Review: Metallica – Hardwired…to Self Destruct

Posted: December 7, 2016 in ALERT: Awesome new music, Reviews
Tags: , , , , ,

A portrait of a man with various colored portraits projected onto his skin. The band name and album title appear at the top and bottom, respectively.

Imagine trying to review the new and hotly anticipated record by the world’s biggest metal band? Praying that it doesn’t suck, because you’re a massive fan and REALLY don’t want to have to admit that. Well that was me, today, when I got my copy of ‘Hardwired…to Self Destruct’ by Metallica. Especially when there was a double disc set to get through. But I love this fucking band’s work, so I owed them an open mind. You need no introductions or explanations, so let’s get straight into it.

First thing, I don’t like that album cover. At all. But it isn’t about the cover, it’s about the music. Opener ‘Hardwired’ is a short sharp return to Metallica of old, with some great thrashy riffs and a instant hook. ‘Atlas, Rise!’ opens with a riff that could be a lost one from ‘Kill Em All’, and while the rest of the song is much more modern it is refreshing to hear little dashes of the past in here. Metallica’s new one instantly wipes away the fear that it’ll be another rehash of past glories. ‘Death Magnetic’ was good, great in parts, but it had more than a bit of ‘Metallica trying to be old Metallica’. ‘Hardwired…to Self Destruct’ has seen the band regain their swagger, and it’s a reinvigoration that is welcome.

The ‘Load’-esque groove of ‘Now That We’re Dead’ feels like the most ‘commercial’ song on offer, while the first track most of us heard, ‘Moth into Flame’, gallops with infectious intent, proving that Hetfield and Hammett have lost nothing as guitarists. First disc closer ‘Halo on Fire’ is a big hard prog rock epic, and while not their best work here, is still a great track. The continuation of the Lovecraft influences speak through the monstrous ‘Dream No More’, and the serpentine, almost sludgy Lemmy tribute ‘Murder One’ is a late highlight. But the best track here is ‘Spit Out the Bone’, a brutally fast and excellent track, with riffs and solos spraying everywhere like badly managed machine gun fire. The best Metallica song since ‘Damage Inc’? Perhaps…

Metallica are fucking back, and that should come as a pleasant surprise to everyone. ‘Hardwired…to Self Destruct’ is an encapsulation of everything good Metallica have done in the past, brought into the modern era. It may have been almost 30 years, but maybe we have a true successor to ‘And Justice For All’ at last…

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