I finally watched the Metallica Death Magnetic DVD on the making of the album. For those that don’t know, it came with the Coffin Edition of the album. What can I say? After I watched it, I re-watched it. It has given me a new appreciation for the Death Magnetic album. The doco basically gave me an insight into the process that I could relate with, and since then the Death Magnetic album has been doing the rounds in my ear phones on a daily basis.
Sort of like how I listened to music in the Eighties and Nineties, when all you had was that one album for about six months, until some other album came out that you could afford and it then became the flavour of the month or months.
One To Rule Them All
James Hetfield still rules the roost. As much as the documentary tried to paint Lars as this hands on kind of guy, if James didn’t agree or say yes, the musical idea wouldn’t be part of the song. The documentary covers each song from Death Magnetic and in each segment, there is footage where James and Lars, along with the Engineer are in a control room that has an orange rendered wall and James just sits in the middle like the DON. Bob Rock once said that the problem with St Anger was that the main songwriter wasn’t there mentally. You can see that he is back for Death Magnetic.
Death Magnetic is the album Metallica needed to have. It is a return to the core. Remember progress is derivative. Like how Aerosmith had Permanent Vacation as the launching pad for Pump and Get A Grip.
Song Writing Process
Another thing from the documentary that connected with me was the whole song writing process, referring to jam tapes/CD’s, trying to get ideas down, writing in the studio and it is something I could relate too. The whole whiteboard that was shown behind Lars went he was on the drum kit at Metallica HQ is what I used to do to write songs with a previous band, and we would write on the whiteboard, things like Intro – Tool riff, Verse – Metallica riff, Pre – Limp Bizkit riff, Chorus – Spineshank riff, Lead – Ozzy riff so that we knew our queues. In the doco, it mentions titles like Sad, Creeping, Lightning on the whiteboard, obviously a reference to the riffs that where inspired or had a feeling similar to those songs.
Metallica had a vision as to how they wanted Death Magnetic to sound and feel. Every day was a writing day. Every day was a creating day. When they thought they were finished, they went away and wrote some more.
They got feedback and re-visited the early creations to see if they are still feeling it. If they were not feeling it, they would write down what they liked about the song and what could be better. If they are feeling it, then they have achieved what they set out to do.
One thing that Imagine Dragons was clear on when they started was their vision. They wanted to rock. They wanted to play acoustically and they wanted to experiment in electronic sounds. The wanted a big drum and bass sound. They wrote down five albums that were their all-time favourites and studied those albums and learn those albums. Albums that included artists as diverse as Arcade Fire, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Harry Nilsson, 2Pac, Paul Simon and Muse.
The Years Roll On
When Metallica released Death Magnetic, they went on a two year victory lap touring behind the album. They released DVD’s from the shows, for the French and Latin America markets. They released live EP’s for certain markets. In Australia we got the Six Feet Down Under EP’s part 1 and 2.
When that died down, they orchestrated the Big 4 shows. They then orchestrated the Orion festival. They played the summer festivals around the world.
They celebrated their 30 years anniversary with a week of shows in San Francisco. They released the Beyond Magnetic EP, which had 4 songs that didn’t make the final cut on Death Magnetic.
They then released Quebec Magnetic. They are doing the Through The Never movie.
Does anyone remember the debacle of Lulu now? It’s old news, history. It’s like it never existed. What a difference two years makes?