A return to form…
Thirty-five years into their careers, Metallica released their tenth studio album, “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct.” Fans of Metallica’s early output can breathe a heavy sigh of relief that the new album returns to the heavy chugging riffs and guitar solo-heavy sound that characterized their ‘80s material. In fact, this may end up being the best album that Metallica has made since their self-titled release in 1991. It’s stunning how after 35 years, the guys at Metallica still haven’t lost their luster, with James Hetfield still providing plenty of bite in his vocals and Kirk Hammet’s solos being as impressive as usual. The only member of the bunch that doesn’t impress on this album is Rob Trujillo on bass, though that’s because his bass is placed very far back in the mix in comparison to the guitars and drums.
Even still, the heavy riffs and thrash-metal sound fans have come to expect from Metallica are present, and this album does not disappoint. “Here Comes Revenge” features a predominant bass drum to lead into the verse. “Am I Savage?” offers one of the best riffs on the album, and “Spit Out the Bone” is by far the fastest-paced song Metallica has made in some time. In terms of the two discs on display, disc one of the album is the most consistent in terms of quality, while the second disc is more experimental with a couple of hits (“Spit Out the Bone”) and a couple of duds (“Murder One”.) Despite this, the wild shifts in quality offer more entertaining songs than in the band’s previous works, like “Load,” “Reload” or “St. Anger”.
“Hardwired…To Self Destruct” has a main theme that explores self-destruction, such as on “Moth into Flame” which deals an over-reliance on social media, or dealing with inner demons like on “Halo on Fire” or “Am I Savage?” Though lyrical depth was never Metallica’s strong suit, the lyrics are still displayed without any clumsiness.
Overall, after the long wait from their last album and after wide shifts in quality beforehand, “Hardwired…To Self Destruct” offers a nice return to form for Metallica and proves how even after three decades since their prime days, Metallica can still surprise and provide some hard-hitting thrash metal.