Metallica's relationship with their fans is akin to that of a prodigious son who's slid into a mediocre adulthood while the parents refuse to admit that whatever gift he had has long since vanished. With that rambling analogy in mind, Death Magnetic is pretty much the faint ray of hope so many have been waiting for.
Their latest successfully revisits elements of their thrash-metal prime, eschewing bloated self-indulgence for straight-up head-banging aggression, with decent riffs to match, thanks in no small part to producer Rick Rubin. There are still moments that make you roll your eyes and go, "Fuck off, Hetfield! Are those actually the lyrics you chose?!" But for the most part, the band sounds hungry again, and not just for another documentary or a new therapist.