You knew it had to happen! Jude Terror is back with an epic edition of Can Jude Terror Save Rock N' Roll, featuring the new album by Metallica, Death Magnetic!
Metallica built their career on the back of the metal underground. Like any underground scene, the metal underground placed a certain amount of value on underground cred. This is natural, and lots of bands start out in the underground and eventually graduate to a more mainstream audience. Everyone deserves to make some money for their craft, and no one needs to hold this against them.
Metallica, however, had more than just underground cred. Metallica was THE symbol of the eighties metal underground. This is a band that bragged their audience would turn their backs on other bands because they weren't as metal as Metallica. A band that swore, not just intimated, or said in passing because they were young and stupid, but SWORE never to sell out. A band that said things like:
"F--- MTV! We'll never do a video!" - Lars Ulrich, 1986
"If you've come to see makeup and stretch pants and hear the words 'ooh baby' in every song, you came to the wrong place." - James Hetfield, 1985
"To me the most boring thing in the world is safe, mainstream heavy metal...I'd rather listen to Madonna." - Lars Ulrich
"We've always known that there's been a need or a want for a band like us. We've fought back and broken through all the bullshit of the business, and now it's great to be able to say 'Fuck off' to the whole business, and 'We did it our way' and blah blah blah. We've always had our own way of doing things..." -Lars 1988
"We know certain groups out there figure, 'These are the current trends-how do we milk the market for the most we can get at the moment?' I think the music business nowadays is becoming such a fake thing; there's much more emphasis on business than music." -Lars
"We always wanted to be different from the rest of the music business. It's too classic: You make a record, you make a video. We were the first to give the finger to the music industry in America." -Lars 1988
"We're no different from them (fans). We see the world like other people. We don't live in mansions, and we're not hiding behind fences and making our own pretentious fantasy world with chicks and mountains of drugs. We live in the real world, and the real world's an ugly place." -Lars 1988
"I hope that Metallica will be remembered or looked upon as a band that cut through all the political and business bullshit. So then people will realize that it's possible to control yourself and gain a certain level of popularity without having to cater to anyone else's ideas or thoughts other than your own. If that's all that Metallica will ever stand for, then that's news enough." -Lars 1989
"We're the underdogs. We haven't had a Top 10 hit, and we look like a bunch of bums out there. Amidst all this glam and this huge production, we're going to stick out. But that's what we're here for--and that's what put us here in the first place." -Kirk Hammett 1988
Pretty fucking ironic isn't it? What type of business bullshit Lars? You mean like Metallica ringtones that say shit like "For whom the phone riiings?" Fuck MTV? Fuck the music business? Mainstream heavy metal is lame and boring? Fast forward twenty years, from 1988 to 2008, and all these things that Metallica wanted to fuck back then are what they are ALL ABOUT today.
Mainstream heavy metal. Documentaries with their psychologist. Videos. Radio play. Ringtones. Video games. This is not the Metallica we knew and loved. When someone who heard Metallica for the first time on the Black Album looks at these things, they don't see a problem. But that is because they are the trendy mainstream assholes that Metallica wanted to fuck in 1988. So who the fuck are they kidding?
I've heard the counter arguments, too many times. Metallica didn't sell out, they grew up. Metallica deserved to make some money off of their music. Metallica said all those things because they were young, everyone gets older and wiser. And to all of that, I say bullshit.
Metallica didn't need to make the Black Album to make money. They were the biggest underground metal band in the world, and arguably one of the biggest metal bands period. They were making tons of money WITHOUT mainstream radio-play, without MTV, without the adoration of trendy MTV watching wannabes. Was a major record label going to touch band that made music like Metallica did on their first three albums? Of course not, because people were AFRAID of that kind of music. But Metallica got so big that they DID get signed by a major label. Why? Because of the support of the underground fucking scene.
See, it was the underground scene that MADE Metallica. It was the word of mouth support of millions of people, people that spent their own money going to Metallica shows, buying Metallica albums, painting Metallica on the backs of their leather jackets, sending out tapes of Metallica to their friends that put Metallica in a position of such success that a major record label was actually willing to support a band that made music like that.
And what did they do?
Made a video.
Got on the radio.
Put out the Black Album.
Put out Load, which made even people who liked the Black Album think they sold out.
Made an album with a symphony orchestra.
Put out the world's lamest cell-phone ringtones.
And what do they have to say for themselves?
"Yes, we do sell out, every single time, everywhere we play." -James Hetfield
Fuck you, you disgusting piece of shit.
It's because of all this that the real fans, the true metal people, can't stand fucking Metallica. We're not jealous. We're not xenophobic. We have integrity, and we've been fucking betrayed. Royally screwed over by a band that we supported, a band that that we MADE. And we'll never forget.
This is the argument I've presented forever, and no matter how clearly I've put it, people will still say I don't like Metallica because they made money. Those people are idiots, and incapable of comprehending a sentence. However, after years of arguing with posers and know-nothings, I'm finally about to do something I haven't done in 20 years. I'm going to listen to a new Metallica album. This is the one that people are saying brings them back to their roots. This one is "as good as Justice, man!"
Justice was a mediocre album at best, so that's not so much to live up to. Let's see how it worked out...
The album, at least the one I downloaded (Fuck you Lars!), because there's no way I'm paying for this piece of shit, has ten songs. They're all pretty long, which was fine on an old Metallica album, where the songs had a lot of different parts that built to a worthwhile climax. Here, however, it just seems like a bunch of riffs thrown together just for the fuck of it. There's no point ot these songs, other than for Metallica, twenty years too late, to pretend they've still got gas in the tank by returning to their original style. They fail miserably at this, however, because:
1. They're old.
2. They're so far gone down the path of no return that they can't possibly know what it means to make true metal anymore.
3. They fucking suck.
To be fair, it's not the worst thing they've ever done. That's a tie for everything they did from the Black Album to the one before this. It's not good either though. Oh sure, it's heavy, and it's fast, and it's got manic guitar solos, and it's got lyrics that a 12 year old nonconformist would think were cool. But it's got no heart. It's got no soul. It's Selloutica making an album that they think Metallica would have made, and they're so fucking lost that they don't even know what that is, and they WERE fucking Metallica.
Let's take a look at the songs track by track.
1. That Was Just Your Life
This song begins a theme for this record - songs that sound like a local garage band trying to imitate Slayer. The riffs are good I guess, and they're put together nicely. The guitar solos are technically good. But there's no feeling behind it. No anger, no chaos. Where the songs on Kill Em All made you want to lose your fucking mind, these songs make you wonder when the opening band will be coming on. Once innovators, Metallica sound like a bunch of teenagers, talented teenagers albeit, imitating themselves circa 1985.
2. The End of the Line
More of the same here, wannabe thrash with some groove metal breakdowns thrown in, reminiscent of the sort of thing that you get from that mid-to-late nineties trend of wiggers playing death metal - a musical clusterfuck. Thrash is thrash. It should not be mixed with rap, or funk, or anything else. This song further illustrates the point that Metallica is no longer a band on mission, setting trends and making asskicking metal music, but instead a band attempting to make music like their idols. Only problem is, their idles are themselves from twenty years ago, and they've spend the past fifteen years or so shitting on that legacy as much as humanly possible, so that it's impossible to take this sort of thing the least bit seriously.
3. Broken, Beaten, and Scarred
Here, at least, instead of rehashing the glory of their early career, Metallica draws from their ultimate sellout album, the Black album. That's when they abandoned any pretense of being a thrash or speed metal band and adopted that "I'm a badass" metal that Pantera did so well. They're not fooling anyone though - Metallica are not badasses. They are whiny, rich, over-privileged pussies who put out videos about their therapy sessions. "We die hard?" I don't think so.
4. The Day That Never Comes
The Day That Never Comes starts off with a Fade To Black ripoff. Metallica: The Metallica Tribute Band. It's almost tolerable, until James Hetfield starts singing. This man was once a good singer, I swear. On Kill Em All Hetfield shrieked bloody murder and you goddamn believed in it. "No Life 'Til Leathah! Gonna kick some ass to-niiiiigggghhhTTT!" Fuck yeah you are. But not anymore. Hetfield starts out singing softly, ballad style, which does not become him. Then he gradually slips into his mullet-headed, I'm a lion rawr, heyah heyah voice that he perfected in the nineties. It sounded like a parody then, and it hasn't gotten any better. Then we slip into a One-like overproduced guitar solo section, though I have to admit, I like the background riff here. It's ruined by the overproduction though. They should take a time machine and give this song to Voivod in 1985, who would have done a much better job with it.
5. All Nightmare Long
Halfway through this album, and more of the same. At least it's consistent. More neo-Slayer riffing. More meaningless, trying too hard to be cool vocals. That shit doesn't fly in 2008, and the reason is doesn't fly is because Metallica made such a fucking joke out of metal in the first place by completely whoring it out to the mainstream. After hundreds of bands since then have ripped off this style, it's lost all its meaning. Sorry Metallica, you did this to yourselves. And that stupid fucking voice - "Your luck runs Out-ah!" Stop fucking adding an extra syllable to everything, it sounds retarded. I like the soloing here though. Actually, the whole ending is decent. Cool riffs, and Hetfield is channeling Tom Araya. This would be great, if it was Slayer in 1989. But it's not. That's really the underlying problem to this whole album.
We've passed the halfway point. If nothing else, it's almost over. The beginning of this song reminds me of GWAR off Scumdogs of the Universe, ruined of course by Hetfield's silly vocals and lyrics. Then all of a sudden they go into a softer breakdown and he starts singing like Dave Mustaine. Once again, it's actually an improvement, which is indicative of the overall problem. This album would be good if it was made by anyone but Metallica. They do a good job of paying tribute to better bands, and the songs are most tolerable when they sound like Slayer, or Megadeth, or Voivod. But it's not Slayer, or Megadeth, or Voivod. If Metallica hadn't spent fifteen years making the worst music on the face of the planet, they might still remember how to make music that sounds like Metallica. Instead, they seem to want to return to their roots, but they have no clue how to get there, so they're just rehashing the stuff that other great bands have done better in the past.
7. The Unforgiven III (times too many)
Back into mid-nineties mode, and to tell you the truth, it's almost a relief, because at least it doesn't give me douche-chills over how hard they're trying to channel their younger, more likable selves. Still, if I wanted to listen to Soundgarden, and trust me, I don't, I would listen to Soundgarden. And that pretty much sums up why I stopped liking Metallica in the first place. If this were 1992, and Metallica had put this out instead of the Black Album, this would be the worst song on the album. Now, in 2008, I'm gonna go ahead and call it the best song on the album, because at least it's not pretending to be something it's not. Hetfield sounds like he's going to cry by the end of this song. Oh, I just looked at the tracklist and apparently this is "Unforgiven III." They should have killed themselves before making Unforgiven I, that awful fucking song with the creepy old man in the video. There was no Howard the Duck II or III because it was a notoriously bad movie. The same principles should apply here.
8. The Judas Kiss
It seems that Metallica has given up on the thrash pretenses by this point in the album and resorted to more nu-metal. I guess even they were disgusted with themselves by this point. I don't like nu-metal, and I've never liked it, but I'd honestly rather hear Metallica being honest and playing it than pretending that they never cut their hair and sold their souls to MTV. Spoke too soon, it's ridiculous guitar solo time. Normally, I'd love this sort of thing, but they seem to be thrown haphazardly all over this album.
9. Suicide & Redemption
An instrumental? Thank fucking god. They needed to include one of these every other song to give people a break from Hetfield's awful voice. I wouldn't call this an actual instrumental though as much as a song they forgot to add lyrics too, and there is a subtle difference. Where Orion was inspired, and of course driven by Cliff Burton, this is forced and boring. Where there were blistering, needless guitar solos all over the rest of this album, they seem content to let the same lame, generic riffs play out endlessly on this song by themselves before throwing in a lead here and there.
10. My Apocolapse
If I heard this song in a filthy club with an audience of 30 people in 1992, I might be entertained. There's a line that could apply to any song on this album, of course. It's not that the riffs are bad, or that the vocals are sung badly, or that it's put together bad... technically, it's all there, like all the other songs on this album, but what's missing is the feeling. I listen to this, and I don't hate it, but I have absolutely no reason to like or even care about it. Metalllica, twenty years later, does absolutely nothing for me, and that's just a shame.
So there you have it. I gave this album as fair a try as I possibly could, and certainly fairer than it deserved. I even found some good things to say about it. Nice guitar solos. The occasional part of a song wasn't terrible. However, it's not a Metallica album. There hasn't been a true Metallica album since And Justice For All, and that wasn't even a good one. How can some guys who are EVERYTHING THEY USED TO DESPISE put out an album that recaptures the magic of the time when they actually meant something?
This is Lars and Friends doing their best Metallica impression, and it falls short. It might as well be Avenged Sevenfold, or some other shitty modern retro thrash band that seems to have all the tools to make a good metal album, but lacks the most important fucking part. METAL UP YOUR ASS!
Fuck this album, fuck Metallica, and fuck you, you trendy, dickless, poser bitches.
Posted originally: 2008-09-03 19:24:27