Saturday, 4 February 2012

Metallica - Beyond Magnetic - review

The four years since 2008 have seen Metallica roar back into top form with a fine record, embarking on a mammoth world tour, releasing a video game, beginning work on a film and of course releasing 'Lulu', that infamous collaboration with Lou Reed. Now with fans and critics as divided as ever, the band release this EP of four tracks dating back to the sessions for 'Death Magnetic', the 2008 beast that saw Metallica produce their best set of songs in nearly two decades. Understandably the sound bears the same dirty, fierce and indestructible menace, which will please a lot of those were maybe weren't too impressed with their recent collaboration. In fact 'Beyond Magnetic' makes a pretty good "sorry" present for the fans who actually wanted to hear some tunes. There's no improvisational experiments or disturbing poetry here, just the thunder and the venom of Metallica doing what they do best. 


The EP opens with the satisfyingly bulky 'Hate Train', combining face-melting solos, mighty drumming and a variety of fat riffs before slipping into a wonderfully melodic chorus not too far away from 'The Day That Never Comes', fusing the thrash metal of their 80's output and the mellower tune-friendly details of their 90's sound. 'Just A Bullet Away' is a gasoline-soaked stomp which pairs another dirty riff with lyrics inviting you to "suck on the barrel of a 45" and a tune that recalls a more gritty sounding 'Don't Tread On Me' before it breaks down into a darkly graceful 'Orion'-style instrumental passage before one final burst of fury. 'Hell And Back' recalls a splicing of the aforementioned 'Day That Never Comes', 'Sad But True' and 'The End Of The Line', but doesn't come off as effectively as the other tracks, despite packing in many more awesome riffs. The Black Album's On the closing 'Rebel Of Babylon' the simplicity of their 1990s output is rejected in favour of frantic time and tempo changes, skull crushing riffage, furious drum fills and lyrics about digging your grave with a spoon. 


Overall a strong set of metal excellence that puts many of today's hard rock bands to shame. The old masters still know how to do it well, and considering all four of these tracks were just mere leftovers they sure have done well. 8

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