|2.5 (4 votes):|
A more polished production work and a renewed sound characterized Metallica‘s sound in their sophomore effort. While certain influences from the NWOBHM are still present in this release, the band radically changed not only their musical direction but also how many thrash bands would set their sound. However, this revolutionary formula is not translated into brilliant work. It is average at its best, except for a couple of numbers. Furthermore, a relevant event is the departure of their guitarist and songwriter Dave Mustaine, which would impact the band’s creative work, though he’s been credited as a composer for a couple of tracks.
Metallica bet for the creation of additional songwriting ideas. For instance, the introduction of a ballad and lengthier numbers seemingly aimed at stepping in the lands of progressive metal. The first two tracks result very promising. The powerful opening represents the album’s finest hour; this tremendous thrasher runs in a fast fashion, keeping its pace at all times. The harmonic solos in the middle are also great. Then, the title track goes slower, though the chorus section speeds up a little bit, and there is also another awesome harmonic solo. “Trapped Under Ice” displays the last remains of the band’s old sound, as it keeps certain similarities with “Whiplash” it also sounds excellent.
The rest of the album seems to fall down at moments. “Fade to Black” marks the beginning of a usual songwriting habit from this band: overlong ballads. The problem with them is that these ballads are filled with boring passages, and the band never realized how ridiculous they sound when they sing ball. The closing number is acceptable but turns out to be too lengthy, and you know what happens when the band deals with this kind of numbers. “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is too dull as well. Five minutes for a song running at this pace is rather torturing, and it’s too repetitive.
The offer is good at certain moments, but these guys fail when it comes to putting their new ideas in a trial by fire. This album shows the best version of their new sound, but it is still too short when all is said and done. The most worrying aspect of the allegedly renewed formula is how Metallica exploited the same in the next releases, as they were bringing out watered-down variations and prioritizing their worst ideas. It is widely recommendable to play the vinyl format of this album for a better listening experience.
Release date: July 27th, 1984
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