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Metallica – Beyond Magnetic EP Review

12 February
Author: Sam

I’ve been on a bit of a Metallica high this last week since I was able to score tickets to the inaugural Orion Music + More festival they announced would be taking place in Atlantic City, New Jersey over a weekend in late June.

Here’s the official site where you can peep the thus far confirmed lineup.  It may come as a surprise to some that the lineup isn’t just metal-focused.    In addition to Metallica headlining both nights of the festival (and playing Metallica and Ride the Lightning in their entirety!), they’ve also got The Sword and Avenged Sevenfold.  But then you’ve also got alternative heavy hitters Arctic Monkeys, Modest Mouse, Cage the Elephant, and Best Coast.  You’ve even got some punk rock in The Gaslight Anthem and some blues rock in Gary Clark, Jr.  That’s a solid lineup, and it’s nice to see the Metalli-dudes willing to expand the scope of their festival and cast a wider net.  There will surely be more bands added to the lineup and the website also promises some comedy acts.  Basically, I’m pretty stoked to be going to my first Metallica show and having all these sweet bonuses tacked on.

This giant concert news also coincided with the release of Beyond Magnetic, a four song EP comprised of tracks recorded during the Death Magnetic sessions but which didn’t make the final cut on that album.

Metallica fans are split over Death Magnetic.  For many, it’s a piece of crap nearly on par with St. Anger.  Others, like myself for instance, thought it was a really solid album that certainly does not besmirch the Metallica brand.  Old school fans have a real hard time accepting that guys who are almost 50 years old no longer sound exactly like they did when they were barely above the legal drinking age.  That attitude shouldn’t lead directly to scorn.  I too recognize that Metallica in the 2000s is not on par with Metallica in the mid to late 1980s.  That fact, however, does not completely discredit their more recent output.

It’s easy to call these four songs b-sides given the way they are presented here, but I imagine had they received that final layer of production polish and been structured into a proper album, no one would have picked them out as being obviously lesser than their peers.  And with the four songs clocking in at nearly a half hour’s worth of music, this isn’t a toss-away effort either.

Look, neither me or this EP is going to sway the opinion of any Metallica fan on the merits or quality of Death Magnetic session tracks.  This EP was born during that time and the songs all carry the same style and sound of the tracks that made their way onto the record.  So if you hated DM, you’ll similarly dislike this EP; and if you liked DM, then you’ve got yourself a pretty sweet little addendum to it.  But just so you know – if you fall into the former camp, you’re missing out.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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-Sam

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