Released November 18, 2016 via Blackened Recordings
Hardwired...To Self-Destruct is number one in a staggering 57 countries, Top 3 in 75 countries and Top 5 in 105 countries so I suppose this review will probably not make any difference. But here is my take on the new album from Metallica!!!
I was introduced to Metallica via a k7 demo. I think it was four tracks, long before they were even signed by a label. I went to see them supporting Motorhead in Europe when they released Kill Em All in 1983 and like for many of my generation the first decade of the band’s activity was a defining moment not only for us as a generation but also for the music industry. Fair to say that by and large Metallica redefined the rock-hard business and revolutionized the foundations of trash metal. They are as important as Led Zeppelin or the Rolling Stones for that matter and their influence has been felt way beyond the boundaries of head banging music only.
Then we all grew up and evolved. The band made a few mistakes and some hard-core fans did not forgive them. Metallica made some attempts to readapt themselves but failed short on a few occasions (St Anger/Lulu). Death Magnetic gave hope but most of us had low expectations, some had even written the band off. BIG MISTAKE.
2016, Hardwired....... to Self-Destruct is the album I am reviewing. A 3 CD version including a live section composed mainly of titles from the first albums except one track. The same title Hardwired....... to Self-Destruct is opening the ball and damn it is good. It is not mind blowing but the shortest title is punchy, the riffs are elegant, the voice is James all over and the production is excellent. From that point onwards:
The Stand Outs: Hardwired, Moth into Flame, Now That We’re Dead , Spit Out the Bone, Here Comes Revenge. The Latter is a real song, not a succession of riffs or break. James voice evolves in softer territories at times and this is showing a direction that personally I would have liked to see on more tracks. Kirk’s soli are creative and sharp and incisive while the bass player is doing a fantastic job to support the ensemble in a very efficient if not innovative manner.
The Not So stand Outs: Halo On Fire, Confusion and Atlas Rise are good and solid titles but it is a bit awkward to hear Metallica copying Metallica in some parts of the three songs. Personally, I kind of think Kirk and Robert should have been more involved in the crafting of the album. Lars and James creativity clearly show some weakness and the innovation boundaries are quickly meet on those two tracks.
The Average: The four studio tracks on CD3 are forgettable and add marginal value. Lords of The Summer is more palatable with the video back up but I don’t understand why those titles have not been kept for B-sides or rarities. I find When a Blind Man Cries relatively painful. On CD2 Am I Savage and ManUNKind are good titles in their own right but don’t really suffer any comparison with the stronger titles from whom they come across as a pale version of them.
Now we should be grateful to have the pleasure of having a strong Metallica album to rejoice our ears. Metallica is still as relevant as ever, however we should not be stuck in a time warp and expect them to recapture an era which is long gone.
As far as I am concerned I am already looking forward to the next chapter, hoping it won’t take 8 years that time around.
Overall: The best effort in more than 20 years
If I was to pick 3 Only: Hardwired..., Spit Out The Bone, Homes Revenge
Live test: I have never been disappointed
Deluxe Edition (Digital Download & CD): Disc One Hardwired Atlas, Rise! Now That We’re Dead Moth into Flame Dream No More Halo On Fire
Disc Two: Confusion ManUNkind Here Comes Revenge Am I Savage? Murder One Spit Out the Bone
Disc Three (Bonus): Lords of Summer (2016) Ronnie Rising Medley When a Blind Man Cries Remember Tomorrow Helpless (Live at Rasputin Music) Hit the Lights (Live at Rasputin Music) The Four Horsemen (Live at Rasputin Music) Ride the Lightning (Live at Rasputin Music) Fade to Black (Live at Rasputin Music) Jump in the Fire (Live at Rasputin Music) For Whom the Bell Tolls (Live at Rasputin Music) Creeping Death (Live at Rasputin Music) Metal Militia (Live at Rasputin Music) Hardwired (Live in Minneapolis)
Review by Pascal Derrien