I think the most striking thing about ‘Atlas, Rise!’, the third track to drop from the new Metallica album, is the obvious Iron Maiden influence. It’s there in the straightforward riffing, the high flying guitar lines, extended mid-section and slightly over-long running time. As such, it’s actually another pretty damn good track – high energy rather than thrashy – echoing much more of ‘Kill ’em All’ than of the convoluted ‘Justice’ era tracks.
Although there is an obvious step back in time, it doesn’t feel like a going back to their roots just to regain some credibility, it kinda sounds like they’ve maybe been listening to some old school tunes and rediscovered what got them excited in the first place. This, and the obvious hooks, succeed in lending an air of vibrancy that was lacking on ‘Death Magnetic’, making it as immediate a listen as ‘Hardwired’ and ‘Moth Into Flame’. Another plus point is that ‘Kirk Hammett is sounding rejuvenated as he delivers more fine soloing and if the video clip is anything to go by, James, Lars and co seem to be enjoying themselves. Whether ‘Atlas, Rise!’ stands the test of time remains to be seen, but it is certainly another promising snippet of what is to come. I haven’t been this excited about a Metallica album in years. Roll on November 18th.