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Death Magnetic CD
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Death Magnetic [Explicit]
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Death Magnetic is the ninth studio album from heavy metaltitans Metallica, who link up with producer Rick Rubin (Beastie Boys, Slayer) for the first time. Epic guitar solos from Kirk Hammett, constant speed changes and multiple riffs per song make the follow-up to 2003's St. Anger a throwback to the band's pre-1990s style. James Hetfield's vocals and the pounding rhythms of Lars Ulrich are as powerful as ever, while Bass player Rob Trujillo appears on a studio recording with the band for the first time
It begins with a heartbeat...it could very well be the heartbeat of your average Metallica fan, scared to death, not by the spooky coffin made of iron filings on the cover (see what they did there?) but by the thought that this supposed 'return to form' by the world's once-greatest thrash metal merchants will be lame. Well worry not. After the solo-free St Anger way back in 2003 this is, well, most outstanding.
Never let it be said that Metallica aren't a band of the people, just not the people who file share their back catalogue. You can imagine Death Magnetic blasting out of some tank's soundsystem in the middle east. The closest thing to a ballad is single, The Day That Never Comes, though after a few minutes it descends back into the abyss of raw power. And the only low point comes with the penultimate instrumental, Suicide And Redemption which meanders and has a 'sensitive' solo line at its core that's at odds with the brutality on offer elsewhere.
James Hetfield's lyrics now seem to have become the channel of his post-therapy angst. More cyphers than actual narratives, they come direct from the big book of heavy metal words. Take this example from The End Of The Line, "Need..more and more/Tainted misery/Bleed...battlescars/Chemical affinity/Reign...legacy/Innocence corrode/Stain...rot away/Catatonic overload/Choke...asphyxia/Snuff reality/Scorch...kill the light/Incinerate celebrity/Reaper... butchery/Karma amputee". You get the idea.
But words aren't the major force at work here. It's the irresistible maelstrom of guitars. Kirk Hammett's back to shredding triplets or chiming with Hetfield in Thin Lizzy-esque duels. Balancing vertiginous prog time shifts with chugging power chords, it's amazing how raw and hungry producer Rick Rubin (himself, a thrash connoiseur with Slayer and Wolfsbane albums under his belt) has made the band sound. His greatest contribution is in bringing out the crunch in 'new' boy. Robert Trujillo's bass. On Cyanide he's unstoppable. And, of course, leading the changes is the mighty Lars Ulrich. Possibly the single most erudite expression of metal's paradoxical mix of intelligence matched with dumb, awesome power. If there's a nagging sensation that the drums sound weird, it's because they're REAL. Say what you will about their psychodramas or political leanings, but this is a band that really can play.
Death Magnetic is the sound of a band giving both themselves and their fans exactly what they need. And nothing else matters... --Chris Jones
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Highlights : 'Cyanide' (played this > 10 times yesterday), 'The day that never comes', 'That was just your life', 'The end of the line'.
Now I've had my rant, I think, if you're a big fan of Metallica this is well worth £50 for what you get. Unfortunately, due to availability and different sellers' prices you have to pick your moment (hence why I've only just got it after looking at it for ages). The album's great, simple as, and the way the album is laid out physically is much more interesting than the normal plastic covering you'll see on the ones in the record shop (while they cling on to existence). The CD of the songs in their demo form is interesting to listen to although you won't be listening to it over and over, in fact you may well just listen to the songs in that form once and then never again. Saying that though, "Flamingo", which was to become "All Nightmare Long" I think sounds pretty awesome and I may actually prefer it to the finished article apart from the solo. The DM Lanyard seems a bit pointless but is kind of a nice touch (not exactly sure why anyone would wear it but maybe that's just me). The picks, as a guitarist, I appreciated although I have still not actually used them. The shirt is very good, nice simple design and although I wasn't given the option to choose the size it came with the right size for me anyway but of course everyone's different. The poster is very good, great pictures of the guys laid out in an arch of coffins. The flag is also a nice addition although it's effectively the size of a large poster so unless you have room for it to hang from somewhere, you're probably going to put it in a drawer and forget about it. The best extra piece by a mile though, for me anyway, is the "Making Magnetic" DVD which I love for many reasons but especially because it's a full-length DVD in the sense that it's NOT a summary of the making whereby they would edit together clips to make a 10-minute extra for the album. The making of each song is captured in the right amount of detail, focusing on the key parts of all of them with a good balance of all of the members' input.
Overall then, great at the right price and if you're a long-time or just a big fan of the band you'll get satisfaction from just owning it. I wouldn't pay as high as £80 for it though.
Demo CD 5/10
Making Magnetic DVD 10/10
Guitar Picks Untested
Lanyard is a bit pointless
In 2009 I had heard good things about Death Magnetic and again the same promise of a strong return to form but I didn’t bite I didn’t want it to yet again dilute the library of strong songs that I associated with Metallica.
In a moment of carefree indecision I ended up buying Death Magnetic last month, 5 years after initial release. Straightaway I thought this is the album that St Anger should have been, a genuine return to form. Death Magnetic doesn’t really sound like any other Metallica album it has a modern sounding Metallica with early Metallica song arrangements. It sounds like what you would get if were to put all of their past songs into a blender and have one song come out replicating a mix of the bands past and present.
You can tell they naturally wanted to re kindle the past sound but not trying desperately to do so like St Anger and yet they are also embracing the evolution in sound that the band has taken overtime. The album is natural its not Metallica trying to be Metallica but Metallica actually being Metallica It doesn’t feel forced, song are well written and many of the choruses provide enough of a hook to keep you coming back for another listen. The riffs are powerful forcing your head to start moving. Guitar solos are a bit of a let down but it seems Kirk has regained some of the lost love for guitar playing that has been evident in the past. For me the drumming from Lars is a particular strong point of the album, long gone is the loose snare sound found in St Anger having been replaced with some very fiery playing. Overall it’s a good album but not as memorable or as significant as many of the older albums but if like me you lost faith in Metallica because of St Anger be sure to give this album a go, it does not disappoint.
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