bastard_robo wrote:My buddy just picked up PIT TICKETS for their December show at the Forum out here in LA.. It'll be my first Metallica show.. Cant wait!
Pitchfork wrote:Metallica became the world's biggest metal band by doing everything right. Then they went and did everything wrong. Their first four records were classic permutations of 1980s thrash: the ferociously raw Kill 'Em All, the increasingly epic Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets, and the toweringly technical ...And Justice for All. Self-dubbed "Alcoholica", the band cultivated a blue-collar image, even refusing to make a music video until the last of those LPs in 1988. (When they finally did, with the iconic "One", it was seven and a half minutes long.) Then, on 1991's eponymous album (aka "The Black Album"), they went mainstream with radio-friendly ballads, losing old fans but gaining millions of new ones.
Since then, Metallica have been a comedy of errors. Load and ReLoad wallowed in warmed-over hard rock dreck. The front of Garage Inc., a covers collection, found Metallica awkwardly costumed as auto mechanics to appear as the everymen they once were. S&M was an overwrought collaboration with a symphony. The band sued Napster, earning the scorn of fans. 2003's St. Anger was a laughable failure. The documentary film Some Kind of Monster luridly aired the band's dirty laundry. Singer/guitarist James Hetfield and bassist Robert Trujillo were recently photographed shopping at Armani. Such antics have kept Metallica in the headlines, and not necessarily to their benefit. The anticipation for Death Magnetic has split along two lines: hope for a return to form, and schadenfreude.
The album fulfills neither expectation. It tries mightily to recapture Metallica's former glory, but does so only partially. Producer Rick Rubin told the band to write the unwritten half of Master of Puppets-- a ludicrous proposition. But his intent was well-meaning: get rich, fortysomething rockers to recall themselves as hungry, twentysomething metallers. In the real world, it's called a midlife crisis.
So it is with Death Magnetic. Self-plagiarization abounds. "That Was Just Your Life" and "Cyanide" harken back to "Blackened" from ...And Justice for All. "The Day That Never Comes" has the clean tones of "Fade to Black" and the machine gun riff from "One". Still, Metallica wrote hundreds of riffs in the 1980s without repeating themselves, and to hear them so bereft of new ideas is disheartening. So is the fact that Load, ReLoad, and St. Anger are indelibly part of their bloodstream: "The End of the Line" and "The Judas Kiss" are built on those same bland hard rock riffs, and "Cyanide" tapes a Stone Temple Pilots chug to a disastrous stop/start section like a forgotten St. Anger deep cut. And like most sequels, the turgid "The Unforgiven III" should never have been made. Metallica just aren't very good at unpredictability. They're best at heavy metal thunder, and they've sadly lost the ability to summon it.
Rubin's bone-dry production negates that old fury even as Metallica does their best to evoke their mythic garage days. These are their most energetic performances in ages. Guitarist Kirk Hammett hasn't sounded so vital in two decades: While he languished solo-less in St. Anger, he's all over Death Magnetic with fiery leads. They often reprise his old ones, but their wah-fueled intensity is a welcome antidote to their underlying riffs. Hetfield has mostly dropped his bluesy yowl in favor of singing in tune. Trujillo adds solid, supportive low end. In fact, only Lars Ulrich's drumming falls short. He often resorts to simple oompah beats when complementary or counter-rhythms would go further. Despite his lack of creativity, though, he still plays the hell out of his drums, aided by a harsh, crunchy sound that renders his cymbals incredibly sibilant. Unfortunately, all the energy in the world can't save these songs.
The band may be more mentally stable these days, but it's irreparably damaged. Years of simplistic hard rock have destroyed its sense of speed. Even the thrashy "My Apocalypse" feels half-hearted and clunky. Hetfield's lyrics are toilet-grade; his younger self, while brash, would never have written tripe like "Mangled flesh, snapping spines/ Dripping bloody valentine/ Shattered face, spitting glass." Once Metallica became vulnerable, they never recovered, and his lyrics have been embarrassingly personal since The Black Album. Death Magnetic is a meditation on death-- but hey, so is every other Metallica record. The best ones spit in the face of it; this one just shows the futility of attempting to reclaim lost youth.
bastard_robo wrote:I'd like to throw this quote from my friend as she described this album
"Its Metallica saying sorry for sucking for the last 15 years"
and Cyanide, Best song on the album IMO
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