Since sometime in the 90’s, Metallica has been a sitcom of wrong decisions. Sometime back then they should have had hired an editor with total freedom of action who was given the mandate to exercise loving violence on the band’s confused extravagances.
Because if you removed some incomprehensible ideas, threw half of the material in the trash and concentrated the record to the best 30-40 minutes, Death Magnetic would be a top class Metallica record.
That’s right, one more thing. The elephant in the porcelain shop; ”The Loudness War”. You get acute migraines from the penetrating, compressed production. It really destroys the overall experience and Death Magnetic is actually one of quite a few albums where the soundscape actually scares me away from some pretty good material. I’m usually a friend of bad production, but here it sounds bad in the wrong way. It is a constant irritation. Sad!
Let’s jump in the fire of the plus side of things; in addition to the shortcomings mentioned, there are a lot of good riffs, a good vocal effort by James Hetfield, the Ulrich drumming does not irritate as much as it can sometimes do and it is really good song material straight across.
Death Magnetic is a lively, ambitious and quite successful attempt to go back to the roots and I want to go so far as to say that some riffs possess clear 80’s quality. And as I love lists, let’s do a top 3 list of the album’s heaviest riffs:
1. The chorus in Cyanide! Such a fucking mean and unexpected little guitar loop. Delicious and just in my taste.
2. The first 30 seconds of Broken, Beat & Scarred. Swings cooler than King Nothing.
3. The verse riff of The End of the Line. Here we’re talking Ride the Lightning level at the thrash factory.
But the best song is the concluding …And Justice For All-scented smoker My Apocalypse. A highlight when it comes to Metallica post Black Album.
Best songs: My Apocalypse, Cyanide, Broken Beat & Scarred