Audio:Metallica

METALLICADeath MagneticThe much-anticipated new Metallica record opens not with guitar, but with the sound of a heartbeat on the tune “That Was Just Your Life.” The first 6-string that enters is the classic Metallica clean tone: EMG pickups into a Roland JC-120, snaking sinister arpeggios that finally lead into the massive crunch that made James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett famous. They dish out amazingly fast, precise riffing, harmonized lead lines, a wah-drenched solo, and a whole bunch of different parts, grooves, and tempos—all in the first tune. Produced by Rick Rubin, Death Magnetic represents a full-blown return to form for the Northern California quartet. The guitar tones, although heavily layered, have an immediacy and presence that makes you feel like you’re standing right in front of the amps. Cool, guitaristic noises like picks on strings, feedback, and even amp hiss positively jump out of the speakers, striking a kick-ass balance between the raw and the polish
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