Album review: Metallica – Death Magnetic (2022)

The Metallica debate has been one of the most hotly contested that music has ever seen. Pro or Anti. Sellouts or one of the few bands of the people and for the people. There's an argument for both sides, to be sure, but in the end, if you're not for them, you're probably against them. If we're going to throw down about it and have an intelligent, healthy discourse, it's always good to know where the other person is coming from.

THE PREAMBLE

I am what would be categorized as an "OG" fan. I have very clear memories of going to the small local record shop in my hometown back in Canada, the serial killer capital of Canada, no less though nothing to do with me, mind you. The year is 1984 and as a young lad of fourteen, I had saved my loonies (the Canadian dollar, I shit you not) for my monthly purchase. There, on the new release rack were two albums. Slayer's Show No Mercy and Metallica's Ride the Lightning. I bought both. Loved one (Slayer). Really loved the other (Metallica). I was a fan from that moment on and remain a fan to this day.

Even though I call myself a fan, I am not blind to the criticisms. Some have merit the most important one being the songwriting, usually summed up with "Jesus, they suck now!" This is narrow minded. Yes, there hasn't been an album as consistent from start to finish since ...And Justice for All. Each subsequent album has really only had four or five strong cuts surrounded by mostly forgettable ones. But I'll still put those four or five tracks against 98% of what's passed for "metal" the last fifteen years. This includes St. Anger, without a doubt the most ridiculously vilified album in heavy music history. While not the start-to-finish motherfucker we always hope for, there was still those four or five songs

(Video) Death Magnetic Album Review: The Old Metallica Comeback?

Other arguments from the anti camp are not valid and, many years later, still hold no weight:

The Sound: No they don't play as fast. Fast doesn't equal heavy. Fast doesn't equal good. Grow the fuck up.

The Image: Yes, they cut their hair. Yes, some of them are even going bald. This happens as you get older. It will happen to you. Grow the fuck up.

(Video) Metallica - DEATH MAGNETIC Album Review

The Downloading This is where there is no argument. This is where there is no gray area. When the Napster shit went down, you may remember those people that were all "Fuck Lars, man! Fuck Metallica! Rich fucking assholes wanting me to pay for their music. Fuck those guys." You may have known someone like this. You may have even been someone like this.

If you were one of those people, I'm sorry, but fuck you. You think just because music is available for free (albeit illegally), that makes you entitled to it? You think you actually have a good reason to complain because the teat you've been suckling at for years completely free of charge has suddenly run dry? Fuck. You. You're like one those freeloading bastard kids that live at home until you're thirty and get all pissy with your parents when they ask you to chip in for the cable bill. Grow the fuck up. The ones that make the music are the only ones who should have a say in what happens to that music. Everyone else should shut the fuck up.

It's been almost ten years since then, and I actually thought all that shit might have fallen to the footnotes of history but then, lo and behold streaming previews for tracks from Death Magnetic are released, and all the parasites come crawling out of the woodwork, from under the rocks, off the tops of ponds and actually have the unmitigated audacity to complain about the sound quality. Pay some money, and then complain, you fucking douchebags. You'd probably win the lottery and complain about the yearly increments. Dick. But I digress

(Video) Let's Discuss.."Death Magnetic" Metallica.

THE REVIEW

Death Magnetic is the band's strongest, most consistent slab of original material since ...And Justice for All. And before you ask - no, it's not as good. As specious as the arguments about success spoiling the band have always been, Metallica have never been a band to rest on their laurels. They've put 100% in everything they've ever done but there's something different in the execution of this new stuff the band sounds more rejuvenated then they have in years. Partial credit can certainly go to new(ish) bassist Robert Trujillo, making his recording debut with the band he's been a part of for five years. His bottom-end presence is felt on this one album more than on every Jason Newsted album combined.

Of course, this was never Newsted's fault. Despite being in Metallica for almost fifteen years, we'll never really know what he was fully capable of. Maybe it was the dire circumstances with which he joined, filling the formidable shoes of Cliff Burton, killed in the band's bus crash only three weeks previous. When the three remaining members have that kind of trauma bond, not to mention probably hefty loads of survivor guilt, being the "new guy" isn't an enviable position to say the least. Clearly, they wanted to start off on better footing with Trujillo, allowing him to show off his abilities, of which there are many. And really take a look at the man. He carries himself like he's been a member since the band's inception.

(Video) Maidenslave - Metallica: Death Magnetic ALBUM REVIEW

Partial credit can also go to producer Rick Rubin. I say "partial" because as legendary a producer as Rubin has become he is now also legendary for never being in the studio. He'll show up every couple of months, let the band know what's shitty and what isn't, give them an Anthony Robbins 'Be yourself" speech and take off again until the next autumnal equinox. Granted, this approach seems to work for the bands he's made untold fortunes from, and it certainly works for Death Magnetic. But in all fairness let's also give some due to engineer Greg Fidelman who actually put in all the overtime for thirteen months of recording. As always, it all comes down to the music. The St. Anger haters will be happy to know the solos are all back in place and that there is a more commercial drum sound with no more ping, so all you babies can quit yer crying.

The album is bookended by two songs, "That Was Just Your Life" and "My Apocalypse," that stick to very much the same structure as ...And Justice for All. The latter has a quick, crisp riff structure in keeping with "Dyer's Eve" and the former, an all-destruction-all-the-time tempo, both musically and lyrically as "Blackened" in fact, listen close to the lyrics to hear Hetfield's homage to...well, himself.

Death Magnetic is indeed the most riff-heavy album the band has released in twenty years. Each track has all the quick tempo-changes of old with classic-thrash guitar work, "The End of the Line" could just as easily have been written in 1985. There really isn't a bad song on the album each song is worthy of repeated listenings. Some of Hammett's best work in twenty years appears on here as well check out "Broken, Beat and Scarred" and "The Judas Kiss" for proof.

(Video) Metallica - Death Magnetic Album Review

Also included on the album seemingly as an homage to classic Metallica albums is the ubiquitous penultimate instrumental. Unfortunately "Suicide and Redemption" is not "Orion" or "To Live is to Die" or "Call of Ktulu," but one of Death Magnetic's few weak links, sounding little more than a ten minute soundcheck jam, albeit with some great shredding from Kirk Hammett, who, now that he's been let out of the solo closet he's been locked in for years is more than ready to make up for lost time.

When all else is said and done, this could very well be the album to finally silence the haters, of which there are seemingly legion but make no mistake - Death Magnetic was not an album made to appease the disgruntled or to kowtow to those who would piss and moan for half the band's career. Metallica's fans are legion too, and this album serves as a strong reminder of why we stuck around in the first place.

FAQs

Was Death Magnetic a good album? ›

So while it's not perfect (“The Unforgiven III”), Death Magnetic was and is a really, really good album, and it did exactly what it was supposed to do.

How many copies did Death Magnetic sell? ›

Death Magnetic was certified 2× platinum (two million units sold) by the RIAA on June 28, 2010.

What is Metallica's best hit? ›

The 20 greatest Metallica songs – ranked
  • 7Whiplash (Kill 'Em All, 1983) ...
  • 6Nothing Else Matters (Metallica, 1991) ...
  • 5Battery (Master Of Puppets, 1986) ...
  • 4For Whom The Bell Tolls (Ride The Lightning, 1984) ...
  • 3One (… ...
  • 2Master Of Puppets (Master Of Puppets, 1986) ...
  • 1Creeping Death (Ride The Lightning, 1984)
7 May 2021

What is Metallica's most famous album? ›

With over 20 million copies sold worldwide, Metallica's eponymous fifth album, better known as the 'Black' album, is one of the biggest-selling metal albums ever. Famously, the San Francisco quartet had sold one million records with 1986's Master Of Puppets without releasing a single or ever making a promotional video.

What tuning is Death Magnetic in? ›

Why was Death Magnetic recorded in E tuning, when they play everything live in E-flat (including that album) anyway? : r/Metallica.

How many copies did hardwired to self destruct sell? ›

Since July 7, 2017 the album officially sold more than 1,004,000 copies in the United States. The former No. 1 set is the band's 12th album to sell at least a million copies since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in 1991.

What is Metallica's best-selling song? ›

Expectedly, the big one is Metallica. Enter Sandman is the leader thanks to its near 4.5 million US sales out of a 6 million total. It's only one of the 3 songs from the album which feature more often than not inside iTunes' extended Top 1500.

What is Bon Jovi's best-selling album? ›

Bon Jovi achieved widespread global recognition with its third album Slippery When Wet (1986), which remains their best-selling album to date with over 28 million copies sold worldwide.

Who has the most records sold all time? ›

Perhaps unsurprisingly, British rock band The Beatles are top of the list for best-selling artists worldwide, with 183 million units certified sales.

What is James Hetfield's favorite Metallica song? ›

And during one of his old interviews, James Hetfield revealed his one, as well. A few years ago, James Hetfield was asked which Metallica song made him proud the most. And while he was answering, the talented musician named his favorite song 'The Unforgiven II' from the band's 1997 album Reload.

What is Metallica's longest song? ›

Mercyful Fate is the Disc 1 seventh track from 1998's album Garage, Inc. It was written by King Diamond and Hank Shermann, and has a length of 11:10. It's the longest Metallica song featuring in a studio album.

Has Metallica ever had a Number 1? ›

1 song in four different decades — the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s. Metallica's No. 1 Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs are: Until it Sleeps (1996); Hero of the Day (1996); Turn the Page (1998); No Leaf Clover (2000); I Disappear (2000); The Day That Never Comes (2008); Cyanide (2009); Hardwired (2016); Atlas, Rise!

Is Metallica the best heavy metal band? ›

Metallica are the third-best selling music act since 1991, and are one of the most influential bands in the genre. They have also surpassed 1 billion streams on Spotify. James Hetfield & co must, therefore, be considered the greatest metal act of all time.

Which Metallica album made the most money? ›

Metallica (The Black Album) (1991)

“Metallica” is one of the best-selling albums in history, also known as “The Black Album.” It is, doubtlessly, the band's most famous work. Metallica has sold over 30 million copies of this album alone since its release.

Is Metallica the biggest band in the world? ›

They're the biggest band in the world,” says Another Planet Entertainment CEO Gregg Perloff, who has been promoting Metallica shows in the Bay Area for decades. “A lot of bands can claim to be — and certainly there are huge bands like U2 and the Rolling Stones.

Does Metallica play in drop D? ›

Master of Puppets was actually Metallica's first album to feature a tuning that wasn't E standard. Here, they used the D standard for The Thing That Should Not Be. There are some theories flying around that it's actually drop D. However, it's D standard.

Who invented drop D tuning? ›

John Dowland was a Renaissance composer (1500-1600's-ish) From my repertoire, those are the earliest compositions I know of that call for drop-D. (D-A-D-G-B-E) Mind you, he was also composing for lute, so the pieces were arranged later.

What key does Metallica play in? ›

THE TONALITY OF METALLICA:

One of the primary key signatures used by Metallica is the key of "E Minor." Metallica's music is most notably characterized by its song structures that apply heavy "low-ended" registers, composed of long strings of riffs that surround the vocals.

What is Metallica worth? ›

Their net worth of approximately $900 million. According to Forbes 2019 “World's Most High-Paid Celebrities List” included Metallica. The band has nine Grammy Awards and is one of the richest and most successful music bands. (But the total net worth is changed to approximately: $950 million in 2022.)

How much is the lead singer of Metallica worth? ›

As of September 2022, James Hetfield's net worth is roughly $300 Million. What is this? James Hetfield is an American musician and songwriter best known for being the co-founder, lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist, and main songwriter for the American heavy metal band 'Metallica'.

How many Metallica albums have gone platinum? ›

Metallica has since been certified 16 times platinum by the RIAA.

How many #1 songs did Metallica have? ›

In total, Metallica has 10 number-one singles on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart, which began in 1981. That ties them for fifth-most in the history of the 39-year-old list, alongside Disturbed and Tom Petty. Shinedown has the most number-ones, with 16.

Who writes most of Metallica's songs? ›

Metallica's songwriting is typically led by the band's two founding and constant members: vocalist and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield (top) and drummer Lars Ulrich (bottom). Lead guitarist Kirk Hammett was credited with songwriting on every Metallica album from Ride the Lightning to Death Magnetic.

Why was The Black Album so successful? ›

Bob Rock encouraged Metallica to use the drums to drive each song forward instead of lagging behind the guitars. It was a technique that propelled the band into the stratosphere, and helped “The Black Album” sell 600,000 in its first week, hitting No. 1 in 10 countries and topping the Billboard 200 for four weeks.

Did Bon Jovi have a number 1 hit? ›

Bon Jovi are one of the world's most famous rock bands, known for their iconic hits Livin' On A Prayer, Dead or Alive and Always. They hold the record for the band with the most Top 10 singles never to reach Number 1, with 18 Top 10s to their name.

How many #1 hits did Bon Jovi have? ›

Bon Jovi has placed 25 songs on the Billboard 100 during their career, with 10 of them cracking the top 10 and 4 going all the way to number one. Here's a look back at the 7 biggest Bon Jovi songs ranked by peak chart position and number of weeks on the chart.

How many copies did Queen sell? ›

Since the 70s, Queen has sold 300 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling artists in history. Billboard ranked them as the 87th Greatest Artist of all time. According to RIAA, Queen has sold 86.5 million certified records in the US.

Who is the greatest solo artist of all time? ›

Michael Jackson is now the Greatest Solo Selling Artist of All Time!
#ARTISTSALES UPDATE
1The Beatles03/01/17
2Michael Jackson09/27/17
3Elvis Presley09/01/18
4Queen01/25/20
6 more rows
27 Jun 2021

Who is considered the best band of all time? ›

The Beatles

Who is the #1 artist of all time? ›

The Beatles

What is Lars Ulrich least favorite Metallica song? ›

When asked about his least favorite Metallica song of all time, Lars Ulrich said the following: There's a song called “Eye of the Beholder” on the Justice album. Wherever I hear that song, it sounds kind of like — I guess we don't want to be super-disrespectful to it — but it sounds really forced.

What is Lars Ulrich favorite Metallica song? ›

When reflecting on how 'Master of Puppets' and 'One' represent the band best, Ulrich revealed to GQ that the first Metallica song that comes to mind as his favourite is 'Sad But True'. This comes as somewhat of a surprise, as the drums on this classic are not as complex as a lot of his other work.

What is Kirk Hammett's favorite Metallica song? ›

“Of course, I like playing 'Dyers Eve',” he said, “because it's a challenge every time we play it. Every time I play that guitar solo and I pulled it off and I'm like yeah I did it again.

What is the longest recorded rock song? ›

Thick as a Brick” is the longest popular rock song ever recorded. It is so long that it's actually the only track on the album, with each part taking up an entire side!

What are the top 5 longest songs? ›

To date, Luchese's performance is the longest individual performance of the piece, gathering 14 hours and a 56-minute performance.
  • Empire of the Clouds. ...
  • In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. ...
  • Voodoo Chile. ...
  • Achilles Last Stand. ...
  • Coma. ...
  • All Too Well (Ten Minute Version) Song Length: 10:13. ...
  • Free Bird. Song Length: 10:07. ...
  • American Pie. Song Length: 8:42.
21 Jun 2022

What is Led Zeppelin's longest song? ›

'In My Time of Dying' is the longest Led Zeppelin song at just over 11 minutes. While Zeppelin never shied away from lengthy tracks, the band really pushed the envelope with “In My Time of Dying,” a traditional blues recorded by several musicians (including Bob Dylan) before them.

What was the #1 rock song of 1980? ›

Criteria: Songs listed are from Rock 'n' Roll and related sub-genres.
...
100 Greatest Songs From 1980.
No.SongArtist
1Call MeBlondie
2CelebrationKool & The Gang
3Another One Bites the DustQueen
4You Shook Me All Night LongAC/DC
132 more rows
16 Jan 2014

Is Metallica in Stranger Things Season 4? ›

Metallica's "Master of Puppets" was a non-negotiable for the memorable sequence in the Stranger Things season 4 finale, says the music supervisor. Metallica's "Master of Puppets" was a non-negotiable for the unforgettable climactic sequence in the Stranger Things season 4 finale, says the series' music supervisor.

What was Metallica's first number one song? ›

Metallica's First Chart Hit Was "One" of Their Heaviest | Totally 80s.

Who is bigger ACDC or Metallica? ›

According to Pollstar, Metallica have sold approximately 22.1 million tickets since 1982, bringing in around $1.4 billion. This is in comparison to AC/DC (14 million tickets sold) and Ozzy Osbourne (13.2 million tickets if one combines both Ozzy and Black Sabbath sales).

Who is the most successful metal band? ›

Metallica is officially the Biggest Band in the world for Heavy Metal based on sheer revenue, longevity and popularity. With a Net Worth of over $900 million dollars Metallica has sold over 125 million albums worldwide and has sold upwards of 22 million tickets equaling 1.5 Billion dollars in sales.

Who sold more albums Kiss or Metallica? ›

Preparing itself to call its quit in rock, KISS has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, which was way lower than Metallica because they have over 130 million sales.

Who is more popular queen or Metallica? ›

In 2019, QUEEN — still riding the success of the 2018 feature film “Bohemian Rhapsody” — sold more albums than any other rock artist, with total sales of nearly 900,000. That put the group well ahead of The Beatles (615,000), Tool (604,000), Pink Floyd (306,000) and Metallica (275,000).

How many copies did Death Magnetic sell? ›

Death Magnetic was certified 2× platinum (two million units sold) by the RIAA on June 28, 2010.

Who is the biggest band in history? ›

1. The Beatles — 183 million units.

Who sold more albums Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd? ›

Having gone through that, the best selling rock band of all time is Led Zeppelin with 111.5 million records sold. They went platinum 111 times! That's nuts. It's a big dip until we get to #2, AC/DC and Pink Floyd are tied with 75 million sold.

How many Metallica fans are there in the world? ›

“Thanks to the most dedicated fans in the world… you all are incredible!” Looking at more of their stats, though, the group's music reached a remarkable 45.9 million listeners in 79 countries, leading to a total of 89.9 million hours, or 10,262 years of their music being streamed in just one year.

Videos

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