METALLICA — Hardwired... to Self-Destruct (review)

METALLICA — Hardwired... to Self-Destruct album cover Album · 2016 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Certif1ed
I couldn't not write a review of the most significant metal release of the 21st century so far.

The box set arrived this morning, and I made a nice playlist out of the Videos which have been released of ALL the songs, so as not to scratch my vinyl.

There will be long analytical reviews to fill your boots with, so let's cut to the chase.

On first hearing, this album has moments of Metallica at their best.

Possibly Master of Puppets best.

It raids Metallica's own extensive back catalogue, citing mainly Justice and the Black Album. It raids other bands, notably Iron Maiden. It has new inspired riffage, cautious experimentation with style - it is not uncompromising on the whole, which is a shame.

Repeat listenings reward for some songs, bore with others but who knows, maybe the boring ones will get better with time? Metallica can be like that. Dream No More only hooked me on second listen, really piqued my interest - case in point.

This is Black Album II, but then again it's not. It's Metallica showing who they are. The biggest heavy metal band in the world. The best at what they do.

Jaymz' riffs. The absolute, grin-inducing highs in many songs here. When he's good, he's the Master. When he's bad, he's probably better than most, but why settle for sub-standard ever, Jaymz?

The lows to me are the lack of experimentation in form. This is the secret sauce that made RTL and MoP unbroken benchmarks in terms of the balance of pure metal techniques without sacrificing melody, boundary pushing without losing the plot - indeed, redefining the plot - and uncompromising heavy metalness.

The other big low is the tribute to Lemmy. Really, guys? You are the band of all bands who should record a tribute to the Lemster, but did you play it back to yourselves? Maybe future listens will change my opinion, but I'm not sure I could bring myself to listen to Murder One again. Apt title.

The highs of this album are so good, you simply have to own it and experience them yourself. It's intimate, personal, and will slap you on the back as it high fives you then kicks you up the ass and blows your brain out.

Then you come back for more like a Moth to the Flame.

**Edit Diary 19/11/2016. This album really tempts you back.

On 3rd listen. Starting to forget where the boring bits were on disc 2 especially.

Confusion - still confusing me, not getting it.

ManUnKind has just hit me as being far better than I remember it, with joyous remembrances of old Judas Priest - proper headbanging stuff, real driving riffs from the old school, but with polish and class (stained, of course).

Here Comes Revenge - this is Nu Metallica, catchy and fun, but will it last?

Am I Savage? Like a different band, stretchy, nearly funky, twisty, tense, ungraceful, spooky, animal intellect. Was thinking it was too long at halfway point, by the end, felt it was too short.

Murder One - opens like "One". Lyrics make me cringe. Riffs 3rd grade, no feel of Motorhead - no real feel of Metallica. Solo worthy of Nigel Tufnel. Cannot overstate how much hate I feel for this awful song.

Spit Out the Bone has just sent icicles up and down my spine. I am succumbing to the power. Magnificent, ball of spikes, Whiplash rush of power.

Just get rid of Murder One and Confusion and there's an excellent album here, Metallica really showing in places how it should be done. An album that contains Masterclasses, not a masterpiece, but a perfect Metal album for 2016.
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