I'm happy to be writing this article as one of the first to write a full song-to-song review of Metallica's new album "Death Magnetic"
The whole album has this heavy, hard-hitting tone to it that you experience from the first track and keeps coming as the tracks go on.
It is definitely better than their last album St. Anger, and despite me being not so pro-Metallica, I find the album impressive enough for a band fading from the notice of the audience.
The track listing and their individual reviews:
1: That was Just Your Life 7:08
I found the title as a very interesting name. The song starts in a way reminiscent of Metallica's Enter Sandman. Then it progresses to heavy riffs and great drumming, much improved vocals and a tempo that keeps increasing to the final climax. Hetfield is flawless, what’s more impressive is Lars Ulrich drumming and setting the punch of the song. Hammet delivers his best as usual. The final part is good for a start. My verdict: Fairly good. 8/10
2: The End of The Line 7:52
The second song continues in the tone of the first one, only with much more tempo and more shouting vocals. Not very impressive, as it tends to get repetitive, but I am totally awestruck by Lars and Kirk’s ‘bang-bang’ timing, like pounding bullets. Good, but not very good to remain in my memory for long. My verdict:
3: Broken, Beat and Scarred 6:25
Innovative riffs are spiced and scattered throughout the song. I love the solid tempo at the beginning maintained by Lars, Kirk and Trujillo (only if you play close attention can you actually hear Trujillo). Vocals are somewhat boring after a few minutes. You can easily make out he’s saying “what don’t kill ya make ya more strong” throughout the song. Okay idea to run as its fuel. Close to the end of the third minute it sounded like Hammet was escalating the song’s tone to start his solo-blazing. And my, does he go fast. Enjoyable in pieces. My verdict:
Okay. 71/2 /10
4: The Day That Never Comes 7:56
Definitely one of my favourites. I love this song second best. I like the alternative metal style of Metallica more than their heavy-metal and thrash glory of former years, as I’m not a ‘real’ fan of old-Metallica. But this song has a style to it that is somewhat like Nothing Else Matters and Unforgiven as well as Fade to Black. The clean guitar along with the hard touches, Lars’ brilliant drumming and Hetfield gets a full chance to show off his vocals. The sudden change in tempo is somewhat unexpected, but it fits for the end has quite an innovation in soloing style with unusual scales and patterns of different keys, as well as some of the usual stuff Met churns out. Hammet knows how to make the guitar squeal. It would have gotten my 10 but I feel it’s a tad too long.
Very Good. 9/10
5: All Nightmare Long 7:58
My God. It looks like Lars and Hammet have planned to sacrifice their hands to play such tunes for a great Metallica hit. Awesome instrumentals. Vocals are a bit wacky for a metal song, and that’s welcome! It had a different tune to it thanks to Hetfield’s improvisation on new tunes to sing with. I feel this will be quite a challenge to play on Guitar Hero, truly a long nightmare one can expect in the final stages. Again, getting repetitive can kill a song with some boredom. It doesn’t have a leash on you like the old Metallica songs of Black Album keep, wanting your attention. Though it strays a little, it has a treasury of musical value and improvisation. Good for Met fans. My verdict:
Fairly good. 8/10
6: Cyanide 6:39
Wow. It had the best start to any song on this album. Very catchy tune. Infectious. What else can I say, you’ll be humming this song for some time after you hear it, especially the “*******! I’ve already died/ Cyanide! Living dead inside” part that I personally enjoy. It should be a Metallica staple from now on as it has the potential. Yet again, the unusual tempo changes startle you. If you are a purist, you may not enjoy it. But I find it quite a great feature of the song, and they have the guts to trust in such a roller-coaster pattern for an important song. It sounds like a live version being played out, with all the innovative techniques used. I feel it’s difficult to execute such tempo changes, and only Met can do it. Hats off.
7: Unforgiven III 7:46
I was scared of what this would turn out to be. It came as a pleasant surprise. The song is very, very original and gives you the déjà vu of the old Unforgivens, as it has a remote semblance in just a few parts. I liked the idea of incorporating the keyboards at the beginning. Trujillo’s bass has started to surface now very much, since track 5. Vocals are inspiring, making me want to sing that way. Very good, but not epic like the Unforgiven nor as catchy as Unforgiven II. If not being compared, this is easily the third best song I’d pick from the album as a listener but not as a ‘true’ Metallica fan as they’d prefer something more hardcore. My verdict:
Almost Excellent. 9 ½ /10
8: Judas Kiss 8:00
Fans of hardcore Metallica should enjoy this one. After a long time has such a power-packed and well made song being performed. The “sell your soul to me” part is my eternal favourite. Excellent standards for a classic Metallica song. Competes with Cyanide for the best song’s place. I feel this is going to be the Grammy winning song for this album. Watch the heroes at their best in this song. My verdict:
9: ******* and Redemption 9:57
I suspected this would be their experimental song on the album. I felt it had a great tune to the riffs. Very solid in form from the start itself. Has a beautiful waltzy part in the fourth minute that I enjoyed very much. It was then that it dawned on me that the song is an entire instrumental. A great one for that matter. It is my wish to be able to perform this song for metal connoisseurs in front of a live crowd. It has extraordinarily great musical material. I feel they should remake this song and use the riffs for a vocal song, like a new song in itself. My verdict:
Almost Excellent. 9 ½ /10
10: My Apocalypse 5:01
The shortest song on the album, My Apocalypse is definitely the most vividly patterned song. It has a peculiar drum beat, genius work of Lars. The song is average, and I feel should have been somewhere in the start, with Judas Kiss being the finale. Not a great finale this one, but good stuff for fans to relish. The tempo bleeds as the song proceeds and dies out in a great bang. Good effect for a song. My verdict:
Fairly Good. 8/10
The entire album has been somewhat consistent, with much needed surprises and novelty. There have been spots where you lose focus on the music, but most of the songs catch your attention. And to believe that this is NOT the album after …And Justice for All is hard, for it has that classic edge to it. A very good attempt by Metallica to restore their former glory. How much they succeed depends on the choice of the listeners. I feel, the album is worth for all those who love Metallica and all those who’d like to experience a different kind of heavy metal album. That’s the key factor in the album: novelty. Listen and appreciate it for that factor.
OVERALL ALBUM FARES……
VERY GOOD!! 9/10
Had it been slightly more consistent and more attention catching, it would have been epic. Since it ain’t epic it is the thing closest to it right now. Enjoy the album.
That Was Just Your Life
The Day That Never Comes
The Judas Kiss
******* and Redemption
Try the album out. It’s worth listening to.