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I'm sure many of you out there have heard all the hype surrounding Metallica's latest release, "Death Magnetic". I'm sure they all want you to believe that this is going to be Metallica's return to their roots, their majestic return to form, the ultimate comeback, right? I'm sorry, but anyone who tells you that needs to have several pine cones stuffed in his dickhole, because this album is just about as terrible and devoid of creativity as 1996's Load and every other album they've released since then. From the southern rock-drenched grooving of "That Was Just Your Life" to the coma-inducing bore titled "The Day That Never Comes", probably referring to the day when Metallica will start making good music again, this album is just a collection of reminders of everything these guys have been doing wrong ever since they released their self-titled album in 1991.
The first track is "That Was Just Your Life". It starts off with the expected acoustic intro, and then we're introduced to the rest of the song which, if you forgot which album you started listening to, will trick you into thinking this is Load. Wrong, buddy! It's Metallica's new album, and it marks their return to pure thrash! Yeah! Because thrash is apparently the new term for southern hard rock. A minute into the track I realize I've already heard it before, so I skip ahead to "The End Of The Line", which I could swear is the title of an Offspring song... anyway, I'm guessing this one must have gotten lost after falling behind the radiator when they were in the studio recording Load, and when they went back this year they found it lying there and must have thought, "Hey, nobody's heard this one before! Let's stick it on our new album and hope nobody notices that it sounds like it should be a B-side on the "Ain't My Bitch" single". Whores. I started getting sick of hearing the same uninspired groovy garbage all over again, and of course it didn't help that the drums sound awful. Lars must have many cases of arthritis by now (I mean, come on, look at these guys, even James' hairline is receding). there's just no complexity here, neither in the drumming nor in the guitar work, no innovation whatsoever, especially not in the vocal department. James is still doing his angry yelling, still trying to sound tough and macho, but we all know he's just a balding old man who forgot how to sing sometime in the early 90s.
God, this is painful. "Broken, Beat & Scarred" offers absolutely nothing new, so it would be pointless to describe it. Just lots of groovy noodling and shitty derivative riffing. "The Day That Never Comes" should have been titled "The Unforgiven II.1", the main difference between it and its counterpart on Reload being that this one has a very long and intensely boring acoustic part at the beginning. "All Nightmare Long" is a little too reminiscent of "Enter Sandman" with its creepy intro and pathetic attempt at heaviness via its country-fried grab-your-cock-and-rock musical attitude. Admittedly, it starts to pick up during its second half and you hear some pretty fast groove riffing, but it's just not enough to make the song worthy of a second listen. Now we move on to Cyanide, which takes way too long to get past its slow and repetitive introductory chugs, and once you actually get to the song, you will find that structurally it's almost exactly like "Wherever I May Roam" from their self-titled. This is just sad; halfway through the album and I still haven't heard anything new. Should I continue listening, if only for the sake of writing a complete review of the album? I guess I will. Maybe "The Unforgiven III" will change my mind about the album...
And, of course, it doesn't. It's even slower and more painful than "The Day That Never Comes". It's way too repetitive and offers absolutely nothing in return for the nearly 8 minutes one could potentially waste listening to the entire song. Oh wait, I forgot about the amazing solo near the end! Amazing, because it couldn't possibly have been any more pointless, it was just about a minute of seemingly endless triplet noodling. BORING. These guys really started suffering from a lack of new and interesting ideas when they lost Mustaine, who of course has at this point also run out of ideas, but it took him a little while longer. The rest of the album is just more of the same; "Judas Kiss" and "Suicide & Redemption" could have been taken straight off of Load or Reload, and "My Apocalypse" must be one of those unlucky tracks that didn't make it onto the display of brilliance and musical genius known as "St. Anger". Congratulations guys, you've hit a new low. Death Magnetic is sort of like a "Worst of" compilation album for Metallica. You would think that it could only be as bad as their last 3 albums, yet somehow it manages to be worse, if only because it's such an overhyped letdown.
One would assume that after hitting the bottom of the barrel like this a band would stop doing the same thing over and over again and just move on to something else, like activism or knitting. No, not Metallica, they can obviously keep up with the times so there's no need for them to put down their instruments, pick up their canes and straddle on over to the retirement home. And besides, they know that there are idiots out there who are still holding onto the hope that one day, Metallica will finally return to their roots and start playing the same kind of music they did in the 80s, which isn't exactly the best that the world of thrash has to offer anyway. Sure, they had their moments; Kill 'Em All, though repetitive, is pretty good (except for that completely useless bass solo track stuck), Ride the Lightning was probably their best effort, and Master of Puppets did have 2 or 3 decent songs on it, but let's face it, thrash has been played much better than Metallica ever played it. Their earliest works may have been innovative, but their popularity and legendary status is due to their compromising attitude, because they never played ferocious, ball-busting thrash metal, because they played radio-friendly metal almost from the very beginning. It wasn't all that bad though - their toned-down, easily accessible style did help bring heavy metal to the world's attention. They served their purpose, and quite frankly they've overstayed their welcome. I can already imagine what their next album is going to sound like, and I can only hope and pray that people aren't going to be fooled into thinking that ReReload or St. Loaded With Anger, or whatever the hell their next album's going to be called, will definitely be a great comeback and a return to their old style, much like this one was promised to be.