Metallica

Beyond Magnetic

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Following Death Magnetic by three years and Metallica's Lou Reed collaboration Lulu by a matter of weeks, the Beyond Magnetic EP offers the four completed songs from the 2008 sessions for Death Magnetic, presented in rough mixes that nevertheless sound fairly finished. Like the 2008 LP, this EP -- released digitally in December 2011 with a physical edition appearing early in the new year -- hearkens back to the Metallica of the '80s, emphasizing ever-shifting suites of thrash instead of the heavy mock-boogie of the '90s or the piecemeal floundering of St. Anger, and it doesn't feel like a revival as much as a return, an acknowledgment of the band's core strengths. While the breakneck bookends "Hate Train" and "Rebel of Babylon" command the most attention, any one of these cuts could have fit seamlessly on Death Magnetic without diluting its impact. Taken as its own entity, Beyond Magnetic is a potent shot of old-fashioned thrash.

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