Part of the Bay Area News Group

Early Metallica CD review

By Tony Hicks
Thursday, August 21st, 2008 at 5:38 pm in Uncategorized.

Nobody puts Kirk Hammet’s guitar in the corner.

I got to spend the afternoon today (Thursday) at Metallica HQ in Marin, listening to the band’s new record “Death Magnetic,” which comes out Sept. 12 (that’s what my sheet says, even though new CDs usually come out on Tuesdays, not Fridays).

Funny enough, while listening to Kirk Hammett regain his guitar hero status on “Death Magnetic,” I sat almost in the exact same spot Hammett sat in the “Some Kind Of Monster” documentary, which chronicled the chaos of Metallica making their last record “St. Anger.” It was in that spot that Hammett argued with drummer Lars Ulrich and producer Bob Rock that their then-new practice of writing songs without guitar solos was, um, not to Hammett’s liking.

Arguing against the notion that guitar solos were “dated” Hammett ended up being dead-on when he said not having guitar solos dated Metallica’s music to that particular time. “St Anger” sounded like it was following the lead of early 2000s metal bands. Apparently Hammett and the rest of the band are tired of following bands who grew up worshipping them.

They only gave me one listen, with an engineer and record company rep in the room, so a comprehensive review is fairly pointless. Coincidentally, the one CD review I wish I could re-write was my 2003 “St Anger” review. In a rush to get a story in the paper, I only listened to the album a couple times. Apparently I was so happy to hear Metallica revert to its heavy ways that I gave it an A-, neglecting to realize that it wasn’t a very good record.

So no grade now. I will tell you that no one, but NO ONE leashes Kirk Hammett on “Death Magnetic,” and the result is some of the best playing of his career. You can hear lots of echoes of their first four albums (not to mention one echo from the kindler, gentler 90s on “The Unforgiven III”). One leftover from “St. Anger” is that “Death Magnetic” features few songs sounding like they were written around a vocal hook, which was how Metallica got their sneering faces on MTV so much in the 90s. The difference from “St. Anger,” is that the riffs, while still heavy, aren’t crashing about searching for a place to settle within the songs. The songs have better structure and just sound better. Metallica is back to powering fast, central riffs, occasionally breaking ranks and tempo for some Iron Maiden-ish breakouts, then building to … you guessed it, the muscley solo from Hammett.

But don’t get too excited. While better than “St. Anger,:” the songs again seem so intent on proving Metallica still brings the thunder that something is occasionally out of place. There’s barely a vocal hook in sight – something the band could pull off more than capably on the early records, even if it was shouting a few words to pass for a chorus. Somehow it just doesn’t work so well anymore. But Hetfield and Ulrich may have been so pleased at how well the band sounds the first time in the studio with bassist Robert Trujillo, they just blew off the the choruses. The whole band sounds tight and absolutely stacked. Some of the songs sound like they came from jams, including  the instrumental “Suicide & Redemption,” which built slowly into layers of blistering Hammett.

And, I have to say, while it’s nice to hear Metallica get back (mostly … so far … I think … after one listen) to what they do best instead of experimenting, It’s also nice to hear Hetfield no longer struggling with his personal demons lyrically, getting back to yelling about mangled flesh and whatnot.

I promised not to do a detailed review and think I did anyway. To be fair, i’ll get back to you after the record comes out. Better yet, we can talk amongst ourselves. between now and Sept. 12, the band will be streaming 1-2 songs at a time at metallica.com

[Both comments and pings are currently closed.]

101 Responses to “Early Metallica CD review”

  1. Eric Says:

    Nice review! Well done. Huge Metallica fan, and I can totally appreciate where you’re coming from.

  2. vato Says:

    Bay Area Thrash Metal is back!!!They need to bring Death angel on tour with them..

  3. HeyJoe Says:

    Metallica? Are these old farts STILL at it?

  4. Tom Says:

    I just listened to “The Day That Never Comes,” and I feel that it lacks direction. The lyrics are ill-thought, and the drumming is monotonous. The bass is worth about a penny, and the only saving grace is Kirk’s guitar. James’ vocals are hard to listen to. I heard some hints of Iron Maiden’s The Trooper mingled in with One. T

  5. craig motyka Says:

    after giving the day that never comes several listens …..i here this the front four minutes was metallica 96 the back four was metallica 86 with awesome soloing …. its a good combo of the last 27 years … I’m hooked

  6. HeyJude Says:

    Old farts? Good one! Not really, Joe. Yeah we’re all getting a little older, but just like Maiden, Priest, Heaven and Hell, etc, we’re still rocking and getting better. Hope you got to check out Maiden’s or Priest’s tour this year, Joe. All of the 10-18 year olds in the audience who can’t relate to any of the metal crap that’s out nowadays agreed, the “Old Farts” tore it up! Yes, St Anger was absolutley horrible, and nothing will ever compare to Kill, Ride, Master, and Justice, but based on what I heard so far, I have this strange feeling Metallica is back!

  7. HeyJoe Says:

    HeyJude/HeyJoe. Ha. I’m just giving Tony a hard time.

  8. Tony Hicks Says:

    You guys are upsetting me. Stop it.

  9. Mandingo Warrior Says:

    Tallica is BACK!!! I am so thrilled to hear that Kirk has been unleashed on this album (he should be, since he is one of the greatest guitar players on the planet). St. Anger was a “swing and a miss”, but lets face it, we all make mistakes. It sounds as though Magnetic is a trip down memory lane (Kill, Ride, Master and Justice) with a little sprinkle of Black, Load and Re). Well done boys, for getting back to your ROOTS. I can’t wait for Sept. 12th, the DAY OF DEATH!!!

  10. Cliff Burton Says:

    That St. Anger nonsense STILL pisses me off. The best thing they’ve released since ’86 is a cover of Mercyful Fate. Don’t get your hopes up, good people.

  11. d campbell Says:

    From what i heard from MetallicaA’s website this album should not be played around those with heart conditions or extra sensitive ears. As a die hard MetallicA fan i’m proud to proclaim from the top of my apartment “MetallicA is back”. I leave for vaction the day it releases and have already scheduled a pit stop to pick up the album

  12. Tony Hicks Says:

    C’mon, St. Anger aside, Metallica has had some good moments since ’86.
    Wait a sec, you’re not REALLY Cliff Burton…

  13. alan carter Says:

    i get the hole vocal hooks thing, no chanting along for this album but i’ll be hoping metallica have got at least 1 more album after magnetic with all the vocal hooks i need, searching …….. SEEK AND DESTROY

  14. steve Says:

    I’ve heard enough clips to know that this cd will be mediocre. Save your money. Buy Testament’s Formation of Damnation instead. They do early Metallica better than Metallica does early Metallica nowadays, and the actually take it to the next level. Much better musicians to boot, and you don’t have to listen to Larz pretending that he can still play drums.

  15. bosoxyaz8 Says:

    love tony hicks he always gives metal massive support in the cc times. i always call him and leave messages after his reviews. he knows me as the static-x , metal guy from about 9 years ago.

  16. Wa Says:

    My Apocolypse is the best song ever! Holy cow. I just downloaded it and $hit my self.

  17. Bill Says:

    Metallica is dead.

  18. Ganesh Says:

    Tell that wanker Hetfield and his posse that i’m going to download the entire album and delete it. yeps, for fuck’s sake.

    I cannot remember when i first heard Metallica, I think I was 11-12 years old then. I’m 29 now. I went hungry saving up my pennies so I could go out and buy their music. Being a musician I understand that you cannot always please the fan, but fuck your integrity up, that’s a no-no! Yup, they fucked integrity. Metal integrity. I’m all for progression, change – a staunch Buddhist believer that I am, I accept that change is the only constant. However, when you change from being Metallica to being a whimp-ass twat crying and milking an already overrated tune like the Unforgiven…you need to LISTEN to the fan(s). I have heard the new tunes – here’s my take, Hetfield sings like a granny, the lyrics are DUMB! Varg Vikerness and his pagan boys write better lyrics, the tempo is fucking slow….well, I have Sadus to listen to now. So, fuck off!

    PS: James, i have entered my mail ID. If you wish to sue go right ahead, i’m going to download and delete DM so you can get uber pissed and write like you did when you were a metalhead…fucking sellout wank.

  19. P Jones Says:

    well its nice to hear mainly positive responses. ive heard 3 songs. TDTNC i personally think is a great song, fade to black meets AJFA. i love it, Cyanide, a good song only heard live. cant really judge until i heard the album version. My apocalypse an amzing thrash song very similar to Batter and Damage Inc.
    i wish that people would just enjoy the music for what it is. i have a good feeling about this record and think it will shut some of the haters up. I think only true opinions of the album be established after a few listens. i rarely like albums on a first listen but after about 2-3 listens my heart gets pounding.
    everyone:

    METALLICA, METALLICA!!!!

  20. John Sheehan Says:

    Actually, I think Cliff would’ve loved the Thin Lizzy like soloing in The Day that Never Comes… He instilled that type of musicmanship in Metallica early on.

    Tony, is the CD quality much better than the streams they have been putting out? I’m liking the songs so far, but have been disappointed with the sound quality.

    I never expect Metallica to capture their 80′s music. Even if Puppets was just coming out now, it wouldn’t mean the same thing to me then it did then. I remember seeing ‘Tallica in ’84 in Scotia, NY for the first time. It changed my life. I’m just hoping for a solid album. I didn’t mind St. Anger as much as most people. I was more turned off by the Load albums, but I understood St. Anger, and the statement it was making. I also think it could’ve been a better album with better production and Rob Trujillo on bass, but it was what it was. Metallica was lucky to make any type of record at that point, and you can hear the pain in it.

    Anyways, enough rambling. Can’t wait to hear the CD.

  21. Kevinio Says:

    Is ‘death is not the end’ included in the album somewhere?

    i.e. the new song played live in 2006/7

  22. Paul M Says:

    Nice review. I can’t wait to hear this album. I second Vato’s comment that Metallica should take Death Angel along on this tour.

  23. Tony Hicks Says:

    John – The quality of the record sounded amazing – nothing was buried, the drums were huge … well, pretty much everything was huge. Then again, I heard it in the control room on state of the art equipment with an engineer playing it back for me. But it sounded great.
    Kevino – I just went back through my notes and didn’t see “Death is not the End,” (check http://www.allmusic.com to verify). But, as the album title implies, there’s lots of songs tackling death. Could it be named something else?

  24. Domonic R Says:

    Tony, good call on the writeup. I think you are dead on with your analysis, especially with Kirk. Each track that is leaked out there and I am forced to analyze and they are getting better. Keep the mushy stuff off this record and bring the pain. Thats what the people want and it seems that this record is starting to go that way. I have been doing my little write up on my website at http://maximumthreshold.net Maximum Threshold.

    Metallica needs to keep pushing themselves to what made them a powerhouse from the 80′s to the early 90′s and keep it at that. That is what made them who they were and the direction they should have stayed. But I am looking forward to hearing other songs.

    Tony get ahold of me and see if we can get you on our show one of these Saturday nights for your analysis of this record.

    Dom

  25. Kevinio Says:

    Thanks for the response, and I certainly hope so because it is a superb song. here is a link to it on youtube.

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=5k92R7IVbDs

    Im hoping its track number 2 The end of the Line

    Do you recognise it?

  26. Tony Hicks Says:

    Hey Kevino – I tried, but couldn’t remember whether it’s on the record. I went and looked at my notes for “The End of the Line” (track 2) and couldn’t find any evidence. Sorry.

  27. infanticide Says:

    From what i know “the new song” and “the oher new song” arent on the album, but some riffs from them were used on other songs. i think i heard Lars or Rob saying this…

  28. Paul grave Says:

    Thanks for the review Tony. Any idea if the album had already been mastered by the time you got to listen to it?

  29. Max Says:

    From what I’ve heard about the preview tracks and the full lengths of Apocalypse, Day that Never Comes, and live Cyanide it seems this record is just a more aggressive version of Load. I want to hear more fat riffs like Master of Puppets and the crunch of Lightning. But they still fall back to their Load leanings for some odd reason. And Hetfield’s singing is so melodic here. Not sure what he’s trying to accomplish. Bark boy bark!

  30. My2cents Says:

    As a Bay Area Metallica fan since 1983 (39 now) I have watched this band evolved over the last 25 years. I am also one of the few that could “tolerate” all their records post Black Album. Now these new tracks that have been unleashed are giving the listener a view into whats to come. So far i go with average. It sounds like what St. Anger would have sounded like with a slightly better yet drier production. Lars needs to get over himself and realize that his drums do not belong front and center. He is not the drummer of the 80′s anymore. He has found that comfort zone and staying in it. The clean guitars and vocals just do not match the intensity of the music. I have an idea for James. Dude you have a deep voice, quit singing and start vocalizing. It will match the music so much better. It will probably save his voice in the long run too.

  31. Arnie Says:

    Totally agree My2cents.
    Been a fan since 86 and totally love the first 3 albums but like everything else they have done. On the new songs The drums are to much at the front and James should be singing like he did in the 80s with that great aggressive vocals that he has. The more he tries to sing the less I like it.
    Anyway I hope the rest of the songs are at least as good if not better. Always excited on any new material from Metallica.

  32. Nueva álbum de Metallica - Death Magnetic [Nueva canción My Apocalypse] | todoRock.pe Says:

    [...] escuchar el álbum completo mucho antes de su salida al mercado y ha hecho un review al respecto, puedes leerlo en este enlace (en ingles). La caratula de Death Magnetic tiene la imagen de un ataud negro y vuelve a tener el logo originald [...]

  33. quido Says:

    3 very boring songs so far, the latest my apocolypse sound like the just rearanged batery and added different lyrics.

    lets hope it gets better , but after 3 songs I highly doubt it.

  34. ironspatula Says:

    lets just wait and see if they’ve got more poop up their arses….which im thinking there are…truckloads! seeing how bad theyve become, even if James start barking, lars stop talking, kirk keeps playing…it’ll still sound shite! take the keys off the ignition and put the band to rest. go away gracefully.

  35. RoboticOrgasmMachine Says:

    Death Magnetic also sounds like an album by a band who needs a new drummer. The songs sound alright, but the one major weak point is the drumming. Lars seems to think that just because a song has a structure that is largely in 4/4 time, it therefore means that the the only beats he can play a snare hit on are 2 and 4.
    I say “bring back the cut and paste drumming from Justice” that way if he isn’t going to put the effort into playing creatively like on albums pre-Justice, he can at least mock something up that sounds a little less half assed.
    James Hetfield has a great voice when he is on, but for some reason he has left growling behind and has replaced with weird sounding squeaks and “yeah”‘s. Maybe it hurts him to sing gruff and manly now.

    Kirk can play and has always been able to play, he just allowed his talent to be outshined by personal egos.

    I have no formed opinion on Robert as a part of Metallica. 5 years of live playing and one album that we have all only heard snippets of is not good for basing a decision on.

    I think that this album will go down as the Metallica album people wont bitch about not being as good, but they will always know deep down that it is not the same band anymore. The songs seem to lack that sense of personal integrity in them. You know when you listen to the music pre-megafame, that they were 100% behind every note in each song. In 2008, I kind of have my doubts…

    I will download first and then buy – IF I think its worth having a copy of. We will see if it is any good when we actually hear it.

  36. RoboticOrgasmMachine Says:

    Except for My Apocalypse. That is one fucken cool song. It’s fucken Motorbreath over again.

  37. DeathMagneticA Says:

    St. Anger is a thing of beauty. The most emotional metal album ever released. Your review is the typical, obligatory, luke-warm piece of crap. Grow a backbone.

    The Death Magnetic songs I’ve heard so far are brilliant.

  38. Amator_musicae_metallae Says:

    Hahahah,

    I cannot believe what i read, i read people who call fellow rockers a fucking sell-out wank and such.
    I dunno if the most people here in this site are amrican, but shut the fuck up.

    I am a metalhead for 13 years now, and i have visited may many shows, gigs, festivals of metal bands but i never heard metal heads sday such thing to another.
    I always thought that rock and metal was on happy family, but i now sence some bad aplles in this happy family.

    I understand that one can dislike a song or album or even a band, but i cannot believe that one can say such things about fellow rockers, that’s not the way a proffesional musician talks, thsat way i can see that ganesh might never even have a succes(not even if he truly would try his best…never).
    I also play, and though i also don’t want or need a succes when i play in band i still never ever say anything like that to other bands, even if they sound like shit.

    Sorry to post this long thing wich isn’t actually based on the subject, but i had to get rid of this.
    People don’t listen with their hearth, they only listen to what they want, people like ganesh are selfish and ego centric, they only allow a band to do what THEY like not what ther band would like.

    Metallica isn’t a band who did all this on purpose, the breaktru song is one.
    and noone can say that that is a sell out song.
    Metallica was the right band at the right time.
    Touring for almost 5 years i can imagine that one would like to do slower.

    I to think it is a pity, and i’d love a full trash album, but i settle with what i can get, not with what i never get.
    I treasure what i have not what passes me by.
    Other should do to.

    Now on topic.

    I like the songs, but i like the song my apocalypse more.
    ofcourse, being a metal/trash metal fan.
    Well i have ordered the album already and i think it will do fine.
    I’m happy to hear that there is trash influenced on it.

  39. Jedinate Says:

    Sp far, I like what I’ve heard (3 songs) and I can’t wait for this. All of their albums have something I like, even if they are uneven as a whole.

    I think the whole recording process, for them, now is too thought out and over-analyzed, while the old stuff just flowed out of them. The saying “You can’t go home again” is true.

    As long as they keep releasing music, as an excuse to tour, I am fine with it. I’ve seen ‘em 8 times and they have never disappointed live.

  40. Metallica - Topic ufficiale - Pagina 695 - Forum di Truemetal.it Says:

    [...] come la strumentale "Suicide & Redemption". Potete leggere l’intera recensione qui a quanto dice sto tizio il mio timore é fondato…le linee vocali non sono il massimo. [...]

  41. steveu Says:

    I’m a fan since 89, probably older than all of you. My fave has always been the album I came in with (Justice). I don’t love the oldest stuff as much as some, and am also more tolerant of the Black album to present than others. “Master,” “Justice” and Black album I can most relate to.

    Anyway, I didn’t really like or “get” TDTNC much the first time I heard it, but by the third time, I was really digging it. No, not up with the best of the all-time greats, but it feels a lot more like the old Metallica while still seeming relevant. I’ve heard Apocalypse twice and, for those who really liked the best old thrash tunes, I think it’s about as good as it’s gonna get.

    But I do agree, so far, that the vocal hook part of it could be better. Even the best of the 80s hooked a bit better …

    Still pretty good stuff, though. I’m pumped for the rest of it.

  42. HeyJoe Says:

    Maybe you’d get more readers if you went to the “All Metallica – All the Time” format.

  43. Tony Hicks Says:

    It’s not a bad idea. I have a feeling a lot of these replies are from people who provide 465 responses to every single tiny post on our Raiders blog. If we had a website dedicated to the Raiders and Metallica, we’d be rolling in money.
    Hey, wait a sec …

  44. Patrick Wheeler Says:

    Tony, why are they releasing so much material before the album is released? I love the new material, but shouldn’t they save most of it for the release date?

    By the way, I do not understand why people hate on post 89 Metallica. I like to see bands try new things.

  45. matthew Says:

    This album is shit its all just sounds like Mtallica are making music that is going along with current trends and Jame’s voice in the album is horrid it just seams to drone on and on and on. I was hoping for a really heavy more typical Metallica type album, I think alot of hardcore old school Metallica fans will be disappointed where as more people who are not normalcy Metallica fans will like it because its more there thing. personally I prefer St Anger and thats saying something

  46. FanTillTheEnd Says:

    Cool writeup. Glad the sound quality is nice.

    What i don’t get is how everyone’s an authority on what’s good after like 2 listens. I remember when I first heard “Holier Than Thou”, I wasn’t really diggin it. I did’t get it at first. Same goes for Whiplash, Shortest Straw, Through the Never, and more songs. It wasn’t until my 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th listen that the songs started to grow on me, and I would learn the lyrics, get the meaning behind it, and become famliar w/ the guitar riffs, etc. Then I simply fell in love with the songs!

    Production-wise, i find it hard to listen to some of the older stuff, except for Justice. I love the way that albums sounds! Even Black, the snare can be annoying. St. Anger, well, it seems to distort at high volumes (which is what Metallica sounds best at)..LOL>

    anyway, i for one am xstatic about this new album. So far i’m really liking the songs i’ve heard, and think they will grow on me… more and more. I think overall, it’s gonna be a great album.

    One question for you.. how is Unforgiven III??? I mean the balls they have to do that!!! That’s why I love this band so much!! They do what they want! and often it’s balls to the wall..

    long live Metallica.. F all the p*ssy haters who think they know anything about music, and obviously nothing about loyalty and subjectivity..

  47. Jack Says:

    Some of these responses are hilarious. They prove what some have said for years… it makes no difference what Metallica does, they are the band people most like to attack.

    Anyway, the album has 3 amazing tracks, 3 very good tracks, 3 good tracks, and one OK track. That is a better track record than most metal bands out there who put like 3 good songs on a record and people don’t complain once about it.

  48. R. McNally Says:

    Well I guess its up to Testament to hold up the bay area metal legacy. After listening to the pre-released tracks,reading all the reviews and comments I can’t believe how blind the Metallica fans are to the possibility that the band has lost its steam. Metallica could tour for years on just the pre Load albums like other classic bands have done, ex: Kiss (they rocked in Tahoe last night). I love Metallica and have been a fan since the late eighties (In Kuwait they were one of the bands I had tapes for on my walkman)but they just don’t kick it anymore for me personally. I guess people have their own opinions and the right to express them, to each his own. I will not be buying the album unless there is a track on the album that just kicks ass and blows my socks off with some real hard core METAL not the mish-mash hodgepodge that I have heard.

  49. Uncool66 Says:

    I totally agree with what Amator_musicae_metallae said. You have to take every album for what it is. You can wish for this or that, but at the end of the day, you don’t controle it. You can love it or hate it, but you can’t force it.
    In every album that I listen to, I’m looking for things I like, some stand out, sow grows on me after a while some I just don’t like. St-Anger was badly produced and had many bad production decisions that sunk it, but there was a lot of good things buried in the music. Invisible Kid was a really good song but way too long. Shoot me again had many good hooks but again, some bad changes.

    What I heard so far from Death Magnetic is promissing. I’m not looking for Master, Justice, Lightning or Kill. If I want to hear those albums, I’ll put them on. I’m just looking for good music. Fast, Slow, Slower….. Whatever, Good music is good music.

    In 1984 I was 13 and sitting in my brothers room when his best friend came in with the brand new 12″ Vinyl titled Ride the Lightning. I thought this was wayyyyyy too fast and heavy for me. My brother’s room was right next to mine and he was blasting that album all day long. Listening to it over and over again got me hooked. Shortly after I went and asked him to make me a copy on tape. I have been a Metallica fan ever since. I saw them live twice for the Justice tour and the Black Album tour.

    Although I didn’t love all the albums as much as their older stuff, there was always some value to every album and something good to take from everyone of them. I’m sure it will be the same for Magnetic and we might get a little more this time around.

  50. jnewstead Says:

    Now you guys know why I quit – these lamers can`t write anymore.

  51. B.Vincent Says:

    Cyanide is fucking great man! I already listened to it like 20 times, even if it’s live version, i’m diggin it more and more avery day, shit the chorus riff is awesome, I love it, the bridge is psyched, and still very good. and Catchy, I don’t think TDTNC and Apocalypse are that catchy, but are good songs

    TDTNC : Good intro, it’s original melodies I did not expect from them I love the verses (the guitar melody is exactly the same as a song by a crapy french band called Indochine) it sounds good, I think the chorus is good too, but I’m kind of disappointed, but the guitar section at the end of it is marvellous.
    then the second half of the song is awesome, with fast guitar solos, but I agree that the drumming isn’t cool al all, Lars just wanted to copy “One” second half drumming part and that’s it…The song is still very good

    My apocalypse : drumming sounds crap, the bass does’nt sound good, shit I am disappointed; lyrics and singing is fucked up, it’s original, and I did not expect it either, it is a very good song too

  52. Matthew Says:

    Im just laughing at these comments. People flaming metallica because the lyrics aren’t up to par LMFAO. Any excuse will do for not liking a new metallica album.

    Sorry, if your musical vocabulary is limited to the older albums you don’t know what music is!

    This album has the best power grooves.

  53. Fabio Says:

    I listened to the whole album and :
    It doesn’t really sound as a copy of KEA, RTL, MOP, AJFA. None of these. Instead, it sounds as a sum of all the styles they adopted in their life as a band; so you’re gonna get James singing sometimes “St.Anger style”, sometimes “Load/Re-Load” style, sometimes just screaming. You’re gonna get old style instrumental parts but mashed with other influences taken through their whole career and only in a few parts you’ll hear the deja-vu. It’s definitely not a masterpiece, but it’s not crap either, and for the moment i prefer the second part of the album, taking “The Judas Kiss” as the highlight (“bow down, sell your soul..” etc). Some songs sound as they were a cut ‘n’ paste jam thing (something that killed St.Anger), but there’s more variety so you’re never gonna get bored. If i had to make a best/worst poll, i’d say
    -best: That Was Just Your Life, All Nightmare Long, The Judas Kiss, My Apocalypse
    -worst: The End Of The Line (maybe it’s me, but in certain parts it sounded to me as a bad copy of Creeping Death and in others a bad copy of something else.. and i never liked “Death Is Not The End” which this song has some parts), Cyanide.
    Then, side note: The Unforgiven III, beside the title, has nothing to do musically with the previous ones.. why not change some lyrics and the title?

    In the end, i’d say it’s a very good effort from Metallica even with some weak moments, i really think this is the best they can give right now. an 8 out of 10.

  54. WTF Says:

    There should be laws protecting us from having to hear anything from Bands who already produced music in the 80′ies and still sound the same. That’s disgusting.

  55. usuakari Says:

    I know, it’s not out yet, but I have an advance copy- and I am highly pleased. I’ve been a Metallica fan since they began, and I’ve heard it all. Overall the album is more like Justice For All- longer songs, shifting tempos, blistering solos. It has occasional touches of the St. Anger looseness to some of the lyrics and song structure, which is not always the best thing, but it’s still an incredible cd (and that damn tinny high-hat sound is gone:-)Don’t judge by those demos you’ve heard- the finished songs are much richer in sound. Of course, I have to spend more time with it, but initial impressions:
    “That Was Just Your Life” rolls us into the cd in style, with the kind of energy and speed only “Blackened” could match.
    “The End of the Line” Believe it or not, like a newer version of “Creeping Death”. Similar melody, great headbanging power.
    “Broken, Beat & Scarred”- mid-tempo (usually- all these songs change tempo in places). Feels like “Disposable Heroes” with a bit more melody. Nice military drums.
    “The Day That Never Comes” is similar to “Unforgiven 1″ or “God That Failed”. Definitely a “Black Album” type-slower track until it goes into faster solo territory. Worth the wait.
    “All Nightmare Long” is the band’s reply to “Enter Sandman”, and it’s harder than hell. Remember when Metallica was a thrash metal band? Yep, 8 minutes of fury. I love this tune.
    “Cyanide” is a less structured, shifting song, not as tight as the other tracks. More like a St. Anger song, but still solid.
    The Unforgiven III: Nice. Starts in that slow droning that characterized the first two parts of this trilogy, and then rips into a nice Load-style solo. (Listening to all three “Unforgiven”s in a row is very interesting, incidentally).
    “The Judas Kiss”- rocks. Much like “The God That Failed” meets “Harvester of Sorrow”. Great lyrics, and perhaps my favorite track right now.
    “Suicide & Redemption”. A 10 minute instrumental, it feels like “To Live is to Die”. Not a standout track, but proof that the band still throw out riffs with the best of them.
    “My Apocalypse”, last tune, nice Master of Puppets style drums. A lot like “battery”, and definitely ends the cd with a blast.

    So, Metallica fan- BUY IT. This is not St. Anger, or Reload here. This is “Justice For All Part II”, 10 years later and 10 years sleeker. I promise you that there are no metal cds coming out this year that could touch this beast. I was very dubious about what to expect, but this is a classic return to form that will blow you away if you give it a chance.
    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to listen to it again. And again:-)

  56. Domonic Says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with you on your review. I heard the whole thing and feel the same way.

    http://maximumthreshold.net

  57. lawrence Says:

    After a 17 year break, Metallica sound like they are back at last.

  58. Se filtra el nuevo álbum de Metallica: ¿Marketing gratuito? Says:

    [...] Desde anoche, cuando leí por primera vez la noticia, comencé a buscar algunos reviews del álbum. Me sorprendió leer que muchos están considerando a Death Magnetic la vuelta de Metallica a los sonidos pesados y a los old days de And Justice For All o Ride The Lightning. O sea, están sacando cuentas alegres: A la gente le ha gustado el nuevo álbum, y lo están recibiendo con buenas críticas. [...]

  59. Uncool66 Says:

    GREAT ALBUM!!

    Definatly the best album since Justice, including the Black Album. It’s not a masterpiece, but great skull crushing metal.

    Great job guys, you really achieved a great album in my book.

  60. GR Says:

    I have just heard the full Death Magnetic album…. this is their best album since And Justice in the sense that thrash metal is what metallica ”was”… forget the fact that the black album was a great album for mainstreamers… this is a complete return to form – shame we cant wipe away st anger/load & reload from the history books!!!!

    I give this 9 out of 10!! From a happy old school metallica fan…

    p.s. the song ‘The Judas Kiss’ has the best hook on the album…. ”Bowwww down.. sell your soul to meeeeeaaaaaa” cracking cracking cracking!!!!!!!!

  61. GR Says:

    after reading post 35 by RoboticOrgasmMachine,.. i wanted to say that i totally agree with the idea that metallica need a new drummer… or lars needs to get back to his ”And Justice” days… although theres some great changes on the new album & some fast drumming, lars’ playing has been 2 dimensional since the black album… theres only so many times that you can 1/2 a bar of walloping the snare in 4/4 timing…. there are a couple of good fills on the record but lars has set a level of drumming when AJFA was recorded… the ‘negative progression’ in his playing is massive… no 7 stroke rolls, no complx double bass drum patterns… guess on the early albums it was still fairly 2 dimensional but thatdidnt matter 20yrs ago. The fact that the album contains some very technical guitar parts could have been complimented by lars kicking off on the drums!!!

  62. My2cents Says:

    Heard the entire CD now. I gotta say very impressed. Final production is so much better than these MP3 versions floating around. Its not the old Metallica that everyone is hoping for but a new more in your face approach. Take all that you know from the old records and modernize them with a newer thrashier groove. I would have to say that this sounds like the record they have been wanting to make since Justice. Sure Lars’s drumming is more simplistic but after hearing the songs a bit more it works for what they are doing here. There are some throwaways but 6 out of 10 are very solid catchy riffs in the song writing. My advice would be to just let the record sink in. THAT WAS JUST YOUR LIFE is the standout for me. Totally caught me off guard. For now though, I ‘m digging what i hear.

  63. zxTIGERxz Says:

    Ganesh you predictable cunt! You come on here saying how shitty metallica is and then you say you are listening to some shit band called Sadus that noones heard of.Sadus? lmao wtf is that some gutter trash band like you!

  64. Zed Says:

    Why does everyone talk so highly of the black album? It was the beginning of the end in my opinion. New album sounds okay to me but not good enough to win me back as a fan.

  65. Louis Says:

    Hi there,

    A few comments. Of course long time hardcore fan of the band, needless to say. And i’m the kind of guy who tries to make constructive citicism. So here we go…

    General comments about the album itself and for itself :
    - Very nice song structures, long and Metallica’s old school style.
    - Very good riffs all over the cd, powerful ones.
    - Harmonized guitars, Metallica style in the early age, and that is very cool (gives dimension to the songs).
    - Solos are back thank god, and proove that Kirk has too much been underrated.
    - James’ voice has never been better : confident, not that kind of weird singing you could have sometimes on St Anger.

    This cd is diverse, totally rich sounding and very entertaining earingwise because you never get bored.

    Comparisons
    Now if you have to compare it to other albums because this is the favorite games of any hardcode fan :

    * Music writing-wise: this album is the missing link between Justice and the Black album.

    * Production-wise : it’s close to Justice in terms of drum presence (even if on this new one, they sound better), sounds cleaner than St Anger, sometimes makes me think about kill em all, don’t know why !

    * Guitar sounding-wise : Tighter than St Anger but not as clean sounding than the Black album. Listening is less tiring for riff guitar guessing.

    * Diversity : it is the most diverse Metallica album since the Justice / Black era. Breaks, runs, solos, peaks and downfalls. This album is very very good from this point of view.

    Conclusion :
    Metallica has been looking for itself quite a time now. Now, the influence of Rob Trujillo must have played an important part in the fact that this quest is over : Rob is an old school typical bay area dude, suicidal tendencies and infectious groove punk attitude and the whole Ozzy experience is the best resume you can get.
    They’re back to their roots but still evolve.
    To me, they’re back, they’re strong and are gonna chop everybody’s head off playing those songs live !!!

  66. Phil Says:

    Big Metallica fan. However from what Ive heard so far Im not as happy as I was hoping I would be. Hammet is amazing on this album, however what happend to lars? The percussion is elementary and doesnt fill up the bottom end as much as he used to. Lack of double kick or blast beats throughout. Disappointed. Better, Ill buy it download it whatever but man the beast of a drummer i know lars is, just didnt come out here. It doesnt fit. The drums need to be more Dyers eve and ended up more unforgivenish

  67. Daniel Almada Says:

    just heard the whole album… 3 times in a row!!! It’s their best work in twenty years!!! METALLICA is back!!!!… Don’t pay any mind to naysayers or the tepid rewiew on this page, if you liked their music in the 80′s, you’ll LOVE this one!

  68. JJ Says:

    I have downloaded the album already…it has been leaked, and for all of you who are bashing metallica, you need to shut the fuck up and listen to the CD…it is BRILLIANT. The metal gods are truly back. The album is filled with the same intense, chugging hetfield guitar, pounding drums, and hammett is amazing as usual. Dont judge them by “the day that never comes” which is their weakest song on the album. Bow down to the gods of metal, because they really are back. This is the closest thing to Master of Puppets/and justice for all that you will hear so STOP BITCHING

  69. Oldfan Says:

    I reckon that people should be more grateful and as another person mentioned, objective, when they assess the latest offering from our boys and then go on to critique their entire career. Grateful, for the immense contribution that Metallica have made to the music world, influencing bands both much softer and heavier than themselves. Bands that who have gone on to great things and pleased masses of people in their own right. We ought to be grateful for the courage the boys have shown, being brave enough to wave their balls in the wind in full view of the wolves. That’s what it’s like when you are on the fringe in the music world. The courage to continue to push forward when you are groping in the dark looking for something you’ve lost (or leaving something old behind and seeking something new). Many people deride their efforts on St. Anger, but they fail to realise that were it not for the creation of St. Anger, Death Magnetic would not even exist today. Today we would have St. Anger (or equivalent) as the new release and we’d all be waiting another 5 years for Death Magnetic.
    The same is true of all releases. They represent a stage and a stepping stone in the bands career. If it were not for the previous stage the current would not exist. The only people who wish for Metallica to sound like they did in this era or that era are those who have failed to move on, like Metallica have moved on and broken new ground. They are still in the same mindset that they were then and crave the music that corresponds to it. Metallica, however have chosen to mature and leave old things behind. One only needs to appreciate the progression of and in James Hetfield’s heart when listening to the Unforgiven trilogy. These guys are all human like you and me with all the trials and trepidations, pains and joys, ups and downs that you and I have. Looking from with that in mind, a better understanding and appreciation of their music will be realised. Thank you.

  70. Greg B Says:

    I’ve been following the band since 1990, and am still perplexed by Load and everything that followed.

    Judging by the two songs on the website, I hear a band that is still unsure of what it’s supposed to be doing.

    Just when something interesting starts happening, the new Load-era reasserts itself with some banal guitar or lyric.

    Clearly wanting to go in a new direction, but not knowing how, or perhaps this collaboration just isn’t capable of getting there.

    Some artists are like this, they are afraid of their own shadows, want to keep with the times, emulating the lesser young bands around them for fear of being forgotten. They start believing the criticism about them, and then they’re living out their career in denial of whom they are, cynical about themselves, their music, and their fans. I’ve seen it before.

    But I think it’s the musicians who don’t lose sight or trust in themselves who make it through in the long run. Sadly, of all bands, Metallica just can’t find their way out.

    The sampler songs, particularly the long one, is meandering, disjointed (not in a good sense), mechanical, and uninvolved.

    On the plus side, Hammett plays his arse off. Good job Kirk!!

  71. AlexVoz Says:

    My biggest concern is the sound quality. I am excited by what I am hearing in terms of the songs themselves, but does the final, mastered CD sound better than all these streams?

    The drums sound hollow to me (but nowhere near as bad as on St. Anger) and I keep hearing distortion (the bad kind) creeping into the songs.

    Mr. Reviewer, is this what you heard in the studio or was it a thicker-sounding, massive sound?

  72. GARYTHEHULK Says:

    I’VE BEEN LISTENING TO THE ALBUM NON STOP SINCE THURSDAY. IT’S GREAT. ITS LIKE THE BLACK ALBUM IN THAT IT TAKES A FEW LISTENS TO SINK IN. I THINK ITS SO EASY TO EXPECT A HALF ASSED EFFORT FROM THEM THAT ON FIRST LISTEN IT’S DIFFICULT TO REALLY KNOW WHERE THIS ALBUM’S AT AS FAR AS THEIR BACK CATALOGUE. IT’S NOT AS GOOD AS THEIR FIRST FOUR BUT BETTER THAN ANYTHING THEY’VE DONE SINCE THE BLACK ALBUM. SAYING THAT, IT OBVIOUSLY HAS SHADOWS OF THEIR FIRST FIVE ALBUMS BUT THERE’S SO MANY CHANGES IN SOME OF THE SONGS THAT THEY SOUND LIKE LOAD/BLACK/RIDE ALL AT THE SAME TIME. AT THE END THIS IS RETURN TO OLD METALLICA WITH A FRESH 2008 FEEL. BEST SONG IS BROKEN,BEAT AND SCARRED, FUCKING INCREDIBLE. KIRKS GUITAR IS THE STANDOUT ON THIS ALBUM, HE OWNS IT. JAMES’ VOICE IS OBVIOUSLY NOT WHAT IT USED TO BE BUT HE HASN’T SOUNDED THIS GOOD IN 17 YEARS. ITS HARD TO BELIEVE BUT METALLICA HAVE BEEN A PRETTY SHIT BAND TWICE AS LONG AS THEY WERE THE PIONEERS/GODFATHERS/WHATEVER OF HEAVY METAL. WITH THIS ALBUM THEY PROVE THEY’RE STILL RELEVANT AND WORTHY OF THEIR STATUS IN THE HISTORY OF THRASH/HEAVY METAL. THEY’RE BACK AND WITH A VENGEANCE.

  73. Lord of the Depths Says:

    Now that we ALL have it, I just can happily say that it is overwhelming. Has the strenght I was waiting.
    I love Death Magnetic and Metallica.
    (well, forget about St. Anger).

  74. Uncool66 Says:

    Even thought I downloaded the leaked copy, I need to say that I will buy this album and I urge the true fans to do the same. This album deserves good sales and we should all spend the money since we enjoy it so much.

  75. Michaellica Says:

    OK i will make this as short as i can.
    i have stood by metallica from the day i herd them.
    they have brought upon some of the most influincial music i have ever herd. but all you metal heads know what im talking about.
    metallica has an individuality/originality that no band can copy.
    this new album good or bad we all have varios opinions.
    eather way metallica has still given thare best shot.
    personaly the new album isint exelent but a verry good one.
    to the people who put down metallica…..
    remeber in the kill,ride,master days metallicas only live was music, nothing else.
    now they have famelies
    other things that are everyday mandatory problems
    so before we go bitching because metallica didint put out another exelent album remeber that they are humman and thare are not many if at all any people who can do what they can “still” do

  76. kbmetallica Says:

    Virgin Megastore Times Square is celebrating the release of Metallica’s new CD “Death Magnetic” starting on September 11 @ 11PM. Metallica cover band “Kill Em All” will be performing with cool giveaways. “Death Magnetic” will be available for purchase starting at 12:01AM on September 12.

  77. evilded Says:

    seasons change, milk spoils, people die and yes great musicians fade out.

    I grew up near gull lake in Michigan during the early 80s and I remember when we bootlegged then as well. Except we didnt call it bootlegging, all we were doing was making copies of cassette tapes and passing them around trying to get other people to hear this new amazing band called Metallica. We even new people that got the music directly from Kirk. Hell, making tapes and handing them out for free was how you got people to hear your shit and ultimately famous. Then Metallica did get famous and created 4 of the greatest albums heavy metal has to offer. But then like all things time has crept in and shown us changes that we have to accept. I was hoping St anger was a fluke. that the guys just were going through drug withdraws from their new clean lifestyle. But the truth is plain the only music we will ever hear from metallica again will only be varied versions of “Unforgiven”. Gone are the days of Master of puppets or fade to black. Gone are the Am I evil or Creeping death. I do pray I will someday hear the passion in these songs again but seasons change, milk spoils, people die and yes great musicians fade out.

  78. jpotsch Says:

    iv heard the whole album today. i like the instamental song the best, suicide and redemption. thats how i remember them. im just wondering what they would sound like if ol’ dave grabbed a guitar and made some tune with metallica just for the hell of it. too many egos i guess. course i havta say daves music hasnt been super here lately either.

  79. axl Says:

    you sound like a pretty shitty reviewer. the A- for st. anger was sincere. if the rest of the world had loved it as much as you did, you’d be singing a different story these days. don’t be a pussy. if you liked the album, stand by your opinions. it’s okay for people to disagree. i’d actually respect you more.

  80. Psihomodo Says:

    Truthfully, after beeing the most die-hard Metallica fan I know, and after hearing the new album I must still say that Killswitch Engage, especially with “As Daylight Dies” is my new Metallica.

    R.I.P. boys…

  81. Nick Says:

    I actually think Death Magnetic will shut the haters up.

    It’s as good as St. Anger, and even better.

    Save your money. buy it. you won’t regret.

    P.S: Lars. I’ve left my email, sue me shithead – i’ve download DM and am listening to it RIGHT NOW

  82. Charlie Says:

    Hey Tony,
    I could not agree more with you…here is what I had to say to Rolling Stone:

    5+ years of waiting when 2/3 was the standard we were all used to…well worth the wait this time. There is a great vibe in the air Metalibashers…tomorrow is a great day for all of us! I played The Day That Never Comes over and over last night to the point that if I did it any more I would never fall asleep. Well come back Kirk to the lineup. We are all glad your detention period is over and you have successfully healed from that phantom wrist injury. I have no personal pictures or any of that other crap at my desk in the office…oh except one now…Jamz from ’83. For the people who ask me who is that…I tell them…someone you should get to know…

    Simply said…this cd fucking rocks!!!!!!

    Thank god Kirk is back in action man! Enjoy bro and have a great release day tomorrow…

  83. Justin Hoffman Says:

    People who pre-ordered it have been able to *LEGALLY* download it for over five hours now. I’ve listened to it a few times over. Broken, Beat & Scarred is easily my favorite song right now. What sweet guitar licks, especially the one first starting around 1:00. I can’t get enough of this stuff. At first the lyrics seemed a bit cliche but they have grown on me. Now I think that the chorus is a pretty solid hook. My Apocalypse is great, I agree, but some of the guitar licks I think could have been played slightly different for a much greater effect. It’s still got a quality thrash element to it. This album makes me smile for new Metallica.

  84. Mac Says:

    I like the album, I like it a lot more as a whole than anything they’ve put out in nearly 20 years. I’ve liked bits and pieces of all of the albums since Black, but I liked most all of what I’ve heard on this one, and I’ve listened to this one about 25 times now.

  85. Carl Says:

    I’ve been listening to the CD today, well… what can I say. My Apocalypse is the only song I liked from the beginning, maybe All Nightmare Long and The Judas Kiss could be included just not to sound too displeased. St Anger, what’s that? Load? Reload? Hummm… not sure what those are either.

  86. Joel Avalos Says:

    Wow! If you have been a Metallica fan like I have for many years now, you will be pleased by this latest work. The guitar work by Kirk is amazing and it will get your blood pumping and compel you too pump that fist up in the air with the occasional devil horns salute. It reminds me of why I love this music to begin with, I hadn’t felt like that in a while. Take a listen and you won’t be dissapointed.

  87. Creepshow Says:

    where can i download DM for free? lars owes me, do you know how many times i bought the cassette of Ride the lightning?
    I am going to see them Nov 1st 2008 in Portland, OR, i know they will kick-ass!

    anyone have the setlist for the 2008 DM tour?

  88. Creepshow Says:

    i will definitly give this album a chance. After …justice, i waited.. and got enter sandman.
    I was embarrased to be a metallica fan, especially after load, i was done. They all cut their hair and became hip-cats? yeah-sure. This is our time!

  89. Creepshow Says:

    also.. let’s remember there are some who think…and justice for all was a weak album.

  90. Creepshow Says:

    and…. if you think …and justice for all is weak, you must not play guitar.

  91. Creepshow Says:

    And anyways what the hell do we want? METALLICA IS NOT SLIPKNOT!!!

  92. GT Says:

    Best thing since Black, still dissapointed after all the hype. Listened, remenised, traded it in for a good used DVD.

  93. Dana Says:

    I think we all should send Metallic a nice thank-you note that reads something like:

    Dear Metallica,

    Thank you for “Death Magnetic”.

    It’s about fucking time.

  94. Tristan Peterson Says:

    it seems as if metallica thinks they can regurgitate mediocre versions of their previous riffs and we will stand up and applaud them for it! I only applaud them for one thing: making an album that showcases how much of a hack Lars is!

  95. Ken Says:

    Although this article is a couple weeks old, I feel the need to drop my two cents into the jar. Death Magnetic is fantastic, there’s no way around it. I’m glad James’ voice is back to its true form now. I haven’t been able to stop listening to the new album since it was released. Check out it.

    And to the people who stamp their feet and pout, and insist Metallica isn’t relevant…you’re eating your words now. The masters are back.

  96. zxTIGERxz Says:

    WOW ”Tristan Peterson” you seem like an utter douche!

  97. ChrisLong Says:

    Have the album and I think its great for what it is.. a collection of songs (except U3, which is naff). Don’t agree with any slagging off of them just cos it isn’t like their old stuff.. if i wanna hear something that sounds like the old albums I um.. listen to the old albums! Also, thought St Anger on CD sounded terrible but live the songs blew my head off, would like to see the new ones live too.

  98. ChrisLong Says:

    Ride the Lightning is still my favourite as i don’t dislike any of the tracks on it

  99. Reseña Metallica - “Death Magnetic”: Mi primera escucha (canción por canción, resumen y preguntas) « Karakenio: un tipo de Caracas Says:

    [...] mso-bidi-language:#0400;} we started shouting “END IT ALREADY”” !! – babuzz.com “but NO ONE leashes Kirk Hammett on “Death Magnetic” – MetallicaSucks.ne 3,5/5 [...]

  100. trunk Says:

    Whoever mastered Death Magnetic should be taken out, put up against a wall and shot. Seriously, the drums are soooo distorted, totally squashed and badly EQ’d. Shame on Rick Ruben for letting these otherwise great metalband release unprofessional final mix/masters to the world.

    Remaster please, and take the Damn Sony-Oxford Inflator off!!!! YUK!

  101. G man Says:

    All these experts,wannabe critics,and wannabe musicians..Pretty pathetic….DM is a damn good album,regardless of comparison to prior efforts..
    Judas Kiss is a smokin tune,and the rest of them get better and better the more you listen..Unforgiven III is just so-so…Ok that one sucks….Anybody listen to Mastadon?