Last Friday Metallica released Hardwired… To Self-Destruct. Now that a week has passed and the “newness” has worn off and I was able to listen to it a few times I feel now I can accurately review it. I feel that since St. Anger, Metallica has made it a mission to return to form. With Death Magnetic, they took a step in the right direction and while this album is a better return to form it does seem at times that this is Death Magnetic part 2. With a few interesting projects between Death Magnetic nearly 10 years ago such as the odd Lou Reed collaboration album LuLu and the concert film/ action film mashup of Through the Never. It was pretty fun as a fan to see Metallica return with a new album.
Clocking in just shy of 80 minutes long this album does feel like it would have benefited with a few songs on the cutting floor or shifted over to the deluxe album and would have made a bigger impact. Very much like another double album I enjoyed last year in Iron Maiden’s Book of Souls, The first disk is where nearly all the magic is. Starting out with an aggressive thrash title track Hardwired will most definitely stand as the theme song for 2016 with the lyrics “Shit out of luck, we’re so Fucked!” ( I challenge you to find a more fitting song for the year). The other singles Atlas, Rise and Moth to the Flame (at the moment my favorite track) become more enjoyable after a repeated listen. I was also pretty happy with Now That We’re Dead and the callback to early Metallica with references to Chutlu in the song Dream No More followed by the grueling assault that is Halo on Fire. Disk 2 is where the length of the new album starts to hit and where some cuts could have been made but Spit Out The Bone serves as a perfect book end to close the album out on.
The deluxe version is largely compiled of live tracks and a few songs that didn’t make the cut from the album including last year’s release Lords of Summer, a Ronnie James Dio medley called Ronnie Rising and a nice softer track When a Blind Man Cries. It serves as a nice bonus for fans that wanted to get that special 3 disk set.
Overall as a fan, I like the album quite a bit and enjoy the raw return to their thrash roots. While it’s still early to determine how it ultimately ranks overall, I feel it’s the best they’ve done in a quite some time. While a single and shortened album would have served sufficiently as a statement and would have left the same or a better impact, I’m glad to see the band back to making music and hopefully this new release heralds a North American tour shortly to follow next year.
The album of course is available now via vinyl and CD (how I acquired it because I have all the others) but also fans can stream it now on Spotify as well.