Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Metallica - "Beyond Magnetic"

I'm reviewing this EP, because quite frankly, I really dig it and I fucking want to. I know Metallica dont NEED me to tell people that I like their disk, it's gonna sell millions no matter what. But this band are heroes of mine, yes even now, I'll let you take a minute to soak that in. I firmly stand behind Metallica and have since I was a kid and first discovered them via MTV with the "One" video. Sure, they've dropped a couple bombs. the "LULU" album just may be the worst thing I've ever heard. Reload has some good tunes but for me felt very thrown together or phoned-in if you will. St. Anger, when you listen to the riffs, I mean really listen, you can see the album had potential and really isnt the heaping pile of shit everyone slags it as. That album was the result of pulling everyone out of their respective roles and forcing them to do things they cant do, Kirk and Lars belong playing leads and drums, not writing lyrics. That leads me to Death Magnetic. Not only was that album a sort of return to form, but as I see it, was the ultime middle finger and a "Shut the fuck up" to all the "Old School" fans who called them sell outs and wanted thrashier songs back in the mix, because after all "Metallica died with Cliff Burton". I swear to the metal gods if I hear someone say that shit one more time, I'm gonna break their stupid jaw with a hammer. Cue 2012 and we are presented with "Beyond Magnetic" 4 tunes that didnt make it, or were for lack of a better term, "left over" from the Death Magnetic recording sessions. But make no mistake, this EP isnt to Death Magnetic what Reload was to Load. These are 4 kick ass tunes that were just too long and didnt fit the ebb and flow of the tracks that make Death Magnetic the album that it is. The 7 minute "Hate Train" kicks off this EP, and right away you know the Metallica guys aren't pulling a fast one here. Straight up metal riffery with the tight militant vibe executed on the classic "...And Justice" album, with the Death Magnetic sound and aura. The chorus drops down and get very melodic and somber in the vein of The Unforgiven. This song alone proves why James Hetfield NEEDS to be the lyricist of this band, his choice of words and vocal phrasing here and on the other 3 tracks of this EP are completely on the money. Drink your haterade all you want, call them polished, call them over-rated, what you CANT call Metallica is sloppy and soft. Great production here from Rick Rubin really catches the band's tight grooving, stacatto riffs and greasy, fierce uptempo passages. The percussive riffing in "Just a Bullet Away" with it's descending bits and constant changes really helps Lars' drumming shine here more than he's shown he's capable of in quite a while. "Hell And Back" is a bit slower and darker, the listener gets a big time "Black Album" vibe here with it's epic verse and chorus reminiscent in feeling to Wherever I May Roam, with a bit more modern feel and a punchier guitar attack. This tune is my personal fave of the 4, I find it sticks to the ribs a bit more than the other 3 and I tend to replay this one while spinning this disk. Metallica are far from re-inventing the wheel here, but what they are doing is stringing together some really, really cool rifs and writing catchy songs. Most importantly, to me it sounds like Metallica are having fun playing these songs, while the shortest track on Beyond Magnetic is 6:57, you never get bored, it sounds fresh and it sounds like the guys are having a ball playing these songs. "Rebel Of Babylon" closes this EP out and here the guys really let the speed fly on the verse riff and punky chorus. Having grown up with drugs plaguing my family members, I can relate to songs about the ills of heroin usage, so the lyrics on this one especially hit home for me. All in all this disk is pretty fuckin awesome, especially if you loved Death Magnetic as much as I and were disappointed by that LULU abortion and need something to tide you over until the next Metallica full length. At over 29 minutes, your definitely getting more than your $5 worth for the Beyond Magnetic EP. Some will read this and call me a Metallica fanboy, and just dismiss this EP without even giving a single second of playing time, but the true Metallica fans who have stood by the band through thick and thin, should know that their favorite band is indeed alive and well. Get this, or dont, I dont fuckin care, just dont call them soft, or complete garbage, or dead without at least listening to this first, having and open mind and not expecting "Master Of Puppets 2.0", more like "Death Magnetic 1.5".

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