Let's face it. Metallica's last album was pretty poor and sounded more like an upcoming thrash band's album. The process they went through to record the album was disjointed and riddled with interruption leaving the end product to be an angry tirade. I know this was the point but after 15 minutes of this blitzkrieg my tired ear drums submitted their surrender; Apart from 'Invisible Kid' and 'St. Anger' there really wasn't that much to offer in the way of lyrics and when combined with no change of pace throughout and far too much over strumming the album only succeeded in giving me a headache.
After this album and especially after watching the documentary "Some Kind of Monster" I was seriously worried whether Metallica would ever perform again let alone write another album. Fortunately for their fans they managed to pull themselves together, forget about downloading and covers and create what has to be their best album since 'The Black Album' which is all of 15 years old now. I even think this album goes someway to catching 'Ride the Lightening' but that may be an excited overstatement because I don't believe this album will be surpassed by anyone including Metallica themselves.
When you switch the album on you instantly know that this is Metallica, it has their scent all over it and once the drums and guitars roll on in you are confronted with more solo's than a Star Wars family BBQ, in fact with one entire 7 minute spot specifically dedicated to a guitar riff you know this collection of songs are going to be epic.
The album starts off typically fast paced and adrenaline filled while leaving plenty of time for some great lyrics and an interlacing of piano's, trumpets, strings and bass. Every song on the album could be laid down in a rock club without hesitation and set the place on fire which only goes to show the quality of the band's bottomless song writing ability. There is not one track I don't like and I'm still wrangling with the idea of "IS this album better than the Black Album?" Thanks to the complete murder of "Enter Sandman" by Kerrang it makes it very close.
I just hope I haven't got too excited and look back on this having changed my mind but my initial reactions are good. The only bad thing about this album as far as I can see are the impossible levels that will inevitably follow it on Guitar Hero!!