Review: Metallica - Beyond Magnetic
But this isn't really an issue to fret over at this moment. If you enjoyed Death Magnetic, you are pretty much in for a treat with this EP with the songs having the same thrash and soul filled sound that fueled 2008's effort with opener Hate Train hurtling listeners into an energetic thrash bruiser which captures a snapshot of traditional Metallica mixed with the opinion dividing 90s material ideal better than many songs from the actual album. Maybe it's because the EP contains only rough mixes of the songs and thus lacking the kind of production problems that many complained about on Death Magnetic. Either way, the track captures the band nailing this combination of styles effortlessly with furious riffing from James Hetfield and rapid bursts of lead guitar picking from Kirk Hammet. (I really want to use "frantic" as a description here, but associating Frantic with Kirk Hammet's lead guitar skills would mean we wouldn't hear any lead guitar. It's a St Anger "joke".)
Even on a four track EP, the group manage to capture an array of emotion on Beyond Magnetic, such as the brooding and sinister atmosphere created throughout Hell and Back sounding like a more awesome version of the material of the Load albums before smoothly riding into a pounding adrenaline infused bridge. Meanwhile Just a Bullet Away and Rebel of Babylon are that bit more melancholic and vengeful on their outlooks which puts that extra depth and emotional heaviness into the delivery of the songs. It allows for more slow paced sections in the songs, which I enjoy on the latest Metallica material because there always seems to be something of a stoner/doom metal influence, the most violent type of slow music.
So, this EP teaches us a collection of things. It shows Metallica are still very much strong in making very pure and raw heavy metal, the EP's release thankfully shows that they aren't going to fall into the nightmarish realms of a full time career in Avant-Garde music and it shows that sometimes the best music can be hidden away. As I say, these songs are better than many Death Magnetic tracks and if Metallica can stay like this for now, then we have no reason to lose faith in the Bay Arena quartet just yet. ROARF 2012 is officially off to a good start!
Metallica's Beyond Magnetic is out now via Warner Bros. The band will headline the Download Festival at Donnington Park on the 9th of June.