Legends lose relevance
It is good to see Metallica still around and recycling. No, this isn’t a rock-eco initiative. This recycling isn’t about turning trash into something new; this is about taking old thrash and putting out new trash.
With Metallica’s latest release, Death Magnetic, it sounds like they took all of its previous albums and put them in a blender with Death Magnetic being the end result. This isn’t the case of Metallica being a bad band, just releasing an uninspired album.
Metallica’s Black Album was a genre-defining epic expanding the horizons of the metal genre. The band has been making metal-classics for years, and even 2003’s group therapy session/album, St. Anger, showed that the band still had some life left. Death Magnetic sounds like a band ready to bury its career complete with coffin-themed album and digi-pack artwork. The band’s black-and-white promo picture has Metallica clad in leather jackets leaning against a wall doing its best Ramones impression. Sorry guys, you are not, nor ever will be The Ramones.
If Metallica was looking to win over a younger audience, try again. The average song length clocks in at more than seven minutes. Today’s listener has a short attention span and doesn’t want to sit through drawn out, repetitive songs about death. At times, Metallica even throws in some nu-metal moments that are even worse than the "old-metal" ones.
"Suicide and Redemption" is an instrumental track sparing the listener from James Hetfield’s gloom and doom lyrics that haunt the listener all album long. Opening track "That Was Just Your Life," is fitting since after hearing the entire album, the listener has just wasted an hour of their life that they won’t get back.
Metallica can still play at break-neck speed complete with guitar solos and all. Playing isn’t the problem; it’s writing. Having talent is one thing but being able to apply it in making a record is another thing.