Metallica show that class never dies with Death Magnetic, one of the best heavy metal albums of the year, and the kind of mind-blowing record that explodes like an erupting volcano. Their 2003 album St Anger was a major disappointment for both fans and critics, and the band looked increasingly like musical dinosaurs rather than the pioneers of hard rock. But with the help of recording guru Rick Ruben, whose CV includes the revitalisation of Johnny Cash's career, Metallica are in their element again, producing pounding, aggressive and relentless tunes that set your body and soul on fire. Most of the songs on the album aspire to be rock epics. But the group backs their ambition with unparalleled talent and energy that remind fans why they started listening to heavy metal in the first place. Kirk Hammett's guitar solos, which are sorely missed on St Anger, cut like a knife, while James Hetfield sings like he is at war with everyone else alive. There is no middle-ground in heavy metal - either the music hits you like a speeding train or it falls flat on its face. Death Magnetic belongs to the former category, proving that Metallica are definitely back in business.