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Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009

Metallica @ The Bradley Center

Jan. 12, 2009

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For a cold snowy night in January, the Bradley Center was lit up and the stage ablaze, literally, as veteran thrash metalists Metallica unleashed their combustible power chords and speed-freak tempos on a revved-up, fist-pumping crowd that roared for more.

The foursome kept the adrenaline pumping, the fiery flames shooting high in the air on the stage in the round, as they charged through more than two hours worth of new material from their latest release Death Magnetic as well as classics and covers.

Seemingly revitalized by Death Magnetic's return to the band's speed-metal roots, Metallica opened with the new "That Was Just Your Life" followed by "The End of the Line," buzzsawing its way through changing tempos as multicolored laser lights shot through the stage, creating an angular "spider web" that shifted constantly. "Cyanide" showcased Kirk Hammett's lightning-speed guitar work, as his fingers flew faster than the sound system could keep up with. Taking its visual cue from the coffin on the new CD, massive coffin-shaped lighting rigs dropped down to hover and highlight while James Hetfield sang of the strength that can come from pain in "Beat, Broken and Scarred."

Metallica made sure to get in the stuff that made them metal gods in the first place. The familiar Middle Eastern sounding guitar strains on the opening of "Wherever I May Roam" heralded the forthcoming dirge of guitars, building to a frenzied crescendo capped by another soaring guitar solo by Hammett. Other classic gems included "Master of Puppets," "Nothing Else Matters" and the set's closer, "Enter Sandman."

But Metallica saved some choice surprises for its encores. Covers of the Misfits' "Die Die My Darling" and "Stone Cold Crazy" by Queen were quick and appetizing, while the early anthem "Seek and Destroy" was saved for the grand finale.

Opening the show were The Sword, who played 30 minutes of unpolished drone, and unpromising up-and-comers Machine Head, whose impregnable fortress of white noise made words and music undecipherable while the crowd waited for the real show to begin.