Hardwired… to Self-Destruct is the tenth studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica, released as a double album on November 18, 2016 by their independent label Blackened Recordings. It is the band’s first studio album in eight years, following Death Magnetic (2008), marking the longest gap between two studio albums in the band’s career. It is also the first studio album by the band not to feature songwriting contributions from Kirk Hammett since he joined the band in 1983.
Hardwired—-Incredible Ulrich drums right off the bat and a thrash styled guitar lets you know that the band is back and better than ever. Hetfield sounds so driven with his vocal…its as good as the old days. The precise breaks and the chord changes are just outstanding. This is a classic song with all the elements we have been missing…..brilliant. The urgency to the vocal delivery is awesome…..can’t wait to see this live!
Atlas, Rise!—-Allowing the bass guitar to serve as the intro for this track, the drums are not far behind. The staccato guitar line adds to the layers of the song.The vocal is slow to enter but is filled with a nice melodic tune rather than just an all out pummel like the previous track. The delivery from Hetfield reminds you of the good old days of the band…when the melody was as important as the thrash. Crisp and clean.Guitar solos and all!
Now That We’re Dead—-Sounding entirely different than the other two tracks, this is a release that keeps you guessing! The intro bass line is huge….the drums adding to the deeper plodding sound. The production is fantastic….not at all muddled despite the bass heavy delivery. The vocal is very slow to enter and has an almost blues tinge to the sound of it. The crisp clear sound lets you catch every word…this track sounds a bit dated…sounding like something from the late 80’s or early 90’s…but it is not bad in the least. I like the variety.
Moth Into Flame—-Returning to that deeper bass driven melody the band is famous for, the prominent bass line almost gallops at the onset of the song. Very Maiden! Hetfield enters with his higher tone vocal that inspires urgency and a driven message. The break in the song has a nice barrage of higher lead guitars and fore front drums. The chorus is damn catchy…with a nice break between lines. This may well classify as a future classic Metallica track.
Dream No More—-Sounding at the onset like a long lost Sabbath track, the higher instrument tones that enter give the song a funeral march feel. The bass guitar kicks in with the huge drums behind it and fills out the entire thing. The vocal when it enters is even Sabbath inspired. The double vocal in higher and lower tones damn near mimics Osbourne in his better days. This is deep, dark and intense. Fantastic!
Halo On Fire—-Crisp and crunchy with a soaring guitar lead intro, this is yet another different sound than previously displayed on the release thus far….for me that is a plus. The track slows and quiets and introduces the perquisite ballad. The vocal from Hetfield barely sounds like himself at the onset. The chorus and the bridge are huge…..creating a memorable track that will play really well live. This is damn near perfect.
Confusion—-Blasts from the bass furnace kick off the second disc while a guitar melody plays underneath the riff and delivers a wall of sound. The stop…start…stop…start is incredible and speaks well of the talent in this band. The fast paced bass line that runs through the underbelly of the song keeps things dark but melodious. The vocal is a bit odd…sounding somewhat muted and incomplete….but the overall feeling of the track is huge. This is great.
ManUNkind—-Beginning with a gentle almost quiet guitar intro and a underlying bass line, the song slowly erupts into a classic heavy Metallica riff that sounds incredible traveling from headphone to headphone. The lead guitar line is crisp and clean and leads the song more than Hetfield and his bass line. The vocal enters and is so damn pleasing….but there is a remarkable familiarity to this song. Not sure why….but it does not sound entirely new to me.
Here Comes Revenge—-Bass heavy and noisier at the onset, this has a lot going on in the track…but clears way for the prominent sound that most of this release has. Again we get the nice galloping bass line ala Maiden that propels the song….but quiets suddenly to allow for the quieter vocal. I would not call this a ballad…but rather a track with many different moods and textures….sometimes Hetfield bellows….other times he seems to whisper. This is fantastic!
Am I Savage?—-Once again, slowing things down into an almost ballad style, the intro to this song is false as it opens up. the lead guitars soar and the drums sound louder than ever only to be matched stroke for stroke with the bass guitar. this is great….the song once again displaying a slight blues edge that is attributed to the drawn out lead and vocal. Let me also say….Hetfield has not sounded this good in years…like he has been re-invigorated with a new energy…..just what this release needed.
Murder One—-Much in the musical vein as the previous track, this begins slow……explodes and slows again…..taking you through the many moods of the song. Ulrich delivers a stellar drum performance on this track…letting you know he is alive and well behind the kit. Hetfield enters with a slight evil edge to his vocal delivery….and the breaks and mood shifts are all over the place. This is extraordinary. I rather like this song.
Spit Out The Bone—-Ending this release with a 7 minute extravaganza of speed and power riffs, the machine gun blasts from the bass are incredible and super human….aided by the huge drums. This song is by far the fastest and most driven thing on this release and leaves a remarkable taste in your mouth…almost begging for more. Hetfield sings so fast and so driven it is as if he is possessed by some demon. This is a HUGE track….full of everything….trademark bass and drums….clear lead guitars and a vocal for the history books.
***** out of 5