Sunday, September 07, 2008

That Day That Never Comes

I am not one to often triumph the notion of a 'comeback' of an actor, politician, musician, writer, or whatever the label is usually slapped onto. It's like this - someone crafts something that you respect so much, then deviates and does something else so you hate them and think they've 'lost it'. But who are we to say? I'll hold myself accountable for the decisions I make, and let others hold themselves to their own level and standard.

Music is easily the most impressionable force upon my writing, often crafting ideas out of a single lyric, or an entire scripts tone based on the feel and mood a song gives me. I chalk up a little new playlist in my Itunes and get to work. The playlist grows, songs are added that fit the mood and scenes I've crafted. For entire stretches of the writing process that playlist will be on constant repeat until I hit the end.

Unfortunately for me one of my favorite genres in music is Metal. Death Metal, thrash Metal, progressive metal...the list goes on. But it seldom translates into a worth playlist. And while that's not an issue here, because I haven't created a new idea or playlist, it's on my mind because a recent leak of famed Thrash legends Metallica was sent over to me by my friend. A bad that I hold in high regard even though the past, oh...15 years have produced works that they won't be remembered by, at least not fondly. I'm not a defender of the group and their utter pathetic concept on new media distribution (or lack thereof) did nothing but show their age.

The new Album - Death Magnetic - is a surprise in pretty much every way. Gone is the staple melodramtic lyrics that has always dogged them - even from the "kill 'em All' days and it seems they've taken a step back to their recent offerings. To say this album is a carbon attempt at And Justice for All would be lying and it's no Master of Puppets either. But it's all there. It's heavy, hard, thrilling and thoughtful. Back are the epic 8 minute songs, thrashing solo's and brutal force they became known for.

But there's something else. And while people will try to peg this as the dreaded 'comeback' it's not. It's a departure from everything they've been doing - a progression from it. The influence of much maligned albums such as Load, S&M, St. Anger and Reload is all there. And if you listen closely you can here it in the songs. What you get is the perfect amalgamation of past and present. It's a bit of the Black album, a bit of Justice, a little bit of Load and so on - but it's all wonderfully crafted into something any band would be proud of.

For me - it's something to write while listening to. And in a way it has a nice little lesson wrapped up in it. The crux of who this band was, whatever everyone remember them as, is the backbone to whole thing. But it's what this band became for awhile that rounds out the sound. They extended, explored and maybe they hit a few blocks along the way while they're tried but as a result they've come back with something far more mature. Something I think writers, at least successful ones, ultimately do. Using everything in the arsenal and weeding out what doesn't fit to bring something beyond anything they coulda done while starting out.

Yeah - if you're not a metal fan this won't matter much. But I am - and Death Magnetic is awesome in so many ways. Forget comeback - this is a reclaiming.