Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

Death Magnetic by Metallica

You can be forgiven for thinking they were washed up after three mediocre albums — they thought as much themselves. But a few months with Rick Rubin and a return to their thrash roots produced the best album in Metallica's catalog. What brought them back is simple: speed and length. Metallica has never played as fast or made songs that last as long. Case in point: Death Magnetic's best track, "Broken, Beat & Scarred," which has a chaotic, minute-long intro and a melody-line that bobs and weaves until the 3:30 mark, when, just after James Hetfield barks the career-defining Metallica lyric, "What don't kill ya make ya more strong," all four band members start playing as hard and as fast as they can — without sacrificing a single note — for another two minutes. After all these years, Metallica still has the capacity to make you bang your head. Now they just make you do it faster and longer.

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