Metallica: ‘Hardwired…To Self-Destruct’

metallica-album-coverMETALLICA
HARDWIRED…TO SELF-DESTRUCT
Released on November 18, 2016 (Blackened Recordings)

Review:
Metallica — The name alone evokes different feelings for every metal head. Nostalgia. Anger. Love. Disappointment. Longing. It doesn’t matter what kind of album they decide to release; even a Dixie Chicks loving housewife will have an opinion about it.

There has already been months of social media discussion about Hardwired…To Self-Destruct based on the singles alone. I know a few of my friends are die-hard fans of Metallica and defend their every move, no matter what they are. As for myself, Metallica is a name that evokes a lot of sentimentality for being one of the first heavy metal bands I became familiar with during my teenage years, and part of the handful that unleashed a lifelong passion for heavy metal music. They certainly have records that, for a generation, are considered legendary.

Album length is an often discussed subject between Sleaze Roxx editor Olivier and myself. Mainly about how albums that could have been great are often ruined by being too long and including a lot of not-so-great tracks that should have been left on the cutting room floor. Well, you might have already guessed where I’m going with this as I review Metallica‘s much anticipated (by some) double new album, Hardwired…To Self-Destruct.

Metallica begin pulling no punches with the first CD, which opens with some of the best tracks on the album. Out of the first four tracks — “Hardwired,” “Atlas, Rise!,” “Now That We’re Dead” and “Moth Into Flame” — I especially like the groove of “Atlas, Rise!” which you can’t help but want to bang your head to. “Now That We’re Dead” reminds me of the band’s …And Justice For All era, and in particular Lars Ulrich‘s drumming. As of now, it’s my favorite song on the album. “Moth Into Flame” continues the attack and features some very impressive playing from the band, lightning-fast drumming from Ulrich and amazing guitar riffs by Kirk Hammett.

Metallica gets too comfortable too fast because “Dream No More” changes the pace completely sounding a lot more like it came out from the Load / Reload albums. This is definitely not my cup of tea and the first track that should have been left out. “Halo On Fire” repeats this behavior with less aggravating results. It starts sounding like it’s going to be the ballad on the album but keeps changing pace in some interesting ways. Even though it’s far from great, the composition and guitar work from Hammett makes it interesting and the song does a good job at closing the first part of Hardwired…To Self-Destruct.

CD number two starts with “Confusion”, which is sort of a mixed bag that combines different sound eras, from Metallica‘s thrash years and in particular Master Of Puppets to music more in style with the band’s recent years. Once again “Confusion” does feature some great guitar work from Hammett though. “ManUNkind” is just bad — the one truly terrible song on the album. It’s a total misfire.

“Here Comes Revenge” brings things up again with a great melody, thrashy sound, and killer riffs with double tempo drumming. It left me thinking, “I want more songs like this!” But I don’t get them… Next comes “Am I Savage?” which goes back to the Load / Reload album sounds, and “Murder One” which is an enjoyable but just OK tribute to the late Lemmy Kilmister, including numerous Motörhead song titles in the lyrics. Finally, we get “Spit Out The Bone”, the heaviest track on the album and a great one it is. Intense thrash with galloping riffs and thundering drums. It is brutal, fast and barely comes up for air and provides a pitch perfect ending to the album.

Hardwired…To Self-Destruct could have been a very good, almost pure-Metallica-thrash record with a track count of eight songs and the duration would still have been respectable at around 50 minutes. Sadly, it’s not the case and at 77 minutes, the impact of the album is heavily diluted.

Besides being simply too long, a lot of Hardwired…To Self-Destruct is in the “what could have been” department as most of the songs are heavily affected by the production. If you’re familiar with the heavily discussed and criticized mastering issues of Death Magnetic, some — if maybe not as extremely bad — are repeated on Hardwired…To Self-Destruct. Once more, a part of the fine details are destroyed from brick walling the dynamic range which is crushed at a mere six (sadly, a not so uncommon number these days). So again the drums sound like cardboard boxes on some parts and there’s a lot of clipping when things get heavy. Hopefully, the vinyl version of the album will provide a different story.

There’s also a bonus disc here. It includes a re-recorded version of the 2014 digital single “Lords of Summer”, followed by a fun tribute to legend Ronnie James Dio aptly called “Ronnie Rising Medley” where they perform some of his classic in a medley. It is quite good and the best thing about this extra disc. It was originally released on the Ronnie James Dio – This Is Your Life tribute album but remastered for this occasion, Also included are covers of Iron Maiden‘s “Remember Tomorrow” and Deep Purple‘s “When A Blind Man Cries”.

To top it all off, the bonus disc also includes Metallica‘s live set from Record Store Day 2016 that they performed to celebrate the re-issues of Kill ‘Em All and Ride The Lightning. The songs are mostly classics from those albums so I have zero complaints about them. During “Fade To Black”, Hetfield actually screams to the heavens, “Hey, do you hear us, Cliff?” Very nice! With three discs, think what you may of the new songs, Metallica have released a package worth the asking price.

Past and present unite and thus Hardwired…To Self-Destruct is not Metallica‘s comeback album (which will never happen), nor is it a disposable piece of music. If you expected the former, don’t even bother. If on the other hand, you are alright with Metallica having a totally different sound than in the late ’80s and early ’90s, you enjoyed Death Magnetic, and you are ready for a similar yet somewhat better album — inconsistent as it is — you’ll enjoy listening to, dissecting, and discussing Hardwired…To Self-Destruct.

Track List:
Disc One:

01. Hardwired
02. Atlas, Rise!
03. Now That We’re Dead
04. Moth Into Flame
05. Dream No More
06. Halo On Fire

Disc Two:
01. Confusion
02. ManUNkind
03. Here Comes Revenge
04. Am I Savage?
05. Murder One
06. Spit Out The Bone

Disc Three (Bonus):
01. Lords Of Summer
02. Ronnie Rising Medley (A Light In the Black / Tarot Woman / Stargazer / Kill the King)
03. When A Blind Man Cries
metallica-photo04. Remember Tomorrow
05. Helpless (Live at Rasputin Music)
06. Hit The Lights (Live at Rasputin Music)
07. The Four Horsemen (Live at Rasputin Music)
08. Ride The Lightning (Live at Rasputin Music)
09. Fade To Black (Live at Rasputin Music)
10. Jump In The Fire (Live at Rasputin Music)
11. For Whom The Bell Tolls (Live at Rasputin Music)
12. Creeping Death (Live at Rasputin Music)
13. Metal Militia (Live at Rasputin Music)
14. Hardwired (Live in Minneapolis)

Band Members:
James Hetfield
– vocals, guitar
Lars Ulrich
– drums
Kirk Hammett
– guitar
Robert Trujillo
 – bass

Production:
Produced and Mixed by Greg Fidelman

Band Websites:
Official Website
Facebook
Twitter

Reviewed by Eduardo for Sleaze Roxx, November 2016

Metallica‘s “Hardwired” video:

Metallica: Hardwired (Official Music Video)

From the album “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” available everywhere on November 18. Directed by Colin Hakes & The Artist © 2016 Blackened Recordings Follow Metallica: http://www.metallica.com http://www.livemetallica.com http://www.facebook.com/metallica http://www.twitter.com/metallica http://www.instagram.com/metallica http://www.youtube.com/metallicatv

Metallica‘s “Atlas, Rise!” video:

Metallica: Atlas, Rise! (Official Music Video)

From the album “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” available everywhere on November 18. Directed by Clark Eddy Filmed by Jeff Yeager © 2016 Blackened Recordings Follow Metallica: http://www.metallica.com http://www.livemetallica.com http://www.facebook.com/metallica http://www.twitter.com/metallica http://www.instagram.com/metallica http://www.youtube.com/metallicatv

Metallica‘s “Now That We’re Dead” video:

Metallica: Now That We’re Dead (Official Music Video)

From the album “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” available everywhere on November 18. Directed by Herring & Herring Edited by Jeremiah Bruckart © 2016 Blackened Recordings Follow Metallica: http://www.metallica.com http://www.livemetallica.com http://www.facebook.com/metallica http://www.twitter.com/metallica http://www.instagram.com/metallica http://www.youtube.com/metallicatv

Metallica‘s “Moth Into Flame” video:

Metallica: Moth Into Flame (Official Music Video)

From the album “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” available everywhere on November 18. Pre-order now at Metallica.com.

Metallica‘s “Dream No More” video:

Metallica: Dream No More (Official Music Video)

From the album “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” available everywhere on November 18.

Metallica‘s “Halo On Fire” video:

Metallica: Halo On Fire (Official Music Video)

From the album “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” available everywhere on November 18. Direction and Cinematography by Herring & Herring Edited by Jeremiah Bruckart Casting by The New Cast Starring Jana Knauerova Featuring: Raul Delarosa, Geg Agnew, Trishala Poulose, Joeshon James, Brooke Mayo, and the Metallica family!

Metallica‘s “Confusion” video:

Metallica: Confusion (Official Music Video)

From the album “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” available everywhere on November 18. Directed by Claire Marie Vogel © 2016 Blackened Recordings Follow Metallica: http://www.metallica.com http://www.livemetallica.com http://www.facebook.com/metallica http://www.twitter.com/metallica http://www.instagram.com/metallica http://www.youtube.com/metallicatv

Metallica‘s “ManUNkind” video:

Metallica: ManUNkind (Official Music Video)

From the album “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” available everywhere on November 18. Directed by Jonas Åkerlund Edited by Peter Wendin Post-production by Chimney © 2016 Blackened Recordings Follow Metallica: http://www.metallica.com http://www.livemetallica.com http://www.facebook.com/metallica http://www.twitter.com/metallica http://www.instagram.com/metallica http://www.youtube.com/metallicatv

Metallica‘s “Here Comes Revenge” video:

Metallica: Here Comes Revenge (Official Music Video)

From the album “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” available everywhere on November 18. Directed by Jessica Cope Produced by Alex Halley © 2016 Blackened Recordings Follow Metallica: http://www.metallica.com http://www.livemetallica.com http://www.facebook.com/metallica http://www.twitter.com/metallica http://www.instagram.com/metallica http://www.youtube.com/metallicatv

Metallica‘s “Am I Savage?” video:

Metallica: Am I Savage? (Official Music Video)

From the album “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” available everywhere on November 18. Direction and Cinematography by Herring & Herring Edited by Jeremiah Bruckart Casting by The New Cast Starring Sean Borderes © 2016 Blackened Recordings Follow Metallica: http://www.metallica.com http://www.livemetallica.com http://www.facebook.com/metallica http://www.twitter.com/metallica http://www.instagram.com/metallica http://www.youtube.com/metallicatv

Metallica‘s “Murder One” video:

Metallica: Murder One (Official Music Video)

From the album “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” available everywhere on November 18. Directed by Robert Valley © 2016 Blackened Recordings Follow Metallica: http://www.metallica.com http://www.livemetallica.com http://www.facebook.com/metallica http://www.twitter.com/metallica http://www.instagram.com/metallica http://www.youtube.com/metallicatv

Metallica‘s “Spit Out The Bone” video:

Metallica: Spit Out the Bone (Official Music Video)

From the album “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” available everywhere on November 18.

Metallica‘s “Lords Of Summer” video:

Metallica: Lords of Summer (Official Music Video)

From the Deluxe Edition of “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” available everywhere on November 18. Directed by Brett Murray © 2016 Blackened Recordings Follow Metallica: http://www.metallica.com http://www.livemetallica.com http://www.facebook.com/metallica http://www.twitter.com/metallica http://www.instagram.com/metallica http://www.youtube.com/metallicatv

Please wait...

E-Mail Subscription

ADD YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS to the EXCLUSIVE SleazeRoxx.com UPDATE LIST!