I got back from the record store the other day, with my hands on a copy of Metallica's "Death Magnetic", ready to listen to one of the most anticipated albums of the last few years.
I was expecting some good tunes, nothing too amazing, but hey, it wouldn't be too hard to top their 2003 effort, St. Anger. What I didn't expect was to have my ass handed to me by a Metallica that I hadn't heard from in years.
The album kicks off with "That Was Just Your Life", a ripping-epic good enough to have opened any of their big 3 80s classics: Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, ...And Justice for All. Already it's clear that this is an album with something to prove. Back is singer James Hetfield's grit, Kirk Hammett's wild soloing, and machine-gun double bass drumming from Lars Ulrich.
Following this kick in the gut are two more heavy hits, "The End of the Line" and "Broken, Beat, and Scarred". Each of these also do not disappoint, but are different in that they sound like more a fusion between Metallica's past and present (though in the best possible way). The band has found a way to mesh their post-Black Album melodies and infectious choruses with their intricate structuring and thrashing riffs.
Out of all 10 raging metal songs, there are but two slower tunes, "The Day That Never Comes" and "The Unforgiven III", although they come across slow in that huge metal ballad way like some of their classics such as "Fade to Black" or "One", so it's all good.
The end of the album comes after 75 minutes, and it doesn't even feel that long. It ends on a good note, too, the thrashy Slayer-like jam, "My Apocalypse".
This reborn Metallica after their near-death (as documented in "Some Kind of Monster") seems to have recaptured that fire they once had, but without sounding dated. Perhaps it was their near-death, or the help of legendary producer, Rick Rubin that brought back the metal we've all been waiting for.
Honestly, if there's any one out there that DOESN'T like this album, then I guess that they just never liked Metallica in the first place.
Whatever woke up the sleeping giant of Metallica, let's hope it sticks around, because if "Death Magnetic" is only the beginning of what's to come for the band, then we're in store for amazing couple of albums.