Beyond Magnetic review by Metallica

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  • Released: Dec 13, 2011
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 8.5 (191 votes)
Metallica: Beyond Magnetic
12

Sound — 7
This month, heavy metal giants Metallica celebrated their 30 year anniversary as a band. To commemorate the occasion, the band played four shows at the historic Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. The shows were littered with special appearances, such as former members Dave Mustaine and Jason Newsted, as well as King Diamond and Marianne Faithfull. Lucky fans got to hear some never-before-played-live songs, like their 1988 instrumental "To Live Is To Die". But not only were these shows filled with old fan favourites. Every night, Metallica played a song recorded for "Death Magnetic" that didn't quite make it on to the 2008 album. The following day, MetClub members were given a download code to receive the studio recording of the song. The result is the 4-song digital EP known as "Beyond Magnetic". Obviously, seeing as these tracks are taken from the same recording sessions as "Death Magnetic", the instruments and vocals sound just like they do on their 2008 release. Fans of Robert Trujillo will be disappointed once again, as his bass is barely audible on most tracks, while fans of James Hetfield's guitar tone should be pleased. However, while these songs sound the same as "Death Magnetic", some of the styles explored are certainly not. Given that this EP consists of only four tracks, a song-by-song review seems appropriate: 01. "Hate Train": The song starts off with a bit of an awkward intro before James comes in with a simple, very "Metallica" riff. For those who remember watching the "Mission Metallica" videos back in '08, the little solo beginning every video kicks in soon after. The song continues just as you'd expect before a nice, clean tone breakdown. More riffage, and cue the solo. Kirk Hammett's fingers dance across the fretboard with what sounds like little wah pedal before another riff that "Mission Metallica" fans will remember. More soloing before a VERY heavy riff that would make Pantera proud. The track soon returns to the intro riff before Hetfield hits his high note, ending the track. 02. "Just A Bullet Away": Most fans will recognize this one as the song "Shine", from the "Death Magnetic" sessions. The song starts with a D-standard riff with an almost Opeth-like quality before going into a galloping rhythm. While the intro features some catchy riffs, it does come across as a little repetitive, but soon the song launches into what fans will recognize as the "Shine-riff". The song goes back and forth between the intro and verse riffs before abruptly hitting a haunting clean riff, complete with harmonizing guitars. Next up, Kirk begins a great solo before the song returns to the main riff and wrapping up. The song may be a tad repetitive for some fans, though it is undeniably one catchy riff. Some transitions, mainly the riff to clean bridge, are a bit awkward, but the largest complaint for this song is, unfortunately, Lars Ulrich's mediocre drumming throughout. It seems he didn't really know what to do with the song. But still, that riff... 03. "Hell And Back": The EP's third track starts with a nice clean riff while Lars and Rob add strange, though interesting accents. Another catchy main riff that will make you bob your head follows, before returning to the clean riff which becomes the verse of the song. About 4 minutes in, the guitars fade, leaving the drums to pound out a rhythm similar to "One" or "The Day That Never Comes". Soon, the guitars enter with a simple E power chord riff. In typical Metallica fashion, the song turns into riff central before Hetfield yells "YEAH!" and Kirk's barrage of notes help the main riff finish the song. While the song isn't exactly the band's most original, the energy of the song is simply astounding. 04. "Rebel Of Babylon": Another clean riff starts the final track. It doesn't last long, however, before a chromatic riff comes crashing through. Next thing you know, the song enters thrash metal heaven, tremolo picking and power chords fast enough to rival Whiplash. The song soon enters a mid-tempo beat before returning to the fast-paced riff and repeating the cycle. Kirk's solo in this one begins as just noise over another very catchy riff, and soon, James and Kirk are duelling again. Lars gets a mini solo before he and Trujillo enter an oddly-timed breakdown and yet another heavy riff. Soon, the song returns to the trash riff before finishing. The song features so many riffs and tempo changes, it sounds almost like a Megadeth song. The key point is, this is the most "old-school" the band have sounded since "...And Justice For All". (For those of you who are not MetClub members, all four songs can be found on YouTube.)

Lyrics — 7
It should be stated at this point that these tracks are demos, not final recordings that would have appeared on the album. That being said, the vocals are not perfect, nor are the lyrics. James Hetfield's voice stays in his regular gutteral growl for most of the EP, though in songs like "Hate Train" he does hit some high notes. His delivery, however, is not always perfect. Some of the lyrics themselves aren't great either: the "suck on the barrel, suck until it's gone dry" lyric from "Just A Bullet Away" is sure to cause laughter amongst the people who believe James Hetfield is a table. However, some of the more memorable lyrics include "You took away tomorrow / Still I stand" from "Hate Train" and (this reviewer's personal favourite section from the EP) "I become two / We become one / Unbridled... unequaled... unholy... undone" from "Hell And Back". The EP's vocals leave something to be desired, but contain some memorable moments, for sure. Not bad for unfinished products.

Overall Impression — 8
The "Beyond Magnetic" EP, to some, will simply be a "please forgive us" from the band after the entire "Lulu" debacle. For those who watched Mission Metallica, it acts as a cool flashback to some catchy riffs and allows fans to finally hear where those riffs ended up. In some ways, it acts as a celebration of the many styles Metallica have gone through: If you want a more modern, "Death Magnetic" tune, pop on "Hate Train". If it's heavy you're after, go for "Just A Bullet Away". "Black Album" energy? Try "Hell And Back". Or, if you want thrash, Rebel of Babylon is the obvious choice. "Beyond Magnetic" is simply a band having fun, and while the arguing over which song from the EP should replace which song from "Death Magnetic", there really only remains one thing left to say: Happy Birthday, Metallica.

65 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Megadethfan245
    I personally thought that the quality (because it wasn't all compressed and loud) and some of the songs were better then those on Death Magnetic.
    KingBobert
    I don't see why anyone would ever complain about extra material being released. We used to have 10 songs, now we have 14 songs. Pick your favs and enjoy it man, Metallica's sick
    waverider_2
    Arrrrrggggghhhhh. If you don't like, just don't listen to it...It's that simple. With that said, I will be listening the hell out of "Beyond Magnetic"!
    bustapr
    iommi600 wrote: that's not really the problem in my opinion, Metallica extends their songs this way since Ride the Lightning, and yeah, Death Magnetic got some good stuff on it (Judas Kiss, That Was Just Your Life and Broken, Beat and Scarred are great songs), but choosing that crap called The Unforgiven III and Cyanide (I think Cyanide is a pretty average song) instead of Hate Train and Rebel of Babylon, to me was a big mistake.
    Unforgiven 3 is actually the best song on the album for me IMO. It was really good metal ballad. Not to mention it had the best solo on the album. And alot more people like it than hate it. I do think Cyanide and My Apocolypse were bad though.
    EpiExplorer
    ^ Andy Sneap production is digitalizing and sterilizing everything to the point of cheapness. The total opposite of Rick Rubin production. PEOPLE SHOULD REALISE, MIXING ISN'T THE SAME THING AS PRODUCING. THE PRODUCTION ON DM IS FINE, THE MIXING AND MASTERING IS WHATS AT FAULT HERE.
    iommi600
    Rebel of Babylon should have been released on Death Magnetic, for sure. No, instead of Rebel or Hate Train, Cyanide was released. Good job, Metallica.
    Minivirus2
    I don't want to go down as the troll, but for whatever reason, I have a harder time listening to James' vocals now than I do Mustaine's. James is easily the better of the two, but something about his voice just really irks me at this point.
    cnc4c34
    waverider_2 wrote: Arrrrrggggghhhhh. If you don't like, just don't listen to it...It's that simple. Yea and if you don't like the comments on here, then don't read them! It's that simple. With that said, I will be listening the hell out of "Beyond Magnetic"!
    Shredderman2010
    i must be a minority cause i think "suck on the barrel, suck on the barrell, suck suck till its dry" is freakin catchy, it's just that most people have sick minds
    SmittyMan90
    Glad they released this, good to hear a some-what complete version of these songs!
    Karz1993
    Dynamight wrote: Minivirus2 wrote: I don't want to go down as the troll, but for whatever reason, I have a harder time listening to James' vocals now than I do Mustaine's. James is easily the better of the two, but something about his voice just really irks me at this point. What? Hetfield has a flat, plain voice and can't even pull off a vibrato. Mustaine is leagues better at singing.
    Dear god I hope you're trolling
    JD Close
    haha, that guy reviewed my band too. did anybody notice the focus has shifted from them making a good album to them not making a bad album? Why is that? Did Metallica EVER release anything substandard?
    jacobdubya
    Hey UG, how about your drop the Lulu jokes already? They're not cute or funny, all you're doing at this point is pandering to all the metalheads that frequent your site who acted like big babies about their favorite band doing a different kind of album with an experimental musician. This isn't Metallica's "please forgive us for Lulu" album. They've already stated that they had no regrets about doing it and enjoyed it. Maybe it's their "Shut the hell up about Lulu already" album because they're sick of websites like you dragging it out? If there's one thing I know for certain, it's that every post regarding the album on this website is UG's "Hey, look at how much we hate Lulu too!" post.
    Iommianity
    I know James can write riffs all day, so I don't think that's lacking. These guys just don't have what it takes to write powerful songs anymore. They don't care about transitions at all. Rebel of Babylon had some of the best parts Metallica has written in ages, and not only did it not make the album, Lars doesn't even try to do the thrash riffs justice (lol).
    edgeyyz
    I hope Lars really does a better job on their next album. His drumming is certainly mediocre, and I'd imagine he could do a better job if he thought about what he was doing more rather than playing practically the same thing for every song.
    Iommianity
    People complaining about people complaining is almost as bad as people complaining about people complaining about people complaining. If everyone posted nothing but positive comments here, you'd have a circle jerk, and not much else. It's not like you contribute more to the discussion by lecturing people as if Metallica have been consistent their whole career.
    Scary Guy
    [quote]starfire666 wrote: also known as the We-Are-Really-Really-Really-Sorry-For-The-Train-Wreck-That-W as-Lulu EP[/quote Lars said the songs that didn't make it on DM but were on Mission Metallica would be released eventually as everyone threw a sissie fit that they weren't on the album when it came out but they were all over Mission Metallica. The lyrics are ****in awesome for an unfinished product, listen to the demos for black and load with the "na na na nanana na na na na nananan" for every single ****in lyric. I also have the demos for Death Magnetic and what do you ****in know the lyrics are different from what is on the album .... wierd. Fuck most of you are so retarded in your ****in comments and complain about worthless crap. Oh oh Hetfield said "love" that is so not metal.
    DunUltex
    "James Hetfield's voice stays in his regular gutteral growl for most of the EP..." WTF? Growl? Really?? It's Thrasher shout, not growl. you really dont know the difference between a thrasher shout and hetfields somewhat growl-esk voice?
    Scarto
    EpiExplorer wrote on 12/16/2011 - 081 am / quote | Rebel of Babylon is the best song they've released since 1991.
    Rofl lmao Rofl lmao
    whaip
    Minivirus2 wrote: I don't want to go down as the troll, but for whatever reason, I have a harder time listening to James' vocals now than I do Mustaine's. James is easily the better of the two, but something about his voice just really irks me at this point.
    I know what you mean. It has a weird soudn on the albums. Sounds....kind of synthetic. Don't know how to describe it.
    jofx1992
    jofx1992 wrote: im all for raw music but ive heard two albums from these guys in the last 10 years with horrible production. i wanna hear these songs with andy sneap production. or **** it bring back bob rock and tell him to just produce it and not write it for them. personally i can see why these did not make it onto the album.
    rather i can see why they didnt make it because i think that the songs on DM all kicked ass. UF3 to me was an awesome song that wouldve gone down in history (like the rest of the album) as a classic. the album is epic and these would fit in real good if there werent some weak points. but honestly i was hoping for just a bullet away to come out. glad it did.
    crazysam23_Atax
    iscreamicecream wrote: how bout they replace lars with mike portnoy...their songs need some serious pro drumming not lars bland pounding crap.
    Right now...Portnoy is basically toxic. The dude's been whining for 2 years almost. First about how he wanted to do his own thing for a bit. Then, he left Dream Theater to do it, and he's been whinging about how he got kicked out. Just check the UG front page. What business does Portnoy have saying, "I think this riff sounds like that riff from the band Red"? None whatsoever. No one's gonna touch MP for awhile now, man.
    pailoong
    Iommianity wrote: People complaining about people complaining is almost as bad as people complaining about people complaining about people complaining. If everyone posted nothing but positive comments here, you'd have a circle jerk, and not much else. It's not like you contribute more to the discussion by lecturing people as if Metallica have been consistent their whole career.
    So what you're complaining about is people complaining about people complaining about people complaining? Sorry, I couldn't resist. I actually agree with you though. From "Master of Puppets" to "Metallica", they could do no wrong. Then the bus went out of control, flipped, and crushed their spirit and it's been bland ever since.
    DylanLeonMiner
    All the songs on this EP were great. death magnetic was a great comeback album. but something about the sound quality kinda pissed me off. But the EP sounded great and im glad it didn't go on Death Magnetic. I think this almost makes up for lulu. but Megadeth Is once again beating metallica in the race becouse of 4 good songs and a lulu album doesn't compare to 13 great songs and Megadeths 2nd best album in my opinion to date
    Meta1H3ad
    chiefmegadeth wrote: I dont think metallica can get any worse... Lulu was god awful and tell you the truth death manectic and st anger were just as bad as lulu. I love early Metallica ride the lighting and so on. but the last couple of albums have been the worst metal albums i have ever heard. i have a lot of meatllica fan and fanboys, and even they have completely where turned off by st anger and death magnetic. lulu is just what they do best now. crap all over them selfs.
    Someone hasn't gotten over the feud, i take it....
    IcanHasBass
    After LOLu I can't tell if Metallica is trolling with their releases. Or just plain bad.
    5t0rM
    "James Hetfield's voice stays in his regular gutteral growl for most of the EP..." WTF? Growl? Really?? It's Thrasher shout, not growl.
    w77yyz
    Smacks of a Xmas cash grab. It wasn't good enough 3 years ago, but now it's gold? The songs are good, but not great.
    cfhdomination
    I need to give these songs a listen. I thought Death Magnetic sucked, but after reading so many good comments about these unreleased songs, I might not completely give up on Metallica.
    metalfr3ak666
    crazysam23_Atax wrote: iscreamicecream wrote: how bout they replace lars with mike portnoy...their songs need some serious pro drumming not lars bland pounding crap.Right now...Portnoy is basically toxic. The dude's been whining for 2 years almost. First about how he wanted to do his own thing for a bit. Then, he left Dream Theater to do it, and he's been whinging about how he got kicked out. Just check the UG front page. What business does Portnoy have saying, "I think this riff sounds like that riff from the band Red"? None whatsoever. No one's gonna touch MP for awhile now, man.
    I'd rather listen a whiny drummer that can actually play than a whiny drummer who can't. That being said, I had a happy face on listening to Beyond Magnetic until Lars' blasted drumming came crashing in.
    jofx1992
    im all for raw music but ive heard two albums from these guys in the last 10 years with horrible production. i wanna hear these songs with andy sneap production. or **** it bring back bob rock and tell him to just produce it and not write it for them. personally i can see why these did not make it onto the album.
    swave75
    I think Metallica should just stop making albums and just tour off and on. They could still make fans happy. Ever since the Black Album, or to some it starts there, it seems their music has become bland. They will never make a "Master of Puppets" again. We need to get over this and Metallica needs to retire from the studio and just tour.
    Dynamight
    Minivirus2 wrote: I don't want to go down as the troll, but for whatever reason, I have a harder time listening to James' vocals now than I do Mustaine's. James is easily the better of the two , but something about his voice just really irks me at this point.
    What? Hetfield has a flat, plain voice and can't even pull off a vibrato. Mustaine is leagues better at singing.
    Root Beer
    starfire666 wrote: also known as the We-Are-Really-Really-Really-Sorry-For-The-Train-Wreck-That-W as-Lulu EP
    Why didn't they just name it that and get it over with? It's SO obvious.