Its something we didn’t think would happen, possibly ever. New music from the Metallica camp seemed like a far and distant dream yet here we are! On the cusp of the new album ‘Hardwired…To Self Destruct’ and there are many things to say about it.
Its really easy to get excited as soon as ‘Hardwired’ kicks in. Its easy to see why the band picked the track as the first taste of new Metallica music. Its something that feels as if it should have been on ‘Death Magnetic’ and kicks things off with a real bang. For us, it feels like it peaked all too soon though with the tracks that come after never really reaching the momentum of the album opener. ‘Atlas, Rise’ tries, it really does but doesn’t quite get there. It sounds like a new Metallica track; it feels like a new Metallica track but it doesn’t quite reach the heights even though there’s some shades of Metallica old with Hammett’s guitar solo at three and a half minutes into it that is sure to appease the guitarists fans.
‘Now That We’re Dead’ changes things up a little and certainly slows things down compared to the previous two and in some ways confirms our thoughts that there will be little pieces of every Metallica era on this album with this track rocking the load/reload feel at times. ‘Moth Into Flame’ is another familiar track having been released earlier and marks the half way point on the first disc. It certainly does a good job to pick the pace back up again with what its more of what has become the new age Metallica thrash attack sound but things are brought down a notch with the slow and groovy ‘Dream No More’ which feels a little out of place given the pace the first disc has taken which ends on the mammoth eight-minute-long journey entitle ‘Halo On Fire’ which incorporates the beautiful Metallica clean guitar tone we all know and love as well Hatfield’s cleaner vocals building into one monster chorus. It’s a solid end to the first disc of the album which has been a mixed bag of ups and downs at this point. That being said, if one thing is for sure, the die hard Metallica fans are going to have enjoyed these first six tracks. Sure its not their heaviest, its not their trashiest but as we previously mentioned, there’s shades of all eras across the whole thing.
Disc two starts with the track entitled ‘Confusion’ and with what begins with a very ‘Am I Evil’ sounding introduction. Its not the same, obviously but it could be a cool homage to the Diamond Head classic the band covered in their early years. Classical overtones and clean guitars introduce us to ‘ManUNkind’ and keep within the theme of the album and give us another taste of the Metallica groove as heard previously and will more than likely get heads nodding. ‘Here Comes Revenge’ gives us our first glimpse of the pissed off sounding Metallica on this album especially with a line like “sweet revenge I’m dreaming; I will end you”. Its just a shame the grit came so late.
The conclusion of the album begins with the final three tracks. ‘Am I Savage’ brings some heavy groove back to us with some riffs and pace that could have come straight of The Black Album whilst ‘Murder One’ gets us to a point where we question if the second disc was even necessary. Its not a terrible track, but not one we would truly miss if it wasn’t their either. ‘Spit Out The Bone’ however ends things on a high note with something that will surely make its way into the live show. Fast and thrashy Metallica is what we know and love and if Metallica are to end the journey on a high note, this is definitely the one to do it with.
Overall, this is not a terrible album. Like anything it has its ups and downs. The good parts are there but then so is the rest. Did the album need to be two discs? Probably not but in doing so it feels like the band were sitting on a ton of material that they couldn’t decide what to cut and what not with the final decision being to include it all. At times it even feels like we were listening to tracks that didn’t quite make it to Death Magnetic. The bits that are good though are really good and worth the purchase alone.
Lets face it, When you're Metallica, the all seeing metal eye is constantly watching and constantly judging and new albums are always going to be met with wide criticism. Ultimately, its up to you, the listener to decide if this is one for you or not. One thing is for sure though, Love it or hate it, Metallica are back and I think we can all agree that’s a good thing!