Eight years have passed since Metallica released Death Magnetic, a long time for fans to wait for some new material from the thrash legends. Hardwired…To Self-Destruct is probably the most anticipated album of 2016 for many people but is it worth the wait?
Hardwired… To Self-Destruct certainly gets off on the right foot. Hetfield and co have gone all out for the opening. Hardwired opens with a classically thrash palm muted riff something I can certainly get behind. It’s fast and aggressive, full of instantly recognisable licks and fills. Even Lars Ulrich cracks out a fantastic beat. It is so head wrenching that even people who fault the guy shouldn’t find anything to complain about. Behind all this you have the beast that is Robert Trujillo rumbling out the bass lines to thicken out the sound. Kirk Hamett of course does his whammy wham wham solos but they don’t feel stale for the first handful of songs. After Hardwired it is hit after hit, quality riff after riff. Atlas Rides brings some true Hetfield to the album, his voice is a booming force during the chorus. Although I would have liked a few ‘yeahs’ to tie me over. Then you have the album stealing Moth Into Flame. This song is bound to become a staple modern Metallica hit with its intro building up to something magnificent, a song that just blows the album out of the water. However the album just doesn’t go anywhere from there.
After the first disc you’ll be sat there whilst songs just blend into each other, nothing really jumps out and smacks you. With a few exceptions, ManUNkind is a particular favourite of mine. Spit Out The Bones was a killer way to end the album even just for Trujillo and his fuzzy bass bridge. You’ll be hard pressed to get excited by the next solo or lengthy song as the album just fizzles out. I haven’t got a problem with long song lengths, hell I listen to enough Mastodon and Tool, but when you have nothing new to add then six minutes plus just seems over the top. After such a strong opening it was going to be hard to keep that level of punch going throughout but it went from great to good in a matter of songs. Don’t get me wrong disc 2 is still a good listen just not as impactful as disc 1.
I get that Metallica aren’t going to produce another album like Ride The Lighting or Master of Puppets . Nor do I wish them to return to that sound, I think singing like Kill ‘Em All would blow Hetfields well rounded vocals to hell. Their early work is nothing short of epic, a tour de force but Hardwired… To Self-Destruct is certainly a worth listen.
The album is definitely some of the best music Metallica have released in a long while. A long, long while. Its riff heavy and luckily more thrash inspired than their previous album. However it does fault on the second disc losing its drive with the majority of the best songs being featured on disc one. Hardwired…To Self-Destruct is a good album bound to split listeners into love it or hate it camps. I personal don’t love it or hate, I 7/10 it.