It’s been over a month since I’ve been religiously listening to the new Metallica album everyday, without fail. I believe I have assimilated enough into my blood stream, like a junkie, to now comment on it. So here goes:
Wow! This sounds like Metallica. Despite many shortcomings and bits of music I did not approve of, Death Magnetic is definitely one for the collection. A far cry from the abomination that was St.Anger, Death Magnetic reminds me of the music Metallica played in the good old Justice... days. The first thing one would notice is that the terrible metal sounding snare from St.Anger has been replaced with a far better sounding snare. The vocals of James Hetfield are simply amazing. It sounds very mature and controlled for an artist of his age. Not many present day singers can boast to have a voice of that caliber.
The lyrics aren’t exactly the best that Metallica have come up with so far. But there are places where the lyrics are really good. Some of the examples of this are on Cyanide, "Suicide, I've already died , You're just the funeral I've been waiting for . Cyanide, living dead inside; Break this empty shell forevermore." and Unforgiven III, " How can I be lost, If I've got nowhere to go? ".
Overall, the lyrics when compared to the previous outing take this band to a different plateau all together. Many people say Metallica just isn’t the same band they’ve got used to. Being all Captain Obvious right now, they aren’t the same band. This is a new phase for Metallica, and the sound is showing this change. There is a marked difference in the quality of production with Rick Rubin. The classic thrash riffs still remain a major talking point of Death Magnetic.
Coming to the negative points of Deathmagnetic, the piano at the start of Unfogiven III is completely out of place.(Cannot be forgiven). Throughout the album, one would find classic thrash guitar riffs by Kirk but none of the songs have a killer lead guitar solo which would make the song stand out as being owned by Hammett. We can’t find songs with solos like those on ‘Where ever I may roam’ or ‘One’ or even the classic, ‘Nothing Else Matters’. This was something I was looking forward to, but I guess I may have to wait for the next release.
Being a bass guitar player myself, the low volumes and un-prominence of bass guitar is quite annoying. Having gotten used to a heavy bass played by Jason Newstead, one expects Trujillo to go to the next level. His choice as a bassist for Metallica is yet to be seen on the new material.
I automatically assume Rick Rubin would have brought his experience with bands like Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Slayer ,etc, who have a very prominent bass sound, to Metallica. This was what Bob rock did with the Black Album and took Metallica to a whole new place all together. There leaves a lot more to be desired on the production from this album.
Summing up, definitely one of the albums of the year. Metallica have shown that they still have the prowess to dish out good metal. This is the kind of album that would renew lost faith in the music of Metallica. Hetfield’s singing is definitely amazing and stands out. Lars Ulrich could have done better on the drums. Kirk Hammett needs to play better and more intense leads. As for Robert Trujillo, I can’t comment much on the bass riffs because they are inaudible for most of the songs. Despite all this, Death Magnetic makes for a definite buy and is a great Thrash metal album. Hope Metallica can take this new found energy to the next level.
Good going guys, but could be better.
Picture: Courtesy: Wikipedia