METALLICA — Death Magnetic (review)

METALLICA — Death Magnetic album cover Album · 2008 · Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
...And Justice for All part II. The unexpected return to form.

Congratulations to Metallica, again! Again, but twenty years later. It's incredibly how they returned from trash to thrash! I think the most important about this record is Metallica is back. It's the same old band. Metallica are again creating music in the genre they are able to: thrash metal. And this is wonderful! They are made for thrash metal, not for country, blues, alternative music or noise. It's popular they failed when they try to create different kind of music. Just look at Load, Reload and especially St. Anger... But not it's all in the past and Metallica are going to save their honour. In fact, they have already saved it - with Death Magnetic!

In my opinion Death Magnetic is direct successor to the best Metallica album - ...And Justice for All in terms of everything. It has been made with the philosophy and the tradition of 80's Metallica, without being repulsively commercial as Metallica have been the last twenty years. It's again based on complex sutructures and ideas, and nicely-heavy tunes in thrash manner. There is demo version of the album, before the release as it has been until ...And Justice for All album. Death Magnetic have been recorded in E tuning, as they did on their first five studio album. The band had previously played in E flat during the recordings of Load and ReLoad, and dropped C on St. Anger. That's indicative of the return to old days, too! All that helps Death Megnetic to become a new reason of pride for the band. But the return to old style is not the only necessary element for a pleasant album. There are more...

The previous paragraph in my review shows one thing - This album is the missing link, between ...And Justice for All and Metallica. Moreover, directly, it's the best Metallica album in twenty years. It's the logical sequel to ...And Justice for All. They continue from where they have stopped in the late 80s. Death Magnetic is very close to ...And Justice for All in terms of style, so the title of my review is ...And Justice for All part II. If we look back to Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets, they are little different type of thrash metal, than ...And Justice for All and Death Magnetic. As whole, each of them are logical sequels to the previous one.

I thought whether to review all songs one by one or not. At the end I decided not to review them one by one, because they all carry the spirit of the album as a whole. The impression is as an album just like it should be! This doesn't mean the songs aren't memorable, contrary. There aren't weak songs here. All of them are catchy and interesting, complex and full of surprises (this wasn't happening for about fifteen years), as well as very long. The drumming style of Lars Ulrich is highly addictive, the solos by Kirk Hammett are very fast and completed, the vocals by James Hetfield are charming. The album is full of rhythm guitars which took partly the role of bass player - Robert Trujillo, who appears as a debutant on a Metallica studio album. Bass guitar is very low tuned and often sits at the background of the performance, but it's usual for Metallica.

As whole Death Magnetic is very dynamic and energetic album with superb musicianship and ingenious songwriting with little number of non-thrash metal elements. There is one exception and it is The Unforgiven III. It's a sequel ballad to The Unforgiven series (I and II), which I consider as perfect song. It shows high level of human maturity, in my opinion. It's the best Unforgiven song I think. The Unforgiven III is one of the two dramatical pieces on the album; it contains fresh dramatical balance between ballad and heavy rocking song. The other dramatical piece on Death Magnetic is the first single of the album - The Day That Never Comes. Its structure reminds directly to One, the breakthrough single by Metallica from ...And Justice for All album. It begins as a ballad and gradually convert to more and more dramatical piece until its culmination like thrash monster. The other resemblance is their number on their respective albums - 4. This makes The Day That Never Comes direct reference to One and Death Magnetic direct reference to ...And Justice for All.

Highly addictive, the most progressive album by Metallica , Death Magnetic - 3 3/4 stars!!!
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