I am not an old school Metallica fan. I made fun of people who went crazy batshit insane over Master of Puppets. I admit I am a Black Album/Load/Reload Metallica fan because, you know, they wrote actual songs instead eight minutes of how many riffs and fills can I put in one song. AC/DC would have at least five awesome songs out of one or two Metallica songs.
I also think Lars was a dick when he went after fans who had illegal copies of their albums. How did Metallica get discovered? By the trading of cassette tapes made by fans all across the country. Something that would easily be considered piracy today.
On the flip side, I was fascinated by the documentary, Some Kind of Monster, and how the band went through months of hell to record St. Anger.
So, I’m probably not the target audience for their latest offering, Death Magnetic.
That Was Just Your Life – The first track sounds exactly like all Metallica songs: slow build, fast riffs, fast snare and a solo that is not exactly memorable. Hardly a hook and not much for someone to grab. This isn’t the right song to kick off the album.
The End of the Line – Boring opening. Nice main riff. Feels like a filler track.
Broken Beat and Scarred – This is a good example of Metallica throwing lots of riffs around, but here it works pretty good. The refrain of “what don’t kill you, makes you strong” isn’t terribly original.
The Day That Never Comes – Sounding a lot like “One” early in the song. Lyrically, it focuses on rage against physical abuse which I think is a good subject. The fast part at the end seems forced and set up for Kirk to do more uninspired solo work.
All Nightmare Long – Easily my favorite song. Very cool opening with great tom-tom and bass work. I love the galloping drums/bass/guitar, which is a true Metallica staple, going right into a crunchy riff. The stanzas fall a little flat, but here we finally get an awesome chorus. The solo is this wild animal that grabs you. The stop and start put a huge grin on my face.
Cyanide – Another well structured song with an interesting riff. The stanzas and the chorus work about equally well. I don’t particularly like the breakdown in the middle of the song, but it is very Metallica-esque.
The Unforgiven III – I’m sure plenty of long-time fans rolled their collective eyes when they saw this title. The piano and orchestra opening works well and flows nicely into the bass/guitar. This is, of course, the obligatory slow song and it fits nicely with the other slower tempo tracks in their back catalogue.
The Judas Kiss – The odd timing of the drum and guitar opening is interesting. Still, too much riffing without a strong main riff to build the song around. Stanzas are forced to the time signature. Song is saved by the chorus.
Suicide and Redemption – This instrumental seems only designed to give Kirk an opportunity to riff and solo. The main riff is fun and I wish they would have tried to build a song around it.
My Apocalypse – Um guys, this should have been your opening track. And your album title. And what the entire album probably should have sounded like. The double-time snare is straight out of the Metallica bag of tricks from way back. Love how Hetfield pronounces apocalypse by making each syllable it’s own word. A-POCK-UH-LIPS.
So, is it an entertaining album? Sure. Metallica fans have plenty to like here. I’m a casual fan and found plenty of good stuff.
Nothing can top The Black Album. Kirk called it their Darkside of the Moon and he’s right. This is just another Metallica album full of growls, riffs and fast drums. Still, leaps and bounds better than St. Anger