Metallica – Beyond Magnetic (2011, Warner Bros. Records)
1. “Hate Train” … 6:59
2. “Just A Bullet Away” … 7:11
3. “Hell and Back” … 6:57
4. “Rebel of Babylon” … 8:01
James Hetfield – Vocals, Guitar
Kirk Hammett – Guitar
Robert Trujillo – Bass
Lars Ulrich – Drums
Producer: Rick Rubin
Beyond Magnetic is a collection of the 4 songs that didn’t make it onto 2008’s Death Magnetic album. 14 songs were written for that album but only 10 made the cut. So, after debuting these songs live during one of their 30th Anniversary shows, Metallica originally released them to the world through digital retailers (exclusive to iTunes in North America) on December 13, 2011. The E.P. is available in CD form as of January 31, 2012.
From what I understand, these are only rough mixes of the songs (I’m assuming final mixes do exist). I just hope they don’t try to pad out the next Metallica album by throwing completed versions of these songs on it and calling it a day.
As expected, reaction to this Beyond Magnetic has been mixed. I’ve read everything from “It’s worse than Death Magnetic!” to “Why the #&$% weren’t these songs on Death Magnetic?” to “It sucks!” to “They’re playing thrash again!” to “At least it isn’t Lulu!”
I’m not one of those “fans” that takes the stance that everything the band has done since …And Justice For All (or the Black Album) sucks. I’ve talked about making the ultimate Load & Reload compilation in the past. And I quite liked Death Magnetic. I listened to it again recently and it still holds up. With the songs from DM still fresh in my mind, I’m in the camp that’s wondering why these songs weren’t included on the album. In fact, that album only had 10 tracks, what’s wrong with bumping it up to 14? Still, “Suicide & Redemption” and “The Judas Kiss” could’ve easily been left off DM to make room for at least “Just A Bullet Away” and “Hate Train”.
“Just A Bullet Away” comes the closest to sound like old school Metallica. I don’t really think we’ll ever see a true return to that era but this is about as close as these guys can get these days. So, yeah, your mileage may vary but I think this is a good little E.P. with on “Rebel of Babylon” kinda just wandering around for a bit.
If you’re a Metallica hater, you’ll probably hate Beyond Magnetic but that’s expected of you. As for anyone who actually enjoyed Death Magnetic, this is worth checking out.
The album art looks like a butterfly.
Highlights: “Hate Train”, “Just A Bullet Away”, “Hell and Back”
Buy Beyond Magnetic [CD Edition] at Amazon.com