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Metallica - Death Magnetic CD (album) cover




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3.34 | 380 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Master, (re)load the justice for all the saint's anger: ride and kill them all

Oh yes, Death Magnetic. This album is, or was, one of the most hyped and overblown news of 2008. If you were waiting for something as bad as the last 15 years of the band have been, well, for the first time (in a long time) you were wrong. This time there IS something different from the cheesy riffs and songs the band has put out in the last decade and a half: the band has come up with a new sound (which is 99% inspired on their old sound + 1% from their new post-1989 approach on heavy metal, by the way). Could it be really true?

Yes, it can. After disappointing their fans (and the whole world, actually) time and time again with (way) below-the-average releases for almost two decades, Metallica has finally come to its senses and decided to go back to was worked and what gave them their fame: awesome thrash metal. Although it is somewhat questionable for some the fact that they are playing thrash again, mostly for the tr00 kvlt and frostbitten headbangers, one thing is clear as water for most people: their latest album displays a well deserved and MUCH needed return to form, on the most literal of meanings, making the band go back in time 19-21 years in time. In spite of not being as good as the albums it was inspired (according to Lars Ulrich, band owner and spokesman, the album was highly inspired by ...And Justice for All and Master of Puppets), it is obvious that the Magnetic Death is light-years away from the less-than-desirable St. Anger.

The resemblance between those two classics and Death Magnetic, despite not being obvious at the first sight (or listening) sure is there. All three albums have long, well worked and have quite complex songs (especially Justice and Magnetic). Hell, they even made an especial instrumental epic for the album, just like good ol' times. Death magnetic, however, gets closer to ...And Justice for All in most ways, to the point that the disposition and style of the songs in both albums are similar.

The response to this was as positive as it was obvious that Metallica was not doing the right thing in the studios between 1996 and 2003: the sales went through the roof, making Death Magnetic the best charted album of the band since their 1996 album Load, and that even though the album leaked before the official release date and the huge amount if illegal downloads. It won the acclaim of the specialized media, as well as a number of awards, including 5 Grammys. Some even went as far as saying that Metallica finally sounded like Metallica again.

As most good things, Death magnetic did not was free from criticism and negative feedback. Those who admired the band's direction in Load, Reload and St. Anger (and they are not few) and their more alternative oriented sound, were obviously disappointed with their latest output, exactly because it is a return-to-form album.

Another criticism about the album is the loud production Rick Rubin gave Death Magnetic. Instead of keeping the music's normal dynamics, the famous metal producer decided to surrender himself to the loudness war and maximized the sound or the music recorded, generating clipping and audible distortion.

Despite the fan-effort to make the band release a normal not-loud album, but I don't think they would really do that. I mean, ...And Justice for All is 20+ years old and they still didn't released an album version of it that has clearly audible bass lines.

Let's also not forget the Lars Ulrich's everlasting struggle to play a rhythmic instrument on the right time, even though he is in a studio and has all that human and technological support available to mankind. With almost 30 years playing in a thrash metal band, how can he still not play the drums on time?

Grade and Final Thoughts

Adding everything, it is hard not to be convinced that Death Magnetic is a pretty decent and solid release. Sure, it not as good as the ones the band had during their prime, but most people would agree that this album deserves the praise it received. It is heavy, it is somewhat proggy, it is a very decent and well worked return to form and it is a very good album by itself, despite not being some kind of masterpiece.

Because of that, the 4 stars rating would be the most fitting.

CCVP | 4/5 |


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