Sound — 10
01 That Was Just Your Life 02 The End of the Line 03 Broken, Beat & Scarred 04 The Day That Never Comes 05 All Nightmare Long 06 Cyanide 07 The Unforgiven III 08 The Judas Kiss 09 Suicide & Redemption 10 My Apocalypse As hoped for, Metallica is pretty much back to how they sounded in the mid-late 80's. It's not identical sounding, it's a more modern metal-sounding album. The drums are back, much better than the infamous trash cans from St. Anger. The songs are packed with riffs, and by popular request the guitar solo is back. My only problem with the sound is that Kirk still abuses the wah pedal, which I had hoped would be limited on this album. Overall the riffs are tight, drums sound good, and Hetfield's voice sounds much, much younger, reminiscent of earlier albums like Ride the Lightning and Black Album.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics have been improved since St. Anger, as songs are more aggressive and flat-out heavy. Hetfield shows some good range in many songs, and still has a great voice for thrash and metal in general. The lyrics definitely match the much, everything is flat-out insane. James hasn't sounded this good in years, it reminds me much of how his voice sounded on Master of Puppets and And Justice for All. I was pleasantly surprised by how good he sounds after 20+ years of metal, and how well the lyrics complement the music.
Overall Impression — 10
I'd definitely put this album in Metallica's top 5 ever. My favorites so far are The Judas Kiss, All Nightmare Long, and The Day That Never Comes. The only song that I can say I don't like is Cyanide, as it reminds me much more of Reload/St. Anger-ish sounding riffs and song structure. I love how the album is dynamic, much like earlier albums where a lot of the songs are 5+ minutes long and change drastically. Most of the songs are 7+ minutes, but I rarely felt that it was dragging on. Usually Metallica has those one or two songs that do that, but this album is packed with long songs. The only thing I can honestly say I dislike are the wah-filled guitar solos and the song Cyanide. If I lost this album I wouldn't hesitate to get it again. This is a much needed revival of Metallica, and will surely make you hope for another new album in the future.