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3 stars Less than 2 months after releasing the hated Lulu album, Metallica releases this EP with four unreleased songs from the "Death Magnetic" sessions. Released, perhaps, to calm down the fans and make them forget about the Lulu fiasco. But, does it succeed?

No. Not entirelly, at least. In the first place, these songs are leftovers from a 4 year old recording session. Because, at the time, Metallica chose not to release these songs with the album, they also didn't worry too much about the mixing or the mastering. And they haven't bothered since. The credits say it has been "rough mixed" on March 2008, and that's exactly how it feels. Rough. Don't worry, these aren't some horrible quality cassetes from a garage band. The quality is good enough to make it listenable. Some may even like this extra roughness.

Then the lyrics. They're plain horrible. "Suck on the barrel, suck until it's try". Seriously? They can do better than this.

Now, the music... it's pretty good. It's a return to their hard-hitting trash metal of the 80s. And they are more complex too. Each song features several different riffs. Some of them are great. Others, not so much. There are also some interesting mood changes and other surprises here and there that should please the more progressive ears.

Good, but non-essencial. 3 stars. Recommended to any Metallica, progressive metal or thrash fan.

Report this review (#594419)
Posted Thursday, December 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars A nice EP!

Well, I believe Metallica does not need any introduction, however it is important to say that this EP entitled "Beyond Magnetic" follows the style implemented in their 2008 studio album "Death Magnetic", which received positive criticism by media and fans. Four new tracks were gathered and released in December 2011 under this EP, which I am sure, has pleased (and will please) the fans of this legendary band.

"Hate Train" has that inherent power that Metallica has offered forever, the music is of course oriented to metal, but what I like is that in moments they make some changes that put different moods and dynamics. You know, a mandatory guitar solo comes later, while the other instruments play fast; Hetfield's voice is great as usual. There are a couple of passages where it reminds me of "Fuel", but now, with that "new" sound that the band brought in 2008 with Death Magnetic.

"Just a Bullet Away" offers one instrumental introductory minute, later vocals enter and create a strong, yet catchy sound. This song is divided in two halves, in the first, the music is heavy, thrash metal oriented with a repetitive structure, while the second is much calmer at first, with emotional guitar riffs and a soft atmosphere, though after 5:30 its intensity increases and takes us again to the rhythm and sound of the first part.

"Hell and Back" starts strong and keeps the same profile during almost the whole track, the drums are heavy as usual, the bass lines go hand in hand with the rhythm guitar, and the voice is cool. This song would perfectly fit in their 2008 album, though (as well as the other three songs) this is a leftover of Death Magnetic, or well, an unreleased track in better words. So the name of "Beyond Magnetic" is a reasonable title for this EP.

The last track is "Rebel of Babylon" whose eight minutes length makes it the longest composition here. It starts soft with distant guitars, seconds later the voice enters and then all of a sudden the song explodes, creating that powerful sound that we can expect in almost every of their songs. This piece flows excellently, progressing and adding new elements while the seconds pass. Hammett's guitar figures and riffs are great during the whole track. I don't want to discuss the progressive element of this band, but they do have hints, maybe just brief, but they do, and this song is one example of it. This is by far the best track of this EP.

Well, four unreleased tracks that can be now listened by the whole world, and though these are certainly good compositions, they are not the best of Metallica's repertoire, and I would honestly recommend it only for fans of this band, otherwise, it is better to get a full-length album instead of it. My final grade, two stars. But?

?enjoy it!

Report this review (#661621)
Posted Saturday, March 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars Beyond Magnetic EP is basicly 4 songs that weren't included on the Death Magnetic album, because they were restricted to have only 10 songs on that record. The vocals are not mastered so I won't bash them too much on this review.

Let's start with the first song, Hate Train. Hate Train is a song that goes very nice on the beginning, then it gets very boring, and then you get into it again. The main riff kinda reminds me of their song Fuel. I'm going to jump straigh to Hell and Back now. Hell And Back is kind of a ballad, one of my favorite songs on this EP. The intro is very catchy and the main riff kicks ass. It's a very nice song actually, I love the feeling in it. It has some cool transitions, really nice riffs, it's obviously one of the best songs on Beyond Magnetic. Just A Bullet Away is just another song on this record, nothing special, the riffs are interesting though. This song was kinda boring, maybe one of the worst songs on the album, I was begging for it to end, I had to put all my effort on finishing the song. Rebel of Babylon is one of the best songs on the EP, after being tortured by 7 minutes of boredom with Just A Bullet Away, this song really brought me pleasure, the riffs are very fast and aggressive, it's really kickass, maybe it blows away any of the songs on Death Magnetic.

The highlights on the album are for sure 'Hell and Back' and 'Rebel of Babylon'.

I don't think this is a good album at all, there are 2 songs that are great, but apart from that, I wouldn't give it more than a 3, altough, I'll give it a 2, it's just for collectors and fans.

Report this review (#780948)
Posted Sunday, July 1, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars After the disaster piece "Lulu" and the overall very negative reactions, Metallica try to beg for pardon with this release and want to underline their thirtieth anniversary at the same time. During their four anniversary concerts in San Francisco, the band presented a brand new track each night and released this EP with the four tracks exclusively a few days later. What we have here are four tracks that didn't make it on Death Magnetic. They exactly sound like the overall sound of this record and have a quite mediocre production by the overrated Rick Rubin.

When we listen to the songs, it gets quite clear why they didn't make it on the record back at the time. The tracks sound too alike to many solid tracks on Death Magnetic and desperately try to sound like the band's early thrash albums, but horribly fail. The tracks have more or less memorable riffs, always the same vocal ranges, quiet inaudible bass lines, and a mediocre drumming that sounds too loud and present once again. After a few minutes, everything is said in the songs but Metallica need to stretch them too artificially epic lengths. In fact, many old metal bands seem to think that long tracks are epic tracks but they're all wrong. I miss the band's ability to write short and sweet killer tracks like "Fight Fire With Fire", "Battery", or "Dyers Eve".

"Hate Train" is an overall solid track, but sounds like a stretched version of "Fuel". What really annoys me about the track is the pronunciation of James Hetfield. He always sings in a very artificially aggressive way and adds the letter "a" to many of his words like "stand-a", "you-a", "send-a" and so on. He always had this tendency, but it just sound too ridiculous on this one. Maybe he should take some lessons in speech and language pathology and correct this strange trademark.

"Just A Bullet Away" should have ended after four minutes, but has an unnecessary melodic break that destroys the dynamics of the tracks and leads than back to the original style. This is as predictable as it is boring.

"Hell And Back" starts promisingly, but turns around worn out riffs again after awhile. The whole tracks sounds as if the band had recorded two minutes of music and aligned the same bit two times for a length of four minutes before another predictable bridge with a guitar solo kicks off as in any other standard Metallica track from Death Magnetic or the early days. The chorus is repeated as often as in some tracks on Lulu.

"Angel Of Babylon" starts off slow, then kicks off as another fast-paced thrash track, but when I start to get bored the song has some interesting breaks and variations without losing its energizing spirit. The vocals especially show some great efforts and are quite catchy. We even have a little bass solo line in this track, but once again the band could have shortened this track about two minutes or so. Nevertheless, this song is without a doubt the best one on here and is the only one that should have made it on Death Magnetic instead of, for example, "The Judas Kiss". It's not an excellent classic, but surely a pretty good song.

In the end, this is a rather mediocre attempt to beg for pardon, but for most of the fans this strategy worked surprisingly well. People easily change their minds. After "Lulu", many never ever wanted to listen to this band and now everybody says they are back in strength. I can't agree on this. We have three mediocre and one quite good song. The tracks suffer from their useless length, their bad production, and their similarity to Death Magnetic. In the end, I would only recommend this release to diehard fans as anybody else might skip this and listen to the better tracks on Death Magnetic instead. There are too many flaws on here to say that this is a worthy release.

Originally published on on December 20th of the year 2011.

Report this review (#808898)
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Beyond Magnetic" is an EP release by US thrash/heavy metal act Metallica. The EP first released digitally through iTunes in December 2011 and saw a CD release in Janary 2012 through Mercury/Universal. The four tracks on the EP are previously unreleased rough mix outtakes from the "Death Magnetic (2008)" sessions.

...and it´s safe to say that the four tracks on the EP are in the same style as the tracks on "Death Magnetic (2008)". That means a combination of thrash metal and Metallica´s take on heavy metal. While there are memorable vers/chorus parts in the tracks, all tracks feature structural twists and turns to keep the EP entertaining throughout. The playing is as always on a high level and James Hetfield´s distinct vocal style provides the music with an original sound. The sound production is slightly more raw than on "Death Magnetic (2008)", but keeping in mind that these tracks are rough mixes, that´s no surprise. The sound production is still professional and powerful. The bass drum sound could have been a bit higher in the mix, but that´s a minor issue to my ears.

All four tracks on the 29:08 minutes long EP are entertaining, powerful and catchy. Metallica successfully manage to combine thrashy riffing with more melodic tinged and groove oriented heavy metal. The fact that the tracks feature a few surprises along the way also provide the EP with a longivity effect that not all releases possess. If you are not a fan of "Death Magnetic (2008)", "Beyond Magnetic" pretty surely won´t do much for you either, but fans of the album should find lots of enjoy here and I think a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#1074403)
Posted Saturday, November 9, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars BEYOND MAGNETIC is a short collection of left over tracks released between the excellent DEATH MAGNETIC and HARDWIRED TO SELF DESTRUCT. Critical consensus over DEATH MAGNETIC varied considerably. Your take on this EP may fall in line with what you think of that album. This is not quite up to the level of DEATH MAGNETIC, which I suppose is why it was released separately, but it's still terrific. The sound here is similar to the earlier album; my favorite tracks here are "Just A Bullet Away" & "Hate Train". I think "Rebel of Babylon" overstays its welcome. This EP doesn't break new ground, which is a good definition of "progressiveness". Metallica has clearly earned the right to not do so, at this point. On the whole, BEYOND MAGNETIC measures up the usual high standard set by one of the most innovative bands in metal history.
Report this review (#1703467)
Posted Sunday, March 19, 2017 | Review Permalink
2 stars Jokingly considered an apology to fans for the 'Lulu' album, which saw the band team up with Velvet Underground front man Lou Reed (to absolutely dismal reviews), 'Beyond Magnetic' is an EP consisting of leftovers from the 'Death Magnetic' recording sessions. Somewhat viewed by fans as the band trying to compensate for what was such a poorly- received release, sadly, 'Beyond Magnetic' isn't much better.

Everything about the four tracks featured seems so lifeless and "just there". It feels like the band are trying to be progressive, but the long, drawn out songs just don't favour them like they did in the 80's, and does more to emphasize their weaknesses as musicians than their strengths as songwriters. None of the riffs fit together and they all seem so disjointed, none of them flowing organically.

Three of the songs hit the seven-minute mark, while one of them staggers on to eight minutes, and it's just too much. They all drag with not enough interesting ideas to justify such long durations.

While 'Death Magnetic' is a great album, one of my major criticisms is the length, with each song in need of some serious cropping. However, it's all a moot point here, as no amount of cutting and editing could make these decent songs, and it's no surprise they weren't included on the record. If I had to be generous and find something positive to say, 'Just a Bullet Away' is a catchy track, though also suffers from jarring riff-changes and a tiresome duration.

Overall, this release is dirt cheap and easy to get hold of, but is only really worth the effort if you're a fan who needs to own everything.

Report this review (#1903007)
Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2018 | Review Permalink

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