AOTY 2023
Metallica - Death Magnetic
Oct 2, 2020
Metallica revisited part 10/12

Metallica's semi-return to form. After over a decade ranging from hard rock to alt metal, it is admittedly refreshing to finally hear them go back to their thrash roots. And above all, it's their best album in a full ten years! That's always a bonus. Or at least it would be if the album itself actually had something more worthwhile than just being a return to thrash.

First things first, and that's that Death Magnetic is factually their best release in years. It's miles ahead of both Reload and St. Anger, and it isn't even a contest. And the overall lack of filler makes it a lot more respectable than Load ever was. So objectively speaking, this is far and away their best album since the Black Album. I do personally enjoy Load more, but seeing as I don't think too highly of either album there really isn't much of a conversation to be had on that front.

So if this is easily so much better than over a decades worth of releases, why is it I have it rated so low? Easy: it sucks. I know that there has always been those that have praised this album on the sole merit of it being a return to thrash from the thrash legends, but just because an artist returns to what made them so good in the first place shouldn't automatically give them a free pass to release a bad album to high praise. The thing is, this is an album that relies heavily on its singles to get it through. Yeah, a lot of the positives I have to say about this album come solely from the singles, which is never a good sign. Where every other of their highly praised releases had amazing deep cuts, this one doesn't. The singles, however, are pretty damn good. That Was Just Your Life, The Day That Never Comes, All Nightmare Long, and My Apocalypse are all pretty good, and much better than the rest of the record by far. There's a reason why they've become some of Metallica's most recent classics; they're genuinely good tracks. Maybe not as phenomenal as older songs, and definitely not as good as some may have you believe, but they're solid tracks that are very much needed considering the best songs we've had from them since 1997 have included Fuel and King Nothing. So yeah, nothing special, but these four tracks are deserving of their modern classic status, no doubt about it.

Everything else about this album, though, is a fucking pain to get through. I do think that the instrumental track, Suicide & Redemption, is really good and, just like those singles, is far above everything else here, but it still has the main issue that plagues absolutely every single track of the album, that being the stupid lengths. Metallica have never shied away from long songs before, but here it's just ridiculous. They take songs that are clearly 4-5 minute metal songs and drag them out to the 7 and 8 minute mark, dragging a fifty minute album past the seventy minute mark. Sure, Metallica can make long songs and long albums work, as shown in Master Of Puppets, Justice, and even Hardwired. But when the album clearly wasn't made to be so long but was made to be that length for no discernable reason, it does become one hell of a problem. The fact that I don't even get three-quarters through the second track on the album before I start thinking about just stopping it there and then and even consider returning to St. Anger knowing that I'll have a much better time should tell you everything you need to know.

It's just such a fucking shame. Some of these songs I do think could have been somewhat decent had they been trimmed down two or three minutes. Look at The End Of The Line, for example. This is one song that I genuinely cannot stand. But that's mainly down to its stupid length. It literally ends at the 4.5 minute mark, and then it starts up again with some of the most pointless three minutes of Metallica's entire career. That alone ruins it. Those first four-and-a-half minutes weren't great, sure, and they still likely would have resulted in the weakest track of the album, but at least then I wouldn't dislike the song as much as I currently do. It's just wasting time for no reason. And that's unfortunately the case for the majority of this record.

So while Death Magnetic does have some stand out moments, it ultimately suffers greatly from way too much dragging. They could have trimmed two-to-three minutes off EVERY SINGLE TRACK from this album it would have been a much better album. But because they just had to make this a seventy minute long record to go along with every other seventy minute long record that they've released since Load, they just had to go and ruin what could have been a good album.

Favourite Tracks: The Day That Never Comes; That Was Just Your Life; Suicide & Redemption; My Apocalypse

Least Favourite Tracks: The End Of The Line; Broken, Beat & Scarred


Original review:
Feb 21, 2019
Score: 59

Death Magnetic is certainly not as good as Metallica's first five albums, but it is much better than their previous three (although I have to admit that they could have released anything after St. Anger and I would say that it's better). In most aspects, they improved what they were doing wrong in those last three albums.
However, I would be lying if it was still plagued with some of the problems that their previous releases had. For example, it does get pretty boring in the middle, and it doesn't help that the album is too long. If these last few albums have taught me anything, it's that Metallica suck at making a long album: they usually have a few songs that just end up being extremely dull and are a chore to listen to.

Favourite Tracks: Broken, Beat & Scarred; That Was Just Your Life; The End Of The Line; The Judas Kiss; The Unforgiven III

Least Favourite Tracks: Cyanide; All Nightmare Long; The Day That Never Comes

Sign in to comment.
More Reviews by JustSomeGuy
Metallica - 72 Seasons
Apr 16, 2023
Metallica - S&M2
Aug 29, 2020
Metallica - Beyond Magnetic
Oct 3, 2020
Metallica - Lulu
Sep 1, 2020
Rate and review albums along with the AOTY community. Create an account today.
Become a Donor
Donor badge, no ads + more benefits.
More Reviews

November Playlist