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Fans of heavy metal band Metallica have been complaining that the group’s new album, “Death Magnetic,” suffers from heavy-handed distortion effects. Too bad, right?

Well, apparently not, at least if you’re a Guitar Hero fan.

cover art


Death Magnetic

(Warner; US: 12 Sep 2008; UK: 12 Sep 2008)

Review [11.Sep.2008]

Apparently, the “Death Magnetic” tracks available for download in Guitar Hero are much cleaner- and sharper-sounding.

As a result, many fans are clamoring for Metallica to re-release the album with the Guitar Hero tracks.

There’s even a YouTube video with side-by-side audio comparisons of the CD and Guitar Hero versions of the same song. (I posted the clip on our gaming blog,, if you want to check it out.)

All the fuss seems a bit overdone to me.

I have “Death Magnetic,” and I think it’s a great album and a welcome recovery from Metallica’s last record, “St. Anger,” which sounds like a rusty chainsaw stuffed in a suit of armor and pushed down a flight of stairs.

There are some noticeable differences between the Guitar Hero and CD versions, but I don’t think I would have noticed them if they weren’t highlighted in the comparison clip.

But what’s really interesting to me is that the Guitar Hero versions of the songs will soon be regarded as the definitive sound.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Metallica re-release the CD with the title, “Death Magnetic: The Guitar Hero.”

It would probably be the first time a video game was headlined on an album by a major band, but probably not the last.

The next step is for a superstar group to create a song exclusively for a music game like Guitar Hero or Rock Band.

Sure it would probably take a huge, upfront payment (read: bribe) to the band from the game’s publisher to make it happen, but the fact is that video games are more popular with kids now than music (or, at least, legally acquired music).

And given the number of gamers and tech fans overall who have grown to despise Metallica for the band’s hard-line stance against music piracy, giving those customers some exclusive goodies would be smart business.

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