Sound — 8
The sound in Death Magnetic is significantly different from that of Master of Puppets or ... And Justice For All, obviously. There's something in the new distortion tones that just sounds totally different from Metallica's old albums. Also, at times it seems that there's just too much volume on the vocals, guitars, and snare drum. All vocals, all guitar is what described Metallica for earlier albums such as ... And Justice For All, however, sometimes it would be nice to hear a little more bass; I love driving to a song where the bass makes my car rumble, like RHCP. At times, this album sounds to me like it was recorded live or mixed by an amateur producer. With as much experience that Metallica and Rick Rubin bring to the table, I would think the sound quality would be a bit better. All this being said, I still think that this album musically is great. The riffs are amazingly catchy, and guitar/vocal unison in songs like "The End of the Line" is just amazing.
Lyrics — 10
Funny, after listening to this album several times, I still can't get what the lyrics are about. I do, however, sense an underlying theme of Death. It's good to have a Metallica back that's all about kicking ass and taking names. I've never understood why people like listening to love songs at times; what's the sense in being reminded of your heartbreak even more by songs about how someone's girl left them? When I go through a break up, I just want to kick ass and I want my music to reflect that. Enter Death Magnetic and Master of Puppets. Pure kick ass thrash metal. These lyrics are just as catchy and easily stuck in your head like Master. I find myself singing in Calc class all the time: "Bow down!" "You've reached the end of the line!" It's not even an annoying stuck in your head like that Kissed a Girl crap. You might notice that I haven't addressed Hetfield's abilities as of yet. That is because I completely disagree with anyone who claims that his abilities are now limited and his voice is no where near as good as it once was. In fact, I believe that his voice is the best it's ever been.
Overall Impression — 9
First of all, I'd just like to say that 80's Metallica is gone, period. They are different people, with the addition of a different bassist, and to say that the old Metallica is back is just a pure lie. They are older, more experienced, different men. That being said, this album marks a great stride in a positive direction from St. Anger. People may complain about the similar setup of some songs on this album between every other pre-black album cd, I personally don't mind it; if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The producing might have been better, however, Metallica brings back the killer riffs and finally gives Hammett his job of creating crazed solos back. Overall, Death Magnetic is not as god-like as Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning, and ... And Justice For All, but it is definitely better than St. Anger, Load, and ReLoad. It might rival Black Album.