Recording information: HQ, San Rafael, CA (04/2007-03/2008); Shangri La, Malibu, CA (04/2007-03/2008); Sound City, Van Nuys, CA (04/2007-03/2008).
Photographer: Anton Corbijn.
Following Death Magnetic by three years and Metallica's Lou Reed collaboration Lulu by a matter of weeks, the Beyond Magnetic EP offers the four completed songs from the 2008 sessions for Death Magnetic, presented in rough mixes that nevertheless sound fairly finished. Like the 2008 LP, this EP -- released digitally in December 2011 with a physical edition appearing early in the new year -- hearkens back to the Metallica of the '80s, emphasizing ever-shifting suites of thrash instead of the heavy mock-boogie of the '90s or the piecemeal floundering of St. Anger, and it doesn't feel like a revival as much as a return, an acknowledgment of the band's core strengths. While the breakneck bookends "Hate Train" and "Rebel of Babylon" command the most attention, any one of these cuts could have fit seamlessly on Death Magnetic without diluting its impact. Taken as its own entity, Beyond Magnetic is a potent shot of old-fashioned thrash. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Rolling Stone (p.65) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "The vicious triumph of 'Hell and Back' and 'Rebel of Babylon,' driven by blurred-wrist rhythm guitar, should go into live rotation and stay there."
On first listen I can tell why these tracks were left off the 'Death magnetic' album but after a few spins they soon grow on you. Of the four tracks on offer here the only track in my opinion that is worthy of being on the aforementioned album is 'hell and back'. All the songs on here though have some fast paced classic metal riffs, it's more the lyrical content and the weakness of Hetfields voice throughout that brings the quality down along with the production on these obviously unpolished tracks.