Sound — 6
Death Magnetic is a relief to Metallica fans like myself, as it shows a return to their thrash roots, such ass Ride The Lightning and Master Of Puppets. However, there was some sound quality problems which were fixed in the Guitar Hero series. Also, Robert Triquillo, Metallica's bassist, could not be heard as well as in songs like Seek And Destroy. Lars hogs most of the sound, while Hetfield and Hammett take up about 3/4 the rest. The guitars sound great, as opposed to Lars's snare drum, which could still use some improvement.
Lyrics — 8
One thing that I didn't like about the St. Anger album was the repetition of the lyrics. Hetfield is now bringing out great lyrics, if not 80's level. There are really good lyrics, such as the chorus in The Judas Kiss and The End Of The Line. While he doesn't exactly reach the vocal expertise of Master Of Puppets or ...And Justice For All, his lyrics can't hurt the song. His delivery is solid too, doing better than the average thrash singer in their 40's. However, I feel he should stay away from high pitched songs, such as The Unforgiven III.
Overall Impression — 8
Most of the songs on this album are good or better. However, some songs can be chopped off, IMO, Broken, Beat, and Scarred and The Unforgiven III. As for individuals, James, we've already talked about. Hammett, his solos should deliver more punch. They are good, but they should be longer, not act as some sort of bridge for the song. The rhythm section is perfect, no complaints. Trijillo, although he can barely be heard, if at all, is perfect too, as I have listened to the bass tracks. Lars is jut horrible: he's a shell of the 80's drummer we know. However, this album is a major improvement, and I hope they improve and make another album like this.