Today, I finally heard AC/DC's single "Rock N' Roll Train" from the forthcoming album Black Ice.
Like most everything the band has done the last several years, it's nothing new: Same blues-rock riffs, same raspy vocals, same backbeat, same subject matter. Pretty formulaic stuff at this point...just set the band on autopilot and they'll cruise right through for the paycheck. Now...say what you will about Metallica and the kind of band they've been since the early 90s, but at least they're trying. Death Magnetic is all the proof one needs of this...
I love what I've heard of this Death Magnetic, but will admit I cringe when James Hetfield sings "Love is a four-letter word" on "The Day That Never Comes". I also raise an eyebrow at the unoriginality of Lars' drumming this time around (I'll give him a break, though...he's obviously been heavily invested in keeping the band together). I also squirm a little at the press-kit assertion that Death Magnetic is the result of the band trying to capture their faded glory. But dammit, I don't know if there's a band working as hard as Metallica to figure out how to age gracefully while still rocking hard (Actually, Fred and Toody Cole of Dead Moon/Pierce Arrows are the shining example, but they are, to quote Isaac Brock, "special"). Most bands look like a fucking joke when they try, but Metallica is onto something with this record.
They could have, like AC/DC, just hit autopilot...but they didn't. They've fallen on their faces quite a bit over the last decade. But you gotta be willing to do that if you want to evolve, right? Hopefully the next record will be even better.