Five Ways to Make Metallica Good Again
Last week, Metallica debuted a new song live and then posted its demo recording online. The song's called "Lords of Summer," and releasing the demo was a pretty smart move. This way we can actually hear what's going on in it without having to try to make out awful live recordings taken on fans' cell phones.
However, the song itself has some serious issues. The shame here is that it's almost there. This could be an awesome Metallica song; It has all the necessary components. It just needs some fixes before it's ready for prime time, much like their last album, Death Magnetic. If Metallica does these five things, they're well on their way to actually making a great new album.
5. Change the Lyrics
James Hetfield used to be known for some seriously thoughtful lyrics on some deep subjects. Sure, there were silly tracks like "Hit the Lights" or "Of Wolf and Man," but he could also produce words that rivaled some of the best lyrics in metal.
"Lords of Summer," however, suffers from the same lyrical laziness that plagued Death Magnetic. Can you really see the Metallica of old making a pun like "All Nightmare Long" or turning out a stupid rhyme like "Cyanide/ I've already died?" Step your poetic game up a bit, Hetfield. Or just write about Satan or something. Metal cliches beat "lords of summer bring the sun."
4. Sing Lower
Hetfield's voice is shot, which has been apparent for a long time. So why does he insist on singing everything in a higher register than he is physically capable of performing? He sounds mediocre on the studio recording, and he's clearly straining. Live, he's just blowing it. It's not 1986 anymore.
He settled into a comfortably deeper groove with his vocals in the '90s, but ever since St. Anger he's been trying to hit high notes he hadn't been able to comfortably hit in 15 years by then. Fans love the deep growl, so why not stick with it and ditch the constipated highs?
3. Quit with the Intros
One of the most annoying tropes of modern Metallica is that apparently they think every song needs an intro of some sort. Instead of just getting to the point, they eke out some nonsense prelude mostly consisting of the song's main riff played slower than in the rest of the song, with some additional drum fills. Then they play the riff the regular way a couple of times before they actually get to the first verse.
I get this. Metallica used to do it in the '80s too. The difference is they didn't do it on every song. Metallica today follows this pattern for each and every song they record, and it's such a tired cliché in their music that it has got to stop. Just jump right in and get to the point already, guys.
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