Author: Craig Matthews
2016, all in all it’s not been a great year. Earthquakes, war and just about everyone we liked died. Things were starting to look pretty bleak for the world… Until METALLICA started drip releasing tracks from their long awaited tenth studio album ‘Hardwired…To Self-Destruct’. Announced back in 2011 by bassist Robert Trujillo the album was originally ear marked for release in 2013, but various delays, including the ‘METALLICA by request’ tour; and Kirk Hammett losing his phone with 250 riff ideas on it at Copenhagen airport pushed it back till now.
I have to admit straight away, I am a METALLICA fan boy, ever since silly swooping hair and ridiculous oversized jeans were cool. So it goes without saying I was excited when I got to have a listen to one of the titans of Metal’s newest album. We begin with ‘Hardwired’. Straight away we are assaulted with a barrage of thundering drums and a riff that creeps up on you, before you know it you’re banging your head (or tapping your foot if the office doesn’t approve). The sound is dripping with the same Thrash Metal fury that defined ‘Master Of Puppets’, the boys are back!.
One of METALLICA’S strong points through their career has been to push the boundaries of the genre, granted not always working out for the best. I’m pleased to say here though; every track on this album is bringing something new to the table. For example ‘Now That We’re Dead’ takes in a more Heavy Metal Direction with a hefty drum line and powerful riff. Whereas ‘Dream No More’ has a more Doom Metal sound with Hetfield giving us long almost wailing vocals and a slugging riff to back it up. It’s not quite got the snarling quality of the first few tracks, but it will still have you banging your head.
METALLICA have always been able to write epic songs, and have never really given a shit about things like track length. ‘Hardwired… To Self-Destruct’ is no exception, with the average track length coming in at six and a half minuets you need to prepare yourself for the long haul. This also explains why the album is over two disks. Disk 2 begins with ‘Confusion’ to me this is the spiritual successor to the anti-war track ‘One’ and is a frantic account of the struggles of a soldier coming home, certainly one of my favourites on this album. After a quick yet bruising nod to Black Metal with ‘ManUNkind’ (seriously, WATCH THE VIDEO!) we come to my only gripe on this album, it begins with ‘Here Comes Revenge’ and ends with ‘Murder One’ and here to me METALLICA feels like their edge started to dull. Don’t get me wrong, they are good, well-written tracks with catchy lyrics and the music is well up to METALLICA’S high standard…they just lack the out and out fury and hunger of the rest of the album. But they redeem themselves right at the end with ‘Spit out the Bone’. Like the beginning it’s a blistering attack on my ears, you can hear that passion and unrelenting fury that just reaches in your head, grabs your brain and gives it a good shake.
I’m always nervous when a band I loved as a teenager releases new material, it’s the same thing as meeting your heroes, will it shatter your dreams? Or reaffirm all that you knew about them? I’m very fucking pleased to say that with ‘Hardwired…To Self-Destruct’ they have done the latter. METALLICA are a band that have endured the ravages of time, from the glory days of ‘The Big 4’ to the Polarising ‘St Anger’ to that thing we do not speak of with Lou Reed. I’m happy to say the lads are back in the zone and their spark has re-ignited with such power and ferocity that it’s going to tear your face off.
3.Now That We’re Dead
4.Moth Into Flame
5.Dream No More
6.Halo On Fire
3.Here Comes Revenge
4.Am I Savage?
6.Spit Out The Bone
James Hetfield – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Kirk Hammett – lead guitar
Robert Trujillo – bass, backing vocals
Lars Ulrich – drums