Errols Weekly Music Update.

September 14, 2008

CD Review: Death Magnetic- Metallica

CD Review: Death Magnetic by Metallica released Sept. 12, 2008

OK I am not going to sit here and write that Metallica is back. For me, they never really left. Throughout careers, artsist are going to have their ups and downs along with their studs and clunkers. It comes with the territory. Hey even Mariano Rivera blows a save or two, right? What I don’t understand is why Metallica is held to higher standard than everyone else. Maybe it’s because of how they broke on to the scene- was there a more popular band to rip through the under ground music scene over the past 30 years? Maybe not but I could name a few who generated a lot of excitement. Let’s take Guns & Roses; Back in 1987 there was such a buzz about that band and I of course was swept up in it and at the time, there was nobody better. Then in 1991, the emergence of Nirvana rocked the music industry and took out all the “hair bands” in the process. Ladies & Gentlemen, where are those bands now? If Metallica gets grief for doing the “Black” album- at least that was their 5th album. Five top notch albums in a row. What did GNR ever really do after Appetite? Please don’t even waste your breath on “Use Your Illusion.” Same goes for Nirvana after “Nevermind.” So Metallica took a journey into a different music world, so what? Are you still doing the same things you were doing 25 years ago? Are you still able to do the things you did 25 years ago? For most, the answer is no but do the boys from Metallica get any slack? No, of course not, but as you get older you realize that the haters will always be there no matter what, so you move on- as Metallica has done. Maybe the ride has come full circle because 25 years later- they have come close to putting out the same music as “Master of Puppets” and “And Justice for All.”

Death Magnetic starts off with the sound of a heart beating and in my mind it’s a message to those “nay-sayers” that they are still alive and kicking. First off I half to apologize to Rick Rubin because I figured he would mellow the boys out. Just the opposite- this album kicks your butt and dares you to come back for more. There are stops, kick-starts, accelerations, declerations, relentess precision sharp turns every where on this album. If you don’t think the first three songs on this album are “metal” enough for you- go look for your 18-year old death metal band in the dark woods of Norway-because these songs will rock the roof of your car off. About 1:30 into the album the ride begins and within seconds you can get whiplash in your neck from the speed and intensity that Lars, James, Kirk and Robert bring to “That Was Just Your Life.” Not bad for guys in their 40’s!! This song sort of reminds me of “Blackened.” And I do hear the bass in this song. Yes I do. (Mr. Trujillo has taken some heat for being invisible on this album- just as Kirk did on St. Anger- again if people don’t have something to complain about-they’re not happy). Kirk’s solo on this song rips your face off (and that’s another thing I’ve seen written- the critics were complaining that Kirk had no solos on “St. Anger” and now that he is all over this album- people have written that his solos are nothing innovative- you know what- Bite Me!!!) As the first song comes to a screeching halt- BOOM- “The End of the Line” is right there to remind you that the one-two punch will be coming at you many times. The friggin’ time changes on this song are so good and just like before- you don’t know where you are headed- a long groove or short crushing beats that have you banging your head up and down in satification. I picture “Rocky” punching the meat inside the freezer when I hear this song. The songs are epic like journeys as the only song less than 6 minutes is the closer “My Apocalyse” which is just over 5 minutes long. “The Slave becomes the Master..” is the chorus that closes out “The End of the Line” and James vocals are much less emotional on this album than on St. Anger. Track # 3 “Broken, Beat & Scarred” is a tune that I can’t wait for them to perform live. I can just picture 18,000 fans in a controlled frenzy jamming to this song. Friggin’ phenomenal. Please turn this up in your car by yourself. You won’t be disappointed. This will be a fan favorite in no time. Sounds like these guys have been working out because it is a full court press for 6 minutes and 25 seconds. Friggin’ Lars is all over the place and there is no other drummer for this band except him- period end of story.

Then as you catch your breath, the infectious “The Day That Never Comes” begins and at first I wasn’t so hot about this song but it has really grown on me and I relaized how great this song is. Please listen with your mind open. James vocals are good on this song, and blends perfectly with Lars drumming up & down. As the song deepens it grows faster and turns into a sort of “One” or “Fade to Black.” “Love is a four letter word…” James wails and then they all jam and take the song and ride it out just like a cowboy riding off in the sunset. The beginning of “All Nightmare Long” sort of reminds me of Enter Sandman and then there it is- another fastball under your chin. The blistering guitar work by James and Kirk really stand out on this track. This song is rough and continues James fascination about dreams. Listening to Kirk hammer away on his solo, I ask all the haters out there? What do you want? You can’t get squeeze water out of a stone, so why not enjoy and admire the skills that this man has? This song could have easily been on Ride the Lightning or Master, period end of story!! Track 6 is another rocker- Cyanide- and I will say that this song could have been something that the boys would have done for their “Load” and “ReLoad” period. But this does not make it bad- just the opposite- it makes it good because not everything on Load or Reload was terrible as many haters will tell you. Now the most intriguing song on Death Magnetic is “The Unforgiven III” and just like we learned on Seasame Street- this song is not like the others and it is easy to pick that out. The more I listen to this track, the more I like it. It has grown on me and I will say that it is not a song to skip over-there hasn’t been one yet and we are now 70% done. I like the groove in this song and James vocals shine bright on this track.

The last three tracks are phenomenal beginning with my favorite of the album- “Judas Kiss” – “Bow down and sell your soul to me..” Again I hear Trujillo’s bass loud and clear and can’t wait to see them perform this live as well. The back & forth between James and Kirk on this song definitely brings out their best as each are at the top of their game. And what about Lars you ask? The man keeps the train rolling and I can’t imagine how much fun he had making this album because the drumming stands out throughout the whole CD. This is right up his alley- Intensity!! Track # 9 is the longest track and is an instrumental. This song unleashes riff after riff and I would assume that this song will be played the most on Guitar Hero. Friggin’ rocks and again has an infectious groove that will easily take you to the ten minute mark without you realizing it. Kirk hits the cover off the ball and maybe it’s his turn on rage because his solo is down right scorching. The album ends with the aforementioned “My Apocalypse.” I dare the haters out there to say that this song couldn’t be on Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning or And Justice for All. Please don’t even go there because this song makes them seem like they are 18 all over again. (Ok maybe not the vocals but you get my drift). The song is a blistering all out thrash metal revival of what they can always do- it’s like riding a bike- you don’t forget. The ending comes crashing and then you realize the ride is over. But just like at the amusement park- you’re begging for another free ride- so what do you do? Start it all over again.

Death Magnetic is a solid album and for all the “original” fans of Metallica they probably would say that this album should have followed “And Justice For All.” But it didn’t and just like I said at the beginning, we all have a journey in life and it takes us in different directions. Sometimes you hit a bump in the road- as they did- and yes Jason suffered for that bump but I bet he was glad that he was able to ride the Metallica train for as long as he did. And as in life sometimes, we all get off at different stations. Metallica, as I mentioned, is an acquired taste and not for the weak ears. This album will rock your socks off and it is fast, furious and loud. Now to some- that is what they live for- for others not so much. So for the Metallica fans looking for “Until It Sleeps” this album is probably not for you- but maybe it is. For all the fans looking for “Battery”- this album is definitely for you. (without all the complaints please). I believe Metallica is in a good place right now and based on this CD they still have a lot more left in the tank. \m/ \m/

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