‘Death Magnetic’, Metallica‘s ninth full-length, was critically acclaimed; some claimed that it was boring, others criticised the overly loud production, and of course the classic Metallica fans stayed firmly stuck in the late 80s as usual saying that it couldn’t hold a flame to their earlier efforts. Many however, myself included, thought that it was a damn good album. Sure, it had its flaws, but it still pissed all over what most bands could do (I’m looking at you, Megadeth). ‘Beyond Magnetic’ is a four-track continuation of the 2008 album, featuring songs that didn’t make it to the final cut. Even after one listen, however, it’s just absurd why they didn’t.
Pretty much every song here would be a contender for the best song on the album if it was all stuck together in one big 14-track release. I dare say they’re all even good enough to be on an album like ‘…And Justice For All’. The sound is still undeniably modern Metallica, but it just sounds better than most of the other stuff. ‘Just A Bullet Away’ is built around a groovy-as-fuck riff while James Hetfield pastes his token croons over the top of it. It’s like ‘The Day That Never Comes’, except it flows much better.
‘Hate Train’ is pretty much as close as you’re gonna get to having sex with Hetfield, featuring a damn sexy riff that’s so simple, but works so well. If St. Anger wasn’t so monumentally shit, it might sound a bit like this. ‘Rebel Of Babylon’ is a slightly progressive track that culminates in another simple, but well placed, guitar crunching at 6 minutes in that flows into a circle pit moment. Even ‘Hell And Back’ is a solid song, despite having a pretty recurring rhythm section.
Metallica will never cease to confuse and annoy everyone. After the absolute clusterfuck of retardation that was ‘Lulu’, it was assumed that they’d either gone totally insane or become Lou Reed‘s personal butt buddies, but ‘Beyond Magnetic’ just proves that there’s still a shit load of talent in these old dudes.
Written by Martin Savage