Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Metallica's Death Magnetic impressions (off-topic)

Just wanted to share my impressions of the new Metallica album, Death Magnetic, which was released last Friday, and to which I finally had a chance to listen today. (Besides comics, I'm a huge metal and jazz fan, so I may occasionally comment on these things as well.)

I have seriously mixed feelings about this album.

First off, it is Loads better than the last three albums. It is definitely metal, and some of it is even thrash (more on that later).

The CD is recorded wonderfully - drums sound great, guitars sound great, bass was almost there, even James gets his old sneer back once in a while.

But it just doesn't sound like Metallica to me. The first and last tracks are definitely the best, and reminded me of the old Metallica, especially the last track. Songs #2 and #8 were also very good (I wasn't paying attention to the songtitles while in the car). So the album starts and ends well, and it goes a bit off in the middle.

I tried to imagine this being the follow-up to the "Black Album" instead of Load. I think people would have been disappointed, but not betrayed as with Load. I think it would have given the impression of a tired band, which ironically may have eased the way for Load, in the spirit of trying something new. But as it is, it is definitely a step in the right direction - after I heard the last song, I thought they should have scrapped the first nine songs, and wrote nine new ones in the spirit of #10 (pretending, of course, that the songs were written and recorded in the running order).

It's actually very similar to the recent "return to form" albums by Megadeth (The World Needs a Hero) and Slayer (Christ Illusion), neither of which were great, but assured metal fans that the bands were back, and would (hopefully) get better. Megadeth did with The System Has Failed and United Abominations, and Slayer has yet to record a follow-up. But both of these albums were more consistently close to the respective bands' classic styles, while Death Magnetic is up and down in that respect.

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