Eight years in the making, the most eagerly-awaited Metallica album ever is finally upon us. So to celebrate the impending release of Hardwired… To Self-Destruct, here’s my review of this year’s most anticipated record.
Just to remind ourselves, Metalica’s Hardwired… To Self Destruct is the longest time we’ve had to wait between studio albums, and if you care to reckon it up, that’s the same span as it took them to become the biggest grossing concert draws of all time.
That’s Metallica out of a garage, giving us their ‘No Life ‘Til Leather E.P, to making Kill ‘Em All, Ride The Lightning, Master Of Puppets, …And Justice For All & the Black album, putting themselves & heavy metal on the world’s largest stages.
It seems fair body of work, & between the years of 1983 – 1991, they became a genre-defining metal band everyone aspired to be. There was and still is, no cooler frontman than Papa Het.
So in contrast to the last 8 years, nearly clocking up a decade between new material, what the hell have they been up to?
Well just to refresh our memories, let’s look at what they’ve done.
We’ve had the ‘Through The Never‘ Movie, the unspeakable ‘Lulu‘ collaboration and a solitary single ‘Lords Of Summer‘. Then there’s been the Antarctica and Glastonbury gigs, not to forget the set back of Kirk Hammett’s lost phone riffs, a moment of carelessness that stripped the lead guitarist of his would be song writing contributions.
Looking back as we can clearly see, the four horsemen haven’t exactly been in a state of unproductivity, and we the rabid fans are enduringly grateful, but…
Now that the band have fulfilled their cinematic, touring, festival & studio commitments…
Metallica’s New Album Is Here!
So without further delay, let’s weigh up what’s what shall we?
METALLICA’S NEWEST ALBUM ‘ HARDWIRED…TO SELF DESTRUCT FEATURES:
A double demonic face twisting ‘tallica Album with 88 minutes from the trailblazers of thrash.
- Atlas Rise – Latest single with a nod to Maiden’s ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ twin guitar harmonies.
- Hardwired – Last song written, but first track kicking off H…TSD with a raging 3-minute blast.
- Now That We’re Dead – A charming song which sees Papa Het serenading his bride corpse.
- Spit Out The Bone – Humanities extinction in the hands of genocidal machines!
- Halo Of Fire – Wagnerian power ballad like Game Of Thrones in 8 minutes.
At over an hour and a half of music, it’s time to get comfy. This is gonna take awhile.
There are more than a few moments on H…TSD where Hetfield sounds properly angry again, for example, you could easily imagine Slayer’s Tom Araya laying down vocals over first single ‘Hardwired‘, a song that equally matches Slayer’s aggression.
It’s also great to see them tipping their hats to Lemmy & paying their respects to him on the track ‘Murder One‘, a song named after the Motorhead legends favorite amp.
Second single ‘Moth Into Flame‘ gets its hooks into you with it’s short ‘gimme more’ teasing chorus.
‘Spit Out The Bone‘ closes H… TSD with a song that sounds like a lost track from Ride The Lightning & features a blazing solo from Kirk Hammett. The final track bookends the album nicely and is a major highlight of H… TSD for being one of its hardest, fastest numbers. It spells out a bleak prophecy where James Hetfield sums up his thoughts of impending doom when mankind has been superseded by technology. Whether or not we’ll be crushed by machines, you’re gonna love this track!
Papa Het says of the bleak dystopian thrasher.
That song is more or less talking about our technology. You can’t rewind technology or where we’re going with it. And where are we in that mix? Convenience versus dependency. Where is that line crossed? Where do we end up just getting totally screwed by it?
- Is this better than the looser, greasier, let’s all get our hair cut & wear guyliner days of load & reload?
- Is Metallica’s Hardwired …To Self Destruct better without the scatty biscuit tin snare sound on St Anger?
- Is this better than Rick Rubin’s tinny minimal production efforts on Death Magnetic?
- Is this really, & I mean Really, the best thing since the Black Album?
The answer is a resounding, yes! yes! yes! & yes!
Those points mentioned, I think it was a good decision to leave Rick Rubin out of the mix. Initially, they planned to work with the same producer on Death Magnetic but decided otherwise. In came resident studio engineer Greg Fidelman to co-produce with Hetfield and Ulrich. However, This 10th album does seem to capture Metallica squarely in their comfort zone, but for a band who are now well into their fourth decade, where else can you go when you’ve already released a string of genre-defining albums and conquered the world?
Who It’s For:
Eager fans who want a proper new album. Or for those who never doubted that Metallica would, or indeed could, ever thrash again.
Where To Find:
The songs hark back to their halcyon days from inspired lyrics by H.P Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos (Dream No More)
The frantic closer on the album ‘Spit Out The Bone‘ will reaffirm fans that Metallica are still here for them making heavy metal.
The Four Horseman return faster, harder and louder than they’ve been in years, Heavy rocks game of thrones is not over yet!
The album’s second half CD is bogged down by mid-paced numbers like ‘manUNkind‘ and ‘Am I Savage?‘ Too many tracks outstay their welcome in a matter of minutes.
Can seem that many songs chug along with the same generic formula. Over an hour and a half, some would find this a hurdle.
Given the fact that Motorhead were a major influence, the surprisingly unfast track ‘Murder One‘ is a bit of a letdown.
Alternative Albums/Essential Listening
Ride The Lighting, Master Of Puppets,…And Justice For All
With the music spanning across 2 discs & over an hour and a half of metalli music, H…TSD is a long and sprawling album. Some of the tracks clock up the 8-minute which makes it a lumbering beast and hard to soak in on first spin. That being said, after a lengthy wait of a studio record, we the fans have finally got our hands on something, & we’ll take it thank you very much.
I think Metallica’s albums have got progressively better since St Anger & Death Magnetic, it’s not all the soul-searching lyrics that Hetfield sang about on the previous albums and it’ll welcome fans on board and on course down the right track in comparison to past releases. Because after all, we love the Metal to be in Metallica.
For me, as with any band, there is always a career peak at which a band will never reach again, and you just have to stop clinging to past glories. Thankfully then Metallica are still around & will always play the old favorites when you see them at their live shows.
Also, given the fact that Metallica and are in the midst of their fourth decade, it’s pleasing to know they haven’t softened up late into their careers. It’s been a bumpy ride see them grow into millionaire businessmen and lately fashion models for Brioni, but it’s Metallica and they do whatever they want.
So with being absent of a studio record for nearly a decade Metalica have finally delivered the goods with 80 odd minutes of music. It’ll do nicely to finish the year blasting out Metallica’s music over the Christmas season, and what or who better? So let’s all rejoice because there could, & please for Christ’s sake, let’s hope not, be another 8 years before we get another.
Metallica’s Hardwired…To Self Destruct Album is out 18th November via Blackened
O.K ‘TALLICA FANS, GOT ANYTHING TO GET OFF YOUR CHEST ABOUT METALLICA’S H…TSD?
THEN, HELL CHIME INTO THE DISCUSSION BELOW…