METALLICA — Hardwired... to Self-Destruct — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of

METALLICA - Hardwired... to Self-Destruct cover
3.32 | 57 ratings | 12 reviews
Buy this album from MMA partners

Album · 2016

Filed under Heavy Metal


Disc 1:

1. Hardwired (3:09)
2. Atlas, Rise! (6:28)
3. Now That We're Dead (6:59)
4. Moth Into Flame (5:50)
5. Dream No More (6:55)
6. Halo On Fire (8:15)

Total Time 37:36

Disc 2:

1. Confusion (6:43)
2. ManUNkind (7:17)
3. Here Comes Revenge (6:30)
4. Am I Savage? (6:29)
5. Murder One (5:45)
6. Spit Out The Bone (7:09)

Total Time 39:53

Total Time (both) 77:29

Deluxe edition Disc 3:

1. Lords Of Summer (2016 Version) (7:10)
2. Ronnie Rising Medley (Rainbow Cover) (9:03)
3. When A Blind Man Cries (Deep Purple Cover) (4:35)
4. Remember Tomorrow (Iron Maiden Cover) (5:50)
5. Helpless (Live At Rasputin Music) (3:08)
6. Hit The Lights (Live At Rasputin Music) (4:06)
7. The Four Horsemen (Live At Rasputin Music) (5:19)
8. Ride The Lightning (Live At Rasputin Music) (6:56)
9. Fade To Black (Live At Rasputin Music) (7:24)
10. Jump In The Fire (Live At Rasputin Music) (5:13)
11. For Whom The Bell Tolls (Live At Rasputin Music) (4:32)
12. Creeping Death (Live At Rasputin Music) (6:43)
13. Metal Militia (Live At Rasputin Music) (6:07)
14. Hardwired (Live In Minneapolis) (3:30)

Total Time 79:36


- James Hetfield / vocals, guitars
- Kirk Hammett / guitars
- Robert Trujillo / bass
- Lars Ulrich / drums

About this release

Label: Blackened Recordings
Release date: November 18th, 2016

The three disc Deluxe Edition features different cover artwork.

Thanks to DippoMagoo for the addition and diamondblack, Bosh66, adg211288, 666sharon666, Pekka for the updates


More places to buy metal & METALLICA music


Specialists/collaborators reviews

Death Magnetic in 2008 was obviously a lengthy step in the right direction following the all-encompassing nadir of the St. Anger era, but I've always had a problem with the well publicized Rick Rubin mindset of re-living the past instead of looking to the future and evolving. Maybe that was what they needed to do to get back on track and win back some credibility as a creative act, but as a fan of the Load era I was disappointed that they almost completely shut down that avenue.

But on Self Destruct Metallica act their age and embrace not only their thrashing days, but their entire history. The early part of the album is dominated by the faster side of their toolbox while the second is heavy on mid-tempo numbers very much reminiscent of the early-to-mid 90s output - you can even hear a hint of St. Anger in the screeching heaviness of parts of Am I Savage?

Hardwired continues right where Death Magnetic left off with the title track joining My Apocalypse as the most straightforward thrash tunes they've written since maybe even Kill 'em All. The other songs reaching back to the proggier side of 80s - namely Atlas Rise, the absolutely superb Moth into Flame and the furious closer Spit Out the Bone - are extremely effective and convincing. Other fairly strong pieces are the Sad-But-True-meets-The-Thing-That-Should-Not-Be mashup Dream No More, the heavy epic Halo on Fire, the dirt and spit juggernaut Am I Savage? and the pretty basic heavy rock of Confusion that I still for some reason enjoy quite a lot, despite the directionless improvised noodlings behind the second verse.

Apart from the aforementioned improv part and the clumsy beat holding back the pre-solo section of ManUNkind this album thankfully lacks the head scratching arrangement and quality control blunders that plagued parts of Death Magnetic and the sound production is also vastly superior. The excellent Ronnie Rising medley recorded for the at the time recent Dio tribute album, and again included here on the special edition, gave some promise of slightly slicker sound than what's been heard on most of their output this century, and those promises were indeed fulfilled with Self-Destruct sounding like an album with production values thought beyond a mere "this is what we sound like in our garage". For the first time in his time in Metallica, Robert Trujillo is taken seriously as a ballsy kick ass bassist, and he provides a perfect fat rumble as a foundation for all the Hetfield riffs. Lars limps his way through the faster thrashy beats, but is very very solid most of the way when the tempo is taken down to Load era levels.

With the new album 72 Seasons announced I thought I'd get back to the old review draft I left unfinished around the release of Hardwired, and I find that my respect for the album has diminished somewhat. While in the beginning I was very much enjoying the whole scope from straight up thrash to the sludgy Load soundalikes, now years later I find that the songwriting especially during some of the slower songs on the second half just hasn't stood the test of time that well. On the other hand Atlas Rise and especially Moth Into Flame are hands down some of the finest Metallica tunes from the last 35ish years and the production is leaps and bounds better than anything since Garage Inc.

I always wanted them to release a varied album like this as I felt that the Rubin-led thrashier approach of Death Magnetic was a bit forced and the slower mid-90s sound was the one they were naturally evolving into, but looking at it now I see I was wrong since it's the former that produces the greatest highlights here. It will be interesting to hear what kind of balance they strike on the upcoming 72 Seasons.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love Metallica. I didn't mind them going alternative rock. I didn't mind them playing with an orchestra. I didn't mind them using trash cans for snares. But the only thing I've considered a detriment to all their albums since the mid-90's is that they're all so bloody long! And that has never been more evident than with 'Hardwired... To Self Destruct'.

The thing is, eight-minute songs (and longer) worked for the band back in the day, but since the rise of Dream Theater and progressive metal since the early 90's, it really feels like a field in which Metallica can't compete anymore. And in fact, maybe they were better suited to the stadium anthem vibe of 1991's self-titled album, because every song having a ridiculously and unnecessarily long intro, or intricate musical passages that feel like the band are just going through the motions, is getting a bit tedious now.

Criticisms aside, 'Hardwired...' follows on from 2008's 'Death Magnetic', in which Metallica have readily accepted a return to being a (thrash?) metal band. The music is heavy and fast, with lots of tasty riffs and each member really trying to get the most out of their somewhat limited musical prowess. Highlights include 'Moth Into Flame', which is one kickass tune, 'Now That We're Dead', 'Atlas, Rise', 'Spit Out the Bone' and 'Halo On Fire'. All of which are decent tracks that have the makings of great songs, but suffer from the aforementioned duration issues.

Special editions of this album came with a third disc, but there isn't much to write home about here. A bonus track (which goes on for too long), a few covers from various tribute albums, none of them are overly inspirational, and nine live tracks of songs we've already heard countless live versions of, make this hardly worth the investment.

After all that, however, 'Hardwired...' isn't a terrible album. It does show a lot of promise at times, but it really gives off an impression that Metallica aren't fully engaged with what they're doing unless they're trying something new or challenging themselves. Going alternative rock, playing with orchestras, theatrical movies, collaborations... seems like anything that takes them out of their comfort zone is really where they're most comfortable. While 'Hardwired...', to Metallica anyway, is just another metal album.
"Hardwired…To Self-Destruct" is the 10th full-length studio album by US heavy/thrash metal act Metallica (not counting "Lulu (2011)", which is a collaboration album with Lou Reed, and therefore shouldn´t be considered a Metallica album). The album was released through Blackened Recordings in November 2016. At this point in their career Metallica are notorious for taking their sweet time between releasing studio albums, and if you don´t count "Lulu (2011)", it´s actually been 8 years since the release of their last studio album "Death Magnetic (2008)". They´ve also cut down on their touring activities working a schedule which also takes their family lives into consideration. In addition to that the various members of the band also have other projects going like "Kirk Von Hammett's Fear FestEvil" festival and the "Metallica Through the Never (2013)" movie. So they´ve branched out a bit since the turn of the century and their music career is now only a part of what they do. Not all they do.

Stylistically "Hardwired…To Self-Destruct" is part heavy metal and part thrash metal, but it leans less on the latter than Metallica did on "Death Magnetic (2008)". There are still some pretty thrash metal oriented parts here and there though, so it´s just an album where Metallica combines some melodic heavy metal ideas with more aggressive thrash metal ditto. "Death Magnetic (2008)" was a great album in many ways, but first and foremost it was a great album because it felt like a comeback after "St. Anger (2003)", which many fans consider the low point of the band´s discography. "Death Magnetic (2008)" is not an album where you remember many tracks from if you haven´t listened to it often though, and it´s clear to me now that Metallica used that album to make a point rather than creating the best album they could (It´s still a good quality release of course). "Hardwired…To Self-Destruct" feels more natural, less forced and calculated, and it´s a much more simple, catchy, and memorable album than both of its two immediate predecessors, and it feels great to again hear Metallica produce something a bit more memorable.

"Hardwired…To Self-Destruct" is a 2 disc release featuring 12 tracks and full playing time of 77:26 minutes. So the album actually could have fit on a single disc, but Metallica probably chose the 2 disc approach for effect. They are children of the vinyl age, and to anyone who remember those days, it´s bound to fill them with nostalgia thinking of the times you had to rise from where you sat/lay and had to turn the vinyl from side A to B. It may have been annoying back then, but I´ve come to realize in retrospect that you listened to music much more intimately and discovered more details that way, instead of being bludgeoned with 60-80 minutes of music without breaks which many albums of the CD/Digital age feed you. I can´t say for sure if that´s why Metallica have chosen the 2 disc option, but it´s my guess.

As mentioned above the material on the album shifts between relatively melodic and catchy heavy metal riffs (and quite a few harmony guitar sections), rhythms, and vocals, and more aggressive hard edged thrash metal ditto. Sometimes combined in the same song, and sometimes more isolated in the case of particular tracks. Tracks like "Hardwired" and especially "Spit Out the Bone" are for example pretty thrashy tracks, while there are other tracks on the album which only feature thrash metal leanings. There are several highlights on the album like the two above mentioned and "Atlas, Rise!", "Murder One", and "Am I Savage?", but the quality of the tracks are generally high in the regard that they are all memorable and punchy with a great swing.

There´s something about the way Lars Ulrich´s drumming and James Hetfield´s guitar riffs interlock, which work wonders. Sometimes it´s almost too simple and you could wish for a bit more complex rhythm work (in the drum department), but on the other hand Ulrich understands how to make a song swing and rock. Robert Trujillo delivers a solid performance on the bass, although it could be argued that his considerable skills aren´t put to the best of use, but on the other hand slap bass and other crazy bass techniques probably wouldn´t sound that great on Metallica´s music. Kirk Hammett deserves a mention too for his solid guitar solos. It´s not too flashy and there is as usual a lot of wah wha pedal use, but his playing suits the rest of the music perfectly. Last but not least Hetfield´s vocals are generally a joy throughout the album, and I think I hear new sides of Hetfield on this album that I haven´t heard before. It´s great to hear he hasn´t stagnated when it comes to his vocals.

Despite some early reservations "Hardwired…To Self-Destruct" has won me over. Repeated listens have opened the album up to me, and the sound production, which I initially found a bit flat and lifeless, also works pretty well. It´s audible that much time and preperation have been put into writing and creating the album and the sound production too, and upon conclusion "Hardwired…To Self-Destruct" is a high quality release and by far strongest Metallica album in years. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
Like many I’d long since given up caring about whether Metallica released another album or not. Years of releasing mediocrity when around them others were releasing vital and brilliant pieces of work. I’m not just talking about newer bands here either. Take Exodus and Testament for example – two bands from the same era as Metallica who have still been releasing incredibly good albums for years with only the occasional misstep. The last Metallica album I was remotely excited about was the so called Black Album and even that paled in comparison to their 80’s output baring the poorly produced …And Justice For All. Load and re-Load would have made one strong album between them. St Anger was another album marred by bizarre production decisions, mainly in the drum sound but contained a few inspiring moments. Death Magnetic was a step in the right direction though lacking killer material again and an overly harsh production. Lulu was a brave experiment that delivered little but I have more time for it than most seem to, it has to be said, though it rarely leaves the shelf.

The initial signs were promising, Hardwired was the first song to be released and it showed Metallica as a vital force again with a strong performance from all and a return to their thrash roots with some killer riffage – total shock! Not quite as good but not far behind were the next two pre-album releases Moth Into Flame and Atlas, Arise!, both packing plenty of punch. I was really getting interested now and November the album finally arrived. First off, let’s say that it’s a very good and often excellent album. It’s also a long album spread over two discs on both vinyl and Cd versions. Many have said it’s too long at almost eighty minutes but as far as I’m concerned that’s only a problem if it’s sub-standard. For the most part here that’s not the case though a bit of careful editing wouldn’t have hurt. Hardwired…To Self-Destruct as most will know by now is not however an overall return to their thrash roots which is hardly surprising really. Most of the material plods along at a mid-pace the way much of their 90’s output did. The first sign of this comes three songs in with the seven minute Now That We’re Dead. Fortunately it’s still a great song with a memorable hook. Am I Savage, Halo On Fire and Confusion to name a few occupy that similar Black album/Load territory. Some of them slightly outstay their welcome at the seven/eight minute mark with not quite enough variation to sustain them, Halo On Fire being a case in point, though in the main are saved by strong songwriting. A late surprise is last track Spit Out The Bone which is the best song on the album belting along at a fair pace with a killer riff and capturing them in full on thrash mode. The seven minutes fly by!

Hardwired… is also the best sounding Metallica since Re-Load with a thick and powerful production lacking the harshness of Death Magnetic. The band play well throughout with moments of brilliance and the often maligned Lars Ulrich plays his best drums for at least twenty years. Not in terms of complexity but solid as a rock with a strong groove.

I’m happier with this album than I ever dared hope but a couple more up-tempo songs placed mid album could have helped with the overall pacing. If you want ground-breaking however don’t come here, but Hardwired…To Self-Destruct is certainly a strong traditional metal album intermittently delving into thrash. No doubt many will still dismiss it but it’s an album they can be rightly proud of.
At this point, it's a long wait for when a new Metallica album comes around. While I'm in the minority of enjoying every Metallica album to a certain extent (not counting Lulu), with the release of the three singles, people were excited for this Metallica album. When the album was finally released, it has seemed to have caused a split among fans. Many people were underwhelmed and found it disappointing, and many people loved it and found it to be Metallica's best album in a long while.

I belong to the latter group, I think this is the band's best album since Load, if not Master of Puppets. As I'm one who loves Load, probably my third favorite Metallica album, that's nothing to be understated. Self Destruct brings together the best parts of both the thrash side and straight up heavy metal side of the band. Being a double album, this half-and-half sound works out (almost) perfectly. Disc one is pretty much a straight thrash metal assault, starting with the rampaging title cut that opens up the album. Switch the modern production values with an 80's sound, and this sounds ripped straight from one of the band's classic albums. "Atlas Rise" and "Moth Into Flame", the other two singles, are of the same caliber. While they don't sound straight out of the classics, they are indeed pure Metallica thrash.

Now those singles are all killer, but this album has a lot more to offer. "Dream No More" may very well be my favorite, with an infectiously catchy main hook. This one's more reminiscent of the band's crunchier songs like "The Thing That Should Not Be", which is interestingly my favorite from Master of Puppets. Disc two lands more on the groovy Black Album/Load-esque heavy metal sound, with the winner from those being "Am I Savage?". You know, this may even beat Load even though it's of similar style. I find it impossible to not bang my head to the groovy swagger of the main riff, and the main chorus is great. "Spit Out the Bone" is the one exception of the general sound on disc two. This song is all-out thrash, showing the most relentless aggression from the band in a long while while retaining amazing melodies.

All the members of the band are all in complete top form. Hetfield gives absolutely amazing vocal performances, killer riffing from both Hammett and Hetfield, great drumming from Ulrich, and you can actually hear Trujillo's awesome rumbling basslines. You can especially hear the latter in "Am I Savage?". It all really comes together during the chorus of "Dream No More", with the absolutely punishing riffs fronted with Hetfield's gargantuan vocals.

All the songs are great in my book, but the songs I mentioned are certainly all the highlights. I think this is easily up there with the band's best albums, although I think it would have been nice if they released the two discs as separate albums. If they did do that though, "Halo on Fire" and "Spit Out the Bone" would have to be switched around. "Spit Out the Bone", while overall it would fit better on the first disc, works as a perfect finale to the album as it is. If you're a fan of Metallica, and not just the 80's classics, check this killer album out. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!
If you don't count the poorly received collaboration album with Lou Reed, Lulu (2011), and I'm sure that most of us would rather forget that album, then Hardwired... to Self-Destruct (2016) marks Metallica's comeback after eight years since an album, that being Death Magnetic (2008). Counting Lulu and covers album Garage Inc. (1998), Hardwired... to Self-Destruct is the band's twelfth album. It's been presented as a double album (with special editions also including a third bonus disc), however the use of two discs here, much like Helloween and their album Keeper of the Seven Keys - The Legacy (2005), isn't actually necessary as the material would just about fit on one disc. It would have gone over had they elected to include Lords of Summer (which has been re-recorded since the so called first pass version from 2014) as part of the main album and not a bonus track and the fact that they decided to do that seems a bit like a kick in the teeth, like they're trying to force purchases of the three disc album just so fans can get all the new material. Really, with Lords of Summer, a few cover tracks and some live recordings, this should be a double CD album at most.

I'm in the group that doesn't think that Metallica has released anything original that is really worthwhile since the early nineties. I like Garage Inc. but it's all covers. Death Magnetic is solid enough, but it doesn't have many tracks that have really stuck with me since it was released. That album definitely was a case of tracks needing some trimming down to be more effective, most being around the six to eight minute mark. The same is still true on some of Hardwired... to Self-Destruct's offerings but there are also examples of more concise song-writing like Hardwired (3:09) and Moth Into Flame (5:50) and better usage of mid-length durations, like Atlas, Rise! (6:28). Those three tracks, also known as the album's trio of pre-release singles, are about as good as Hardwired... to Self-Destruct gets. Hardwired is a full on thrasher while the other two blend thrash with strong traditional metal elements that have been more Metallica's thing since Metallica (1991), A.K.A. The Black Album. After these singles dropped, I had some real high hopes for Hardwired... to Self-Destruct to be a really great album from Metallica, the like of which we haven't got from them since the aforementioned Black Album. They were delivering thrash metal with a great energy and James Hetfield was laying down his best vocals in years, so there was even some hope in me that this one would surpass the Black Album and sit comfortably with their thrash metal albums, or at least close to them.

Unfortunately with the exception of the closing Spit Out the Bone, which is another thrasher, the band seem to lose a lot of their steam elsewhere on the album, delivering slower, more heavy metal based tracks. There's nothing inherently wrong with Metallica when they play heavy metal but when they deliver an album like Hardwired... to Self-Destruct where the thrash metal (and even the thrash/heavy metal cross-breeds) kick so much arse, the result is actually a disjointed release. One that even has a couple of really weak tracks in the form of ManUNkind and Murder One. The latter is supposed to be a tribute to the late Motörhead frontman Lemmy, so it's unfortunate that it's one of the weaker cuts here. Another track that doesn't really do much for me is Am I Savage? Which sounds a little too much like Metallica is trying their hardest to have something of their own that kinda sounds like their beloved Diamond Head's Am I Evil? At least with the title. In fact, the second disc of the album in general is a lot weaker than the first. Lords of Summer is also a thrash metal song but as I said earlier Metallica decided to make it a bonus track on the album, so not all versions have it. Which is a shame, as it's actually a lot better than a few of these tracks that made the cut for the actual album.

My impression of Hardwired... to Self-Destruct is that it's an okay heavy metal album that should have been a great thrash metal album. Ironically it's still the best album that they've done since the Black Album, being a very small improvement on Death Magnetic and leagues ahead of Lulu or the just as hated St. Anger (2003). I'd also take it over Load (1996) and ReLoad (1997) any day. But it's just too inconsistent in quality and even style to ever be considered as more than passable.
For the first time in my life, I actually found myself excited by the prospect of Metallica releasing a new album. I'm as much a fan of their first four albums as anyone, and I quite like the self-titled so-called Black Album too, but I was born in 1986, the year Master of Puppets came out and was only five by the year of the Black Album, so there hasn't really been anything to change that in all my years since. Death Magnetic didn't excite me too much, though I do enjoy the record. However the singles leading up to the release of Hardwired... to Self-Destruct (Hardwired, Moth Into Flame and Atlas, Rise!) made me pay attention to what was going on in Camp Metallica. James Hetfield sounded his best in years and it seemed like we were going to get the closest we ever were to the classic Metallica of old.

Those singles though, in my view at least, were deceptive.

Hardwired... to Self-Destruct isn't a bad album. I'd say it's about on par with Death Magnetic, which is to say it's good but not great, with a few true smile moments. It's more worth owning than most of Metallica's post-Black Album output. The trouble with this album is that Metallica seemed to choose the singles that would most appeal to old school fans, meaning the thrashiest stuff, but when you get the full album in your hands, you find that as a whole, the music on Hardwired... to Self-Destruct doesn't reflect what the singles lead you to expect. In reality we find an album that is much less thrash metal than expected or advertised, which draws strongly on heavy metal and even some hard rock, really putting it closer in style to the Black Album than anything.

It's still a decent release from Metallica; this probably still in their best since the Black Album to be honest, but they built this up in such a way that I expected the album I'm sure other fans have wanted to hear from them for years and then didn't deliver.
Vim Fuego
Did the world really need another Metallica album?

Think back to what made those first four albums so great. It was energy, vitality, absolute killer fucking riffs, speed, power, thought provoking lyrics (if you don’t count a couple of misfires on “Kill ‘Em All”), and a fuck-you-we’re-doing-it-our-way attitude. So many bands either aspired to be Metallica, or realised they couldn’t match Hetfield/Ulrich/Hammett/Burton/Newsted and so took different directions.

Like an erupting volcano, Metallica got too big to stay underground. The black album came along, which had huge riffs and huge sales, and has since been followed by some of the most frustratingly inconsistent music in all of metaldom. For every “Hero of the Day” or “The Day That Never Comes” there have been too many songs like “Frantic”, “Thorn Within”, “Devil’s Dance”, “Where The Wild Things Are” and “St. Anger”. There is also the issue of the well-intentioned, but over-ambitious and badly received Lou Reed collaboration “LuLu”.

Like a clumsy proctologist, this album is an exercise in simply going through the motions. The songs are long and pointless, and the album is long and pointless. The killer riff cupboard is simply empty now. It has been more than a quarter of a century since anything as memorable as “Blackened”, “Master of Puppets”, “Fight Fire With Fire” or even “The God That Failed”.

There are no highlights, nor many low lights. It’s all just at the same mediocre level. It has flashes of the once vital band, back when they were young, hungry and angry, but sounds like old, rich and slightly befuddled geezers trotting out the dinosaur rock they once railed against. There is the odd flash of inspiration though. There is a bit of actual thrash here and there. You can hear Kirk again, who went missing in action somewhere around 2001, and he no longer seems to need to be the shredding speed demon he once was, preferring to swagger and wail in a blues-y style. Lars rediscovered his second kick drum too. James’ singing voice is more tuneful than ever before. Robert is still Robert, his incredible bass playing skills underused as ever in this band, but still rock solid as fuck. These men in their 50s are still competent musicians, but have none of the fire of their early-20s selves.

The most telling factor though, is that this album is a chore to listen to. It is hard going, even on a first listen, and improves little on subsequent passes. The only song which really stands out is final track “Spit Out The Bone”, and it seems like an effort to reach it. It is an attempt to recapture the hard-and-fast finish to a Metallica album, like “Damage Inc.”, “Metal Militia” and “Dyer’s Eve”, and succeeds on its own merits, but probably benefits from being the strongest track in a 12 song trudge.

So, to answer the initial question, did the world really need another Metallica album? No, the world did not need another Metallica album, but we got one anyway. Ho hum.
"Hardwired... to Self Destruct" (HTSD) is the new Metallica 8 years on following the maddeningly successful "Death Magnetic" (DM) that followed the insanely dreadful "St Anger" (SA). First the good news, it is streets ahead better on every level than "SA"; though that is not exactly a tall order, let's face it. Now the bad news... it is not really up to the standard of previous masterpieces "Kill", "Lightning", "Puppets", "Justice", "Black", and I am still more blown away by "DM" over this latest release. The problem is that Metallica have raised the bar so high that it is almost impossible to surpass it, therefore they are their own worst enemy having reached the pinnacle in the early years and the unmitigated radio success of commercial friendly "Black album". They are undeniable as musicians, but the new album suffers in terms of vocals in places and some of the lyrics are immature. Now arguably Hetfield has still got the raw mechanics to make a growl sound convincing, but I was so taken in by his cleaner vocals on "DM" and "Black" that I felt disappointed that he opts for the growls on "HTSD". At times he sounds auto tuned and often goes for a multi tracked mix to hide the scorched vocals and raspiness. Some will love this approach of course, but he has such a wonderful timber in his cleaner voice that it feels like a waste when he ignores this. It seems that Metallica are making a statement that they can thrash and bash with the best of them, but they have more musical genius then just grinding out a speedy riff and growling for the duration of a song. The opening track is the worst in this regard. It just states Metallica are back and we are not taking any prisoners. But why do they need to prove that? We know they are back in force by listening to "DM". No, the title track is one I will skip. And what's with all the F bombs and swearing? If they need to resort to swearing their heads off then that shows they are no better than any of the other unimaginative metallers out there who think they need to use expletives to try and ram home a point, but I prefer my Metallica more subtle than that. Anyway, at least it is a short song. After this start, the songs improve dramatically. Next offering, is the catchy raucous "Atlas, Rise!" and it is certainly a killer track. This one has the infectious hook in the chorus, that has an old school feel akin to the earlier Metallica we all grew up to adore. I was one of the headbangers of the 80s that bought "Kill" off the shelf and played it to death on vinyl. So it is a joy to revisit this old Metallica sound. It has a wonderful instrumental break, Hammett on wah wah pedal as usual but its a powerhouse performance with a half time feel riff. Another solo follows which is a sheer delight, until it returns to the main melody. A highlight.

"Now That We're Dead" begins with an extended intro with a crunching riff, simple but effective, and it just chunks along with some amazing double kick drum. The cool galloping trot riff works nicely with the vocals. The lead break is fantastic shredding with Hetfield's chops and I admire the nice slow pace on this track, a veritable headbanger.

"Moth into Flame" is the track that verges on brilliant; perhaps the stand out track of the album, opening with a frenetic fast paced riff and very angry vocals "Blacked out, Pop queen, amphetamine, The screams crashed into silence, Tapped out, Doused in the gasoline, The high times going timeless, Decadence, Death of the innocence, The pathway starts to spiral, Infamy, All for publicity, Destruction going viral, Light it up!" The rhythms are hyper fast and Ulrich is banging the heck out of the kit; no more banging on beer barrels ala "St Anger". The mid feel is an intense 8/8 pedal to the metal riff blast. The lead break is wah wah and fast fingering all the way. Hammett certainly unleashes a tirade of metal firepower on this track. It is as if Metallica are just unleashing their fury on this track. It is old school and everything we love about Metallica. Another highlight. "Am I Savage?" is a straight forward slow track for a while until it moves into a proggish off beat riff prior to the chorus. I like how this shifts and changes throughout and the tims sigs are complex. Ulrich is terrific on this as he drums like a man possesed. It has a darker edge with the lyrics abnout the shapeshifting rage inner man can suffer from, "I don't recognise you anymore". The mid section feels like the sound on "Justice"; deep and bassy, and there is a great lead break to wrap your ears around.

"Halo on Fire" is another of the albums highlights; dynamic riffing with softerand great lyrics "Obey, obey, Come won't you stay, Sincere, sincere, All ends in tears, Endure, endure, Thoughts most impure, Concede, concede, But both shall we bleed, Oh, halo on fire, The midnight knows it well, Fast, is desire, Creates another hell I fear to turn on the light, For the darkness won't go away, Fast, is desire, Turn out the light Halo on fire!" The softer approach is welcome, acoustics and muzzled bass. Hetfield has a great voice here and uses it rather than screaming throughout. The half time feel is killer, with some really melodic riffage, and an infectious vocal treatment. The duel lead break is absolutely sensational. The outro is mind boggling, with brilliant infectious tune injected with the signature Metallica sound. The icing on the cake is the lead soloing finesse of Hammett as a capstone. Another highlight for sure along with "Atlas" and "Moth".

"Confusion" is just a wall to wall assault of raucous metal, with some great lead breaks and thrashing drums. Opening riff is like "Am I Evil" and partly you might hear portions of riffs from the "Justice" album. It could be misconstrued as the sequel to "One" though no where as brilliant. A bit of a throwaway to me but still delivers metal to the max.

"Dream No More" opens with a slow doomy riff. The feel is like "Harvester of Sorrow" meets "Sad But True". It grows on you with every listen, and finally I was enjoying the doomy crunchy riff. "You turn to stone" is quite a memorable lyric.

"ManUNkind" is a very intense track with killer riffing and very heavy lyrics. The lead break is simply stunning and it has a melodic chorus that stays with me. Like all these tracks there is an accompanying video clip and it features a parody of a Satanic metal band that snort drugs prior to going on stage and then proceed to cut themselves and bleed all over the insatiable crowd. The crowd are even more ravenous when the band throw the spiked pig's head to them, causing some fans to gourge themselves on it. The band resemble Black Metal legends Mayhem so is perhaps just having an affectionate dig at them; but it is a real eye opener.

"Here Comes Revenge" is another throwaway with a pedestrian riff and vocals. The song blazes past almost without notice among some of the stronger tracks. The riff is too close to "Leper Messiah" and other Metallica of the past for my comfort, but it is not as bad as anything on "St Anger". The lead break fires up and relieves the mediocrity. Oh well, some will love it as usual, but this does little for me personally.

"Murder One" is dedicated to Motorhead's Lemmy; in fact the film clip is a tribute to him showing him with Hawkwind and explaining why he left and how he conquered with Motorhead as a result. The "Aces High" and "Man in Black" lyric is a clue but the clip makes it obvious, beautifully animated in a style akin to the Gorillaz video clips. The music is not as good as the clip but it cranks along with some angry vocals and a simple guitar motif but not as high standard as other tracks. The lead break is worth sticking around for, one of Hammett's most manic lead shreds. "Spit Out the Bone" closes the album with a slice and dice metal riff motorvating along with purpose and power. This is absolutely one to wake up the senses with machine gun riffing and speed drumming. Once it gets going the pace is as fast as "Damage Inc" or "Whiplash" which will delight all Metallica addicts. There are some amazing riffs on this one, and a relentless tempo throughout with some detours into Pantera like chunks of metal. To cap it off the filmclip is brilliant with violent battling red ninjas, looking like a demented form of Star Wars Royal Guards complete with force pikes that electrocute their prey. The Iron Maiden like skull creature is a nice touch wrapped around a dystopian apocalyptic framework. The riffs at the four minute mark are superb, and it moves into a Slayer like metal feel at the 6 minute mark, as dynamic as anything on the metal scene today. A super fast lead break takes it away to the final chorus and mega fast riff. It ends the album on a high note.

So there you have it. It delivers and the news is good overall apart from some lapses in to mediocrity in the second half of the album. There are at least 4 killer tracks that will have the Metallica universe buzzing; namely "Atlas", "Moth", "Halo" and "Bone"; as good as anything I have heard from Metallica. The other tracks are not so high standard but still deliver a whallop in their own right. It will appease the depraved Metallica fans who have to wait so long in between albums, and for those who were not that impressed with the Lulu album prior. It will be interesting to hear how other fans feel about this but I was underwhelmed apart from the aforementioned highlights. It should have been a masterpiece given the experience and undeniable talent but a lot of this album feels lazy and uninspired. It deserves 3.5 stars for the great tracks without a doubt.
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.

Members reviews

5/4/17 (3 1/2 stars) - "Hardwired... To Self-Destruct" was 5 stars when it came out. Each single was major, and I stayed up all night listening to the album on the day of its release. What's more, that day I was packed with so much energy - in short, the album rejuvenated me.

The problem with the album is not that it isn't as good as Metallica's earlier stuff because honestly, it is still really good. Rather, the problem is that it just doesn't last. Unlike the true goodies and all the 5-star albums out there, it does not guarantee all those months and even years of listening. Hardly can most imagine the next generation listening to this album, and rather obvious is that absolutely no one in the generation afterward would have even heard of it.

As far as the album goes, people have managed to agree that it is pretty much modern-sounding thrash. "Hardwired" is most likely the craziest song on the album, with its three minutes of chaos. All the other songs are pinned at six or seven minutes, a reasonable length. While the first disc is half singles and all epics, the second disc is made up of slightly more gradual pieces. That is to say, they are still all thrash and epic, but not to the same extent as the first disc's

"Spit Out The Bone" was the perfect song to end the album, and the deluxe version's third disc had all of the right songs, as well. "Ronnie Rising Medley" and "When a Blind Man Cries" would have went unnoticed if they weren't included, and the older Metallica songs were surely some of their best.

In short, "Hardwired... To Self Destruct" is a fantastic album for Metallica to have released as possibly their last new studio work. On the other hand, it will be lost in time, and it has already lost its appeal to most of those that have excessively listened to it. It is quite sad... well, it is still awesome that they have made it this far. If Metallica can release another album just as good, I'm sure everyone will be flattered.

5/18/17 (EDIT: 5 stars) - I made the mistake to review this album before I saw most of it live. The second Metallica started with "Hardwired" my mouth dropped open and I was lost in a world of crazy fantasy. Honestly, as they continued through "Atlas, Rise!", "Moth Into Flame", and "Now That We're Dead"... It is awesome how my opinion changed so drastically!

This is an album for the centuries, and nothing Metallica has done or will do will EVER go to waste!

Ratings only

  • MrMan2000
  • morgoliath1
  • sensedatum
  • Purple Haze
  • The T 666
  • MagnusPrime
  • stefanbedna
  • karolcia
  • Modulator
  • LightningRider
  • Psydye
  • feagles76
  • GWLHM76
  • Peacock Feather
  • Bloodred
  • Bogdanmime
  • sploosh
  • TJS84
  • albertobevi
  • MorniumGoatahl
  • Train_Food
  • tapfret
  • Olly
  • Fant0mas
  • ProgMetaller2112
  • Necrotica
  • Gabimm
  • Nick & Simon
  • kllytrrnc
  • focusedon
  • michelandrade
  • luger7
  • Alex
  • Bartje1979
  • progshine
  • kalacho
  • sepozzsla
  • aglasshouse
  • TheHeavyMetalCat
  • Bosh66
  • luanpedi
  • fabprog
  • sauromat
  • DippoMagoo

Write/edit review

You must be logged in to write or edit review


Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Paranoid Heavy Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
Buy this album from our partners
Rising Heavy Metal
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

Antitheism Crust Punk
Buy this album from MMA partners
Antitheism Crust Punk
Buy this album from MMA partners
Requiem Crust Punk
Buy this album from MMA partners
Le Fardeau Black Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
Satanā Black Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions


Latest Metal News


More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us