In the presence of editorial constrants, which would have guided me to review this album in two words, those two words being, Shit Magnet, I have decided to elaborate on the actual quality of this album.
The first question I asked myself when reviewing this album was, “Would anyone spend more than two minutes reviewing this album if the composing author wasn’t Metallica?”
In the past I could have easily made the case that judgement of Metallica albums was so dependent on past quality albums that despite the quality of albums released, the response would have been the same: Metallica doesn’t have it and hasn’t had it for more than 10 years. And in that time I would have been able to argue that high expectations had as much to do with disappointment as did the actual quality of the album.
However, this is the first time that I am absolutely convinced that the quality of the product would not have even warranted a record contract for any band other than Metallica. Albums like Load, Reload and St. Anger at least had the redeeming factor of providing the audience with music that, even though unoriginal, appealed to a basic sense of urgency in the world of metal. What Death Magnetic provided to the world of metal was not only a well deserved kick in the ass, but a wake up call: the band that brought metal to the masses has effectively become a weaker version of prepubescent metal bands.
Although most metal fans would feel ashamed of having to expose their favorite band to the world of musical criticism, Metallica has managed to make even the most respectable metal fans ashamed of their own taste in music. The primary question in this whole ordeal has to be exactly why we are listening to songs that are obviously rehashed versions of old, obviously great, better versions of Metallica songs.
I was one of the several people that considered Unforgiven II to be one of the biggest travesties in the history of music when it was first released. However, after 5 years worth of even worse music, and the realization that the change in person on the Unforgiven series from first to second person was enough to warrant attention, I came to terms with the fact that Unforgiven 2 was a much better song than given credit to. I am unforgiven, now you are unforgiven. I get it. Awesome. I can live with that.
Imagine how many things I kicked when I realized that there would be an Unforgiven 3. Unforgiven 3? Really?
Hetfield: we get it. You want to be forgiven. I don’t even care why. Maybe you had inappropriate relations with an underage cat. Maybe you touched yourself too much. I don’t care. One song is enough. Two songs were too much. Three songs are a direct kick in the left testicle.
As a good Metallica fan I was forced to give you the benefit of the doubt. I listened to songs that no other human being should have listened to.
“What don’t kill you make you more strong”
That line by itself should be enough to push fans over the edge. But the mediocrity of the lyrics was not the end… this album was the biggest insult to a 20 year old fan base.
If you can listen to this entire album and not feel like every song was a direct rip-off of Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning or the self-titled black album, I cannot even elaborate further.
There are very few albums that have disappointed me more than this album. I guess the last Bonnie Tyler could have been close, but it really wasn’t. I’d rather listen to Total Eclipse of the Heart every time I work out than being forced to listen to any song in this album.
Metallica, much like Santana, has sunken into the sea of bands that, trying to ride one good period of their lives into oblivion, managed to destroy their image rather efficiently. I award this band zero points, and may god have mercy on their souls.