Thursday, September 18, 2008

This is your dad's Metallica



Remember a really good band in the late 80’s called Metallica? Didn’t think so. That’s because ever since “And Justice for all …” they’ve sucked out loud. Personal issues, egos, and poor choices in production killed anything that resembled the band that released “Kill ‘em All”. Gone were the mach 3 guitar riffs. Gone were the tempo and time changes. Gone were the ….. balls.

“Death Magnetic” will place those once removed balls directly on your nose, and not in a dainty fashion. Much like when Rancid released ”Rancid(2000)”, Metallica gleaned what they did best and went back to it..

“Death Magnetic” is a triumphant return. Instead of five minute gutless covers, the listener is carpet bombed with eight minute tracks that will gently remove your brain from your cranium, have sex with it, put your brain back in your head, and then smash your skull with a turbocharged sledgehammer. It’s like being shot in the face point blank with a bazooka filled with broken glass and hydrochloric acid. It’s Cloverfield on anabolic steroids.

If there was any doubt that Rick Ruben was a god prior to this release, his deification is imminent. Working with bands such as Slayer, Danzig, Public Enemy, and the Beastie Boys, Rick Ruben has established himself at the top of the food chain when it comes to producers. With “Death Magnetic”, Ruben has taken a shit on anyone that has ever thought of producing music. He’s that damn good. The arrangements are unthinkable. This guy knows his shit.

The track Broken, Beat, and Scarred, is probably the best example of what’s been fixed. While it is not one of the faster songs, it does not drag along. It combines a more mellow sound, but does not resemble Creed, like other Metallica offerings have. It shows maturity, but still gives a nod to the early Metallica. sound. It is distinctly Metallica, yet new.

I hesitate to call The Day That Never Comes a ballad, but it is a slower song. Much like One, or Sanitarium, it is more harmonic and introspective. The guitar is haunting, and Hettfield’s voice complements the mood. Do not fear, like the aforementioned tracks, The Day That Never Comes culminates in the usual, rock your face off fashion.

The crowning cut by far is All Nightmare Long. This song encompasses everything Metallica does well: changes, gunshot-like drums, crushing rhythm guitar, impossible bass lines, lead guitar that seems to dance with you while cutting at your very fiber, and the copyrighted Hettfield growl. All Nightmare Long is a sonic ear raping of biblical proportions.

Suicide and Redemption is 10 minutes of unadulterated musical mastery. All 4 members are on display in this vocal-less audio beat down. Lars Ulrich once again proves he is one of the top percussionists in the world, providing unfathomable changes. Kirk Hammet’s solos move effortlessly from soulful to savage, starting slowly and moving into an audio blur, and then surrender themselves back into the groove. Hettfield’s rhythm work is equally complex, and very, very tight. Robert Trujillo is just what Metallica needed; fast and punishing, but able to transverse all the changes without missing a step. This line up is unreal.

This is a nonpareil complete album. Every song is, if not a masterpiece, epic. Definitely the best album Metallica has made since And Justice For All ….. From top to bottom, there is not a weak spot to be heard.
Buy. This. Album.