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I'll Take It. - 73%

LuisC, August 19th, 2014

Some people might think it's a bit overbloated to have so many reviews on just a single, but it's the controversial Bay Area band Metallica we're talking here. Their first original output to be published after the always infamous Lulu came out years ago, "Lords of Summer" serves as both an update of their musical style nowadays and some kind of prologue for whatever their New Album is going to be. It's not even a complete version, as the band passes it for a "First Pass Version", maybe afraid of compromising themselves to an album single, or out of request by their fans to release a studio version for this song, which has already been played in live shows.

On to the song. The first impressions I had were good, maybe because the drums didn't sound as loud as they did on Death Magnetic and Beyond Magnetic; and while the guitar doesn't quite fit 100% into the rest of the band it sounds good enough for a heavy metal song. The riffs are quite decent, faster to what we were accustomed with the 90's Metallica; and stand out particularly in the verses, a feature that adds aggressiveness to James Hetfield's vocals. I also have to mention Kirk Hammett's guitar solo, very similar to that of "All Nightmare Long", a solo I personally liked from their previous album. It was a nice addition to the song, even when Hammett shows he still can't (And won't) let go of his wah.

Now I can't ask a 50-year-old man who has been singing for more than 30 years to sound like he did back in Kill' em all, so I'll take Hetfield's vocals for what they are, and while they obviously are no Justice-like vocals, they do seem to help the overall heaviness of the song, a slight improvement over Death Magnetic. James' singing sounds menacing and does not stop at any time of the song to do some soft, cowboy-like singing like he did back in the 90s and even back in Metallica's last album. On to the drums. Lars Ulrich has been struggling to play with double bass pedal for almost a decade or so now and sometimes I wonder whether he should retire, go on to manage Metallica's administrative part, and still go on tour with them but leaving the drums to someone who doesn't drag down the pace of the songs like he does here. Some of the drum patterns he does are just outright lazy and become boring when you hear them for too long, which brings me to the other point I didn't like about "Lords of Summer": The song is too long. It suffers from the same flaw as Death Magnetic's "Suicide and Redemption" or "The Judas Kiss", and it extends itself more than it has to. You'll find yourself wondering why didn't they extend the more energetic, fast parts of the song and did extend the laid-back wannabe-heavy parts of it (Beginning of the Chorus). I don't have much to say about the bass, except it was audible, and Robert Trujillo did his job just fine.

I'm not the kind of person who says a band is back when their sound starts to show a slight glimpse of resemblance to their initial albums, and I also think Metallica doesn't really want to go back and do a carbon copy of Master of Puppets this time and day. But even in spite of its flaws I did find myself enjoying Metallica's new output, which also proved their unfortunate experiment with Lou Reed to be just a one-off experiment. The song is overlong and sometimes uninspired in some parts but I think it's a heavy, fast-paced and an overall step in the right direction for the band following Death/Beyond Magnetic, and it brings a good boost of hype to their fans while they wait for their new album to come out.