Ok, reality check here, folks. Yeah, this album is alright. If you judge it against St. Anger
, hell, it even seems great. But let's remember a few things. Since the release of the Black Album, Metallica has been marked as a band that shifts with trends to garner mainstream success. Death Magnetic
is no different. The market is ripe for this kind of album right now--just take a look at what's popular. Master of Puppets
-worship like recent Trivium. Middling melodeath that is rooted in 80s metal, like Arch Enemy. So although Metallica manage to vaguely imitate the Metallica of circa 20 years ago, I can't help but feel that the whole "returning to our roots" thing is just a convenient label to smack on yet another cashgrab, just like St. Anger
was (being an attempt at nu-metal, it also fit right into a profitable trend of the time).
Now, as to the actual quality of the music on the album, as I said, it's alright. But the universally positive reviews it's getting (see the "Professional Reviews" sidebar on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_Magnetic
) are somewhat puzzling to me. Allmusic.com's review says it sounds "as if it could come after ...And Justice for All
". Fine. But aren't we forgetting that if it really had
come out right after Justice
, it would've sounded extremely familiar (excepting the modern groove etc. influences), and would seem a big step down in quality from the albums before it? Yes, Death Magnetic
was a reasonably fun listen, if overlong, and the first track actually had me pumped. But I can't see myself listening to this (at least all the way through) more than once. You can get the same exact stuff in much higher quality from other bands (including Metallica themselves), without the annoying modern groove influence; the Metallica name shouldn't skew our perceptions of how worthy this album really is. I think everyone (and by that I mean mainstream music media) wanted Metallica to rehash Master of Puppets
so badly, that when they finally managed to crap out something close to just such a rehash, everybody jumped on on James' and Kirk's dicks. I'll pass.