• Kip Wingerschmidt

metallica - death magnetic

To me, Metallica ceased to be relevant ages ago — so much so that I have barely heard any of their last few albums, save the studio recording footage featured in the 2004 documentary Some Kind Of Monster (which I found to be reasonably entertaining), and surprisingly I actually liked the music I heard enough to go acquire said tracks (didn’t say I paid for em tho, wink wink nudge nudge/suck it).

But upon repeated listens of that material, it was apparent even back then that the Metallica of yesteryear, an old school conceptual thrashy metal band that actually pushed new boundaries at one point both sonically and stylistically, was D-E-mf-D. And really…who cared? Shouldn’t the shelf life of once-classic bands that are now repeatedly outputting watered-down versions of their formerly original sound be minimal at best?!? I’m all for old fogies rockin it directly into the grave (hope to myself) but shit man, they best ought perpetually evolve as artists in their middle/old age somehow throughout, doncha think?

Metallica defies such logic on Death Magnetic — as expected, the results are lukewarm and decidedly unoriginal, with a bit too many traces of old songs/musical ideas. Most of the riffs are way too simplistic and dumbed-down to be in awe of, and furthermore the songwriting is extremely lacking — the majority of these tracks seem to have been fleshed out by a pretentious college meathead metal band that has been given a bit of a recording budget and proceeded to squander said budget.

I mean, shit, can we talk about the drum sounds alone? There’s been quite a bit of criticism of Lars’ snare tone in recent years, but ima take it a step further and say that along with the snare, the cymbal recordings are, how you say, caca? In addition to the sound of the drums, I would like to go on record as saying that while I don’t think any of the players really shine on this album, I am particularly disappointed by Ulrich’s performance throughout — it’s all super-straightforward, dunce-esque beats n fills, and yeah, I hear him struggling to keep up in a song or two; nice try buddy!

I don’t find Death Magnetic to be a specifically terrible listen; rather, it’s just quite average and….YAWN, booring…and don’t we deserve a hell of a lot more from such an influential outfit? Sadly, the band has assembled a base collection of mostly lazy riffs/sloppy drumming that I’m sure will appease some die-hard fans, but honestly the album insults my intelligence as a forward-thinking musician/music-lover, and doesn’t inspire me to do a damn thing. And yes — the silly, melodramatic lyrics make me chuckle pretty much the whole way through.

I fully appreciate the sound that Metallica has created in this genre we call metal — and will forever be in love with Master and Justice especially — but as for Metallica post Black Album (and I don’t even love that one so much) I could care less, and Death Magnetic is no exception. True, “love” is a four-letter word, but so is WEAK. And LAME. And SUCK.

Should’ve quit whilst you were ahead, dudes..

(2.5 out of 5 hornz)

(So sad to me that Metallica will prolly make a killing off of this debacle, while the true unsung heroes that are forging new ground in metal continue to get shafted by major record labels)


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