A Fantastic Blast From the Past and More
When Metallica announced that they would release their 10th studio album on Nov 18th 2016, I didn't expect anything better than 2008's Death Magnetic.
While Death Magnetic wasn't bad, it certainly wasn't as good as the streamlined, yet faithful to the hardcore fan base; The Black Album. To me, Death Magnetic seemed to be missing that "yeah that's the Metallica I fell in love with" sound.
What Death Magnetic lacked, Hardwired to Self Destruct has it, and then some. The whole record feels familiar, but not cliche'.
Perhaps Hardwired doesn't break any new ground, but it does offer a pretty damn good hard-charging metal album that is both for the hardcore early years fans and the later post ...and Justice For All fans.
A Return to an Honest Thrash Metal Element
Strategically no doubt, Metallica unloaded 3 singles before the November 18 release date. "Hardwired", "Atlas Rise", and "Moth Into Flame", all have a retro style that hearkens back to the early days of 1983's Kill Em' All and 1984's Ride the Lightning. All 3 tracks have an unrelenting old-school thrash/speed metal element to them.
These pre release tracks could have a bait and switch effect on the mosh pit loving crowd, as only the final track "Spit Out the Bone" is similar in style. However, to me, there are several other tracks that rise to classic Metallica status, though they'd perhaps fit better on the Black Album in style...
"Spit Out the Bone"
Classic Non-Thrash Tracks
While I like the mentioned trash tracks, I have grown to really love a handful of other tracks on Hardwired.
"Now That We're Dead", "Dream No More", and "Halo on Fire" are stone classics of Metallica in any era in my opinion. Other tracks like "Murder One" and "Here Comes Revenge" offer powerful reminders that you don't have to have a tune sound like "Whiplash" to be heavy as hell.
I waited 3 weeks to write this review because I saw a lot of reviews that seemed to be too harsh or too positive for my tastes, with the reviewer stating they'd only listened one time.
To be fair, I felt I needed to get familiar with the album, sometimes an album is just so bad, you can't bring yourself to listen more than a few times, but with Hardwired ...to Self Destruct it was not a chore but a pleasure.
This Metallica album has sucked me right in like none since the Black Album, it really is that good. I have heard some thinking that Load and Re-Load are revisited here. Perhaps "ManUnkind" "my least favorite track" would fit that bill, but I do not hear an overt homage to those mid 90's albums here at all.
By the way, Load and Re-Load weren't all bad, I bet a best of both would have made a great single record. Hardwired does not have the amount of filler those albums had, this is 80 minutes of great listenable Metallica with plenty of fire and brimstone.
You'll love "Dream No More", "Halo on Fire, and "Now That We're Dead" I am sure of that. All the other tracks are pretty good in their own right.
"Dream No More"
"Now That Were Dead"
"Halo on Fire"
The Crying Critics
Most of the criticism I've read about the album seems to stem from the very tired cliche' that the album isn't heavy enough, has too much melody, blah blah blah. The critics seemingly felt 80 minutes of "Metal Militia" was in order or something?
How boring it would have been had Metallica never branched out beyond Kill Em' All. Imagine Metallica without "Fade To Black" or "Welcome Home Sanitarium"? Nevermind having the complex prog metal of ...and Justice For All.
Metallica has now been around for over 35 years, and honestly to expect an album as good as the last 2 considering their legacy is pretty damn impressive to me.
I can't fault Metallica for branching out and experimenting, even if I too, like most, seem to have hated the Lou Reed collaboration Lu Lu and didn't care much for St. Anger and its dreadful drum sound.
I certainly didn't stick to thrash/speed metal listening over the years, I like all kind of music: Jazz, blues, country music, progressive rock and many, many more. I don't apologize for it, and Metallica doesn't need to apologize either if you don't like it don't listen to it.
I, on the other hand, have enjoyed Hardwired To Self Destruct.
© 2016 GodsOfRock
What are Your Thoughts About Hardwired to Self Destruct?
GodsOfRock (author) from United States on December 14, 2016:
Load and Reload are light weight blues rock compared to the last 2 albums. If I was forced to listen to "Spit out the Bone" for 80 minutes I think I'd crap myself and throw up all over the place. Just not interested in one dimensional hammer to my head any more. I like variety and dare I say, melody. I think this new album is a good mix of what I like about Metallica, while knowing they will never be in their 20's again and hungry to break knew ground. The irony is, they can't even try when they'd be criticized based on the ground they've already broke...a catch 22 if there ever was one.
Michael James on December 14, 2016:
Metallica lost me in the '90s on the day Load came out. I haven't bought a new Metallica album since. Not sure I'm hearing anything with this record that makes me change my mind, though Spit Out the Bone isn't bad. Give me 12 tracks like that and I'm back.