Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Well, I consider myself a huge admirer of Metallica's work. I'll actually admit I'm a fan (I previously mentioned my dislike of this word). I have all of their albums and I like all of them, some more than others naturally (and not the ones you'd think), so I was very excited when I found out they had a new album, Death Magnetic. (This review is late, the album came out Sept. 12, but who cares!) I pre-ordered it, which is something I rarely do. But knowing them and their work I knew I would not be disappointed. There's few musicians I feel that way about (I'll name them another time). So, on initial listen I liked it but wasn't totally blown away. After letting it play here and there for a while certain things began to hit me and now I'm impressed. There isn't a really bad track on the album, which today is a miracle in music. But Metallica have always taken their music seriously in every way, so it's always great. Where the lyrics fail the music carries it and I would say vice versa but the music never fails. They have, as planned by Rick Rubin and the themselves, captured the essence of the early days of their career. The ESSENCE!! They have not regressed or gone back or even tried to. That wasn't the point and besides once you reach a certain level, in anything, but especially music, you can't go back. There is no going back, only harnessing a feeling, tapping into distant emotions that are still strong and relevant. THAT is what Metallica has done on Death Magnetic. I'm going to do a track by track and so I don't have to mention it over and over they brought guitar solos back, which were not on the last album (which I loved), and they ALL WORK!! Here we go:
That Was Just Your Life - Deceptively slow intro then, BOOM! Kick your ass Metallica is here, fuckers. Despite popular belief they never left!
The End Of The Line - Perfect example of captured early essence melded with accumulated years of musical experience. Can't WAIT to hear this in concert. (Yes, I already bought my tickets. I'm FINALLY going to see these guys in concert!!!)
Broken, Beat & Scarred - Now this one in particular is where I felt the lyrics kind of fail. The line, "What don't kill ya, make ya more strong," is kind of weak to me. It hasn't gotten any stronger for me. The whole rest of the song works except that line. It's obviously a play on the old adage, "what does not kill you, makes you stronger." But the way James made it fit just sounds off to me. This is the only slightly weak link in the album. The solo kicks ass! Not a bad song, just the one line. And at 6:25 this is also the shortest song on the album.
The Day That Never Comes - Here is the lead single and video. It's kind of a hybrid of 'One' and the first 'Unforgiven'. I wasn't that impressed when I first heard it but it's actually a very strong song and I love it now. James really put it into the lyrics here.
All Nightmare Long - Probably one of my favorites as far as the lyrics and especially the chorus. "We'll hunt you down all nightmare long!" How cool of a lyric is that! I'm a writer so I love a great sequence of words, especially in music. Shit, I wish I'd thought of that one!
Cyanide - Here we can really hear Robert's influence in the band. The bass here is just so strong. I like Robert Trujillo, he's an excellent bass player, and I'm glad he filled the vacant bass slot.
The Unforgiven III - Now here we revisit a recurring theme in the growing Metallica musical pantheon. Some people feel they need to leave this title alone, I, however, think the band knows what it needs and acts accordingly. It's an excellent song so I don't know what the hell people's problem is. The boys doing this song is also one of the reasons I love this band. Their whole attitude is, "Fuck 'Em if they don't like it!" How can you not love that! I feel the same way and always have!
The Judas Kiss - This is another one that really captures the essence of their earlier days. Takes me back to the '...And Justice For All' days.
Suicide & Redemption - I'm loving, ABSOLUTELY LOVING that the boys did an instrumental and this has to be the best one yet. Their previous instrumentals, with the exception of 'The Call of Ktulu', have always had certain sections that were just awsome but were overall kind of wobbly. They've finally achieved another wholly solid instrumental that I wouldn't mind hearing the whole thing of in concert, even at 9 minutes plus. Awesome.
My Apocalypse - Straight heat and speed. Not as fast as some of the old favorites but close enough as makes no damn difference. Hard hitting, kick your ass all over the place classic Metallica! The album's title is found among the lyrics here. The Four Horsemen are, indeed, still going strong.
It wasn't straight hit me over the head awesome, but assassin in the background sneaking up and snuffing your ass awesome. It was good at first but it grew into a monster. I really like this album. Metallica still hasn't disappointed me. Great album. Get Death Magnetic and enjoy!