You’re probably thinking that it’s a bit late to be reviewing Metallica’s 10th studio album “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct”. After all, it was released November 2016. You are wrong. This is Metallica. Their distinct sound has echoed throughout the years and undoubtedly will continue to do so. Generations after generations of people will sit down and enjoy what has to be one of the band’s greatest albums and my personal favourite. Now, I know all you Black Album fans probably just shat a brick when I said that. I am not denying that the Black Album is one of the most incredible works of art for anyone to enjoy. But, that being said, you need to dedicate some time to “Hardwired…”. You will not regret it.
First up, “Hardwired”. A song, not to be questioned and rightfully the opening track. This track is the perfect introduction to this album. Longtime fans are reminded of their relationship with the band and soon to be fans are dropped in the deep end. The heavy introduction to this song will have every listener tapping along with its memorable rhythm and grunting “We’re so fucked! Shit out of luck”. James Hetfield’s distinguished voice rings throughout the song in such a way that will make you believe that you really are, shit out of luck. Fortunately, we have another 11 tracks to enjoy.
The following song, “Atlas, Rise!” is a very busy track. It feels complicated and has a lot going for it at times but always returning to the consistent rhythm. I found this song to personally push the limits with its constant transitions to different tones. I felt I was on a journey. The iconic lyrics stand out and follow a similar pattern to the previous track, Hardwired. This is shown by James’ renowned style. “Atlas”. Pause. “Rise!”. I tell you, it’s a challenge to write and headbang. The guitar solo doesn’t help either.
The next track is one of the best on the album. It is rare to ever describe a metal song as groovy, but I am going to do it anyway. “Now That We’re Dead” is a beautifully composed track. The iconic introduction steadily building towards the first verse is amazing. Actually amazing. You feel every note surging through you as you try resisting to dance in public. As I said, this song feels groovy but in a very metal way. Listen to the track. Listen to the intro and tell me you aren’t loving every single shred of detail. Get it? Shred. Also, it is worth noting at this point, James is in full swing. “Now That We’re Dead my dear”. “Dear” sounds like it’s spelt Dear-aaaa. It wouldn’t be Metallica without it and you know it.
“A Moth Into The Flame. BURN!” That’s right. Next track is “Moth Into Flame”, one of the more popular tracks on the album. It is indisputably one of the greatest tracks on this album and even in Metallica’s arsenal. It was one the second track to be released as a single ahead of the full album release and for good reason. This song is Metallica personified. Without giving too much away as I want you to enjoy the album on your own accord, the lyrics are interesting and involved. Don’t think, however, that the lyrics take away from the sound. This could have easily been an instrumental and you would have still been listening “Moth Into Flame” on repeat. Trust.
You may now think that I am going to half-ass this review. It’s ok to think that. You’re entitled to your opinion, as I am. I will not be reviewing every track on this album. This review isn’t about the highlights of an album, it’s an incentive to go out, purchase it, and form your own opinion.
Whilst each and every song on “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct” is great in its own right, “Am I Savage” is one that rises through the ranks. If you don’t believe me, take it up with Triple H from WWE. At Wrestlemania 33, 2017, “Am I Savage” was the main theme for the event. It was used for the promotional video between Triple H and Seth Freakin’ Rollins to which Seth was victorious and became crowned “Kingslayer”. The song itself is quite different from the previous tracks mentioned. It is slower and more intense which only goes to show the range Metallica have and their musical prowess. The track, with its slow start, sets a tone like something is coming. Something big and powerful. I’m not just talking about “The Game”, Triple H either.
Last, but most certainly not least, the final track of “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct” is “Spit Out The Bone”. I first saw the tracklist and knew that my favourite track on this album would be this. The title alone is metal as fuck. The most powerful intro on the album, “Spit Out The Bone” has an old-school Metallica feel, but on steroids. The pace of the track changes regularly making it the interesting. Then, with lyrics like “Remove your heart, it’s only good for beating” you are in for a treat. Make sure you’re wearing your white pants.
I can honestly say that this album holds a special place in my heart. It takes you on an incredible journey filled with emotions and suspense. I was fortunate enough to see the songs previously mentioned live at Birmingham, UK. Obviously, there was a mix of old tracks from their previous albums on the setlist. You couldn’t go to see Metallica and not have “Enter Sandman”. It’s criminal. That being said, as I’ve previously mentioned, this album puts the Black Album on notice. Listen yourself and let me know what you think.