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Beyond Magnetic EP

4.2 out of 5 stars 147 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 31, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

2012 CD EP from the Metal titans containing four leftover tracks from the Death Magnetic sessions. All four tracks were previously available only as digital downloads, but this EP is the first time these recordings have been available in a physical format. These four songs are the rough mixes, unfinished to their original degree of mixing from March of 2008.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 31, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B006T5FDLG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,201 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
On the heels of their disastrous collaboration with Lou Reed, "Lulu", Metallica releases "Beyond Magnetic", which I imagine is sort of musical damage control. After all, while "Death Magnetic" still has had its fair share of detractors, I think it is considered by a majority of metal fans to be at least a relative return to form. So after squandering their newfound goodwill by indulging in what could be best described as a musical vanity project with Lulu, it makes sense that they would dip back into the Death Magnetic well, with this release of 4 tracks that were completed for that album, but not fully mixed and released on it.

Listening to it, it reminds me of how confused the band must've been in the time leading up to the Death Magnetic recording sessions. Since the dawn of the 90's, Metallica were being increasingly influenced by their producer, Bob Rock, which resulted in them attempting to re-brand themselves as a heavy rock band, as opposed to a heavy metal band. Load and Reload were both ostensibly attempts to "branch out" into styles that the band members may have already had some interest in, but it was clear that the process was somehow...just not natural. Everything sounded too restrained, too calculated, which I believe was in part due to Bob Rock insisting that they "play it safe", and keep things simplified enough to be commercially viable. Eventually, it all broke down when St. Anger was being made, and with Bob Rock's departure, the band was left adrift in strange and out of tune waters. They had the pent-up rage, but had forgotten how to harness that emotion in the form of actually listenable songs. The songs on Beyond Magnetic are interesting in that they provide an insight on the path back from the confusion of St.
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Format: Audio CD
I heard these four tracks online when they were originally released as a digital EP, and now it's nice to have them on CD since they're good songs, and since I'm not into iPods. Some of them, especially my favorite, "Just a Bullet Away", probably could've replaced tracks that made it onto Death Magnetic. Metallica might be aging, but they still have some fire left, as they showed when they played these songs live during their 30th Anniversary gigs in San Francisco. Similar to the other songs from the Death Magnetic sessions, the four tracks here show off plenty of metal riffs and solos, with equal portions of Black Album-style heavy rock. Here's a more detailed account of each track for anyone interested.

"Hate Train"--The first half of this song features riffs very similar to "Fuel" and Black Album-era verses, with the second half sounding more like their thrash era. It has some slow parts with decent singing by James, but some of the first half might have sounded too close to "Fuel" to make Death Magnetic. The solos could be longer, but this song is definitely heavy on riffs and has a lot of different sections. Despite the "Fuel" riffs, I think it sounds less like the Re-Load era than several songs from DM.

"Just a Bullet Away"--Awesome metal song, with great riffs, lyrics, and vocals...this one definitely should've been on Death Magnetic. It seems to be most people's favorite of the four, although "Rebel of Babylon" gets a lot of votes, too. I think it would fit nicely on the Black Album, as it's sort of an almost-thrash song that would sound at home with the heaviest few tracks from that release.

"Hell and Back"--The strange song out of the four. It reminds me of "Broken, Beat, & Scarred" in some parts, and "Cyanide" in others.
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Format: Audio CD
As many of you know the travesty that was Lulu, the experimental album with Lou Reed, was released and received with mostly harsh and critical reviews. The idea was good, but some things are best kept as that, an idea. But we'll get back to that a little later.

After a mini tour in support of Lulu, Metallica quickly split off and began their awesome 30 anniversary shows, which saw the return of Dave Mustaine, something the old-guard Metallica fans thought they'd never see. Also during these shows, the guys played 4 'new' songs. The songs were not new, only dug up from the Death Magnetic sessions and played for the first time live. That is what you get here in this, the Beyond Magnetic EP. All are rough demos of songs/jams that didn't make it to DM. And each one of them is excellent, just as good or better as the songs on DM. But, why now? Why release unfinished demos from a last album? Timing.

Metallica, I think, knew from the get-go, that the majority of fans wouldn't like or get Lulu. Just look at how fast everyone's forgotten about it. By releasing this and it sounding like their old selves, and anything compared to Lulu, they knew the fans would eat it up. And for the most part they did and are. So the machine keeps rolling, and hopefully learning, at the same time making some great metal in these trying times. If you're a Metallica fan, you'll enjoy this. Hopefully the guys' 'experimental' urge was all let out on Lulu and more productive, dare I say, more back-to-roots Metallica can emerge in the future.
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Topic From this Discussion
Where are the MP3 downloads?
Why not just buy the CD version? It only costs about $5 and you get a physical copy of the music.
Feb 7, 2012 by Robin Blake |  See all 3 posts
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