. Don't put him up front just because he's 'new' (at least they didn't bury him like Jason on AJFA).
The coffin box itself is white, sturdy and about arm's length in size. The CD included is the limited edition Digipak version which looks better than the Super Jewel box version, but it's only drawback is that like the St. Anger case, the cardboard is prone to easy wear and peeling on your shelf. The concentric hole through the pages also obscures the lyrics.
Then there is a 'Demo Magnetic' CD which is fairly late stage demos of all the album songs with original working titles. Many songs sound very similar to the final versions, most changes being lyrics or arrangement ideas. For demos, it's quite well produced but you won't listen to it too much. You'll just want to own it as a completist.
Then there's a DVD of extra stuff not found on the £10 Mission Metallica site. It's not similar to 'A Year And Half...' or 'SKOM', so just expect raw footage - just longer - on here. It's fascinating if, like with Demo Magnetic, you're interested in seeing the scaffolding of the album.
The t-shirt is in the large size only for UK buyers but will be okay for the average person. It's 100% cotton in black with the band logo and album name on the back, and a white coffin attracting 4 Metallica logo M's on the front. It's quite stylish.
The flag is a full size flag that you can drape outside your window or whatever...This item though feels a bit like it's padding the set with novelties. The same goes for the very thick cardboard picks and laminate in lanyard (despite the cool ribbon on it with the Metallica logo and album name).
The coffin shaped poster is basically a large blown up image of the inner back of the lyrics booklet.
Finally there is a credit card with a code which entitles you to download the recently passed Berlin, or upcoming London O2 show for free. It's assumed much of Death Magnetic live has/will be aired, making this essentially a CD of 'Live Magnetic Plus Live Rarities'.
Also note the sticky logo on the shrinkwrap doesn't re-stick on the box, which is a small shame.
This box is pretty expensive, perhaps less than some but it's just about value for money. You're no less of a fan if you don't buy it, but if you want to be immersed in all things DM to the max, it's a worthy purchase save for the few filler items.