Rating:
6.0
Metallica - Beyond Magnetic [EP]
12 December 2011


01. Hate Train
02. Just A Bullet Away
03. Hell And Back
04. Rebel Of Babylon


Back in the early 1980's, a little group called Metallica were an integral part in the spawning of a movement it's safe to say a large number of metalheads around the world revere. We all know enough of their story to understand their importance, and let's face it, back in the day these guys were on top.

Fast forward 20 some years. Once heroes of metal, Metallica would come to give fans possibly the greatest disgrace to heavy metal of all time. Lulu has taken a spot in every Metallica fan's broken heart as one of the most notorious albums of 2011.

This brings us to Beyond Magnetic, the EP released the very same year. I could speculate a lot of hidden reasons for the release of this; a reminder from the band that Lulu wasn't ALL on them, a quick cash grab, etc. At the end of the day, the music here is nothing too impressive, but nothing too disgraceful either.

The EP consists of 4 tracks each clocking in at around 7-8 minutes. They have their moments ("Just A Bullet Away" has some interesting work on it, mostly ruined by the slow section), but it'll take them hitting some kind of nerve to really grab you. The thing is that nowadays the balls-to-the-wall thrashing approach is something Metallica has clearly abandoned, and the Lulu approach is something I doubt they will be delving into again, ever. So what is left feels a bit watery. There's some cool riffs, serviceable musicianship (Lars maintains an impressive blast beat at around 280 bpm*), and you'll probably do some head bobbing to the steady chug of the songs at some point. That was pretty much it though, nothing spectacular.

On top of that, there isn't really any need for this EP. Fans who have somehow escaped Metallica's career without being offended (by a multitude of things, the sellout factor, St. Anger, Lulu) and still have faith in this band will probably love it. It's not bad, but as I said before, it's nothing special, and there's no real need for this to be released.

I find comparisons to food universally relevant and strangely effective when music is what's in question. Meal-wise, this EP is the chicken fingers on the Denny's kids menu. Edible, digestible, but leaving you wanting something better.

*If you believed this for even a fraction of a second, do yourself a favor and slap yourself in the face.

Performance: 7
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Band profile: Metallica
Album: Beyond Magnetic


 


written by Mattybu | 06.07.2012


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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The Voyager - 06.07.2012 at 19:27  
Just your daily reminder that Lulu was a Lou Reed album that Metallica played on, not a Metallica album that Lou Reed played on.
Mattybu - 06.07.2012 at 19:30  
Written by The Voyager on 06.07.2012 at 19:27

Just your daily reminder that Lulu was a Lou Reed album that Metallica played on, not a Metallica album that Lou Reed played on.


Not that you could ever, ever forgive any of the parties involved for Lulu.

Ever.
Big-Al - 06.07.2012 at 19:48  
As an EP, it works very well... some overly funny lyrics but all was recorded during the death magnetic (love is a 4 letter word??? lol??!!!) sessions... but without being so overly produced and messed around with. Honestly I like this little EP. It works. Maybe it doesn't deserve the 9 I give it, but I do enjoy it.

While lulu (recorded 3 years after these tracks) is NOT a money grabbing project, it is SHIT and it really didnt work at all. But if we judge a band on their last performance/release this EP does redeem them, that is why they released this "unnecessary" nice little gem.
BoxCar Willy - 06.07.2012 at 19:58  
*Slaps own face*
Mattybu - 06.07.2012 at 20:06  
Written by Big-Al on 06.07.2012 at 19:48

As an EP, it works very well... some overly funny lyrics but all was recorded during the death magnetic (love is a 4 letter word??? lol??!!!) sessions... but without being so overly produced and messed around with. Honestly I like this little EP. It works. Maybe it doesn't deserve the 9 I give it, but I do enjoy it.

While lulu (recorded 3 years after these tracks) is NOT a money grabbing project, it is SHIT and it really didnt work at all. But if we judge a band on their last performance/release this EP does redeem them, that is why they released this "unnecessary" nice little gem.


Well sure it "works" as an EP. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the basic structure of this, its serviceable and certainly not as pathetic as Lulu. It's just boring a lot of the time, songs will have their moments but other than that it's hard to muster up any excitement about this. As I skim through iTunes to pick an album to play if the title ""Beyond Magnetic" catches my eye I would go, "meh, no."

As for Metallica redeeming themselves... I'm in the "Haven't put out an exceptional album since AJFA" boat. I thought Death Magnetic was fairly good, but certainly not redemption. That's probably the only post-80's era Metallica release that I got much enjoyment from.

I think at this point in Metallica's career, I have accepted the fact that nothing they will release will come close to touching their classics. So when they release something new I just take it for what it is and see if it's enjoyable. This wasn't really, but it wasn't that bad either.

Butters49 - 07.07.2012 at 01:11  
People still going on about lulu.
Maybe in 15 years people will give it a real listen.

Agree with the review though.
Mattybu - 07.07.2012 at 01:20  
Written by Butters49 on 07.07.2012 at 01:11

People still going on about lulu.
Maybe in 15 years people will give it a real listen.


I think with how much people were put off by it, opinions aren't gonna change too much down the road. I mean, personally, I might listen to it in it's entirety once someday if I gun for the entire Metallica studio discography (which I might seeing as they're one of my favourite bands) but in all honesty I don't think people will ever come to like it.
Troy Killjoy - 07.07.2012 at 07:00  
Written by Butters49 on 07.07.2012 at 01:11
Maybe in 15 years people will give it a real listen.

People gave it a real listen when it was released. It had its chance and failed miserably, and for good reason.

The only reason people will like it in 15 years is because those who've heard it (and suffered from a severe loss of brain cells as a result) will spawn borderline-retarded children who can't grasp anything more complex than the single riff on Lulu and thus claim it to be "passable, but still not good".
Void Eater - 07.07.2012 at 07:49  
Listening to Hate Train- "Woah, this is pretty thrashy, was not expecting anything like this. Why the hell was this not on Death Magnetic?" 1:30 in-awesome thrashiness replaced by standard rock/groove metal chug riff. Makes me a sad panda.
Mattybu - 07.07.2012 at 09:02  
Written by Void Eater on 07.07.2012 at 07:49

Listening to Hate Train- "Woah, this is pretty thrashy, was not expecting anything like this. Why the hell was this not on Death Magnetic?" 1:30 in-awesome thrashiness replaced by standard rock/groove metal chug riff. Makes me a sad panda.


I was a rather unimpressed panda myself. Like I said it had it's moments but standard would be a good word to describe it.



malaikat - 07.07.2012 at 11:09  
As long as they try to be proggy, groovy and jethrotull-y, they will continue to suck more and more. Now, I'm not against bands experimenting, if they know how to do it. Metallica clearly doesn't, and yet they still feel that playing good ol' epic thrash is somehow beneath them now.
afu - 07.07.2012 at 14:37  
I don't get stuck by bands changing. When I listen to an album, I judge it by the songwriting. Since I listen to blues, classic rock, psychedelic, pop, alternative, hard rock, old punk, and metal, (and play guitar in all those styles) there is a wide variety of things I will like if the songs hold up. I think Metallica have done pretty well. Some major missteps at times (most of Reload, almost all of St. Anger, working with Lulu Reed), but overall their ability to write songs and incorporate different things into their palette keeps it fresh. After all, if they'd stuck solely to thrash, half of Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets would not exist.
Cynic Metalhead - 08.07.2012 at 21:05  
I'm still recovering from Lulu and to be honest, "Beyond Magnetic" wasn't that bad stuff.
Butters49 - 10.07.2012 at 01:39  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 07.07.2012 at 07:00

Written by Butters49 on 07.07.2012 at 01:11
Maybe in 15 years people will give it a real listen.

People gave it a real listen when it was released. It had its chance and failed miserably, and for good reason.

The only reason people will like it in 15 years is because those who've heard it (and suffered from a severe loss of brain cells as a result) will spawn borderline-retarded children who can't grasp anything more complex than the single riff on Lulu and thus claim it to be "passable, but still not good".


metalheads will never enjoy it.
The general pubic hairs may come to like it however.
Kub - 10.07.2012 at 14:39  
"Fans who have somehow escaped Metallica's career without being offended (by a multitude of things, the sellout factor, St. Anger, Lulu) and still have faith in this band will probably love it."

I don't really get how somebody can be "offended" by musicians actually searching for new forms of expression and trying to develop. I guess most of people would be happy with them just copying "Master Of Puppets" for 30 years. There is a distinct lack of bands like Metallica these days, bands that do not give a fuck about criticism, and don't care if they lose half of them because they want to change direction. This is also the reason why metal became so boring during last decade - bands are afraid to lose sales and release "safe" albums so that the fans are not "offended" by progress (case in point - Kreator, who never expanded on Renewal, or Paradise Lost, who had to turn back after Host). Yuck. This is absolutely the same for metal as it is for pop or rap - do not change too much or the fans will reject you, as most of fans just want the same old all the time. I guess even Metallica backed down on DM and made the album for "old fans", but given their antics in the past I will give them benefit of doubt.

The EP is quite OK, my only gripe is with production really.
Mattybu - 10.07.2012 at 20:04  
Written by Kub on 10.07.2012 at 14:39

"Fans who have somehow escaped Metallica's career without being offended (by a multitude of things, the sellout factor, St. Anger, Lulu) and still have faith in this band will probably love it."

I don't really get how somebody can be "offended" by musicians actually searching for new forms of expression and trying to develop. I guess most of people would be happy with them just copying "Master Of Puppets" for 30 years. There is a distinct lack of bands like Metallica these days, bands that do not give a fuck about criticism, and don't care if they lose half of them because they want to change direction. This is also the reason why metal became so boring during last decade - bands are afraid to lose sales and release "safe" albums so that the fans are not "offended" by progress (case in point - Kreator, who never expanded on Renewal, or Paradise Lost, who had to turn back after Host). Yuck. This is absolutely the same for metal as it is for pop or rap - do not change too much or the fans will reject you, as most of fans just want the same old all the time. I guess even Metallica backed down on DM and made the album for "old fans", but given their antics in the past I will give them benefit of doubt.


I have nothing against a band changing their sound if they can do a good job of it. But abominations like St. Anger and Lulu are bad albums in mine and a lot of people's opinions, and what people like you might call "expression" and "development" most people just call garbage.

The ironic part about your post is that the era of Metallica that is cherished by a lot of their fans shows a lot of progression and change in their music. You can't say that Ride the Lightning is just a rehash of Kill 'Em All, you can't say that AJFA is just a rehash of Master of Puppets.

Then came the self titled piece of shit album, and bye bye Metallica. And that album is, also ironically, the definition of a safe money maker.

So really, overall, I think Metallica has done plenty to disappoint and offend fans. But I appreciate the response and commend you for sticking behind your opinion.

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