Metallica, Death Magnetic
Official Release Date: September 12
The Verdict: The spin on Metallica's ninth studio album, Death Magnetic, which leaked last night, is that it's a return to form (as a recording exercise, producer Rick Rubin had the band imagine they were rewriting 1986's Master of Puppets). We're not sure we'd go that far, but it's definitely better than St. Anger, at least. "The Day That Never Comes" and "The Judas Kiss" are monstrous, and Kirk Hammett's ridiculous fretwork proves the five-year break between albums hasn't slowed his fleet fingers. Also, James Hetfield is still having nightmares: "Sleep and dream of this / death angels kiss," he instructs on "Cyanide." You can commence air-punching now.