The line between hot stuff and not-quite-right was mighty high when Metallica left these four hymns to the big oblivion, cut for 2008's Death Magnetic, on the outtakes shelf. "Hate Train" is old-school chop-and-charge with the dry, corrosive fidelity of Kill 'Em All. The midsection in "Just a Bullet Away" recalls the expanding dynamics of 1991's Metallica. Maybe there was too much history here to feel new. But this is heavy gold as rejects go. 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.
Listen to "Just a Bullet Away":