Tag: kirk hammett

MUSIC REVIEW | Metallica – Death Magnetic (2008)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: Death Magnetic isn’t bad. It’s even better than good. But I think it ushered in the stage of Metallica’s career where new music just doesn’t really matter all that much.”

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This binge on Metallica’s discography has been fun, but it hasn’t really delivered any surprises. I knew their early years were raw and a little undisciplined. I knew Metallica was filled with ground breakers that are still played constantly today. I knew the double shit bombs of Load and Reload would be a slog. And St Anger proved why it’s the one Metallica album I’ve listened to more than any other.

But here, with their most recent studio effort, I have no idea what to expect from Death Magnetic. I listened to it once, when it came out eight years ago. And that’s it. But that’s not a condemnation, like I didn’t like it was even underwhelmed by it. I think I liked it. I just never got around to it again. So now, as the band continues their longest hiatus ever between albums, it’s time revisit Death Magnetic. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Metallica – St Anger (2003)

In a  nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It’s one of the most unique and individual Metallica records the band has ever made.”

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After the one-two, wet fish slap that was Load and Reload, Metallica took what was then the longest hiatus in their career between studio albums. It was 2003, and everything I knew about the band was based on the biggest, best known singles. But I shared a flat with a dude who was obsessed. He was trying to track down a copy of every version of every single from every country the band had ever released. And was doing a pretty good job of it.

I was working at a radio station and managed to score an advance copy of the band’s first single in six years. The entire contents of which was the album version and the radio edit of the one song. For the month or two in between that and the album coming out, those two tracks were literally the only songs my housemate listened to. So, with one song firmly ingrained in my brain, I was more prepared than ever for the release of a new Metallica album when it came time for my housemate mate to bombard me with every track of St Anger over and over and over again. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Metallica – Reload (1997)

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After releasing their first four albums in just five years, Metallica settled into a more casual release schedule. The next two records would be spread out over eight years. The first of those was their monumental, self titled, mainstream breakthrough. Then came the totally underwhelming Load. So the fact that it’s follow up was released just one year later, and named to look like an obvious sequel, I expected the absolute worst from Reload. And at 76 minutes long, that’s a lot of potentially terrible music to have trepidations about.

Fuel is very cookie cutter, by the numbers and a perfect example of this period of Metallica where a lot of the same boxes were being ticked with every song, looking for as many radio hits as possible. Yet, for all that, I can’t help but really like this song. James Hetfield’s vocals seem more engaged and sincere than ever, it’s the perfect showcase of Lars Ulrich’s precise, unrelenting drumming, and the infectious riffage from both Hetfield and Kirk Hammett is just plain cool. I assume Fuel is a perfect summation of what old school ‘Tallica fans hate about the Load and Relaod period, but I just dig it. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Metallica – Load (1996)

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After the massive success of their self titled album, Metallica were one of the biggest bands in the world. Selling millions of records and selling out massive stadiums all over the globe. With an ever growing audience to please. Metallica did what so many bands unfortunately do when they reach a certain level. They watered down everything that made them big in the first place, and made the totally safe and boring, Load.

Despite its title playing for edginess, Aint My Bitch is predictable, mundane and feels like it’s built from discarded riffs not good enough to make the cut on their last album. It does have a cool slide guitar solo though, which isn’t a sound you hear too much in metal. Rolling into 2 X 4, Load is only two songs in and already feels like it’s the result of a band simply going through the motions. It’s cookie cutter stuff that feels tossed off at best. Almost like this record was a contractual obligation, not a labour of love or in any creatively fulfilling. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Metallica – …And Justice for All (1988)

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In my limited experience with Metallica, I see them as having three distinct phases. The current phase in which they’ve been since their 2003 therapy aided return from extended hiatus, St. Anger. These last 15 or so years have been the legacy years. Like AC/DC or the Rolling Stones, no one really cares too much about a new Metallica record, they just care that it means the band will probably tour and play the hits. Before that were the mega star years, from the self titled record (AKA Black), up to Reload. A time when they could fill stadiums and mainstream radio airwaves. But before that, were the early, hardcore, subculture years. A period that ended with …And Justice for All.

Harkening back to earlier hits, Blackened even has a riff that sounds like it was stolen note for note from their own classic For Whom the Bell Tolls. But the finger tapping shredding of Kirk Hammett makes that self-plagiarism easy to look past. While it’s 10 minute running time means the title track would never be a radio or MTV hit, it does show the evolution towards more digestible riffage. It’s still loud, threatening and heavier than anything dominating the charts in 1988, but you can hear the band focusing a little more on melody and hooks, and less on speed, volume and aggression. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Metallica – Master of Puppets (1986)

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After hearing a lot of growth between Metallica’s first and second albums, while appreciating that they were still able to stick to a sound that was so purely theirs, I was pretty pumped to hear where they took things next. Like all early Metallica albums, there are a few songs here and there that have made their way into my brain over the years that I love, but they’re easily outnumbered by those I have never heard. So while I knew Master of Puppets had a few real highlights that would be great to listen to again, it was discovering new ones, and the idea of continued evolution to the mega star records, that had me most excited.

Ever since Metallica teamed up with the San Francisco philharmonic for S&M sometime in the mid or late 90s, Battery has been my favourite song from the band. Master of Puppets came out when I was only 6 years old and still close to 20 years away from giving this band a chance. So the orchestra aided version was the only version I knew and loved for a long time. The original, Master of Puppets version of Battery is more stripped back, while somehow more intense and awesomely overwhelming at the same time. As much as I love it, maybe the lush orchestration is too pretty for the assault that this song is meant to be. (more…)