Metallica- “Death Magnetic” review, 9.5/10

Metallica’s latest CD, Death Magnetic, is truly impressive, and I’m going to give you a track by track review. Granted, this is from a Metallica fan since age 9, so take in the review knowing that I am biased towards liking anything they do. That being said, I don’t think anyone can deny that this album is good. It not only dwarfs anything off of St. Anger, but as years pass, I think people will mention it along with Master of Puppets and …And Justice For All as some of their best work. Only time will tell I guess. This is what I think of it today:

That Was Just Your Life: 9.5/10

The song starts out with a beating heart, and then unleashes vintage Metallica for the next 7 minutes. The song mixes everything perfect. It sounds like a more thoughout “My Apocalypse”, with better song structure.  Yet another amazing song on the album. Everything works perfect.

The End of the Line: 9/10

I never I thought I’d say this, but parts of this song remind of Rage Against The Machine. There are a couple riffs that sound like they could have easily come off of Evil Empire or Battle For Los Angeles. And that’s a good thing, by the way. It’s getting pretty redundant reviewing every track, because I have nothing but good things to say about them. They all thrash, have great choruses, and are catchy as hell. What more can you ask for? “The End of the Line” is no exception.

Broken, Beat & Scarred: 9/10

“What don’t kill ya make ya more strong!” Hetfield bellows throughout this bruiser, and grammar aside, he is right. This song rocks, and will sure to get the mosh pits flowing on tour. I can’t say much about it, except that the entire song kills, and is yet another great track on a cd full of great music.

The Day That Never Comes: 9/10

Metallica’s first official single, “The Day That Never Comes”, debuted Thursday, and if this single is any indication of what the rest of Death Magnetic will be like, I can’t wait to be headbanging for the next two months. The song has many different elements working in its favor. First off, the lyrics are much better than anything off of St. Anger. Compare this song to something like “Invisible Kid”, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The instrumentals are all better. Lars’ drumming has improved, as has the sound of his drums. The tone of the guitars is similar to …And Justice For All, which is a very good thing. I didn’t notice much bass standouts from Trujillo, but on their other song, “Cyanide”, you can hear his presence throughout the track. Hammett’s solos fit the song perfectly, just like the old days.

James Hetfield’s vocals are slightly higher than previous efforts, but for some reason I like them more. He sounds more sure of himself than on St. Anger, and it definitely helps the song.

The only complaint I have with the track is that it switches up the music a little too much without having solid transitions.

The thing I like about this single is that it sounds like Metallica of old, but doesn’t sound like they are treading on old ground. The music has a new feel to it, without sounding derivative or contrived in any way.

All Nightmare Long: 9.5/10

You think the song is going somewhere, and then 40 seconds in, Metallica completely changes directions, and then it happens again, and again, making for an insane “Enter Sandman” that rocks incoherently. All of a sudden you realize you are headbanging, and enjoying yourself thoroughly. Then you are tapping your foot. Then you are punching your grandmother’s teeth out. I guess that is the theme for the entire Death Magnetic CD.

This is yet another song that I redundantly deem as amazing. I am still shocked how every track on this CD just straight up rules. The best part is that Metallica isn’t just copying songs from their glory days. They are taking the structure and ideas from the mid-80s Metallica, and incorporating it in a new format.

Cyanide: 10/10

Ok, so I’ve officially become obsessed with the new Metallica cd, Death Magnetic. “My Apocalypse” came out today, and as far as I’m concerned, they are 3 for 3. “Cyanide” is my favorite out of the three, but they’re all good. The thing I like about “Cyanide” is that it has the most coherent song structure, and has all the elements that make Metallica great. Hammett’s riffs are sinister as hell, Trujillo’s bass helps the song groove, Hetfield’s vocal inflection is perfect, and Ulrich is competent…as always.

It’s pretty sad that Trujillo has only been with the band a few years, and his presence is already felt more than anytime Jason Newsted played for them. That’s not to say he was bad, he just didn’t have a lot to do. Trujillo’s bouncing groove that starts off the song is great, and it continues throughout, giving the song more depth.

The driving riff throughout the song is menacing, and is the perfect complement to both the lyrics and Hetfield’s voice. The chorus works perfectly in this song, to the point where I think this song will be the best on the album.

I don’t really know what else to say about the song, except that I recommend listening to it about 50 times. I have yet to get tired of it, and I’ve probably doubled that amount.

The Unforgiven III: 9/10

This was the one song on Death Magnetic I was worried about, mainly because I thought it would be a rehash of the past two versions. Turns out that it isn’t at all, and the song is pretty amazing. It starts out similar to their concert intro, “Ecstacy of Gold”, off of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. It builds for a minute or two, before the song starts going. James Hetfield sounds great on the track, as does everybody else.

Once the 5 and a half minute mark hits, Hammett unleashes a great solo. All 7 and a half minutes of the song work well, and although it isn’t as great as the original “The Unforgiven”, it is better than “The Unforgiven II”.

The Judas Kiss: 10/10

Holy crap this song is amazing! The chorus is so hardcore, and the song pretty much knocks you on your ass. Listening to this song for the first time made me feel like the first time I heard “Master of Puppets”. Obviously being 24 now, I can’t lock myself in my room so my parents won’t harass me. Now I can get a noise violation because my annoying neighbors call the cops on me.

I can’t explain how cool this song is. Just listen for yourself. Everything about it is perfect.

Suicide & Redemption: 8/10

So far, this is the first song off of the new album that I haven’t absolutely loved, and the reason is that it is just an instrumental. It is still great for an instrumental, but I get restless, and after 10 minutes of straight music, I need a break. Thankfully, “My Apocalypse” comes next, so all is forgiven! Truthfully though, “Suicide & Redemption” is a good track. It mixes things up, and although it was a little long, I’m sure I’ll listen to it again and again. It’s no “Orion”, but it still rocks.

My Apocalypse: 9/10

“My Apocalypse” is the third song to be released off of Death Magnetic, and it is a dousy. It is the fastest and most brutal of the three, but it’s not the best. It reminds me of “Dyers Eve” and “Battery”, but more raw and less memorable. That’s not to say that it is bad, because it isn’t. Far from it. Like “The Day That Never Comes”, it lacks a certain cohesion, and is all over the place.

The problem with me is that I just like hearing Metallica rock out for 5 minutes, so the lack of cohesion isn’t that big of a deal to my bleeding ears. It doesn’t have a discernable chorus, but the song moves at such a break neck speed that stopping for a chorus seems like a bad idea.

When I buy this cd I might use this song to wake up to. Since it is named “My Apocalypse”, it sets a great tone for starting the day.

So that is my song by song breakdown. I wrote each as I listened to the song, not in the context of the whole album. Even out of order this CD is great. I’m sure this CD will consume my music listening for the next month. It is Metallica inspired by their old selves, revitalized by the pursuit of metal perfection. This is pretty damn close: 9.5/10

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13 Responses

  1. Cyanide: 10/10
    My Apocalypse: 9/10
    ?
    LOL (for me)

    Cyanide: 6/10
    My Apocalypse: 9,5/10

    Here is mine (is in spanish, sorry):
    http://karakenio.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/resena-metallica-death-magnetic-mi-primera-escucha-cancion-por-cancion-resumen-y-preguntas/

    Ze

  2. i like the unforgiven 3 the day that never comes and all nightmare long the rest seems to me pretty much like random riffs maybe the whole album needs some time to sink

  3. manive been a fan all my life ive heard the album a bunch of times now and i dont agree with you totally .. although the album is good it lacks lyrically. and some of the structure is lacking. I cant say i dont like this album it just didnt blow me away. and man im sorry but unforgiven 1 and 2 rock the shit out of the third one .. how the hell can you say they were bad

  4. Haha, nice objective review dude!!!!! It is good. Probably the best since”…And Justice For All” but its no “Master of Puppets”

    For the record my favourite album is “Puppets” and Ive pretty much had no faith in Metallica since they put out Load, culminating in my huge disappointment with the mess of “St Anger.”

    Death Magnetic, for me, is a return to some kind of thrashing form!!!! Personally I think the strongest songs are the dynamite opener “That Was Just Your Life”, (Aint that a Megdeth title LOL.)”The Day That Never Comes”,”All Nightmare Long”,”Judas Kiss” and My Apocalypse.”

    I think the instrumental “Suicide and Redemption” just sounds like a jam and shouldnt have made it past Rick Rubins quality control. Nice idea but weak song, by Metallica standards.
    Theres just something about “Unforgiven III” that doesnt really excite me and “Cyanide” starts off nice, segues into a cool verse riff and melody but drags with the plain, chuggy chorus.

    The other 2 songs, “The End of the Line” and “Broken, Beat & Scarred” are cool, thrashy and heavy but not spectacular so all in all a damn good effort by my one time favourite band. Welcome Home.

  5. I managed to listen to all of the songs on death magnetic and i really felt that this album set out to achieve a lot of things but fell short on almost everything.

    you can read a song by song review of death magnetic here: http://geekzkrieg.com/metallicas-death-magnetic-reviewed/

  6. Love everything about this album, I don’t understand how anyone couldnt! My favourite track would have to be all nightmare long, it sorta combines the guitar work from master of puppets with the vocals you would find on the black album, seriously rocks.

  7. Great review! The truth is that it does bring out some of the energy that St. Anger could’ve had, that they tried to make it have, if they’d been in a better head space. (Anyone remember that first review of St. Anger…”long songs…epic…really fast”. This one ACTUALLY IS ALL OF THOSE THINGS).
    Having said that, I feel okay with saying that this is Metallica bringing some of the best of what they have ever done. I think that the only thing lacking in this record is consistently good lyrics (Although I do feel that SOME of the lyrics are quite great!), and the thoughtful arrangements that also characterized RTL, MOP, and AJFA. That’s okay, because the best of St. Anger was the desire to have it more raw.

    Here are some examples (though not all) of what I mean:

    KEA-My Apocalypse, Broken, Beat, and Scarred
    RTL-The twin guitar harmonies
    MoP-Frantic oscillation between heaviness and melody
    AJFA-Lengthy songs with many parts
    BLACK-Catchy choruses
    Load/Re-Load-Rock n’ Roll grooves and new vocal style
    Garage, Inc.-Giving props to their roots, and influences (S&R has some SERIOUS Sabbath riffage goin on)
    S&M-Unforgiven III
    St. Anger-Raw energy, and being okay with being unpolished.

    Those are some examples of how Death Magnetic pays homage to ALL that they are and have become. The best album Metallica-2008 could’ve done…and I am so happy they did! Love It!

    (sorry for the length…to late : )

  8. When listening to Death Magnetic for the first time I really got into the sound of ‘All Nightmare Long’.

    As soon as I heard the intro to The Unforgiven III though I was blown away. So simple yet SO effective!!!

    http://musicalinstrumentsstore.wordpress.com

  9. hello!

    I`d give the song master of puppets 10/10, I bet u`d do it too.
    U think Cyanid is 10/10??

    Can u honestly say that Cyanid is just as good as MOP?? U can never say yes man.. I`ll make a review later when I know the songs better. Just heard it through. So should u!

  10. Man this cd Rocks! As a 23 year old Metallica fan, I agree with you on all songs! especially “The Judas Kiss” witch i think is the best of the album. Like you said, I can’t explain why but this song rips my spine out! BOW DOWN!! This album is the Metallica we’ve all been waiting for! They took every good aspect of their past and put in all in the works for this CD. Personnaly my favorite album was AJFA… and this one sounds pretty damn close to it! With a bit of Load and Reload variations and the raw metal sound of the 80’s albums. Solos, intros, outros, can’t complain! and like you said, dont judge the songs before you heard them about 50 times. You will realize that even if at the start it sounds a bit weird, you will be headbanging out of control every time you listen to it!!

  11. This album is the best, hands down , METALLICA! FOREVER!

  12. Further to my last comment., and after another 10 days listening, “The End of the LIne” and “Broken, Beat and Scarred” are also both fantastic and far from unspectacular lol. “Suicide & Redemption” improves from the quiet middle bit onwards.(until returning to the original uninspiring jam riff to fade)

    “All Nightmare Long” seems to be emerging as a lot of peoples favourite track. Which is cool as It seriously rocks and along with “That Was Just Your Life” is one of my favourites.

    Unforgiven III still does nothing for me and Cyanide is just okay.

    So, all in all, my favourite album since “Justice”

  13. The only two songs even worth listening for were:

    The Day That Never Comes
    Unforgiven III

    All other songs were crappy.

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