39: Death Magnetic

Death Magnetic is a good album more for its return to Metallica's previous styles than for being musically impressive (which it is anyway).  After their previous album, St. Anger, ended up being a commercial and artistic (and musical) failure, all us fans wanted was to hear what we considered "the old Metallica."  Thankfully for us, the band listened.  Here's the analysis of the album:  Every song on the album is both entertaining and impressive, but only for metalheads.  If you like metal AT ALL, you will love this album.  If your musical preferences stray below metal on the hardcore scale, you will probably be bored with eight minutes of thrashing on every track.  Therein lies the biggest problem with Death Magnetic: unlike previious albums, there are no tracks on this album that really stand out as ageless gems, or as irrefutable masterpieces that fans of other genres can appreciate.  That does not mean the songs aren't good, the songs Cyanide and All Nightmare Long are fantastic tracks that would be welcome at any concert, but you wouldn't really care if they never play any of these songs live.  WITH ALL OF THE CONS OUT OF THE WAY, let me repeat why this album is good.  Almost every song is a good metal song, and any album with ALL OR MOSTLY GOOD SONGS is already impressive.  The instrumentation is amazing, with both Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield bringing the top of their guitar playing to the album.  Hetfield's voice, while having lost some of it's screaming ability, is still powerful, and the vocal parts are effectively written to showcase the best qualities that his voice still holds.  Lars Ulrich's drums are very standard, which after his atrocious sound on St. Anger is a welcome return to adequate normalcy.  And most importantly, the songs WILL remind you of early Metallica, style, speed, and song structure-wise.  If you're a Metallica fan, you will enjoy this album as a legitimate record of theirs, if you are a fan of any or all metal, you will enjoy this album as an impressive addition to the genre, and it will likely remain in your catalog forever.  As an album, I give it a 6/10.  Though, as a Metallica album, I give it 8/10.

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