1. That was just your Life 
2. The End of the Line 
3. Broken, Beat & Scarred 
4. The Day that never comes 
5. All Nightmare long 
6. Cyanide 
7. The Unforgiven III 
8. The Judas Kiss 
9. Suicide & Redemption 
10. My Apocalypse 


James Hetfield - Vocals, Guitar 

Kirk Hammett - Guitar

Robert Trujillo - Bass

Lars Ulrich - Drums




METALLICA: "Death Magnetic"   metallica              Vertigo

Produced by Rick Rubin

Mixed by Greg Fidelman, Andrew Scheps

St. Anger


review  by dalia "gryphon_spirit" di giacomo ___          

In an interview conducted on Wednesday, July 16 by VG TV at the opening show of the second leg of METALLICA's European summer tour in Bergen, Norway, guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield stated about the new album title, "'Death Magnetic', at least the title, to me, it's… It had something to do with… It started out as kind of a tribute to people that have fallen in our business, like Layne Staley [ALICE IN CHAINS] and a lot of the people that have died, basically — rock and roll martyrs of sorts. And then it kind of grew from there. Thinking about death… some people are drawn towards it, and just like a magnet, some people are drawn towards it, [and] other people are afraid of it and push away. And the concept that we're all gonna die sometimes is over-talked about and then a lot of times never talked about — no one wants to bring it up; it's the big white elephant in the living room. But we all have to deal with it at some point. So that's kind of the subject matter."

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Walking the golden paths again.


The Day that never comes is the actual flame of the new Metallica album "Death Magnetic". This track (also single) evokes the atmospheres of the Black Album but also those of the Ride The Lightning era. Melodies and force combine perfectly bringing a brilliant and intense sequence of emotions similar to those of One or Nothing else matters, or ...Already the harmonic intro brings you into another dimension then, the cadence of the rhythmic intertwine with melodic guitars till the short yet clawing , punctuating refrain tears apart. All this is supporting too interesting lyrics that perfectly fit the music; the second part of the song explodes in a typical  bulldozing reiterate rhythm directed to the final burst  with fast pace and dramatic thick guitar solos. 


The second great caliber of the album is The Unforgiven III whose initial string and piano sound is so sorrowful going on with such a powerful pleasant balladesque beauty. To complete the triad, we have a fantastic orchestral piece called Suicide & Redemption, which is a propulsive and catchy communion of thrash and sun kissed rock. A very modern extract of warm chords full of temperament soaked with a lot of different distortion in the solos but always driven by the propulsive melody.

For the rest, "Death Magnetic" exploits the resources of the thunderous sound of guitars and bass, with inserts of great Hamett's soloing and waves of global and elaborated sounds, precisely orchestrated by the production, in order to propose a classic Metallica Thrash which is anyway truly opened to the more modern interpretation of this genre only in tracks like  My Apocalypse or Suicide & Redemption , while Old school Heavy Metal and Rock signatures percolate the work . The minus point for me is that , despite the modernization of the sound , the scent of the old Thrash/Heavy metal school remains too active. Other minus point is the basic lack of originality in the drumming, yet, how i will explain later, this drumming is not all in all that bad. Another minus point is the difficulty to hear the bass lines, clearly distinguishable in a couple of songs only (included Suicide & Redemption). The sound is, in general, majestic yet often so pitchy due to the distortions applied, and due to the foreground guitars. The length of the tracks is abundant going from 5 till 10 minutes. Here and there we can perceive figures already used in the previous albums. Fortunately, Death Magnetic is no (much) cut and copy and presents a soul of its own. Death Magnetic is no academic return to the roots, it is the need to find a lost identity. The inspiration in the composition excels in those three already mentioned tracks. 

From St Anger (album that i appreciated) we have here almost no heritage;  maybe a sense of raw disillusion and the vocal timbre. Too cool: in my opinion works like "Load" and "Reload" are swept away. ...By the way vocals, to me they seem  not to be so robust as the new vigor in the multilayered sound should require.  However the fans of the old Metallica will surely be satisfied and magnetically attracted because the band really tries to go back walking the golden paths, gifting the listeners with a couple of goose bumps. The great guitar work is the windy tempest that often appear mightier than drumming, that tries anyway to be as strong as rolling and as fast as possible although clearly still too bound to normal thrash frames. One of the stronger and faster tracks in which you can listen to guitar and drums convergence is All Nightmare long


Cyanide is enough interesting because mixes very old Metallica (there is a taste of Seek and Destroy and creeping death) with modern psychism and classic rock. The Judas Kiss has a formidable verse but a banal refrain, so ,pity, i think it is a spoiled. Double pity because the lyrics are simply the hammer. That was just your Life is no perfect opener, because is the less interest song of the album, while The End of the Line has beautiful, involving and  unpredictable riffs, typically is a mixture between old school thrash (there is much feeling for the 80's but reflected in the uptodate techniques) and heavy metal/rock. 


I would like to underline the pace elasticity in  all songs and the high quality of the lyrics. Just fancy usual words like suicide, crucify , remembrance, Judas really kept in a not usual context. The booklet is class with brilliant design, although the magnetic field around the coffin reminds me of the ferrous material removed after a cremation. 


"Death Magnetic" , ninth album and first Metallica produced by Rick Rubin ,first to feature bassist Robert Trujillo, may not be a masterpiece like Ride the Lightning, ...And Justice for all, Master of Puppets and The Black Album, but it's the best release Metallica has proposed since then, although i still defend some original aspects of "St. Anger"...   



Rating: 8,7/10 


dalia di giacomo         14.09.2008

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