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4.0 out of 5 stars
Death Magnetic
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 13 September 2008
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 22 January 2009
I think many die hard fans of Metallica will quite easily agree that when compared to the Metallica of old, they started to drift into the realm of commercial mediocrity and delivered a shambolic last album in St. Anger. When Death Magnetic was announced for '08 I think many like myself said "bah humbug." Well, not in those words but you get the metaphor I'm trying to put across here. Our bah humbuggery was put to rest on September 10th when the album was released, with a finger in one ear and our eyes closed expecting the worst, I could finally rest. Metallica had escaped the clutches of that mediocre commercialism and said "hey, we messed up, but we're gonna make it up to you."

Hettfield, Ulrich, Hammet & Trujillo I salute you and thank you for keeping me out of hospital this time around. I couldn't bare another trip to repair my eardrums damaged by terrible music. I've just gotten over the Ashley Simpson album. I would usually just go right ahead and give you my top 5 favourites and let that be that, but I can't pick 5, it would make me feel guilty as I want to pick them all but as you can see there are 10 songs and don't fit into my top 5 charting model.

This is just a truly awesome album and is reminiscent of the Metallica of old. Forget St. Anger, Loaded and the other one, cast them out of your mind and replace them with the memory of Death Magnetic, the true return of heavy/thrash metal music and the band that made the genre what it is today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2014
I've given this album 3 stars as an average due to the following reasons:

- The music: 4.5 out of 5. Wow, this album is amazing, a true return to the Metallica thrash roots that got them to where they are in the first place mixed in with their crunchier post Black album sound. Don't get me wrong; I like a lot of their post Black album work, but it was a newer and calmer chapter of the Metallica story that left the anger of youth behind for a more mature "I've bought a nice house by the beach" sort of sound. I'm not going to judge whether that's a good or bad thing as I do like both `sounds'. "Death Magnet" sounds like a decent combination of both. I really really like it.

- The audio quality: 1.5 out of 5. Well done to the decision makers in doing their best to making a carefully crafted £3000 music system sound like a £50 Argos midi hifi system from the 90s when playing this CD. I don't know who made the actual mixing and mastering decisions here so I won't point fingers, but you've taken something awesome and taken a dump all over it. If you were given a beautiful Aston Martin DB9, I assume you'd repaint it florescent pink, hacksaw the wheel arches off so you can stick oversized gold rims on it and a huge spoiler on the back with flame graphics stuck on. Shame on you, buck up your ideas or leave the music industry now. We, the people, DO NOT WANT YOU AROUND.
There's 0.5 out of five over the lowest possible Amazon score for this as it could have been slightly worse, you could add a screaming baby track on repeat all the way through, but you didn't. A macho heavy metal high five for not doing that.

If you bring out a well crafted remix in the future this will be one of my all time favourite Metallica albums. Well done Metallica for creating this music, shame on you secret audio destroyers for screwing that music up so badly somewhere between your mixing desk and my speakers.

(Edited to correct a couple of spelling errors)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2012
Decent album from the Metallicans from what has been a rather poor later-day chronology either side since S&M. When this album first came out I have to say that it struck a chord with me straight away as I looked into this 10 track opus as a return to form; nothing has however changed in the last four years which have past us by. Death Magnetic in both immediate and the long term is probably the most natural successor to the black album in both musical and sonic terms that never happened. The latter of course, subject to continued debate and ongoing criticism surrounding the albums production mix; but the music itself though is mostly terrific Metallica, and is at times very classical such as "The day that never comes" and the long opus "Suicide & redemption." Otherwise crunchy Metallica riffage and tasteful lines are the order of the day in songs like the opener "That was just your life" "Broken, beat & scarred;" not to mention the addictive and insanely memorable "All nightmare long" which has long been my absolute favorite cut on Death Magnetic.

Whilst critically the sonic mix and the crucial dynamism of the album production has already been extensively explored. I agree that the clipping, high end distortion and high volumes is at times much too extreme. But while during the quieter moments on Death Magnetic are of minor concern-, in contrast, when there are more things going on however, the atmosphere can get a little too claustrophobic and dense. The clarity as a result is perhaps not quite as good as it could have been and it does unfortunately negatively impact the experience of listening to it. So having said all that however, the songs themselves are as good as I could have hoped for- to follow up the 2003's much hated album St Anger. I overall still uphold the belief that this is a truly superb album full of dynamic and strong songs; but in hindsight, I don't think anyone would disagree with me if I was to say that a new and very necessary remaster over-haul is now due to showcase these songs in a proper light.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2008
I've read many short reviews in the war between fans, old and new, who were picking over this album even before its release. I did not like the songs when I heard them on Metallica's web site and even contemplated cancelling my order. I'm glad I didn't.

I joined Metallica at Ride The Lightening and lost them after The Black Album. I always thought they struggled to get good production and thrash metal on the same record. The Black Album has great production but is a bit slow in places. AJFA is the most consistently good album but the sound is thin and slightly horrible.

After listening to the new album a few times in its entirety, I must say that I like it. It is somewhere between AJFA and The Black Album containing echoes of the 3 albums before that too.

The album certainly rocks. Metallica don't sound like a thrash metal band anymore, no matter how fast they play. Those days are gone. This is more like an early Iron Maiden album in places. This is Metal music and in that context it is as hard as a bag full of spanners across the face.

The production is odd. There are moments where the guitars threaten to crackle into messy fuzz but, having listened to this only on headphones so far, the result is a high energy album that gets the feet tapping along with Lars' thumping drums. I like the sound of the snare (I know some don't). As an ex-drummer, the sound is real and fairly organic and Lars is as good as he's ever been here.

All in all, this is a return to form. It is consistent and has a sound that I'd be happy to play to non-Metallica fans, which isn't always the case with the early stuff.

The best may be behind them but there are some songs on here that I'd be disappointed not to hear live. Perhaps you can argue that they have made an attempt at imitating the essence of those first five albums in order to get the bank accounts back on track but who cares, it's a metal journey that's worth taking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2008
Okay, everyone one knows the best thing to come out of the St Anger album was the "Some Kind Of Monster" DVD. The album was not as bad as some people make it out to be however it lacked one major thing....consistency.

The idea of stripping out the solos for a more rawer sound was almost suicide for the band. If you look back to the greatest period of the bands history (late eighties early nineties) the band played quick deep bassy tones with blistering solos. I think it showed how much they needed Kirk in the band. The vocals were angry and screamed and lost the rhythm inside the songs they played alongside. The tin sounding drum kit sounded out of place for the band. Rob turned up during the creation of the album and must have wondered what he had got himself into and would it last. They came through the album......then quickley tried to forget about it.

Now 2008 and Death Magnetic. I had heard some of the tunes on YOUTUBE before the album was released and the signs were promising and now listening to the album im not disappointed. Its sharp, heavy and involves Kirk and Rob in the right places at the right time. Rob sounds great and he really must be thankfull that his was not a short journey with the band. Kirk can let loose again and create some fast and catchy solos. You will never create Puppets or Justice again but its as close as they will ever get.

The only reason i have dropped a star is because they have not created those two albums. Lets not give them awards on the new album for past glories but they seem to have found a new energy again (with masses of help from Rob). This is a great album and it relates strongly to some of their classic stuff. Jaymz singing relates to the songs, the riffs are deep and quick. The solos blister and the drums sound like Lars is enjoying himself again.

Perhaps they should of called this album Ride The Puppets Of Justice!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 September 2008
To be blunt, if Death Magnetic had been released after "...And Justice For All" we would all be talking about the 5 albums of classic Metallica before the Black album.

Yes, Death Magnetic is that good.

It's not a Master of Puppets, or a Ride the Lightning and there is no stand out track, no 'One' or 'Creeping Death' but as a whole it does feel like a logical progression from those first four classics.

I've listened to Death Magnetic a dozen times now; first with a big wide grin on my face and goosebumps; as a long time Metallica fan from the Ride era the weight on my shoulders has been lifted: Metallica are fun again!

Subsequent listens and the hooks are revealling themselves. The "Show your scars/We die hard" refrain in "Broken, Beat & Scarred", the euphoric building of tension in "The Unforgiven III" and the layered guitar frenzy of the instrumental "Suicide & Redemption" are masterful pieces of vintage Metallica. The riff heavy opener and classic bludgeoning closer "My Apocalypse" recalls "Damage Inc" and "The Frayed Ends of Sanity". The slow and brooding "The Day that Never Comes" rolling and rolling until it erupts into a classic Metallica chug "Love is a four letter word, Never spoken here..." and then the thrash descends... It's awesome, it really is and anyone with the vaguest fondness for the Metallithrash is going to be head over heels.

Yes, the album is far from perfect. Lars really needs a new drum kit (i can only imagine how good this would be with Gene Hoglan on the sticks! WOW!) The lyrics are schoolbook stuff and there's none of the gang style sing-a-longs a la "Master, Master..." And whether this is a cynical ploy to recapture their youth or the beginnings of a new era, we'll just have to wait and see.

For now, Death Magnetic buys them the benefit of the doubt. Because it works. Metallica are on fire. James can still growl menacingly and Hammett sure hasn't forgotten how to piece a solo together. The songs strech 7, 8, and 9 minutes long but nothing here ever outstay's it's welcome. And if they do sound like the best bits of "St. Anger", "...Justice" and (a little bit of) "Metallica/Load", then i'm not complaining. We can all play 'spot the riff' but while you are, i guarantee your foot will be tapping and your head nodding and a smile will be spreading across your face no matter how hard you try to deny it!

Come on... Sing... "and we'll hunt you down without mercy, hunt you down all nightmare long..."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2008
I am proabably not gonna add more than what most of the reviewers have already said, i just wanna add my 2cents as a die hard Metallica fan (from Black album and B4). This was Metallicas' last chance with me, if this sucked, that was it. Luckly for them/me it doesnt. this is definatley there best offer since the Black Album. OK it doesnt have the technical prowess of Justice/Puppets. This album works more on being a blunt instrument. I wouldnt say the songs are basic (definatley not St Anger basic),its more about doing more with less (less brushes and more colour) it works very well, plenty of hooks, its very catchy and there is still depth and keeps you interested .It is a stripped down sound but stripped down the right way in which noting is actually lost. the album is very long with very longs songs but they dont feel "justice" long, you certainly dont get bored, its just constant, steady riffing with a peppering of nice surprises with grooves, hooks and heavyness aplenty. I am glad someone else mentioned the production, it does sound like it distorts in places (I thought my Bose speakers were on the blink) but its sounds fine on my Ipod. All in all I am glad i bought this and i will be listening to this for a good while, nice job boys you have held on to this fan
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 October 2008
Now I am not going to pretend to have an expert musical view on anything but I do know what I like and with this album I feel that Metallica have really come back with a bang after so many poor albums which started with Load. I will say now that its not the Black album, Master of Puppetts or Justice but it has that feel to it, where you know you will have to really listen to the album to get into it. I wasn't sure when I had my first listen, but the more I do listen to it the more I love it!

Firstly I will say that the mastering of this album is shockingly bad. In fact its a disgrace. Most of the time something gets drowned out whether it be vocals and even sometimes Kirk himself!!

But you know what, I don't care.

When the rifts and song structure is put together as it is, I forgive. The industrial guitar sound is back with a vengence. Whatever you say about Metallica, when Kirk is firing and James is on full throtle, they know how to write powerful and epic songs. Yeah maybe some of the songs go on a bit to long but for me thats what Metallica are about.

A great album from start to finish and a must buy for any rock fan. This is how it should be done.

p.s. Metallica are better LIVE than you will ever get on a CD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 October 2008
It is nice to know that they went back to their roots, and did not continue with the sound they had on 'St.Anger' which was generally a pretty weak offering (trying to do nu-metal?). Doing what they do best, this is probably the best album since the black album. Most of the album is good, although it does lack variety at times.

The songs will remind you of their older stuff (for older fans). The opening track 'That Was Just Your Life' is very similar to 'Battery' in its structure. For people who say there should be a 'Fade to Black II', then look no further than 'The Day That Never Comes'; when I first heard that I thought there are some parallels here. The 'Unforgiven III' is an improvement from the previous one. Personal highlights include 'That Was Just Your Life', 'Cyanide' and 'All Nightmare Long' (this is probably the most different song from Metallica offered on the album).

The recording isn't anything great, but it does not really put me off. It gives it a more raw sound which adds to the albums favour. Overall, its nothing ground breaking; its the same old Metallica we know and love, which makes it a good album for old and new fans.
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