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.
deadone - 31.07.2014 at 06:48  
Review well written but I disagree with opinion. I really like the EP and prefer it to Death Magnetic.
Lord_Regnier - 17.08.2014 at 07:37  
Written by Kub on 10.07.2012 at 14:39

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.


A distinct lack of bands like Metallica these days? No thanks. One band like Metallica is already way too much for me. Metallica represent all that is wrong with Metal sometimes. A sellout band that released nothing listenable after AJFA. Better a "safe" real Metal album than any crap Metallica released in the last 25 years.

Not all change is progress or evolution. Better something that is not anything new but works fine than something different that turns out shitty.
Funny how you mention Kreator and "Renewal". You just prove my point, as "Renewal" is a piece of shit. God bless them for "never expanding on Renewal".

I never liked Metallica in the first place, so nobody can accuse me of being bitter at the change and wanting them to copy MOP for 30 years. KEM was OK, no more. Same for RTL. I dislike MOP. AJFA was good, no more. IMO, Metallica were immensely overrated in the 80's, to the point it got annoying and are the most overrated Metal band of all time now. However, I can see that their old material is quite superior to what they're doing nowadays.
deadone - 18.08.2014 at 03:19  
Written by Lord_Regnier on 17.08.2014 at 07:37

Written by Kub on 10.07.2012 at 14:39

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.


A distinct lack of bands like Metallica these days? No thanks. One band like Metallica is already way too much for me. Metallica represent all that is wrong with Metal sometimes. A sellout band that released nothing listenable after AJFA. Better a "safe" real Metal album than any crap Metallica released in the last 25 years.

Not all change is progress or evolution. Better something that is not anything new but works fine than something different that turns out shitty.
Funny how you mention Kreator and "Renewal". You just prove my point, as "Renewal" is a piece of shit. God bless them for "never expanding on Renewal".

I never liked Metallica in the first place, so nobody can accuse me of being bitter at the change and wanting them to copy MOP for 30 years. KEM was OK, no more. Same for RTL. I dislike MOP. AJFA was good, no more. IMO, Metallica were immensely overrated in the 80's, to the point it got annoying and are the most overrated Metal band of all time now. However, I can see that their old material is quite superior to what they're doing nowadays.



You do realise you can just avoid them? I personally hate Norwegian Black Metal and shit like Agalloch, Epica and iwrestledabearonce. I have no contact with this kind of music so it doesn't bother me.
Daniell - 18.08.2014 at 09:44  
Written by Mattybu on 10.07.2012 at 20:04

you can't say that AJFA is just a rehash of Master of Puppets.


Actually, this is EXACTLY what it is, but weaker musically. The lack of Cliff Burton is painfully obvious.

This is the first album where Metallica started to practice redundant noodling and overblowing their songs: Frayed Ends of Sanity, And Justice For All, To Live Is To Die are the best examples of that.

Written by Mattybu on 10.07.2012 at 20:04

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.


That album was a masterstroke. If Metallica released another album full of plodding 8-minute thrash baloons, it would be a complete disaster. Simplifying their music was the only logical thing to do.
Marcel Hubregtse - 18.08.2014 at 11:51  
Written by Daniell on 18.08.2014 at 09:44

Written by Mattybu on 10.07.2012 at 20:04

you can't say that AJFA is just a rehash of Master of Puppets.


Actually, this is EXACTLY what it is, but weaker musically. The lack of Cliff Burton is painfully obvious.




Actually Master Of Puppets is already a rehash of Ride The Lightning. Just look at how the album evolves with the types of songs put in what place.
Marcel Hubregtse - 18.08.2014 at 11:53  
Written by Mattybu on 10.07.2012 at 20:04



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.



How so ironically. metallica even said at the time of recording that album that they wanted to release a chart buster that would make them loads of money and that was the reason they Bob Rock as producer. Because of what he had done for Mötley Crüe on Dr. Feelgood.
Daniell - 18.08.2014 at 16:48  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 18.08.2014 at 11:51

Actually Master Of Puppets is already a rehash of Ride The Lightning. Just look at how the album evolves with the types of songs put in what place.


Yes, I know that, obviously. But Master of Puppets was a great album, while And Justice... wasn't.
Marcel Hubregtse - 18.08.2014 at 16:48  
Written by Daniell on 18.08.2014 at 16:48

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 18.08.2014 at 11:51

Actually Master Of Puppets is already a rehash of Ride The Lightning. Just look at how the album evolves with the types of songs put in what place.


Yes, I know that, obviously. But Master of Puppets was a great album, while And Justice... wasn't.


True...
Mattybu - 18.08.2014 at 19:26  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 18.08.2014 at 11:53

Written by Mattybu on 10.07.2012 at 20:04



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.



How so ironically. metallica even said at the time of recording that album that they wanted to release a chart buster that would make them loads of money and that was the reason they Bob Rock as producer. Because of what he had done for Mötley Crüe on Dr. Feelgood.


Read what the quote was a response to. One of the things I said a fan might be pissed off about (in the review) is the fact that Metallica sold out, and he referred to it as "musically searching for new forms of expression and trying to develop". The ironic part is that he didn't acknowledge the album is designed to be safe and sell a lot and a perfect example of a trailblazing and changing band regressing into totally trite music that had been done before.
Mattybu - 18.08.2014 at 19:44  
Written by Daniell on 18.08.2014 at 09:44

Written by Mattybu on 10.07.2012 at 20:04

you can't say that AJFA is just a rehash of Master of Puppets.


Actually, this is EXACTLY what it is, but weaker musically. The lack of Cliff Burton is painfully obvious.

This is the first album where Metallica started to practice redundant noodling and overblowing their songs: Frayed Ends of Sanity, And Justice For All, To Live Is To Die are the best examples of that.


Not really, I would consider Blackened, One, Eye Of The Beholder, The Shortest Straw, and Dyers Eve great songs. And by that point it's getting to like half the album. The production was bad, but there were some really well written songs on it. I consider it at the very least as good an album as Master of Puppets, maybe better.

The album structure that was used on RTL and MOP is followed but a little more loosely, and the songs and ideas are all different than the previous album. If you want to write it off as "redundant noodling" that's fine, but to say it's a rehash of the previous album doesn't make much sense seeing how it is different. A band doesn't need to completely change their genre for albums to have differences.
Daniell - 18.08.2014 at 21:13  
Written by Mattybu on 18.08.2014 at 19:44

Not really, I would consider Blackened, One, Eye Of The Beholder, The Shortest Straw, and Dyers Eve great songs.

Minus Eye, I completely agree. I especially love Blackened. But 4 great songs are not enough.
Marcel Hubregtse - 18.08.2014 at 21:18  
Written by Daniell on 18.08.2014 at 21:13

Written by Mattybu on 18.08.2014 at 19:44

Not really, I would consider Blackened, One, Eye Of The Beholder, The Shortest Straw, and Dyers Eve great songs.

Minus Eye, I completely agree. I especially love Blackened. But 4 great songs are not enough.


And only Blackened, One and Dyers Eve for me and bits of To Live Is To Die.
3 and a bit songs is by far not enought to please me.
deadone - 19.08.2014 at 03:38  
I totally agree that MOP and AJFA are basically a continuation of RTL. And by the time AJFA comes around it's clear they've run out of ideas. A lot of the songs don't sound that great - there's a lack of intensity, the hooks aren't as good etc.

If they'd continued on that path, I reckon the next album would've been even worse than AJFA.

Written by Mattybu on 18.08.2014 at 19:26


Read what the quote was a response to. One of the things I said a fan might be pissed off about (in the review) is the fact that Metallica sold out, and he referred to it as "musically searching for new forms of expression and trying to develop". The ironic part is that he didn't acknowledge the album is designed to be safe and sell a lot and a perfect example of a trailblazing and changing band regressing into totally trite music that had been done before.


By the time MOP came out, Metallica were anything but trailblazing. In many ways Black was trailblazing for Metallica as they had abandoned the safe and established formula of RTL/MOP/AJFA. And by 1989 Thrash was already dying artistically - you had thrash bands getting groovier, heavier, slower and even funkier. Death Metal was the new thing underground.

Also Black album IMO is groundbreaking. It was commercial but it was also very heavy for a commercial album. Not much sounded like it before - even Dr Feelgood swings musically to a more hard rock sound.

Black album was also highly influential - I really suspect it had a massive infleunce on Nu-metal, Groove Metal and some of the more metallier moments of Grunge (e.g. Godsmack). It set new standards for heavy metal production. And it made metal respected by the mainstream.

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