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Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct

Label: Blackened Records
Format: CD
Released: 2016
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
Rating: 8/ 10

The most anticipated album of the year…of course, its Metallica!, the biggest heavy metal band on the planet. During the eight year gap between “Death Magnetic” and “Hardwired”, Metallica were busy touring and with other projects, while finding time to write and record this album. So is it worth the wait, have Metallica gotten even closer to their roots with this album - is it thrash metal like we all want to hear? – well, yes and no. “Death Magnetic:” was surely a welcomed return to form after that shit-show called “St. Anger”, and “Hardwired” has commonalities to “Magnetic”, but “Hardwired” is a more focused collection of songs that have a cohesive vibe and delivery to them. Almost like a sister album the 1991 self titled album.


The title track out the door brings a riff and delivery reminiscent of say a ‘Battery’ or ‘Whiplash’ – straight forward and fast. Nice way to open and album. Now while not fast or thrashy, ‘Atlas,Rise!’ still has a kick in its step establishing a level of energy, and musicality, that carries into the rest of the album, and at six minutes includes a couple “Magnetic” rhythmic and riff changes, and twin leads. ‘Now That We’re Dead’ is the first of several with a simple crunch and punch which would have fit nicely on the self titled album. More twin leads begin ‘Moth Into Flame’ but it quickly goes into another simple meaty riff, drum beat, and rolling bass, while switching to a quicken tempo for the bridge and chorus. Metallica’s Sabbath influence comes through on the ‘Sad But True’-ish ‘Dream No More’, which also has this “Load”/’King Nothing’ aesthetic to the riff and verses. Slow, plodding, and heavy. ‘Halo of Fire’ is a little moodier, drops the riffing during the verses but gets heavier for the chorus.

Disc two maintains the vibe from tracks 2-5 for ‘Confusion’, a building drum beat and guitar lead morph nicely into the main groove and rhythm section, while ‘ManUNkind’ pays tribute to both Cliff Burton in Trujilo’s opening bass riff, and the bands respect (lyrically) for black metal bands. ‘Here Comes Revenge’ (has the most creative video) begins with Hammett putting a little ominous effects on the guitar as the primary groove and beat does keep with the rest of the album’s consistency. ‘Am I Savage’ again slows down the tempo, and mid tempo grinder ‘Murder One’ is about the late Lemmy. ‘Spit Out The Bone’ closes out disc two, and the album, with another thrasher in the spirit of ‘Damage Inc.’.

Disc three includes the song ‘Lords Of Summer’ from the 2014 “Metallica By Request" tour, a great tribute to Ronnie James Dio in ‘Rising Medley’ (‘A Light In The Black’, ‘Tarot Woman’, ‘Stargazer’, ‘Kill The King’), a cover of the Deep Purple ballad ‘When A Blind Man Cries’ and Iron Maiden’s ‘Remember Tomorrow’, and…live tracks from “Kill Em All’ (how often do they play the goodie ‘Jump In The Fire’?) and “Lightning” from Record Store Day performance on April 16, 2016.

So why 8/10? Like I said earlier - So is it worth the wait, have Metallica gotten even closer to their roots with this album - is it thrash metal like we all want to hear? – well, yes and no. Two thrashers out of twelve is just not enough, for me. But for consistency for an entire album? – yes, it is solid.

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