Hardwired… to Self-Destruct represents Metallica’s tenth studio album. Released as a double record on November 18, it’s their first in eight years and first released through their Blackened Recordings label. Surely anything related to the Blackened name must be good right?
Great cover art featuring the new ‘glitch’ logo and available in a variety of releases; digipack, bonus discs, coloured/black vinyl and of course the fan bleeding box set. Metallica could give a lesson on how to sell physical albums… give fans something worth owning!!
Having four of the best thrash/metal records ever written (their first four) and thirty + years of heavy metal supremacy guarantees high expectation. When they stray from their past, fans aren’t happy, but when they replicate they are accused of releasing MOP b-sides or phoning it in…
So where does this rate? IMO no-one will ever touch the first four records and Hardwired is no exception, but you know what, it stacks up. Much to my personal disappointment it’s not a thrash record, but it is hard rocking, tough, rolling, melodic and all the things we’ve come to expect from post 1990 Metallica. Missing a squealing guitar solo or two (perhaps highlighting Kirk’s writing absence) and when they tour next year will I want them to play it cover to cover, well no, but overall a great way to spend seventy seven and a half minutes.
Disc one includes the three singles released to date, including the first and title track, which I’m sure you’ve all heard by now. Look out the eight plus minute Halo on Fire, which has a bit of Outlaw Torn about it and my fav on the first disc.
Disc two is where the action is for me. Opening with Confusion which is a good hard rocker, then into ManUNkind whose opening base line is magic and has been touted as a tribute to Cliff Burton. Rounding out the album is another slow burner Am I Savage? and Murder One a fitting tribute to a man of great influence for this band, and more generally to the whole hard rock/heavy metal genre; Lemmy Kilmister.
Then just when you think it’s winding down they go all And Justice for All again and save the best track for last with Spit out the Bone which is an absolute screamer. All of a sudden you are transported back to 80’s and it leaves you pondering where has that been?
Love it or not, one thing this record will guarantee is a World Tour and who can’t get excited about that!!
By Tim Nicholas