The Deal: Tenth studio album from one metal band that's quickly approaching its 30th anniversary (2011).
The Good: I wasn't impressed with the bits and pieces I'd been hearing on the radio over the last couple of weeks, but when I popped the disc in my CD player and started from the beginning, I immediately began to hear some of the elements of the Metallica of old. They abandoned the stripped-down sound of St. Anger and instead went back to the days of Ride the Lightning, Kill 'Em All and Master of Puppets. You may consider this to be an official follow-up to ...And Justice for All. It's got the raw edge that drew in so many fans back then, before popularity took over and the band headed for the mainstream. The shortest song clocks in at one second over five minutes, there two around six-and-a-half minutes and the rest are longer than seven minutes. You better have some spare time to listen to all 10.
The Bad: The band's upcoming tour isn't coming anywhere near the Carolinas. "The Unforgiven III" – was that really necessary?
The Verdict: There's a helluva lot of hype on this album and it's some of the best stuff they've done in recent years. Part of me hopes it doesn't become the commercial success that people expect, instead pleasing the longtime fans and clearing out the bandwagon.