Beatstreet Music

Rousing return

The album cover

The album cover  

Artist: Metallica Album: Hardwired… To Self-Destruct

When you hear James Hetfield cuss through the chorus of Metallica’s first lead single ‘Hardwired’, you know that this might just be a real return to form for the thrash metal legends.

The title track to their tenth studio album, which comes about eight years after Death Magnetic, was instrumental in bringing a smile to a lot of old school Metallica fans.

And the rest of this 12-track double album will pretty much do the same. For one, it is filled with some of the band’s meatiest riffs that throwback to their 1980s glory. It is not to say they lost their way somewhere in the early 2000s, but after changing their sound, returning to it didn’t seem like a bad idea. ‘Atlas, Rise!’ and ‘Moth Into Flame’ are classic headbangers, yet avoiding all clichés or sounding dated in terms of production. Drummer Lars Ulrich doesn’t sound tired as they pummel along on ‘Moth Into Flame’, while guitarist Kirk Hammett throws in only the occasional solo.

After detailing the pitfalls of fame, they run through groove-city on ‘Dream No More’, by when it is evident that Hammett isn’t going to go full overdrive on his wah pedal for his solos, instead picking traditional twin-guitar melodies. There is an overall slower tempo drive on ‘Halo on Fire’, but it is just as vicious. Disc two kicks off with Ulrich’s signature machine gun drumming on ‘Confusion’, his infamous snare tone now firmly back to being a punishing force alongside Hetfield and Hammett’s riffage. Unlike Hammett, bassist Robert Trujillo has a co-write to be credited for on this album and it is surprisingly the first turn toward the brutal, on ‘ManUNkind’, largely instrumental.

Like most Metallica records, all songs clock in over six minutes, except for the (probably) made-for-radio single ‘Hardwired’, which is just three minutes. Nonetheless, these are driving, evoking a head-bob throughout, whether you are an old or recent fan of the band. By the time you get to ‘Am I Savage?’ and ‘Murder One’, you’d think they are testing their fans a bit. It is bad enough albums are considered to be a challenge for the low attention-span generation, but then ‘Spit Out the Bone’ brings back that roller-coaster riff ride. It might seem recycled to some, but this is Metallica being as fresh and true to their roots as possible.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 3:15:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/Rousing-return/article16426574.ece

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