Today’s the day when Metallica officially reclaimed their crowns as kings of all things loud. By now every self-respecting rock fan in the world should own the most significant return to form of 2008 and it lives up to the hype. Then some. Welcome to Death Magnetic or Rebirth Metallica…

Metallica – Death Magnetic (Universal) 

In extreme heaviness Metallica have seen the light. Gone is the false bombast of the Bob Rock produced St Anger and in its place Rick Rubin tuned riff upon riff. There are the searing solos, there is the punishing percussion and above all there is the sound of a band doing what it knows best.

In fact Death Magnetic and its limp predecessor are poles apart.

Right from the off there’s no stopping Hetfield et al as they steam through epic opener That Was Just Your Life and hammer home their irresistible form with follow-up The End Of The Line. Suddenly you’re 15 minutes in and it only seems like seconds since you flipped the vinyl.

Broken, Beat And Scarred is OK but the pedal’s back on the gas as single The Day That Never Comes arrives just in time. It’s vintage Metallica – intricate, inventive and aurally intrusive. Then comes rushonrock‘s track of the year in the shape of All Nightmare Long. It’s no exaggeration to say we could give this a whirl time after time after time and it would still send shivers down the spine.

Cyanide is classy but on first listen The Unforgiven III isn’t all it’s been cracked up to be. On an album this impressive every track demands perfection and there’s something missing from a song with such a resonant title for the band’s biggest fans.

A record which begins with a roar ends in stunning fashion as first The Judas Kiss, then the epic Suicide & Redemption and finally My Apocalypse leave listeners gasping for air and begging for more. If St Anger was the misprint then this has to be the blueprint for a band back at the top of the metal tree. Truly brilliant stuff.

rushonrock rated:  10/10 Death Is The Beginning