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After getting sick & tired of listening to Metallica, it’s blind worshippers & the people Metallica hired to praise the album before it’s release go ga ga over it, I decided I’d give it a try. The hype surround this album itself was pathetic, I became curious to know how pathetic the album would be. They tried everything, didn’t they? After the “new song” they performed on stage turned out to be a piece of shit, they said it won’t be able to make it to the album. They pushed the release date a million times, they released the track listing, then the length, then the artwork, then a single, then another single only to be followed by two more, then samples of all songs…and then finally, despite all precautions, the album leaked through some French store, otherwise who knows they might have released the whole album in singles.
Anyway, this is one of those singles. The Judas Kiss, which is no different from the other songs on the album. The production sucks, all I can hear is drums and vocals, the bass is far from audible. But are they really to blame when the material itself is so bad? We have some generic power chord crap, typical "yea-yeaish" vocals from James and that trash can beat, again, something the band has a degree in. This crap goes on till about 4:40 after which Kirk enters and delivers a solo a so poorly written and so badly played that it won’t impress even the average noob walking on the street, let alone some fairly knowledgeable metalhead.
They might have to considering rewording that classic cliché to being 4 times the charm, because that seems to be the order of the day here. With three singles out that all suggest an inconsistent album on the way, this seems to be some sort of life-line that may actually make this album worth seeking out, for hope that there might be more where this came from. For all of you anxious Metallica fans out there who behaved yourselves and didn’t download the leaked album and singles, “The Judas Kiss” is probably the first place you’d want to go if you plan on blowing money on a single.
Picture the better songs off of the “Self-Titled” album being put into one exciting upper mid-tempo thrasher with a little dose of “And Justice For All” epic soloing and you’ve got the rough idea. Surprisingly enough, this is also a song where one of the biggest positives is Hetfield’s voice. I don’t know if he’s been trying too hard to sound clean and serious on the ballads and a little too careful on the rougher parts on the previous songs, but here he’s thrown his inhibitions aside and actually pulled something off that’s in line with the material before the “Load” craze.
Although the song still suffers from a mostly dead drum sound, the riffs are able to punch through and rule the entirety of the song. Sometimes there are impressions of the harmonic guitar lines of “And Justice For All” and early works, but the overall atmosphere and the riff assault is like a slightly faster, albeit not as well produced version of “Through The Never”. Things get nice and speedy during Kirk’s guitar solo, which sees him on the wah pedal for the whole duration, although putting forth something that still sounds more alive than what he’s done in the past 22 years. If he keeps the ratio of wah pedal to straight tone soloing that is suggested in the four cumulative singles, he will successfully freed himself from more than 2 decades of wah abuse, something I’d never thought I’d see.
It’s a pretty safe bet that most songs that are released as singles by a thrash band are not well representative of the album, and with this single it may actually be safe to assume that the band considers themselves just that and have an album that is worth the money. In the past, the singles have been the highlights of Metallica’s releases, particularly in the mid to late 90s. But this seems to indicate that there is more yet to be discovered, and hopefully it’ll be enough to cancel out the misfires they’ve already revealed. I’m still not happy with the drum production on here, but that’s basically all that’s holding these guys back here.
Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on September 8, 2008.
“Judas Kiss” is the fourth and last single off of “Death Magnetic” and was released on 8th August, just four days before the scheduled release of the album itself.
Remember, way back in August the band released a small two-minute video in promotion of the new album? It had nearly 10 seconds of new stuff in it, which included a new riff and the words “Bow down, sell your soul to me, I will set you free”. If you have been following the band like crazy for the past few months then you probably will. This is the track, the part of whose extremely catchy chorus is just what I mentioned a few lines back.
As for the track it is eight minutes of signature Metallica heaviness. It starts of with a heavy riff and ends on a high note too. No slow or melodic sections here. It features epic soloing in the form of two long solos both by Kirk himself. Lars’s performance here is mentionable too, and this time not for the wrong reasons. He plays good drums, nothing extra ordinary, just good paced and well timed beats. Rob’s bass is as audible and meaty as is on the album and in my opinion of all the tracks we’ve heard till now James sounds the best on this track. As I earlier mentioned the stand out thing here is the epic chorus a snippet of which we heard as long as five months back.
If the earlier singles made me believe that the band good make a good comeback into the music industry this only concreted it. Looking forward (now even more anxiously, thanks to this single) for the release of the album on which it will feature.