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I just don’t get the shit about this album being the best they’ve done in 20 years. I mean, the only album this is better than is St. Anger. This is far from half of what the black album was; and even Load & Reload were better if you ask me. At least while making those albums the music didn’t sound so forced and fake. Here it’s like you can almost make out that the band doesn’t want to do what it’s doing. Their aim probably was just to add a lot of random riffs to make it sound cool/complex. In a need to sound epic, 7 of the 10 tracks are more than 7 minutes long, clearly overstaying their welcome.
Oh I‘m sorry, were you looking for a review for this particular song only? Well, let me tell you, this is the shortest track on the album and I still think half of the shit here is unnecessary; at least when it comes to the drum rolls/fills. It actually opens with one of the better riffs on the album (not that it’s any big deal) but as soon as the drums come in its back to being regular crap. The vocal lines in the chorus actually bring a groovy feel to the whole song, of course, this is not a positive remark, it is to signify the fact that they still haven’t been able to get rid of the nu-metal sound they developed during their last masterpiece. Try substituting the lyrics from any hip-hop song and tell me if I’m wrong.
The production; oh god! The vocals and drums will just get on your nerves and will make you reduce the volume, whether you’re a kvlt black metal guy or a simple rock n’ roll dude. While the production IS suck-ass too, no matter how good a producer might be, he cannot make horrible material like this sound like any of the band’s early stuff.
Moving on, let’s talk about the solo. I really have no words to describe what Kirk Hammett has turned into after all these years. He was never an exceptionally great player, but here he has just reached the mark of being utterly unbearable.
It’s about time this band stops being so complacent and try to focus on their work. While this junk can impress some blind worshippers, it certainly cannot get the attention of those people who they disappointed after they sold out in the worst possible manner.
“My Apocalypse” probably is the rawest and heardest track featured on Death Magnetic: Metallica definitely tried to create a song similar to thrash classics like “Battery” or “Dyers Eve”. In the end, this tune turns out to be pretty good but certainly not an instant classic like those two before-mentioned songs.
Structure-wise, “My Apocalypse” is very well crafted: the transitions between the riffs are excellent and, about the riffs, there are plenty of good ones to be found on this track. Despite being the simplest song out of Death Magnetic, “My Apocalypse” still has a good number of them, always played at a very very fast tempo. The first two minutes are dominated by one riff, which is quite simple, almost punk-ish, and not the best choice for a main riff because it just really pales in comparison to the riffs that come next... Like the one kicking in at around the 2 minutes mark. Oh well, that's a pretty good riff, very similar to the guitar playing on Vio-Lence's Eternal Nightmare.
But oh well, a good song isn't only made by riffs. The vocal melodies and overall vocal performance are quite decent, but James Hetfield can't sound as aggressive now as he could during the 80's, unfortunately. At times, it's like he's trying too damn hard to sound menacing and the result is a so-so performance. As for Lars Ulrich, he's not the best drummer in the world, everybody knows that, and his playing is, nowadays, quite sloppy. Still, and while sounding a bit too repetitive, his beats fit the song well, all of them being quite fast. Kirk, unfortunately, doesn't steal the show with his solo and lead playing, because this song is clearly focused on the riffs played by Hetfield, but, oh well, I guess his solo is good, all in all, despite being a bit too, ah, mellow... I don't know, but everytime I listen to it, I just wish the guy pulled out the thing faster and with more attitude, he plays the solo too damn slow, which kills the “headbanging atmosphere” created when Hetfield screams “Spit it out!”. I just wish that the solo was faster, really.
So, this song contain some interesting riffs and it is fairly well written but it still lacks the sheer energy one can find on old Metallica tunes like “Whiplash”, “Dyers Eve” or “Damage Inc.”. Still, this is the most aggressive song featured on Death Magnetic and, quite possibly, the closer Metallica ever was (and probably will ever be) to recapture the band's old spirit.
Best Moments of the Song:
-the part where James screams “Go” and that catchy riff is unleashed.
-the melodic riff played after the solo.
Ok now, there is no need for anyone to explain Metallica's history here since it's a story that every metalhead should know. And by this time I'd say a good 80% of the metal community has listened to the three singles released from their new album Death Magnetic. From those three singles we have one shitty alternative rock song that sounds like Trivium and Creed collaborated to make a song, then we have a groove/post thrash song that shows us some of Trujillo's bass work, and then we have this song, the thrasher of the album. Or at least that's what it looks like so far.
So yeah this looks like the thrashiest song that there will be on the album. Pounding drums, fast guitar, aggressive vocals, and the bass. Wait what? You can't here the bass? ? Where the hell is Trujillo in this song? I was really looking forward to him playing in a full out thrash song but god dammit he isn't here. But besides from the absence of the bass guitar, something else is still missing in here. I don't know quite what it is but I'm not getting the same feeling that I do when I usually listen to Metallica’s thrashier songs, or just about anything from their first three albums. And quite frankly I just don’t understand it. The riffing in here is very aggressive and reminiscent of older Metallica using the triplets and sliding power chords. (Battery anyone) Then we have Lar$ coming in with a pretty catchy intro that soon explodes into the thrasher of a song that this is. As soon as the main riff comes in I immediately find myself headbanging. Hell it’s a catchy riff.
Thank the gods that Lar$ doesn’t have his snare in that atrocious tuning that he had it in for St. Anger. The riff change at 1:50 offers some diversity and brings on even more thrashing to the song. James is sounding better than usual, maybe this can be half accredited to the lyrics, Good ole Metallica, singing about the end of the world once more. Because I found his voice to still be very irritating on the other two singles but it looks like he pulled his act together here and delivers some nice low, and gruff styled vocals. Of course don’t expect anything like off of Kill ‘em All with James having a high pitch scream and then bringing his voice down real low too. Then we’re treated to some wah wah free soloing which is decent at best but whatever it fits the over all feeling of the song.
With all this good stuff in this song it seems like I should’ve given this a bit higher than an 75%. And no doubt, this is a good song, but like I said before something is still missing. And I think I finally figured it out after about a week of writing this review. What’s missing you ask? Well here I’ll tell you plain and simple what’s missing here, the passion. That fiery rage that filled the minds and souls of the young Metallica. In this song it just feels like they’re going through the parts without any real energy here. Like they only did this song to please some of their older fanbase, not because they just felt like thrashing again. Why do I get this feeling about their new album? From those three singles already released, The Day That Never Comes is obviously targeted at the fans who like Load and Re-Load and that fat 13 year old who like One from Guitar Hero. Cyanide is more from the Black Album era and is targeted at the kids who think that the Black Album and that Enter Sandman were the best material Metallica ever put out. And then there is My Apocalypse which is focused on the older crowd of Metallica fans, the one’s who thrash and rage to those first three albums daily. The one’s who would’ve done anything to have a beer with Metallica.
Now there is no doubt that this is probably one of the best songs off of Death Magnetic, and I’ll defend it as that. But to actually think that this is anything close to their earlier works is pure madness. If you think that you’ve probably never gotten the same feeling that most of us have experienced while listening to those crazy motherfuckers known as Metallica.
It seems that my initial suspicions about the nature of “Death Magnetic” were correct. Not only does this song signify a definite attempt at trying to please everyone, but it actually goes as far as to emphasize the thrash element throughout at least one entire song, if not more. Now this in itself doesn’t specifically suggest that the song itself is bad, though it definitely suggests a level of confusion in the band’s own identity, which will ultimately impact the quality of the entire album when it is released. First we’re given an all out groove offering in “Cyanide”, then a half-assed ballad turned thrash tune in “The Day That Never Comes”, and now “My Apocalypse” comes with riffs packing and speed blazing to convince us that the same band that gave us “Dyer’s Eve” and “Battery” still hasn’t died yet. Can you guys make up your fucking minds please?
I will grant the band this, “My Apocalypse” is definitely a thrash song and a breath of fresh air after more than a decade of pop culture pandering, but it is not what I’d call a certified classic. The intro sounds almost like a punk oriented crossover riff, but when the song gets going what emerges is something along the lines of “Battery” with a slight Cro Mags feel. It gets a little repetitive after a while, but at around the 1:52 mark they throw in this riff that sounds very similar to something I heard on Vio-Lence’s debut. From here on in the song basically goes on unrelenting save a small breakdown right before the chorus, which recurs a few times and doesn’t really diminish the energy too much. Kirk plays a nice brief solo, which again avoids wah pedal usage and displays a nice mellow tone that is a little bit removed from the rage venting that he used to exhibit.
The main thing that holds this song back is the mixing job and James’ semi-aggressive vocals. I can tell that despite what sounds like a sincere attempt at sounding aggressive, Hetfield just isn’t quite getting the job done the way he used to. Sometimes his shouts sound out of tune, and at other times he simply sounds like he’s simply raising his voice for a waiter to take his order from the other side of a crowded room. This stands in contrast with older material where his voice exhibited that classic gravely growl tone that is more up close and personal. It’s something of a paradox actually, because the primary problem with the mixing of the instruments on here is that the whole thing sounds like it is being done in a small, insulated room, and that you’re literally in the studio listening to them. There’s no reverb, no sustain, everything just dies almost immediately after the attack. In the 80s thrash bands used to augment their recordings with reverb to simulate the large atmosphere of a full fledged concert, something which modern production practices have all but destroyed in mainstream rock music nowadays.
Now naturally even with the lack of dimensional depth to the production, there is also the continuing problem with the timbre of the instruments. Lars has at least gotten the bass drum to sound close to the thudding, thunderous goodness of the old days, but the cymbals are still tinny sounding and the snare is popping rather than punching. There’s a nifty little gadget called a compressor which would likely cure the former, while the latter calls for a tuning key and an ear that is interested in hearing something other than Stomp-style percussive gibberish. The guitars could also use a little more distortion and maybe have the middle bumped up a bit. Basically there is nothing wrong with the song itself; the lyrics are plenty morose, the riffs are in order, and the total presentation is definitely head bang worthy.
All in all, you could do worse than this song, a lot worse. This might be the best thing that “Death Magnetic” has to offer, which is a huge step up from the Load albums. The problem is that I don’t want to look at a song in regards to everything out there that could be or is worse, I want to listen to a Metallica song and say “this kicks ass, I doubt there is much that is better than this”, and I don’t get that with this. I get adequate to enjoyable, but I don’t get that rush of euphoria that I get with “Ride The Lightning” or “Kill Em’ All”, let alone all the amazing stuff that came out of both New York and the San Francisco Bay Area during the 80s. If this is the best thing that Metallica has to offer, you’d be better off throwing your money at Testament’s “Formation Of Damnation”, which is a lot closer to the good old days of Thrash mayhem that this pretends to be.
Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on September 8, 2008.
“My Apocalypse” is the second single off Metallica’s album “Death Magnetic” which hits stores in only a few days. The album was described as a missing link between “…And Justice For All” and the ever-famous self-titled album. This track proves why.
“My Apocalypse” is a track, which takes us way back into the early thrash days of the band. Clocking in at just over five minutes the track starts off with this amazingly catchy and thrashy riff, which only solidifies the fact that the band really have dug deep into the bag of tricks which dates back way back in the early 80’s. The drums soon follow and for the first time since quite a long time Lars’ has really impressed me. Accompanying the riffs the drums play a crucial part of the track and after quite a long time Lars decides not to play second fiddle when it comes to playing tracks.
The track is insanely fast and thrashy with the highlights being the chorus and this solo by Kirk near the 2:30 min mark. This solo is excellently well played and if it actually is Kirk that elevates the status of the track altogether. Rob Trujillo, just like in the two new tracks that had been heard before plays bass that is both well played and audible. James’ voice is better than what we heard on St. Anger but not as good as was on “The Day That Never Comes”, and yeah, guys, please give this guy a break for God’s sake. Stop comparing his vocals to what he sounded as on “Master Of Puppets” and “…And Justice For All”. That was a whole 20 plus years back, you expect him to sound the same even NOW?
However on the negative side there are a few points as well. The drums are great but only during the first 30 seconds of the song. After that Lars’ playing is not up to the standard he himself has laid. Also there are these 2 parts of the track, which would have been better if not played at all. The first is when the band ups the tempo near the 30-second mark. Lars’ drums, James’ voice all sound terribly bad after the wonderful intro they provided. The second weak part is the last verse, which acts as the base for the 35-second outro for the track. This too would have been better if left out.
James said before making this album that he and the band were trying to get into the mindset they were in during the bands’ early albums. If not James or Lars, Kirk Hammett is definitely in that mindset. His solo, the speed of which reminds me of the solo he played on “Whiplash” is for me the highlight of the album. If those two weak parts weren’t there on this track I’d rate it higher.