For some, 8 years flew by very quickly. For others, it may have been an eternity. Regardless, it took 8 years after “Death Magnetic” to release a follow up in what is “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct”.
The first single and first track on the album, “Hardwired”, is their thrashiest and most in your face song since 1988’s “Dyers Eve”. It’s fucking awesome, is what it is. “Atlas, Rise!” is sure to be another live staple as it’s simply classic Metallica ala “Master of Puppets” style. “Now That We’re Dead” and “Dream No More” are VERY “Load” era. Just solid mid tempo grooving hard rocking tracks that’s actually very refreshing. I like that era anyway too so… “Moth into Flame” is the best song that wasn’t on “Death Magnetic”. It has thrashy moments, but it’s not a thrash song. It’s a higher tempo and just kicks ass in general. Of all the songs on the first disc, I think “Halo on Fire” actually exemplifies what a 2016 Metallica sounds like without any direct references to a previous sound, song, or style. It’s a culmination of everything they’ve ever done up to now and here’s what we are as Metallica. You don’t have to agree, but that’s my take on it.
The second half is a bit less face melting and a little more steady. “Confusion”, “Here Comes Revenge”, and “Murder One” are standard songs for the album. I won’t say they’re filler because they’re not. They’re just good songs on a great album. “ManUNkind” and “Am I Savage?” are super “ReLoad” with an awesome bluesy stomp. Then there’s what seems to already be a fan favorite, the one face melter on this side, “Spit Out the Bone”. No doubt they’ll be putting this into their live set. Prepare for the mosh.
Yes, Kirk Hammett is still overusing the Wah, and probably even more so on this album than ever. There were some good solos though. Yes, James Hetfield isn’t as aggressive vocally as he should be. Take into account that he’s closer to 60 than 30. For that fact, there’s nothing really to complain about because they’re releasing more aggressive Metal at an older age and it does sound good. Lars put to tape his best performance since the 90’s, for sure. You can hear Robert’s bass sometimes!
In just over a year we’ve had releases from all of the “Big 4” and there hasn’t been a disappointment. They’ve all stepped up to show the young boys how to do it. Then you’ve got Testament, Destruction, and Sodom who’ve also just recently put stuff out and they ripped up major ass upon the scene as well. It’s been a good year for Thrash. It really has.
2003 Metallica was sparking a flame. 2008 Metallica was absolutely on the right track. 2016 Metallica have hit a homerun. They managed to provide a follow up to essentially every era and it’s a great all arounder. This is the album everyone really wanted “St. Anger” to be; Showcasing their diversity of Thrash Metal, Melodic Rock, and Hard Rocking Blues to be an essential Metallica album. It took a very long time, but it’s here. Please guys, don’t take 5-8 years for a follow up? Kirk, back up your fucking riffs and ideas and let’s see what you’ve got the next go round.
Oh yeah, and “Lords of Summer” sounds better than it did before and is a B-side really worth listening to.