I think Death Magnetic is a good album, I don't think it's a great album. More importantly, I don't think it's the album they should have made after St. Anger. I think it's the album they should have made instead
of St. Anger.
DM, honestly, suffers from poor sound and high expectations. There's a reason that this album is always trotted out as an example of how "The Loudness War" ruins music. I never heard the Guitar Hero mix, but the regular, album mix sounds like it was done by someone who'd never heard music before.
Similarly, everyone was screaming that this was a great album, "Metallica's return to form!" "album of the year!" It was not and it was not. It was Metallica's best album in 20 years, but that was an incredibly low bar to jump over. It was a good effort to blow the carbon out of the old thrash metal engine, but that's what it feels like to me: a warm up lap.
Again, I like it fine. But I don't think it's nearly as good as so many people do.