Re-brace for some dazzling undiluted thrash metal! Metallica’s back with a ground-stomping new record, reminding us again why they’ve been on top for all those past years. With their new album, Death Magnetic, the 40-something-year-old rockers bring us back to the Master of Puppets era, when it was all about speedy, complex, still massively melodic riffs none but ‘Tallica themselves could bring. After 17 years of constant degrading (sadly), between gaining the Southern Rock influence around the Load era, and releasing a couple , obviously non-Thrash albums (musically good nevertheless, just not their style), and the failed attempt to sound ‘Raw’ on their 2003 St. Anger (with many failure-aiding circumstances at that time), the band’s back to show they still got what it needs to sound heavy, and ironically, Metallica-like.
It all begins with a repeating heartbeat, on the first album track ‘That was just Your Life‘, before an evil guitar arpeggios smoothly comes in, introducing a solid over-driven riff that will start the actual song theme, with Lars striking in after some killer snare triplets, and then carrying the rhythm with some awesome solid beats.
There’s no wait in ‘The End of the Line‘, the second track on the record, it’s all Thrash from the very beginning where everything storms in together, with a masterful lyrical structure giving the song its true shine, not to forget the breakdown after the solo, taking the track to a whole new level, giving it a totally new feel, only to bring the Thrash back again right after. It’s worth mentioning that the song talks about drug addicts and their constant struggle.
‘Broken, Beat & Scarred‘, the third track on the album, a remarkably optimistic song where Hetfield makes the cliche sound fresh, while singing ‘What don’t kill ya makes ya more strong’ along with some melodic, surprisingly harmonious riffs.
The fourth track on the album is ‘The Day that Never Comes‘, the pre-album released ballad that reminds you of Fade to Black, with its awesome guitar arpeggios on the verses, a strongly melodic chorus, and a heavy part that also takes you back to One, with some awesome riffs and an aggressive solo.
Then comes All Nightmare Long, the fifth album track, and my personal favorite, starting with a horrifying drop D tuned arpeggios along with Lars’ toms, then having some powerful dirstorted chords come in, taking the song into the verse. Its breath-taking chorus, in my opinion, made a big contribution to the whole album’s greatness, with James just singing his heart out on some killer lyrics, shouting ‘Hunt you down without mercy, Hunt you down all Nightmare Long’, in addition to a great guitar solo after the second verse.
The sixth album song, entitled ‘Cyanide‘, is another great addition to the album’s Thrash/Heavy feel, talking about how everyone is always trying to bring you down and the constant struggle to live on, also with a cool breakdown introducing a classic Hammett solo, then finishing with a chorus repetition to sum the song up.
‘Unforgiven III‘, the seventh track and second ballad on the album, is simply another great sequel to its prequels. James kept faithful to the other two ‘Unforgivens’ and finished the trilogy with a killer third part, especially marked by its sad melody, starting with a piano arpeggios accompanied with other unusual instruments, giving the song a symphonic feel, then riffing through an awesome heavy verse that reveals the great vocal work Hetfield put into the song, in addition to a literaly outstanding bridge build up that makes way for a devastating guitar solo.
‘The Judas Kiss‘ is the eighth album track and personally my second favorite, with its commanding chorus and bridge similar to that of ‘the End of the Line’, only with more evil progression and lyrics, talking about betrayal and plotters.
Here comes the first instrumental since And Justice For All’s ‘To Live is to Die’. ‘Suicide & Redemption‘ -The album’s ninth track- is, in one word, a remarkably diverse instrumental, highlighting all band members, each in a part. Trujillo starts the piece with a bass riff that will make way for the tune’s main guitar riff right after. The tune’s got pure headbanging material parts, melodic, ‘sad’ parts, and raging guitar solos, in addition to a short drum solo before the last part of the track. Totally worth the listen.
The last track on the album, ‘My Apocalypse‘, is 5 minutes of absolutely blistering Thrash Metal. Non-stop speeding riffs that leave no space in between even for a piss. One for those old school Tallica fans that wouldn’t take anything of lesser aggression.
To wrap it up, I think Death Magnetic is the redemption for Metallica indeed, and they showed us that no matter how much change they could go through or how old they get, they’ll always have that undead Thrash spirit inside.