Metallica – The Day That Never Comes review

I thought I’d help out the web, because on brief searching I can’t find any informative reviews for ‘tallica’s first single in 5 years.

If you don’t know, thrash metal’s (or more hard rock these days) premier name is putting out new album Death Magnetic on Sep 12, and yesterday they revealed The Day That Never Comes as the single, which seemingly is download only.

After the Black album (or inc. it if you weren’t won over by it), Metallica trod the blues rock, novelty album and the nu-metal route which no one really liked the taste of, so in changing producer and using their new bass player’s writing skills they’ve tried to deliver something that really recalls their 80’s catalogue, with a hint of Black album and something contemporary.

First on the checklist is the song length at over 7mins. Metallica often write long songs so this tradition remains unchanged. But here we’re greated with ballady arpeggiating guitars and gentle lead lines that recall Fade To Black/Sanitarium/One/The Unforgiven that then burst into Black album, or perhaps Load-y choruses. The latter half of the song is a series of attempts to rock out and it seems like they’re going down memory lane with hints of the One solo, Am I Evil, Motorbreath, and Kill ‘Em All stye solo-ing.

This is not the best thing Metallica have ever done, but this is the best thing they’ve done in a while and can do. And I like it because my expectation was met: Metallica will only play thrash metal live and that will be their back catalogue. Writing wise Black album as a spring board is acheievable, they know that and they’re mining it. Well done.

Some criticism now. Lars is not the same drummer he used to be. He may not be clanging a bin lid here like on ’03’s St. Anger album, but he’s still playing rather basic and tame. He was never the most gifted drummer in metal, but there was a time when he was very creative to make up for that (AJFA) and had the heavy drum sound to die for (Black). But at least he plays for the song and doesn’t contaminate it with over use of 2 kick drums like many young metal bands.

James also sounds more older and hippy-ish than ages ago. But hey, the guy’s 5 years away from 50. Give him a break. But he’s not goofy sounding like on St. Anger. Likewise Kirk is playing solos after having no real defining role on St. Anger.
As for Rob, he doesn’t stand out in this song – that would be Cyanide, at the moment – but his bass sounds good.

Also bare in mind the download version of the song will fortunately not be the same as the CD. An encoding error for the web resulted in some nasty clipping that a Mission Metallica personnel confirmed. I expect the quality on CD will be as easy on the ears as their Remember Tomorrow cover for a Kerrang Maiden tribute CD.

I’m not shelling out for the coffin box set, but I think within reason Death Magnetic will be the best album since Black album. Not better, not worse, but an antidote to St. Anger and the indulgent Load era. I think Metallica ‘get it’ again.

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5 thoughts on “Metallica – The Day That Never Comes review

  1. Awesome review, I completely agree. Though Ive loved all of Metallicas work, I can honestly admit that their past 4 albums (Black Album, Load, Reload, and St Anger) havnt really been Metallica. Now this song sounds like Metallica!

    Mo: Thank you. Somehow this review has recieved 100s of hits in the last few days and is the top result for the term ‘metallica the day that never comes review’ in Google. It’s also my most popular post ever.
    I think if people understand that these guys aren’t spring chickens anymore and have been in the mainstream side of the rock pool for eons, they could look forward to Death Magnetic as it seems, so far, a sincere attempt to be both old and new. Metallica will never be underground again but this doesn’t mean they cannot pull off a good album. And who knows, once their Warner contract expires there will be even less artist expectation from them; meaning they really can do what they want and probably mean it.
    I’m also quite impressed with My Apocalypse which is just good dumb, brainless thrash. I’m looking forward to the next 2 pre-album studio song releases.

  2. I’m totally agree with you! Probably Death Magnetic won’t be the best album from Metallica, but hell they are back on track!

  3. dis song bites, and metallica is totally irrelevant. review that nerd.

    Mo: I respect your opinion. Not your spelling though.

  4. As the hard-core Metallica fan that I am, I must admit I didn’t have my hopes on this album.. and you can’t blame after the Load, Re-Load, St. Anger dark age.

    But after hearing this single and the other ones such as My Apocalypse, Cyanide, The Judas Kiss.. All I can say is they did it. This album might not have the same impact as MoP, RTL, AJFA, K’eA, becuase those albums at their time were the revolutionary stuff, but still Death Magnetic seems to come with somewhat the same quality and energy that those legendary albums have.

    I’m truly looking forward to it now. =)

    Metallica rules forever!

    Mo: I too was prepared for another poor album. But they definitely did it the best they could and I’ve no real complaints!

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