Sound — 5
It's 2008, and finally we have a new Metallica album. As I was listening to Death Magnetic and scrolled down this page, reading all the reviews, one major thing struck me: Everyone seemed to love this album. The sound of the album isn't bad. It's just not good. Metallica carry on their proud tradition of burying the bass, and this time it seems like Lars himself was in charge of the mix, pushing the drums up to the loudest level. Hetfield's voice is different to how it sounds on any album (except maybe St Anger), and I think it suits the music. Upon buying the album, I was really excited for one thing: Kirk was once again being unleashed over Hetfield's monster rhythms. However, I was thoroughly disappointed. The monster rhythms were there in spades. But Hammet's leads were sloppy, or sounded recycled. The solo from 'The Day That Never Comes' sounded like it was pulled straight from their "Mercyful Fate" cover tilogy. Since Trujillo was buried deep in the mix, and at times didn't stand out enough from the guitars, I have to say the only person I found to be truly playing to their full potential on this album was Hetfield. He can still bust out the thrash riffage, which he does on most tracks ( a couple of songs don't sound thrashy, so much as heavy metal, occasionally hard hard rock).
Lyrics — 6
Where to begin with lyrics? Hetfield's lyrics slowly increased in skill and general awesomeness, until "... And Justice for All". After this point, however, his lyrics have generally been on a downward spiral, ending in St Anger, with such lines as "I'm madly in anger with you" and "my lifestyle determines my deathstyle" x 10. The lyrics on DM are all over the place, with duds like "what don't kill ya make ya more strong" and "Into the grips, total eclipse, suffer unto my apocalypse". But then the lyrics for "the Unforgiven III" and "That Was Just Your Life" make up for it. Hetfield's voice is in great form on this album. He sounds full of venom, and the equally remorseful when the occasion requires. Top vocal performances: 'All Nightmare Long' and 'the Unforgiven III'.
Overall Impression — 6
This is far from being their best album. It beats out Load and ReLoad, and bests Saint Anger (mainly because there is solos, and Hetfield actually sings in key). Best 3 songs: All Nightmare Long - starting off with a nice groove, one of the only times Trujillo is actually clearly heard. The fast thrash riff that cuts in reminds me of Megadeth. Then, after 2 minutes of thrash glory, Hetfield cuts in, spitting out lines about nightmares and hunting people down. Brilliant. 9/10 My Apocalypse - every self respecting Metallica fan downloaded this weeks ago. Top quality song, minus a few patchy lyrics. 8/10 That Was Just Your Life - this song really effectively shows off Hetfield's amazing riffs, and allows for one of Kirk's better solos of the album (even though it's still mediocre). 9/10 Worst 3 songs: Cyanide - this song is just irritating. Especially the riff that kicks in at 3 minutes. I hope this song gets shelved from their live sets. This song could and should've been cut for the sake of the album. it adds nothing and only serves to buffer out their cd. The Day That Never Comes - blatant rip off of One, but only it's bad.This song sounds like 4 songs roughly spliced together, and it only gets good around the 5 minute mark. Suicide and Redemption - I have never really been a fan of 'Tallica instrumentals, except 'To Live is To Die'. This song should have been 7 minutes, maybe 8. There is a good 2 minutes that should have been taken out. Metallica, it seems, have developed this idea where the longer the album is, the better. Or something. that's the onbly logical explanation I can think of for their last 2 albums being 70 minutes +, when a good 2 or 3 songs from each could've been cut. Bands, in general, seem to have this thing where they want to put everything they record onto albums these days that result in double albums that flop, or 70 minute long albums, that are tiring and dull. Where have the days of a 40-50 minute CD of full quality material gone?