First, the good news: Death Magnetic
contains Metallica's most sophisticated, energized and-yes-heavy material since its 1988 classic, ...And Justice for All
. If you were hoping for a return to form, it's hard to deny the ways that Death Magnetic
sounds like one. Finally, Metallica has revived the long-song format that it built a career on, and the guitar sound hearkens back to the monumental Master of Puppets
, the last time James Hetfield and company were coming from an underground perspective.
They even sound hungry again, but-now the bad news-you can tell that they're looking backward. If Metallica hadn't squandered its potential for the last 20 years, Death Magnetic wouldn't sound so shocking. Still, audiences can console themselves with the knowledge that there's enough going on in these songs for them to go over amazingly well live.