Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Album Review, Metallica: Hardwired to Self-Destruct

We're So F**ked
$hit out of Luck
Hardwired to Self Destruct

Let me first say that I was not impressed with Metallica's Death Magnetic album. It seemed to be an attempt at a prog metal album, but it turned out to be just long. I gave up hope on that return to form thrash metal album that we had been waiting on for 20+ years. When I heard they were recording a new album, my first thought was 'Meh.' I wasn't expecting much, and they were pretty tight lipped about it. Then, came the first video from the new album, the title track, Hardwired. I was cautiously optimistic because that song freaking rocked! I thought about doing a blog post about how that song gave me hope, but I decided against it. What if the tune was a fluke? Then came the next song, Moth Into Flame. That song was incredible. A 6 minute juggernaut that would have easily fit on Master of Puppets. My cautious optimism turned into cautious hope, not only that this was the return to form album, but also the best album since Puppets? Maybe? Dare I hope? Read on! (I didn't really like And Justice For All. The songs are great, but I like bass in my metal.)

What can I say? This album is badass. Review over. Just kidding. First of all, there is no filler on this album. Every song is incredible in its own way. Metallica displays elements from all of their good albums from Kill Em All all the way up to Load and Reload, while having its own stand alone style. One thing that stands out is the harmony guitar between James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett which is back in a big way. Its featured in quite a few songs, most notably Atlas, Rise. One thing I never thought I'd hear again was James's vocal ability being on par with his voice on the first 5 albums. That was a very welcome surprise. Vocal harmonies are tight too. 

We're BACK!!!
One thing that really stands out and makes this a return to form album is the fact that Lars Ulrich and Rob Trujillo are extremely tight. Much moreso than on Death Magnetic. Trujillo is such an incredible bass player, I believe that he brought out the best in Ulrich on this album. In the song, Now That We're Dead, there is a Judas Priest type chug opening, with a thick double bass part. Its not as fast others like One, and anything off Puppets, but the song isn't that fast either. My point is that I doubt we would have had a double bass part on a song like that if the album had been released a year or two after Death Magnetic.

All the fast licks in the songs are back. Fast, heavy, brutal. And, while I hate to keep going back to Death Magnetic, I have to. That was their last album, so it needs to be compared. As I mentioned before, the DM songs were just long, with a bunch of different licks that didn't necessarily need to be there. On Hardwired,  there are 6-7 minute songs on this album with a bunch of different licks. The difference? They all fit.

There are no ballads on this album, but there are some acoustic intros. The acoustic guitar sound is the same sound that was used in Fade to Black, and Sanitarium. Murder One (among others) is a good example of this, yet the song slams into a really heavy yet slow groove that will make you want to break something. Another slow yet brutally heavy song is Dream No More. If The Thing That Should Not Be and Sad But True had a child, it would be this song. It also has the vocal harmony that was present on Load and Reload. This song is a perfect example of James still having his vocal ability from years past.

In classic sounds, the song Confusion, it has a vintage Metallica feel. Think Am I Evil. But while this song is badass from a musical perspective, its lyrics are powerful. Emotional. And, so is the video. Its about a soldier returning home from war, and suffering from PTSD. I won't spoil the video for you, but it is INTENSE. I lived near Ft. Bragg for a while, and I have seen how horrific PTSD can be to a soldier. Watching the video made me tear up a little bit. 

But, I know you all want to know, which song compares to Battery or Damage Inc. While Moth Into Flame could fit on Puppets OR Ride the Lightning, it isn't the heaviest song on the album. That designation belongs to Spit Out The Bone! Not only is it fast and heavy, it also has a distorted bass break. 

Is that a Miami Dolphins logo over Lar's left eye?

Basically, this is the Metallica album that we've all been waiting 20+ years for. Its the album that should have followed Master of Puppets. Was it worth the wait? I think so. It shows that the most influential metal band of all time next to Iron Maiden still has what it takes to grab us by the throat and not let go.

On DM, there is a song called The Day That Never Comes. Well, that day finally came today. Metallica is BACK with a VENGEANCE!!!! Buy this album! You will not be disappointed!

Prediction: Hardwired to Self-Destruct will debut on Billboard at #1. Metallica won't be self destructing any time soon.

And, while you're here, check out my review of Through the Never.