A mere 6 or 7 years after their previous effort “Hardwired to Self Destruct” Metallica have come back with a new album and its got critics falling over themselves to write reviews and put their opinion out there. I’m no real exception to that rule either.

I should say that I used to be a Metallica tragic. As a teenager I’d buy every album, EP, video cassette, single and had a fairly size-able collection of Metallica Merchandise. As a teenager my first ever band was a Metallica cover band and this year marks 33 years since I started listening to Metallica. It shaped how I play today and much of my life growing up. These days I still listen to the band but the obsession has gone partly killed by Load / Reload albums and then quashed by the St. Anger release which had me almost disowning the band. Death Magnetic was a return to form in my opinion and renewed my love of them, but by that point the obsessive record colletor in me had grown up and entered the real world.

We fast forward to the present day and albums like “LuLu and St Anger” have become distant memories. The band seem to be back playing fast and heavy again. But how was this new album going to shape up? On first listen I have to say its a lot of fun! The songs are for the most part thrashing rather well. No mean feat for a band whose members are all in the 60s now. The guitar playing is generally pretty reminiscent of their early influences like Motorhead, Diamond Head and of course their own early material. The vocals are sounding more melodic than before, but this somehow works really well with the faster material. Making melodic vocals fit on top of songs this fast is not an easy task to make happen. Kirk Hammett is fine form with blazing solos, and that characteristic “Wah” pedal of his going off the deep end on every song. There is a lot of melody in the guitar playing. This combines nearly every aspect of their early influences and their early material into a very slick package. One song Inamorata reminds me of the bands Load / Reload phases (but heavier) but overall the general tempo of the album is quite fast.

This is a very well produced album produced in the way that pop / rock albums are usually produced with the vocals up front. This is great because Hetfield is sounding on top of his game. The guitars sit a little under this but still a great sound. The drums have been taken a little back in the mix this time round and Lars tends to play a little more towards the song. Overall I’d say the songs don’t take you on the same kind of journey that say the songs on “Master of Puppets” did. With heavy bits and mellower acoustic bits. These songs tend to keep conistent paces and feels the whole way through them. In some ways its a progression for the band but other longer time fans will miss this aspect of the band.

Over all I’m quite happy with this and will definitely keep listening to this and give it some more time but for an first listen this is growing on me nicely 🙂 .

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