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Metallica was once an inspiration to all heavy and trash metal music lovers. But sadly those days have long past them. Over the last decade or two they have given us only controversies and divisiveness - their community of fans have got divided between the disappointed and the fanatics.
Beyond Magnetic has four tracks from their archives that had been previously unreleased. So I wondered whether the discard could do to them what the fresh were unable to do. But remarkably, with the discards, they seemed to have recovered lost ground.
It is beyond doubt that they have clung to their reasonably successful 2008 album Death Magnetic for their core musical theme as far as the first piece 'Hate Train' is concerned but it becomes trashier as the album progresses. As soon as the chorus rolls in you know Metallica has reignited the energy it once possessed and it is not their usual from the earlier 2008 album. The chorus is a deep rumble that awakens the soul of the song and invigorates the nerve endings of your body. The metallic blitz at the beginning had accentuated its heavy metal upbringing and the chorus emphasizes its acquired maturity. A rich guitar tune then beckons you into a quieter exhortation of melody emanating from pure guitar notes feeding the senses with a unique palate of sublime joy.
The second piece is distinctly similar to the 'shine' from Death Magnetic. The riffs again are very catchy but gets repetitive as the song progresses. It alternates between the intro, verse and some solos, all decked up with harmonizing guitars. It, however, suffers from a major shortcoming - the drum beats are non-exciting and degrades the energy of the song. This takes the bite away and is a step backward in the album. Does not do justice to the title of the song 'Just A Bullet Away'.The lyrics are wonderfully done and bring out the experience acquired over 30 years as a band.
It should be remembered that they have brought it out from the same recording session as the 2008 Death Magnetic and it does have definite links to those sounds and lyrics. However, the third piece 'Hell and Back' is largely experimental. Metallica have tried to do something new, something fresh as a lilac yet be true to its roots. And hence it can be judged as an amalgam of the old school rock riff and a fresh dose of trash. The energy of the song is unbelievably positive despite being shrouded in seeming unoriginality.
Rebel of Babylon is the last one on the album and the most old school variety. The sudden tempo and riff changes occur all too frequently, a bit too many at times. There is enough of trash metal, tremolo jumps and high strung chords to generate that typical whiplash effect. There are plenty of solo riffs, very clean metal pieces with some duelling thrown in for good measure. If someone wanted to describe the song in one word, it would be classic. The singing, the riffs, the lyrics, the guitar solos and duels, the drumbeats are all classic. It is an extravaganza in trash metal.
The lyrics are crass to the sublime. Despite being the most dull of the songs 'Just a Bullet Away' has most inspiring lyrics 'Redemption purify, will nothing satisfy, the scars will multiply in the sound of a midnight revolver'. 'Rebel of Babylon' feels classic with the 'don't let it burn out, tonight'. The lyrics of 'Hate Train' does little justice to this excellent experimental trash metal song with a very poorly written 'Hate/on a train' which goes worse as the song climaxes with 'You took away tomorrow / Still I stand'. The most inane of them all is in 'Hell And Back' - I become two / We become one / unbridled, unequalled, unholy, undone'. The vocals though are excellent throughout and redeem the lyrics where they border on the thoughtless.
This Warner Bros. label from Metallica is very decent without breaking the frontiers of heavy and trash metal. It is brutally honest in its exposition - very metallic yet experimental. It is something worth having a look. It is impressionably Metallica.
Also in Ciao Uk under same name and title
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Hate Train
2 Just A Bullet Away
3 Hell And Back
4 Rebel Of Babylon