There are very few bands left in the world for which the release of a new record would be an event, and lets face it, outside of the reformed Guns n Roses dropping ‘Appetite…Part 2’, the biggest possible such event is new music from Metallica. The San Francisco metallers once thrashed out 4 albums in five years, so having waited 8 years since ‘Death Magnetic’, a new album is long overdue, but finally, come November, the 12 track double album will hit the racks. In the meantime, we have the video for album opener ‘Hardwired’, which they dropped yesterday, August 18th, three months ahead of the album. The question is though, is it any damn good?
The short answer is yes, of course! It’s fucking Metallica, even their worst music is streets ahead of the majority, the bigger issue though, is whether it will stand up alongside ‘Master of Puppets’ and the uber popular Black album, which is precisely what it sound as if they are aiming for. The production has that clean crisp resonance of Death Magnetic, not surprising given Greg Fidelman is once again fiddling with the knobs, but there is more than an echo of ‘Battery’ to Lars’ furious drumming and Kirk’s blistering soloing. There’s also a definite air of the early 90s about the black and white claustrophobic video for the track.
The song actually begins with machine gun riffing/beats and a staccato riff á la ‘Enter Sandman’, before the real thrash gallop begins. It features all those little stops, time changes and familiar elements of the signature Metallica sound, although James wasn’t exactly up all night on the hook – “We’re so fucked!/ Shit outta luck”. He does make amends in the ‘Whiplash’ style third verse however – “Once upon a planet burning/ Once upon a flame/ Once upon a spirit turning all in vain/ Do you feel that hopeless feeling?/ Do you comprehend?/ Do you feel it terminating in the end?”. It all sounds somewhat familiar, but hey, I guess that’s kinda cool, we want Metallica to sound like Metallica!
After repeated listens, I’ve gotta admit that it pretty much hits the spot – one foot in the past, one in the present – ok, so it may lack the rawness of ‘Ride The Lightning’ or ‘Master of Puppets’, but this is brand Metallica launching new product, so there’s no way it will ever be that amazing again. However, considering that it’s now thirty something years down the line and the band are in their fifties, it’s good to know that like the rest of the big four, they can still shred. See for yourself right here:
The official word from Metallica: https://metallica.com/blog/news/429181/hardwired-to-self-destruct-available-november-18-2