My albums of 2013

Montage of album covers

This review is a few days late, due to a nasty chest infection that’s been plaguing me from before Christmas.

My annual review of what I’ve most enjoyed listening to during the last 12 months, and my albums of the year.

Continue reading My albums of 2013

Metallica celebrates 30 years

Last month Metallica celebrated their 30th anniversary with a series of four shows at The Fillmore in San Francisco on Monday 05, Wednesday 07, Friday 09 and Saturday 10 December. (These links are to the official ‘recap’ videos on Metallica’s YouTube channel—over two and a quarter hours of Metallica and friends.)

Metallica took up a residency at The Fillmore and essentially became the house band for the week, to which they invited friends and former Metallica band mates to come join them and play both their own music and covers.

It was really great to see Dave Mustaine (Megadeth/ex-Metallica) on stage playing with them, and Jason Newsted too. Wonderful to hear John Bush (Armored Saint/ex-Anthrax) singing with the band, whom apparently Metallica wanted to join them as their vocalist in the early days. As well as all their other guests, including King Diamond (Mercyful Fate), Rob Halford (Judas Priest), Sean Harris and Tatler (Diamond Head), Animal (The Anti-Nowhere League), Lou Reed, Glenn Danzig (Misfits and Danzig), Marianne Faithfull, John Marshall (Metal Church), Biff Byford,  Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains), Bob Rock and more and more.

I’ve been listening to Metallica since 1986, when their third album Master of Puppets came out (I first listened to it at a Scripture Union camp!), and I don’t think I’ve ever heard Metallica play so well live as they did during those four shows. James Hetfield’s voice especially. Wow! And how heartening to see James Hetfield so well, and confident in himself.

I’d love there to be a DVD released of these shows.

You can buy digital versions of the four concerts on the Live Metallica website for US$9.95 (MP3) or US$12.95 (FLAC and Apple Lossless formats). Having listened to them all, they are well worth it: full of great music, great chat, and great humour.

There’s also a great review of the gigs on the Metallica news page, and of course following the 30th anniversay shows they released the Beyond Magnetic EP which contains the four ‘new’ songs (recorded during the Death Magnetic sessions) they played during the four nights in San Francisco: one each night.

Beyond Magnetic EP will be released on CD worldwide on 30 January, and in North America (who apparently aren’t part of the world!) on 31 January.

My albums of 2011

I didn’t think that I’d acquired many new albums in 2011, but I’ve just checked and my collection grew by 21 items (singles, EPs and albums), which was more than last year.

Here are my highlights, and unlike last year I’m starting with my favourite and working backwards.

Continue reading My albums of 2011

Terrorizer gives Death Magnetic 8/10

The latest edition of Terrorizer magazine dropped through my letterbox this morning.

I flicked through to the album reviews (Selected and Dissected) in search of their words of wisdom on the recent Metallica release Death Magnetic.  I wasn’t hopeful.

I found the review on page 77, and was pleasantly surprised.  It didn’t get the slating that I suspected that it might from a magazine that brims over month in, month out with fine examples of extreme music.  A few snippets from Stavros Pamballis’s review, in which he gave it a mighty 8/10:

… when it comes to Metallica, everyone has an opinion. You come to their work loaded with subjective expectations and a hack’s judgement can’t, and shouldn’t, change them.

Well said!

One of the great misconceptions about ‘Death Magnetic’ is that it constitutes a regression to the ‘Old Sound’, a capitulation to the wishes of the band’s hardcore fans. In fact, the album is a work of consolidation; a fusion of Metallica’s many faces; the speed brats, the thrash monsters, the radio megastars, even the groovy rockers of the ‘Load’ era. And that’s a good thing. To go back and remake ‘Kill ‘Em All’ at 45 would have been disingenuous.

I quite agree.  Enough of folks saying that this is the album that sits naturally between 1988’s ‘… And Justice For All’ and 1991’s ‘Metallica’ (aka ‘The Black Album’), this is definitely — to my ears, at least — an album that is post-Justice, post-Metallica, post-(Re)Load, post-St Anger.

Stavros ends his review with:

… bottom line, to anyone who refused to stop believing, ‘Death Magnetic’ will feel like having a beloved brother awaken from a twenty year coma — he’ll never be quite the same, but just hearing the sound of his voice fills your heart with pure joy.