Beyond Magnetic [EP] Review

artist: Metallica date: 01/05/2012 category: compact discs
Metallica: Beyond Magnetic [EP]
Released: Dec 13, 2011
Genre: Thrash Metal, Heavy Metal
Label: Warner Bros
Number Of Tracks: 4
Heavy metal giants Metallica celebrated their 30 year anniversary as a band. MetClub members were given a download code to receive the studio recording of the songs recorded for "Death Magnetic" that didn't quite make it on to the 2008 album. The result is the 4-song digital EP known as "Beyond Magnetic".
 Sound: 8.5
 Lyrics: 7.5
 Overall Impression: 8.5
 Overall rating:
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reviews (4) 70 comments vote for this album:
overall: 7.3
Beyond Magnetic [EP] Reviewed by: Kwyjibo2006, on december 16, 2011
16 of 20 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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.) // 7

Lyrics: 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. // 7

Overall Impression: 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. // 8

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overall: 8
Beyond Magnetic [EP] Reviewed by: Bluesmetalguy, on december 16, 2011
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: So Metallica released an EP, barely a month and a half after "Lulu". Many fans say that this is their way to control the damage, others say it's just a part of the 30th anniversary celebration. The songs on this record are the tracks left over from "Death Magnetic", and they are remarkably good, for Metallica. With this EP they have made a great Christmas gift for their fans and proved that they aren't decadent quite yet. The guitar parts have some fun riffs but often seem to be lacking direction. The bass work from Trujillo is solid as always. Ulrich's drumming is typical of more modern Metallica and shows some skill. Hetfield's vocals are fairly good on this album and show some really nice melodic singing. Yet the guitar attack is what really draws us into this record. The guitar work on this album features some very impressive work. The riffage on these songs is very solid and allows for a lot of headbanging yet so many of the songs seem to lose direction after a point. One example of this is the track Hate Train which features a really well written heavy thrash riff that is then paused for an acoustic section and a melodic chorus. To me that just doesn't work. The changes in tempo are frustrating. In addition to this some of the riffs seem to have a punk rock flavor. This isn't bad, it just strikes me as slightly bizarre and thought it deserved mention. The solos however are very good and have a lot of high energy fills that show that Hammet hasn't completely lost it. The bass work from Trujillo on this record is pretty good and some of his fills are really nice. In particular the bass work on the riff of "Just A Bullet Away" is very good. Trujillo shows a lot of aggression and he manages to get a bit of a thrash metal tone back in Metallica's rhythm section. Ulrich's drums are typical of his more recent stuff and they feature a lot of different fills. He could have a better attack and his technique is not the best. Yet his experience shines through and his drumming leaves Metallica with their signature sound. // 8

Lyrics: The vocals of Hetfield are actually pretty solid and show that he is still advancing. His melodic vocals on "Hate Train" show a lot of skill. Hetfield's vocals are simply awesome, he still possesses some of the old anger but now it's tempered a little. I feel that if he had more of that raw energy left in him he could bring focus back into the songs that get lost. As for his lyrics, they leave a lot to be desired, they are typically poorly written and make me facepalm. For example Hate Train starts of with the lyrics "Hate/on a train", and frankly, it doesn't get much better. The only song showing true lyrical skill is "Rebel Of Babylon" which is honestly, rather epic. All in all Hetfield's vocals are rather similar to those on "Death Magnetic" but with lyrics that could have some improvement. // 8

Overall Impression: In conclusion, this new EP from Metallica is very decent and features some fairly good songs. The riffs are typically well done and when the songs stay focused they are quite good. The solos are decent and show that Hammet still is rather skilled. The bass work of Trujillo is heavy as ever and he shows that he can thrash just as well as the other guys. Ulrich's drumming is decent, and while it could have more aggression it does a good job capturing the air of the album. To finish, this is a decent EP that is definitely worth checking out, it is a great sign for the future of this band. If you like my stuff please check out my blog at // 8

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overall: 8
Beyond Magnetic [EP] Reviewed by: Ritchie360, on december 16, 2011
2 of 6 people found this review helpful

Sound: "Beyond Magnetic" is Metallica's latest E.P. issuing unreleased songs from "Death Magnetic". As said by Metallica themselves, these are the best rough mixes available for these songs. As lot's have criticized Metallica for their over distorted sound on the "Death Magnetic" album, this E.P. doesn't seem to have this "problem". The guitars are heavy as hell, the drums are nailed and James Hetfield's voice is better than ever. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics are kind of boring, not really Metallica worthy. "Just A Bullet Away" how ever does have some powerful lyrics. "Redemption purify, will nothing satisfy, the scars will multiply in the sound of a midnight revolver". James' voice is insane. The guy's a god and sings like one. His voice on "Death Magnetic" is great! "Beyond Magnetic" (being recordings of "Death Magnetic") are equally great! // 5

Overall Impression: Metallica has completed and already perfect album with 4 more songs: "Hate Train", "Hell And Back", "Just A Bullet Away" and "Rebel Of Babylon". Riffs are recognized by true fans from the 2008 "Mission Metallica" video clips. Working titles "Shine", "Holy Revolver" and "Hell Bound" are finally given out and they're TERRIFIC! // 9

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overall: 9.3
Beyond Magnetic [EP] Reviewed by: matthijs97, on january 05, 2012
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: They said it was a rough mix, but you won't notice. At least, I didn't. The distortion is epic on this record, and the style of playing is really different from "Death Magnetic" itself. "Rebel Of Babylon" could be an "...And Justice For All" song, and still you won't notice it was made for "Death Magnetic", their newest sound. // 9

Lyrics: James, you've did it again! What an epic voice on this record, way better than "DM"! The lyrics are also great. At "Rebel Of Babylon" he sings "don't let it burn out, tonight!" and when he sings "tongight!". It makes me feel a bit like Mercyful Fate medley, like such a high note and his voice isn't sounding different than normal! Thanks James. You're epic. // 10

Overall Impression: Just a review of all the songs;: 01. "Hate Train": Nice heavy intro, with one of the most impressive main riffs of Metallica. Also, the beginning solo is in one word EPIC. Kirk kicks a-s here. Also, when the song goes from dist. To clean in the chorus. It just kicks a-s! Lyrics aren't the best on this one. 02. "Just A Bullet Away": This doesn't really sound like Metallica. I don't really like it at least. It just doesn't sound like the other songs on "Beyond Magnetic", and "DM". One of the weaker songs. 03. "Hell And Back": Evil clean intro, and then a part that sounds a bit like an amateur group... But then... BOOM! One of the greatest Metallica riffs! It's so damn f***ing awesome! And the lyrics are also sublime! One of the best tracks. 04. "Rebel Of Babylon": When I started listening this song for the first time, I didn't really like the intro. But I kept listening and then it turned AWESOME! Just epicness in music. Epic singing, epic riffs, epic lyrics, epic guitar-playing, epic bassline, epic drums, epic everything! // 9

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