Metallica – Hardwired… To Self-Destruct Review 


Though undoubtedly many selectively managed sites, magazines and ‘hip’ people instantly dismiss or undermine Metallica as much as they’d denounce anything that reaches the charts or has a dance beat in it, you can’t brush a band like Metallica under the carpet. It’s simply not possible. A giant Metallica shape would simply be under your carpet. Even if you find their sound completely unpalatable, they are one of the biggest bands in the world and they’ll sell out pretty much any venue, anywhere. Now with they’re tenth studio album, they’re being hailed for creating their best work for a long time. For a band that tries to distance itself from religion and politics, even they have now been dragged, literally kicking and screaming into the swarm of debate about their divided nation and a divided world as they see it. The product of this is pretty dramatic.

The drama is encapsulated almost completely with pin one song; their lead single ‘Moth Into Flame’. The metaphors and imagery is very pointed and it’s difficult to avoid the subject. “Sold your soul, Built A Higher Wall… Seduced by fame, A Moth Into The Flame (Burn).” It almost sounds like a biblical judgment of Donald Trump and is almost terrifying in the setting of plunging riffs and crashing persuasion with those lyrics delivered through James Hetfields trademark snarl. Other lyrics include pointed snaps at the President Elect and other “extremes” they see around the world and the oblivious side show of celebrity obsession and with Trump they combine both flanks of their attack. The song works so well as it provides an anger that matches the situation they and many other see it. It’s also something they felt so strongly about that they had to break their silence on Political matters. ‘Hardwired’ is a track that has all the hallmarks of a Metallica track with high firing riffs and snapping percussion and this builds to a peak before accelerating off again. This track is a punch in the face in which Hetfield screams about Paranoia, “a planet burning once upon a flame”, “Crooked Borderlines” and the summation that “We’re so fucked. Shit outta luck.” These lyrics and this imagery comes at a perfect time for those needing to vent and this track is just one massive venting of anger. 

‘Atlas Rise’ is a track that takes their rapidly shifting rhythms and sees them play with the speed to highlight the tearing hooks and then the lead riffs later on. Indeed, this album has been hailed for having the best hooks and riffs they’ve been able to produce for several albums. ‘Dream No More’ becomes a controlled and driven piece of rock music with steady rocking riffs that circle back every few seconds to make for a punchy track, but one that allows them to show their musical prowess. They deliver an aggressive, yet effective harmony and go on to play with the speed of their track to bookmark each verse. The fact that they are able to manipulate their sound so well shows why they should be taken seriously. ‘ManUNKind’ is another example of this and a track that justifies the praise for their riffs on this album as serveral varying riffs are forged together into one rhythm structure. Again the pointed message of “killing of the innocents” shows how much more direct some of their lyrics have become. Of course there are tracks that do act as filler in a way as they could have been from almost any Heavy Metal album and there are moments when they tease something drastically different, but defer to familiarity, The album, however is an album that almost anyone could listen to, at least that is true for most of the album. The messages in some of the tracks range from philosophical to furious and certain tracks are theatrical and unhinged in a spectacular way. This certainly is their best work for some time and for many their timing couldn’t be better. 

Metallica – Hardwired… To Self-Destruct = 8/10 

Owen Riddle

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Comments

  1. It’s nice to see a return to form of sorts with them but this album just didn’t do it for me.

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