Today is an extremely important day on the calendar for metalheads around the world. It's a day that's only happened eight times before in the history of heavy music. Today is the day Metallica releases a new studio album.
The publicity machine has been building steadily as of late for Death Magnetic, the band's ninth studio record. A recent New York Times article profiled the group prior to a show in Bucharest talking about how they tried to get back into the headspace of their seminal work Master of Puppets, considered by most as their masterpiece. To hear them acknowledge their past with reverence should give fans no small amount of relief after living through the painful "moving forward" calamity that was 03's St. Anger.
Those still ill from that album's horrific attempts to uneasily fit Metallica into the nu-metal era should take note of Death Magnetic's production credits. Rick Rubin is now in charge of career resuscitation, which means they finally came to their senses and ditched longtime collaborator Bob Rock, the man commandeering the band like it was the Exxon Valdez since 91's black album.
To be fair, Rock probably took more blame than he deserved for Metallica's decade-long downswing. The band made plenty of bad musical decisions on their own, and his job was always to yes-man them. Still, an online petition that over 20,000 fans signed calling for Metallica to dump his ass, says a lot. That kind of "activism" is usually reserved for soccer clubs with hated coaches. This is rock n' roll and Metallica aren't competiting for the World Cup.
However, a recent revisit of the cringe-inducing documentary Some Kind of Monster, the film which Metallica went from being metal gods to sniveling therapy cases while spending four years and millions of dollars on a steaming pile of dogshit of a record, gave me an idea of the amount of influence he attained in the group, and it certainly didn't appear healthy for Metallica's career. Not to mention constantly angling himself to be their bass player (before they finally hired current bassist Rob Trujillo). But as Rock says about his chances of landing the coveted gig at one point in the film, "I'm too fat and too old." No arguments there.
Check NOW's disc section for a review of Death Magnetic.