Metallica Re-Emerges, Slightly Broken, Somewhat Beat, Definitely Scarred

Sep 11th, 2008 // 8 Comments

Our look at the zingers that close out the biggest and most important new-music reviews continues with a roundup of reactions to Metallica’s latest comeback effort, Death Magnetic, which comes out in the States tomorrow (and has apparently hit shops in the UK a day early):

• The best parts of Death Magnetic verge on frantic, the band maintaining its instrumental dexterity at death-defying speeds. They are four guys who have become a brand name trying to remember what Metallica used to sound like, and they get about halfway there. The question becomes how they’ll be able to duplicate some of this material night after night on tour. Given the band’s tumultuous recent history, it’s a nice problem to have. [Chicago Tribune, which, curiously, also recommended superior metal albums]

• “Is this a brief eruption in what has been a 15-year downward trajectory? Perhaps, but the fiery signs of life on Death Magnetic could go a long way to helping Metallica reclaim its rightful place among the metal elite.” [AP]

• “Once Metallica became vulnerable, they never recovered. Death Magnetic is a meditation on death–but so is every other Metallica record. The best ones spit in the face of death; this album instead finds aging men trying to reclaim their youth.” [Pitchfork]

• “But 
the speed-freak growls of the rest of Magnetic match the band’s Olympian vigor. And if the disc distracts prickly fans from filling message boards with arguments about whether 1988′s …And Justice for All or 1991′s’”black album was Metallica’s last good record, well, could 
 it serve any higher public good?” [EW]

• “But if you ignore the lyrics, Death Magnetic sounds more like it’s about coming back to life. Everything comes together on the fan-favorite-to-be ‘Broken, Beat and Scarred,’ which manages to channel the full force of Metallica behind a positive message: ‘What don’t kill ya make ya more strong,’ Hetfield sings, with enough power to make the cliché feel fresh. The aphorism he paraphrases happens to come from Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols, which is subtitled How to Philosophize With a Hammer. Metallica’s philosophizing may get shaky — but long may that hammer strike. ” [RS]

  1. Anonymous

    here’s the best zinger yet: kids have already re-cut this album to be shorter, more thrashy, and less sucky…

    article here: []

    re-cut here: [] or here: []

  2. Chris Molanphy

    Isn’t this just Rick Rubin being Rick Rubin–coming in and telling a band to go back to what they did [X] years ago, like he’s done with virtually everybody he’s produced from Slayer to Neil Diamond?

  3. wakeupbomb

    @Chris Molanphy: Yeah, that’s why Rick Rubin rules. He knows that the stuff that Metallica did years ago is way better than St. Anger, or ReLoad and he wanted to try to do that.

  4. Whigged

    @Chris Molanphy: Not really – with Neil Diamond he tried to do another Johnny Cash. Slayer never changed in the first place. He did try to get AC/DC to go back to its rougher edged rock sound, but Angus and Malcolm already decided they wanted to go the bluesy route, which is why Ballbreaker didn’t work.

    As for Metallica, there is really nothing else they could do but go back being heavy, and I don’t think it matters who they got as a producer as long as his name wasn’t Bob Rock.

  5. DocStrange

    I’ve said this before in several places, since the Black Album, the band only made two good songs – “No Leaf Clover” and “The Memory Remains”. But now they’ve actually made an OK record. I mean at least it’s better than “St. Anger” and both Loads.

  6. revmatty

    @DocStrange: “both Loads” Heh. Accurate in more ways than one.

  7. agentUrge

    Compared to the last three efforts, DM is a step in the right direction. I would almost dare to say that in the evolution of metallica, if we could erase the last three albums (which I consider more of a detour for them), DM would be the next step in the evolution.

    I love it. I don’t care what the armchair music critics say.

  8. alec_baldwin

    The creative chakra of this album is spot-on despite the wack cootchie on the cover. WMG needs a break. I’ve been serving up the hatertude like Phelps collecting gold medals at the Olympics. I hope Metallica ranks up there with Weezy, Mariah, and the Jonas Bros. in terms of first-week sales. It is one of the great groups.

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