The new Metallica album leaks onto the Internet; singles available for download

By Niki D’Andrea

Metallica’s next studio album, Death Magnetic, leaked onto the Internet yesterday, after a French retailer started selling copies of the album ten days before its scheduled release date of September 12.

The Rick Rubin-produced album is the first Metallica record to feature bassist Robert Trujillo (formerly of Suicidal Tendencies), and it also marks the first time all members of the band contributed to every song in the studio. Two tracks from Death Magnetic -- “My Apocalypse” and “The Day That Never Comes” – are available for download now through both Metallica’s Web site and through iTunes.

Surprisingly, the band says it’s not upset that the album leaked before its release date. Drummer Lars Ulrich told San Francisco radio station Live 105: “From here, we're golden. If this thing leaks all over the world today or tomorrow, happy days. Happy days. Trust me. Ten days out and it hasn't quote-unquote fallen off the truck yet? Everybody's happy. It's 2008 and it's part of how it is these days, so it's fine. We're happy."

As for the singles that have been available for download, I purchased both tracks on iTunes three days ago, and I must admit -- for all the missteps I think Metallica’s taken since the Napster fiasco, these singles are impressive.

“My Apocalypse” This song, with its chugging thrash guitars; screaming old school metal solos; and lyrics about shattered bones, “mangled flesh,” ‘dripping bloody valentine,” and “death magnetic”; sounds like vintage Metallica. The song itself is reminiscent of “Battery” (from Master of Puppets, 1986) with timing changes and machinistic guitar tones similar to those on the 1988 album …And Justice for All.

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“The Day That Never Comes” This epic, 8-minute tune is melodic and downbeat, a metal ballad along the lines of “Sanitarium” (Master of Puppets) and “Fade to Black” from the 1984 album Ride the Lightning. It escalates into a relentless thrash-a-thon near the end, with classical music overtones in the guitar scales and melodies, and bottom-heavy rhythms that careen cleanly toward the song’s abrupt halt. A masterpiece of musical prowess from Metallica.

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