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METALLICA – Death Magnetic

Metallica – Death Magnetic (2008, Warner Bros. Records)

Track Listing:
1. “That Was Just Your Life” … 7:07
2. “The End of the Line” … 7:51
3. “Broken, Beat & Scarred” … 6:25
4. “The Day That Never Comes” … 7:55
5. “All Nightmare Long” … 7:57
6. “Cyanide” … 6:39
7. “The Unforgiven III” … 7:45
8. “The Judas Kiss” … 8:00
9. “Suicide & Redemption” … 9:56
10. “My Apocalypse” … 5:00

James Hetfield – Vocals, Guitar
Kirk Hammett – Guitar
Robert Trujillo – Bass
Lars Ulrich – Drums

Produced by: Rick Rubin

Oh, the controversy! I guess Metallica hasn’t been able please anyone since they released the Black Album way in back 1991. I’m referring to the great mix/master controversy that has gone on about this album. Is it really THAT bad? I don’t think so. Admittedly, I don’t have the ears to pick up things like this, but for what I’m playing my CD through, everything sounds fine (other than some of the drums which I think are a bit too much like St. Anger sometimes).

There’s always been a very vocal group of Metallica “fans” that complain about everything the band has done since …And Justice for All and they’re out in full force again over this one. I’m not saying there isn’t a difference between the album mix and say the Guitar Hero III downloads, but to *most* people, it’s not an outstanding difference and they’ll do just fine listening to the CD. There’s no need to jump off a bridge over this (or to get Metallica and/or Warner Bros. to do the same).

Now, to the music– Easily the best stuff they’ve put out since the Black Album (which I happen to think is great, so those same “fans” can stick it). It’s a return to their heydays and a lot more focused than the emo St. Anger.

Many of these songs harken back to their 80s material such as “This Was Just Your Life” and “My Apocalypse”, but there’s also some Black Album sounds on songs such as “The Day That Never Comes” and “The End of the Line”.

Even Load/Reload influences appear with “The Unforgiven III”, which is a pretty unnecessary sequel. “The Unforgiven” was great, “The Unforgiven II” was good, “The Unforgiven III” is just filler. At least they tried doing something different, whereas the first two “Unforgiven” songs were sonically similar, but it just screams Load to me and that’s not what I wanna hear.

Definitely one of 2008’s best releases. Oh yeah, one more big positive for this album… GUITAR SOLOS!

But alas, not all is well with this release (which for strange reason won’t play in my car stereo without clipping)… The packaging could’ve used some more thought. When it’s on the shelf at the store, it looks great. The old Metallica logo is back in silver and you’ve got “DEATH MAGNETIC” right on the front as well. But you tear off the shrink wrap and what do you get? Nothing, because the text is a PART of the shrink wrap. I originally thought I had torn the cover while tearing the plastic open! The design with the coffin holes is pretty cool, but it needs SOMETHING covering it because I can just imagine this CD getting snagged and torn easily thanks to the open hole on the front. Also, thanks to the coffin hole, some of the lyrics are cut out, when they could’ve easily shifted them *around* the hole. Minor quibble, but worth quibbling about nonetheless.

Highlights: Everything but…

Lowlights: “The Unforgiven III”

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