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Death Magnetic

4 out of 5 stars 1,078 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 12, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

One of the most influential bands in music, ranked eighth on the list of the biggest-selling groups in history, Metallica unveils its ninth studio album, Death Magnetic. The band's
first album in five years, Death Magnetic is also its first with renowned producer Rick Rubin (Danzig, Slayer, System Of A Down,
Slipknot), first with bassist Robert Trujillo, and first on Warner Bros. Heavy and thrashy, unafraid to embrace the band's past yet move
into the future.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 12, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B00192KCQ0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,078 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,794 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Philip R. Heath VINE VOICE on September 12, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Many Metallica fans have thought of them as sellouts ever since they released their first music video to "One" back in 1989. After they enlisted producer Bob Rock for "The Black" album, Metallica became "radio friendly" with many songs coming in at around five minutes or less. Load and Reload did little to reverse this, and St. Anger was easily the worst CD that Metallica ever released. So it is with good reason that many have been sceptical about what to expect from Metallica's latest offering Death Magnetic.

Some significant things have changed since St. Anger. This is the first release from Metallica on their new record label, Warner Bros. Many will cheer that producer Bob Rock is also gone having been replaced by renowned career resurrector Rick Rubin. All of this is somewhat academic, though, unless the music also changed as a result.

I'm pleased to report that Death Magnetic is somewhat of a Renaissance for Metallica. While it will not be mistaken for what many consider to be the best trio of metal CDs made (Ride The Lightening, Master Of Puppets, and ...And Justice For All), it is a marked improvement over what Metallica has had to offer over the past 15 years. Much of what you will hear falls somewhere between Justice and The Black Album.

Right out of the gate on "That Was Just Your Life" many of the signs of old school Metallica are on display. This song starts with a simple, bare, and undistorted guitar line, but it builds to full on thrash as we see that Lars Ulrich has remembered what drums on a Metallica album are supposed to sound like. Before the first verse starts, James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett remind us what the dual guitar lines can sound like. And yes, Kirk Hammett's soloing is also back, and he does not disappoint.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I remember when "Master of Puppets" was the new album, I had played my cassette of "Whiplash EP" to the point where it was worn and wobbled. I won't say "Master" wasn't awesome, but I was always partial to "Ride the Lightning." So when every new Metallica has come out in the last 22 years and people keep comparing them to "Master" I just say, chill out and let it stand on its merit.

What's hard is that Metallica will admit that "Load" "Re-Load" and "St. Anger" where not high-points in their career. Infighting, bickering, the firing / quitting of J. Newkid left the band "Broken, beaten and Scarred" Unfortunately with the exception of the exceptional "Symphony" disks and "Garage Inc." those three records represent in years, over half of Metallica's career. Is it any wonder then, that with Uber-Producer Rick Ruben at the helm "Death Magnetic" has become the single most anticipated Metallica Album ever?

As for the album, those of us who grew up with "Ride" "Master" and "Justice" will recognize the song pattern. While "Death Magnetic" has two more tracks (being it was recorded for 80min CD world, not the 45min vinyl one) the placement of the songs is very telling and familiar to those older records. The first track "That was just your life" starts quiet (heart beat, wobling guitar) and then suddenly burst in your face. The second track is about addiction and death (master = addiction, ride = death). The third track slows it down and is more grinding and heavy ("Bells" "Thing" Sad but True") and the fourth track is a ballad with a heavy second half ("Fade" "Sanitarium" "One") The second to last track is an instrumental ("Orion" "to live is to die") The last song is a ripper ("damage inc." "Dyers Eve").
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Format: Audio CD
...about the butchering job that is the production on this album, and on an increasing number of other records nowadays.

To be clear: I think this is a GREAT comeback by James, Lars, and Co. Probably a 4.5-star effort on the merits of the musical content. Highlights for me include "All Nightmare Long," "Unforgiven III," and "The Judas Kiss."

What isn't a highlight for me is having my speakers sound like they're falling apart during all but the quietest portions of this record. It's completely unacceptable. For anyone reading this who has listened to either RHCP's "Californication" or Rush's "Vapor Trails," you probably noticed an oddly dissatisfying sound quality on those; lots of crackling and distortion where it shouldn't be. Well, "Death Magnetic" takes that phenomenon to a whole new level. As others have suggested, look up "loudness war" on Wikipedia if you want to learn more about why this album (and several others released from about 1999 onward) sounds so abysmal.

On the incredibly heavy, addictive and adrenaline-pumping chorus of "All Nightmare Long," when I should be banging my head in euphoria, I'm instead trying to keep my lunch down because I'm hearing more crackles and pops than I am actual guitar tones.

If you enjoy this record, that's great; as I already stated, I love the music on it too. So please, don't just casually dismiss this because I gave 1 star. I'm doing it because the only hope we have of preventing future albums from Metallica and other artists from being similarly butchered is to speak out against it, and let the music industry know that this practice is NOT going to increase sales, as they seem to believe.
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