Dare I say I am among those who believe that Metallica has seen it's best days creative-wise.

That being said, 1) what a body of work it was/is, 2) they remain a potent live act and 3) I've been wrong before.

They've now released an EP titled Beyond Magnetic that features roughly-mixed versions of four tracks that were recorded for 2008′s Death Magnetic but ultimately didn’t end up on the final album. Metallica debuted the songs live last week during four special 30th anniversary concerts at San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore Theater.

Fans have been yearning - nay, begging - for the band to return to early form.

St. Anger wasn't it and the recent Lulu? Well, let's not even talk about that.

But, while not great, Magentic seemed to offer a step in the right direction (that being backwards).

The quartet performed one of the four tracks — ‘Hate Train,’ ‘Just A Bullet Away,’ Hell And Back’ and ‘Rebel Of Babylon’ — at each of the four concerts, starting with ‘Hate Train’ on Monday(Dec. 5) and continuing on with ‘Bullet’ on Wednesday, ‘Hell’ on Fridayand concluding with ‘Babylon’ on Saturday.

Following each performance, the band individually issued each track as a gift exclusively to members of the Metallica Club fan club, although inevitably the tunes ended up streaming online for the rest of the world to enjoy. The Beyond Magnetic EP will be sold only through iTunes for one week, after which it will be available via other digital retailers.

Dare I say the tracks are superior to anything that made the final cut on DM. And again, I believe the band's best work is behind it but that isn't to say they should stop writing and producing altogether.

I'd very much like to see 'Tallica members write for, produce and mentor younger acts.

They've also reached the point where bootleg/live recordings of legendary shows as well as B-sides and other unreleased material should be made available.

Let's face it: there are very few acts that can remain consistently relevant and fresh.

In fact, U2 is the only one I can now think of.

Van Halen, The Stones, Aerosmith, Guns N' Roses: they all continue to operate in one facet or another but none even so much as flirt with the former brilliance they once oozed.

And that's okay.

Just keep rockin', fellas.